New climate data term: “bodge”

I learn something new every day. “Bodge” – here’s the definition from Wikitionary:

Etymology 1

The term “bodge” derives from Middle English boccen, which means “to mend.”

Verb

bodge (third-person singular simple present bodges, present participle bodging, simple past and past participle bodged)

  1. (UK) To do a clumsy or inelegant job, usually as a temporary repair.
    • All the actions of his life are like so many things bodged in without any natural cadence or connexion at all. (A book of characters, selected from the writings of Overbury, Earle, and Butler, Thomas Overbury and John Earle, 1865)
    • Some cars were neglected, others bodged to keep them running with inevitable consequences (Original Porsche 356: The Restorer’s Guide, Laurence Meredith, 2003)
    • Do not be satisfied with a bodged job, set yourself professional goals and standards (The Restauration Handbook, Enric Roselló, 2007)

Noun

bodge (plural bodges)

  1. (UK) A clumsy or inelegant job, usually a temporary repair.

Yeah, sounds about right. Here in the USA we have a website called “There I fixed it“, which could just as easily be named “There, I bodged it”.

Here’s what Steve McIntyre has to say about it:

==============================================================

Muir Russell and the Briffa Bodge

By Steve McIntyre

There has been some recent discussion of the Briffa bodge – an early technique to hide the decline. I had drafted a post on the topic and its handling by the Muir Russell “inquiry” in early July 2010, but did not publish the post at the time. In today’s post, I’ve slightly updated my July 2010 draft.

The term “bodge” was used for the first time in a comment (not a post) on November 8, 2009 by me here less than two weeks before Climategate). I had noticed the term “Briffa bodge” in a preprint of Briffa and Melvin 2008 2011 (see here), where it was used to describe a “very artificial correction” to Briffa’s widely used Tornetrask chronology as follows:

Briffa et al. (1992) ‘corrected’ this apparent anomaly by fitting a line through the residuals of actual minus estimated ring widths, derived from a regression using the density data over the period 501–1750 as the predictor variable, and then removing the recent apparent decline in the density chronology by adding the fitted straight line values (with the sign reversed) to the chronology data for 1750–1980. This ‘correction’ has been termed the ‘Briffa bodge’ (Stahle, personal communication)!

Bodging of the Tornetrask chronology had been discussed in much earlier CA posts – e.g. in March 2005 here and again here.

The term “bodge” also occurs in Climategate correspondence, as pointed out by Jeff Id on December 1, 2009 here.

In July 1999, Vaganov et al (Nature 1999) had attempted to explain the divergence problem in terms of later snowfall (an explanation that would seem to require caution in respect to the interpretation of earlier periods.) On July 14, 1999, Ed Cook wrote Briffa as follows:

Hi Keith,
What is your take on the Vagonov et al. paper concerning the influence of snowfall and melt timing on tree growth in Siberia? Frankly, I can’t believe it was published as is. It is amazinglly thin on details. Isn’t Sob the same site as your Polar Urals site? If so, why is the Sob response window so radically shorter then the ones you identified in your Nature paper for both density and ring width? I notice that they used Berezovo instead of Salekhard, which is much closer according to the map. Is that
because daily data were only available for the Berezovo? Also, there is no evidence for a decline or loss of temperature response in your data in the post-1950s (I assume that you didn’t apply a bodge here). This fully contradicts their claims, although I do admit that such an effect might be happening in some places.

Cheers,
Ed

See here for the response.

I raised the Briffa bodge as an issue in my submission the Briffa bodge to the Parliamentary Committee and Muir Russell as an example of “data manipulation”.

Although Muir Russell expressed disinterest in opining on the proxy issues that dominated the Climategate dossier, they reluctantly expressed an opinion on Briffa’s adjustment of the Tornetrask chronology, agreeing that the bodge was indeed “ad hoc”, but found (without giving any evidence) that there was nothing “unusual about this type of procedure”. While I presume that this reassurance was intended to comfort his audience, I wonder whether readers should in fact be comforted by this observation.

read the full post here

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81 Responses to New climate data term: “bodge”

  1. Joe Lalonde says:

    Anthony,

    Are you sure he didn’t misspell “dodge” as in dodge the bullet?

  2. The term accurately describes the spin doctoring that has gone on around these ‘models’ from the start.

    As a computer programming friend often reminds me – Garbage in= Garbage out.

  3. UK Sceptic says:

    Briffa bodge? More like Briffa bollocks.

  4. dictionary.reference.com has a definition that’s close to the bone:

    2. informal ( Austral ) to make or adjust in a false or clumsy way: “I bodged the figures”

  5. derise says:

    Same thing as a kludge. Though some sources define a bodge as “to make a mess of; botch” or “to make or adjust in a false or clumsy way: I bodged the figures”

  6. Francisco says:

    Bodge and botch come from the same place and were used indistinctly for a time, sometimes in the sense of fixing something in an inept or clumsy way, and sometimes in the stricter sense of ruining or making a complete mess of something, but always when trying to fix it.
    Looks like botch has come to specialize in the second meaning (ruining something) and bodge is now used mostly in the first, softer sense, a clumsy fix.

  7. Seagull says:

    Shorter Oxford Dictionary (in part):
    bodgie /0ˈbɒdʒi/ noun. Austral. & NZ. Now hist. M20.
    [ORIGIN Perh. from bodger adjective + -ie.]

    A young lout, a larrikin; a Teddy boy.

    Reminds me of my youth!

  8. John A says:

    As I remember, Steve referred to the “Bodge” as a “gross manual adjustment” on another occasion.

    What’s more interesting is the complete lack of interest by the peer reviewers in this kind of post hoc adjustment. I mean, if you can get away with altering data to fit your preconceptions about tree ring widths and temperature, there’s no end of fun you can have.

  9. Bloke down the pub says:

    A Bodger was originally a wood-worker who worked in the forest using a simple foot operated lathe. If you had a chair with a broken leg or stretcher I suppose you would go to the bodger to get a replacement fitted. Hence a bodge.

  10. Michael in Sydney says:

    I always liked the term ‘fudge factor ‘ but they are making the rules so who am I to argue?

    Regards

    Michael

  11. Don Keiller says:

    It gets worse, if that is at all possible.

    They say in Russia that “the fish rots from the head”, which just about sums up the current condition of climate “science”.

  12. diane says:

    Definitely, “kludge” fits. “Something that works for the wrong reasons.”

  13. barbarausa says:

    Interesting the implicit relationship of intent with evolved usage, building on Francisco’s comment: “Bodge and botch come from the same place and were used indistinctly for a time, sometimes in the sense of fixing something in an inept or clumsy way, and sometimes in the stricter sense of ruining or making a complete mess of something, but always when trying to fix it.
    Looks like botch has come to specialize in the second meaning (ruining something) and bodge is now used mostly in the first, softer sense, a clumsy fix.”

    It appears that in “bodging”, while one intends to fix, the intent to fix it properly is absent–one starts out from the get-go with little more than some scotch tape and paperclips to hold it together until it’s time to bodge it again.

    The intent is not there to BOTCH it, which may happen any time during a bodge, when the tape and rubber bands give way, and the item is perhaps ruined beyond any repair at all.

    Seems to sum up the climate junkies quite well: bodging along as needed, and lo nad behold the stove explodes, and it appears they’ve really botched it after all!

  14. Bloke down the pub says:

    I’m sorry but every time I hear the name Briffa I think of this lot.
    http://www.biffa.co.uk/

  15. Francisco says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:52 am

    is on the nail;
    To botch is to really foul it up. A botched job is broken.
    To bodge is to get the thing working but in an unprofessional way, not something that you would necessarily be proud of.

    In Kiwi parlance: “She’ll be right, mate, I bodged it together with a bit of No 8 fencing wire, some araldite and an angle-bracket.”

  16. Neil Jones says:

    Originally a “Bodger” was a skilled man who made furniture, farm implements and hurdles out of green wood (usually coppiced). The furniture in particular is still highly prized today.

    It was a comic character “Uncle Bodger” which went on to extend the meaning to include an ineffectual repairer and his inability to fix anything gave the English Language a “Bodged Job”. This is, I suspect, to what you refer.

  17. Luther Wu says:

    Muir Russell botched ‘the bodge’.

  18. Olen says:

    Without knowing any proper definition the first thing that came to mind was screw up as in doing a job badly.

  19. Ken Harvey says:

    Bodge. The word has been part of my vocabulary since the ‘thirties, and has always meant “a poorly done repair”. A ham fisted person, such as me, often bodges a household repair because of mechanical inadequacy, but never because of willful cussedness. The user of the word in the case in question seems to me to have used the word euphemistically – in a kindly manner. A more bluntly spoken person, such as me, might have chosen language indicating deliberation.

  20. Michael Lewis says:

    I think that this a seminal McIntyre post. I wanted to say this there but the company was too august. The article is made doubly noteworthy, by the attempted rebuttal posts of Nick Stokes and his demolition by Stephen Mosher, Hu McCulloch et al. and Steve.

    The attempt by Stokes to explain and justify the unjustifiable and the logic and “worked examples” used to blow him away, are a clear and elegant use of reasoning.

    This is on top of Steve McIntyre’s incredible essay on the “bodge”.

    Magic Stuff!

  21. Ralph says:

    Anyone in the UK who is married, and has attempted some home DIY, will know what the word ‘bodge’ means. It will be ringing in their ears.

    That this same word is being used in the context of serious scientific research is a serious worry. Are they scientists, or charlatans?

    .

  22. Gendeau says:

    I think a bodger was someone who made rough wooden furniture from green / unseasoned wood.

    So they started with the wrong materials for the job and ended up with something that might work in the short term, but as the wood dried out I expect the furniture began to fall apart.

    Sounds like the ideal description of Mann et al.

    (I agree with the other descriptions as being the more recent meaning, but feel it’s worth going back a bit further)

  23. paul says:

    The French word “bricolage” might be in between bodge and fix that lacks the negative connotations. I agree that the words “bodge” and “botch” are often now used almost as synonyms in the UK. I think the word “bodger” was used in the film The Great Escape to refer to someone who could sort out any problem with a quick fix, but I could be wrong.

    http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

  24. Curiousgeorge says:

    Did you happen to catch Obama’s babbling biofuels bodge yesterday? http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/30/remarks-president-americas-energy-security

    A teaser: “By 2035, 80 percent of our electricity needs to come from a wide range of clean energy sources — renewables like wind and solar, efficient natural gas. And, yes, we’re going to have to examine how do we make clean coal and nuclear power work.”

    Yep, there’s that hopey changey thing again.

    Perhaps he didn’t attend the EIA presentation: http://www.eia.gov/neic/speeches/newell_12162010.pdf “Renewables grow rapidly, but under current policies fossil fuels still provide 78% of U.S. energy use in 2035″ . Complete with colorful charts and graphs. Maybe somebody should explain it to him.

  25. Ian B says:

    A great bit of the English vernacular.

    Bodge – I think the common usage would be of a temporary, inappropriate or poorly executed repair or fix. As others have explained, the local bodger was the guy who you would take something to and he would come up with a working repair.

    Botch on the other hand is a much more negative word – basically a screw-up.

    To introduce another one, I’m originally from Yorkshire. The area didn’t have bodgers, we had fettlers. Basically the same derivation of an artisan fixer, but now the meaning tends to be someone who tinkers with things (particularly mechanical items). For example, fettling is something you might do to an old car engine or a computer program to make it work better.

  26. Stacey says:

    In the uk a bodger is generally considered a person who carries out shoddy work using poor materials and bad workmanship.

    So the Fiddlestick Team at Unreal Climate and CRU East Anglia are also bodgers.
    Is there no end to their talentlessness?

  27. Dave says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ bodges!

  28. ldd says:

    Never heard of this term before neat, another one to add to my cadge of seldom heard/used but interesting words list.
    In this neck of the woods we use a slang term “jamokie”, origins unknown but it’s something that was always said of those who wound up not hiring a quality professional or using quality/right product to save a buck or believing they could do it better, and whereby things went from bad to worse, broke soon again, caused more damage than the original problem…and etc. to the point of costing much more than if it was done right in the first place.
    http://onlineslangdictionary.com/definition+of/jamoke

    (Doing my best not to bodge this comment and link while on my first cupa java this morning, :D.)

  29. Richard Lawson says:

    Bodgit and Scarper are two inept tradesmen that have operated as a pair throughout the UK for many many years. They can be found easily in the Yellow Pages, especially if you don’t get a reference prior to commencement of the work.

    How these two manage to get so much work is beyond me. Must be because they have the entire UK covered!

  30. Coalsoffire says:

    Climategate?

    No.

    Climatebodge.

    There, the term has been mended.

  31. Baa Humbug says:

    Means crooked mate, not up to scratch.
    I’m surprised you didn’t come across it whilst visiting Oz.

    We even had a comedy duo named Bodgey Brothers, they sold used cars.

    I think the word is perfect for the hide the decline graphs.

  32. Patrick Davis says:

    Another phrase one could use, and this was a real person, is “Heath Robinson”. For his far-out drawings in most cases.

    http://www.google.com.au/images?hl=en&biw=1142&bih=532&q=heath+robinson&wrapid=tlif130157650587511&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&sa=X&ei=OnuUTcrLKYiitgeixbmHDA&ved=0CCwQsAQ

    In England it is also used to describe something “put to gether in a bad way”, or as we say down here in Aus, “Shonky”.

  33. GPlant says:

    “agreeing that the bodge was indeed “ad hoc”, but found (without giving any evidence) that there was nothing “unusual about this type of procedure”.”

    So… what? Now the norm for science is if you don’t like the results, change the data? That’s science? Really?

    By definition a scientist is someone who holds fast to the scientific method. By definition bodging the data is not in the scientific method, and so those who practice such are not scientists, and should not be called scientists. The title should be stripped from such fraudsters.

    Glenn

  34. Frank K. says:

    Thanks for the interesting article on the word “bodge” (I wondered what it meant, though I could intuitively discern the intended meaning…).

    Speaking of weather/climate “bodges” we’re preparing for up to 12 inches of snow here in the northeast…on April 1st!!

    April Fools Snowstorm 2011

    But..but…but…it must be global warming cuz the heat evaporates water which then mixes with cold* air and makes snow which then falls from the sky into my yard and makes big snow drifts and it all because of global warming…
    /jeff masters

    * Note that the cold air would have been much colder were it not for global warming [LOL!]

  35. Sundance says:

    Treebaggers love Briffa.

  36. Roger Knights says:

    Joe Lalonde says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Anthony,

    Are you sure he didn’t misspell “dodge” as in dodge the bullet?

    There are harsher meanings of that word. E.g., “an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade.”

  37. Alexander K says:

    Seagull, the term is ‘bodge’, not ‘Bodgie’ – I remember Bodgies in New Zealand during the 1950s and ’60s. They dressed similarly to the English Teds, but with a rougher edge. DA (Duck’s Arse) haircuts a la John Travolta’s hairdo in ‘Grease’ or the Fonz’s in ‘Happy Days’, Winkle-picker shoes, drainpipe trousers, draped sports coats with enormous shoulder padding and velvet collars. Their distinctively-attired girlfriends were known as ‘Widgies’. Both genders were great exponents of rock’n’roll and would generally reserve a corner of the floor for this at Saturday-night hops. Us short-back-n-sides country boys knew better than to encroach on that space if we didn’t want a fight in the dance hall car park. The third sub-species of youth were the genuinely tough blokes who belonged to motorcycle gangs; John Travolta’s ‘Grease’ persona was pretty much a ‘Bikie’ but they didn’t dance or sing but hung about the ‘Milk Bars’ (as US soda fountain emporiums) and generally were never separated from their motorbikes – usually rattly old Brit twins – by more than the width of the footpath US sidewalk) outside the milk bar. Entertaining days and nobody suffered from identity problems! The Bodgies have mostly died out as a distinctive type, but some Bikies have morphed into Hells Angels or their imitators. Fun times!

  38. Steve C says:

    Like most of the Brits here, I’ve known “bodge” all my life. It’s a fine and useful word which sees a lot of use, and I recommend it to all our Transatlantic friends.

    Michael in Sydney – I think the “fudge factor” is much the same as what I know as
    van t’Hoff’s Ratio. Multiplication by this ratio somewhere in your calculations can “improve” resilts dramatically: it is defined as –
    (required result) divided by (obtained result).
    It also sees a lot of use, though little publicity.

  39. Ric Werme says:

    derise says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:48 am

    > Same thing as a kludge.

    I disagree – there seems to be an emphasis on “poorly done” whereas a kludge is more of a minimalist fix. While kludges have limits and may fail horribly when pushed too far, they can also be admirably clever and elegant.

    “Chewing gum and baling wire,” done well, has saved the day in many farm tasks. “Chewing gum and baling wire,” done poorly, would be a bodge that puts hands and feet at risk.

  40. Alan the Brit says:

    Ney, your all wrong!

    1925 Pocket Oxford Dictionary:-botch, 1. v.t. Patch, spoil by patch-work. 2. n Clumsy patch.

    I suspect that bodge is a corruption of the word botch, as is does not appear in my hallowed publication!

    In “she who must be obeyed” 1966 Collins National Dictionary, for bodge, it says see botch! AND for botch, it endorses the above adding “bungled work”, to bungle, blunder, spoil, Also bodge- a botcher, a bungler, botchery, botchwork, meaning clumsy workmanship, finally stating that it comes from Middle English bocchen, to patch. So it is indeed one & the same word, both delightful words.

    Mind you either way they both describe it all rather nicely IMHO!

  41. Green Sand says:

    Michael in Sydney says:
    March 31, 2011 at 4:12 am

    I always liked the term ‘fudge factor ‘ but they are making the rules so who am I to argue?

    But in this case where was the “bodge” applied, was before, after or to the “fudge factor”?

  42. Alan the Brit says:

    BTW, the UK nautical slang term to make a temporary emergency repair to get oneself home is a lash-up, where things are literally “lashed” together with a rope! This could not be used in this situation as the term lash suggests a sound, considered, & reasoned thought process in trying times of make-do-and-mend. A fine example of this is the marvellous ingenuity of the NASA base team during the Apollo 13 emergency, whereby the Apollo crew had to “lash” together various miscellaneous items in an effort to fit a square C02 filter to a triangular C02 filter to keep them alive.

  43. General P. Malaise says:

    [snip - off topic and boorish]

  44. DaveF says:

    There used to be an excellent DIY shop near where I live (UK) which contained every conceivable bit of kit for any household repair. It was called ‘The Jolly Bodger.’

  45. Martin Brumby says:

    I’m not sure if an earlier poster’s “Uncle Bodger” is right? It could be, but I wonder if he’s thinking of Jerome K. Jerome’s immortal Uncle Podger? See “Three Men in a Boat” Chapter 3.

    I’m sure Jerome had the English word Bodger in mind when naming this minor character in one of the funniest books ever written.

    And it must be added that Muir Russell is himself no stranger to bodging. As the Civil Servant charged with managing the construction of the new Scottish Parliament building, he oversaw the cost rise from an original budget of £55 Million to an outturn cost of £431 Million on 2004.

    Mr. Russell …”was widely believed to be primarily responsible for the massive overspend on the new Scottish Parliament Building and was criticised by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie’s enquiry for failing to keep the politicians informed that the expenditure was far in excess of the budget.” (Wikipedia)

    A real bodge job if ever there was one.

    But, like Briffa, he got away “scott free” and is now doubtless available for hire to absolutely anyone who has some whitewashing to do! Nice one, Muir!

  46. Michael Larkin says:

    What a delightful thread – the dog’s bollocks, in fact. Having accepted someone’s kind invitation to explore “bollocks” in Wikipedia, I discovered a new verb, “testiculate”, whose meaning had me laughing out loud. Testiculation so often accompanies the utterances of the climaterati.

  47. Katherine says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    Ney, your all wrong!

    1925 Pocket Oxford Dictionary:-botch, 1. v.t. Patch, spoil by patch-work. 2. n Clumsy patch.

    I suspect that bodge is a corruption of the word botch, as is does not appear in my hallowed publication!

    Obviously it doesn’t appear there because it’s the Pocket Oxford Dictionary. :-) In my Oxford English Dictionary, the date chart cites uses of “bodge,” the noun meaning “a clumsy patch,” as early as 1589; the verb meaning “to patch or mend clumsily,” as early as 1552; the verb meaning “to do or make up in a clumsy fashion,” as early as 1578; “bodged” meaning “made up clumsily,” as early as 1519; and “bodger,” the noun meaning “one who ‘bodges,'” as early as 1552. But, yes, the provided etymology has “bodge” as an altered form of “botch.”

  48. J. Knight says:

    I see you folks across the pond need some duck tape. It works much better than paper clips and scotch tape when attempting a “bodge”. And I’ve got plenty of it, at the right price, of course.

  49. Allencic says:

    As with most families, when your first child is born and they’re just starting to talk, strange new words are coined for various body parts and bodily functions. For reasons too complicated to go into here the act of having a bowel movement went through several iterations and transmogrifications until it became known by all as “bodge”. As in taking a “bodge”. Or, Mom, Mom! I did a really good bodge. Even letting our little dog Jack out in the morning usually involves, “C’mon Jack, let’s go out and do good bodge. Years later the word still applies.

    When I think of the methods, data and result the warmers push for AGW it seems that our families definition of bodge and bodging is perfectly appropriate for what the IPCC, Mann, Gore, et al have done and are still doing. Yep, they’re very good at doing bodge.

  50. Alan the Brit says:

    Katherine says:
    March 31, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Aren’t words fascinating? Thank you for that information I wasn’t aware the word was that old. Either way, it can be very aptly applied to much in the climate arena!

    Enjoy the interglacial, while it lasts!

  51. wws says:

    seems to be the same meaning in America given to “rigged” and it’s variants, derived from “Jury-Rigged”, an old British nautical term referring to temporary, emergency repairs.

  52. Mike Bromley says:

    “Duck” tape is a bastardization of “duct” tape; a sticky substance unsuited for ducts or ducks. Especially ducts, which get warm, rendering the applied “quack ribbon” a soggy mush of melted adhesive and fibrous mesh supposedly there to keep the duct from leaking and whistling. This product is always hovering on the border of bodge and botch, depending on strength requirements…and has been used, with mixed results, on hockey sticks, again with temperature being the essential variable.

  53. P Wilson says:

    Fudge factor is interesting. A fudge is a deliberately misconstrued representation
    A “bodge job” is used in the UK here to mean a poorly executed task

  54. View from the Solent says:

    So many commenters! Divided by a common language.
    btw Gaffer tape (UK-only term?) is superior to the duck/duct variety in bodging.

  55. rbateman says:

    Bodge Furniture.
    Ingredients – cheap glue, sawdust, bark and various assorted scraps pressed together with a highly polished and well-laquered veneer. You get what you paid for.

  56. banjo says:

    That bloomin` barmpot, Briffa the bodger, botched the bloody thing…blimey!
    I believe the letter `b` to be the funniest letter of the alphabet.

    http://www.thedialectdictionary.com/view/letter/Black+Country/54/

  57. Gary Pearse says:

    From Briffa’s response to the query by Ed Cook about whether he “bodged” the latter part of the curve “(I assume that you didn’t apply a bodge here)” in which they discuss Vaganov’s explanation of the decline as due to much longer-lying snow on the ground during the (decline) period.

    Briffa: “… My instinctive first reaction is that I doubt it is the answer but we do get results that support a recent loss of low-frequency spring temperature reponse in our data that may be consistent with their hypothesis of prolonged snow lie in recent decades”

    Wait for it!!! Prolonged snow lie in recent decades would indicate …. colder temperatures during that period. If this was the case, there was, indeed, a decline that wouldn’t have had to be covered up. Briffa didn’t see this saviour of his dendro proxy and apparently no one else did at the time. I think this could provide an out for the bodge (defining the decline as due to local conditions) but, of course, the reliability of the rest of the proxy doesn’t get any support.

  58. Steve McIntyre is performing a distinguished public service by continuing to study and analyze the “Hockey Team”s strange and sometimes bizarre data-handling techniques, as he has from the beginnings of his blog. Bravo!

    Rereading http://climateaudit.org/2005/03/27/briffas-tornetrask-reconstruction/
    — from 2005! –I see this explanation for an early Briffa Bodge, from “Steve” (Mosher?):

    So let me see if I have got this straight. Briffa “adjusted” the data on the grounds that adjusting the data improves the R2? That’s it? …

    …it looks like the justification boils down to:
This data is weird in that it doesn’t fit with what we expected. Hence we are going to do some statistical mumbo-jumbo and then based on that mumbo-jumbo change the data so we get something more in line with what we expected.

    It’s worse than we thought. Pure wish-fulfillment fantasy. Utterly indefensible, sfaict. This is science???

    Technically, this is power-fantasy —-

    “I, King Keith, Lord of the Rings, will bend these unruly data to my will!”

    And, Lo, it was made so, with a few keystrokes. All hail King Keith, Master of Statistical Magic!

    Read these graphs, ye Skeptics, and despair!


    “When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.”
    — David Hume.

    Cue Cartoons by Josh…

  59. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    @UK Sceptic says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:34 am
    Briffa bodge? More like Briffa bollocks.

    Blast it, you beat me to it!! Cheers!

  60. TFN Johnson says:

    A few of the above have got the origin of ‘bodge’ more or less right. It was the use of an obverhanging branch and a rope to turn a simple lathe, in woodland. The natural spring of the branch gave the return half of the cycle. It didn’t need to use green wood. But over time the bodgers’s art came to mean second rate workmanship.
    To ‘model’ will probably go the same way.

  61. Z says:

    Bodge is probably an inappropriate term to use in this context. It implies that sometime after the bodge was completed, the thing actually functioned in some fashion – even if only for a short time.

    This functioning may be due more to the power of wishful thinking, and fervent prayers to dieties than the laws of physics – but work it must.

    “Botch” doesn’t require it to actually work.

  62. Dave Bob says:

    Ian B,
    you said
    “…For example, fettling is something you might do to an old car engine or a computer program to make it work better.”

    So if you succeed in making it work better, is it then in fine fettle?

  63. peter_dtm says:

    or as an acquaintance of mine once commented after submitting a dodgy quote :
    that was well bodged; ample use of fiddle’s factor and crook’s constant meant I got a way with it …

    I suspect that not only has there been much bodging; but also that massive applications of crook’s constant and fiddle’s factor means the whole Jerry Rigged (a bodged type of Jury rigging) lash up that is AGC theory will continue to confound those who can’t see the emperor is in fact; bollock naked.

    Btw – Anthony’s blog is definitely the dog’s danglys .. ah – two great nations separated by a common language (thank you Mr Churchill)

  64. peter_dtm says:

    Dave Bob says:
    March 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    indeed – ‘fine fettle’ is a machine in ‘good nick’ – or it can apply to a horse in in excellent health

    but

    it wouldn’t be a bodge if it was in fine fettle – quite the opposite

  65. Ian Cooper says:

    Alexander K and Seagull,

    from the few pictures that I have seen of Keith Briffa, he looks more ‘post-hippie,’ rather than ‘ex-bodgie.’ The first picture that I saw of him had him beaming like a kid with a key to the candy store. In the later picture Mr Briffa look to be burdened with the weight of the world on his shoulders. ‘Frazzled,’ would be a good description.

    Bodgies as such were almost dying out when I became an adolescent. I do however remeber being called a bodgie by a primary school (grade school in the U.S.) kid as I walked past his house. I was wearing flared denim jeans, a black tee shirt, and a sleeveless denim jacket. I was a bit gutted to be called a bodgie back then, because at the ripe old age of 13 I considered them, bodgies, to be passe. In New Zealand these days, someone dressed like that would be termed a ‘Bogan,’ a la, a West Aucklander, or ‘Westie!’

  66. Iren says:

    Well, that certainly explains where the Australian term a “bodgie job” comes from. It means exactly that, careless, slapdash, a temporary fix.

  67. Peter S says:

    “Bloke down the pub says:
    March 31, 2011 at 4:11 am
    A Bodger was originally a wood-worker who worked in the forest using a simple foot operated lathe. If you had a chair with a broken leg or stretcher I suppose you would go to the bodger to get a replacement fitted. Hence a bodge.”

    Or maybe a fix on a table leg?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/10/friday-funny-the-new-and-improved-4-legged-agw-table/

  68. Jeff Alberts says:

    Are they scientists, or charlatans?

    Charlatists.

    Bodges? We ain’t got no bodges. We don’t got to show you any steenkeen bodges!

  69. old44 says:

    A bodged job is a term that was in common usage in Australia in the Fifties, it means an irreparably stuffed piece of work.

  70. Francisco says:

    @Katherine:
    March 31, 2011 at 7:37 am
    =============
    The big Webster’s Unabridged I have in my hard drive (1963, I think) gives bodge as merely an alternative form of botch, and in the definition of botch it gives the current meaning of bodge as its first meaning. Both words clearly have the same origin and were used indistinctly for a long time, but not so much anymore it seems.

    BOTCH:
    Main Entry:2botch
    Pronunciation:*
    Function:transitive verb
    Inflected Form:-ed/-ing/-es
    Etymology:Middle English bocchen

    1 : to repair, mend, or patch usually in a bungling clumsy inept way *a pair of old trousers that had been botched up with blue patches* : make over, redo, adjust, or alter usually unskillfully *my best suit had been botched, and I could no longer wear it*
    2 : to make a mess of through clumsiness, stupidity, or lack of ability : foul up hopelessly : BUNGLE, SPOIL, RUIN *one of those natural incompetents who botches whatever he puts his hand to Farley Mowat*
    3 : to assemble, construct, or compose in a makeshift or bungling way *the rest of the report was a patchwork of data botched together Dwight Macdonald* *botching up jingles to produce what he fondly thought was a poem

  71. Coalsoffire says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    March 31, 2011 at 11:14 am
    From Briffa’s response to the query by Ed Cook about whether he “bodged” the latter part of the curve “(I assume that you didn’t apply a bodge here)” in which they discuss Vaganov’s explanation of the decline as due to much longer-lying snow on the ground during the (decline) period.

    Briffa: “… My instinctive first reaction is that I doubt it is the answer but we do get results that support a recent loss of low-frequency spring temperature reponse in our data that may be consistent with their hypothesis of prolonged snow lie in recent decades”

    Wait for it!!! Prolonged snow lie in recent decades would indicate …. colder temperatures during that period. If this was the case, there was, indeed, a decline that wouldn’t have had to be covered up. Briffa didn’t see this saviour of his dendro proxy and apparently no one else did at the time. I think this could provide an out for the bodge (defining the decline as due to local conditions) but, of course, the reliability of the rest of the proxy doesn’t get any support.
    ________________
    Hey, what Briffa didn’t realize at the time is that snow is actually proof of warming. We know this now (since we’ve had all this snow the last couple of years and AGW apologists have lined up to tell us so) and so he can redo his work and change his signal. He won’t have to hide the decline, he simply reverses it. It’s a privilege to watch the evolution of climate science right before our eyes. Imagine the primitive thinking of the time, Briffa actually thought that snow was a sign of cooler conditions. He probably thought that in warmer times moisture would descend as rain and in cooler times it would snow. How quaint. Well now we know better.

  72. Bloke down the pub says:

    For anyone interested in seeing a real bodger at work.
    http://www.bodgers.org.uk/

  73. Grant from Calgary says:

    Means the same thing as kludge. No?

  74. Bryan Short says:

    I always thought it was “botch”, which also means to clumsily mend or repair something. I guess there is a difference… but I’d bet both come from the ME “boccen”.

  75. George E. Smith says:

    So where all of a sudden did this “kludge” (rhymes with “fudge”) come from. I have never once in my life, ever heard anyone say that word.

    On the other hand I do hear “kluge” (rhymes with “stooge”) all the time; and use it myself.

    Is this the result of the lost generation of the 1960s taking over the education system in the United States of America.

    Kludge ! My foot !

  76. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” Francisco says:
    April 1, 2011 at 6:10 am
    @Katherine:
    March 31, 2011 at 7:37 am
    =============
    The big Webster’s Unabridged I have in my hard drive (1963, I think) gives bodge as merely an alternative form of botch, and in the definition of botch it gives the current meaning of bodge as its first meaning. Both words clearly have the same origin and were used indistinctly for a long time, but not so much anymore it seems. “””””

    Since when, did Webster’s dictionary become any kind of authority on the English Language.

    Was it not Noah Webster who took it upon himself to rid America of all vestiges of English spellings and pronunciations; for example replacing (s) in recognise and similar words, with a (z); and leaving the (u) out of harbour and similar words ?

    In America; “I’ll be with you momentarily.” means; “I will be with you soon.” In English, it means; “Iwill be with you FOR a moment.” (and then I’ll be gone.)

    So I wouldn’t be citing Webster; unabridged or not, as a definitive source of the English Language.

    Try the OED instead.

  77. UK John says:

    alliteration “Briffa Bodge” “wild and woolly” “thick as thieves” “pheasant plucker” “cash cow” “crack the code”

  78. Francisco says:

    George E. Smith says:
    April 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Since when, did Webster’s dictionary become any kind of authority on the English Language.
    Was it not Noah Webster who took it upon himself to rid America of all vestiges of English spellings and pronunciations; for example replacing (s) in recognise and similar words, with a (z); and leaving the (u) out of harbour and similar words ?

    In America; “I’ll be with you momentarily.” means; “I will be with you soon.” In English, it means; “Iwill be with you FOR a moment.” (and then I’ll be gone.)

    So I wouldn’t be citing Webster; unabridged or not, as a definitive source of the English Language.

    Try the OED instead.
    ==============
    One thing I like about the English language is that it never had an entity that took it upon itself to be the “authority”, and nobody was ever bothered that there was no such authority. The approach of English language lexicographers to their language has always been more descriptive than prescriptive, unlike the French who have always been obsessed with having an authority that rules how things should be with language, and have a chronic dislike of alternatives.
    In 1755, the great Samuel Johnson, all by himself with the help of a couple of amanuenses, managed to create the first comprehensive dictionary of the language. Granted he was a bit mischiveous at times. For example, he defined “oats” as: “a grain which in England is given to horses, but in Scotland feeds the people”. And he defined his own profession, lexicographer as “a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge”. Still, aside from a few oddities like those mentioned, his dictionary is lucid and very fine. Comparing it with the protracted effort by the Académie Francaise, composed of 40 members, to produce their dictionary, David Garrick wrote:

    Talk war with a Briton, he’ll boldly advance
    That one English soldier will beat ten of France
    [...]
    And Johnson well armed, like a hero of yore.
    Has beat forty Frenchmen, and will beat forty more.”

    Now to the OED and Webster. First, note that they don’t disagree that botch and bodge are the same word (or were up until very recently).
    The 20-volume OED is great for historical research on words, for not practical at all for any other use, such as wanting to know what a word means today. You may have to read for 20 minutes before you get anywhere near the present on many words.

    Webster’s Unabridged (that’s the very big book you used to see ontop of a stand in libraries in the US) is simply the best *one-volume* dictionary of the English language that exists. It’s a pity they haven’t re-edited since the 60s. Regarding spelling, it covers all the British spellings, as well as all dialectical usage in the different parts of Great Britain. Don’t despise it. Try it out. I no longer use the print edition since I bought it on disk when it was still available some 10 years ago. The print edition, if dropped from a height of ten feet on your head, will very likely kill you. I don’t think they sell it on disk anymore, you have to pay if you want to use it online.
    Cheers

  79. Spector says:

    I believe that the word ‘kludge’ implies a clever, usually resource-limited, nonstandard solution for some emergent or temporary problem. Perhaps a ‘bodge’ is a dodgy kluge.

  80. Frank White says:

    The best American/Canadian word for “bodge” is “patch” as in “I patched it” or “I covered the hole with a patch”.

    Another British English verb with similar meaning is “fudge” as in “I fudged” it, which has the American/Canadian meaning, “I faked it”.

    I think that if the word “fudge” had been used instead of “bodge” the whitewash might have been less widely accepted, at least in the UK.

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