Prescient: ‘Fallen Angels’ – a 1991 satire of climate alarmism

As a new Ice Age imperils the world, a lunatic fringe of the environmental movement has taken control of the U.S. government.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

When outsiders like myself think of California, we normally think of the most rabidly pro-alarmist, anti freedom state in America, a sea of climate alarmist orthodoxy, tempered by the occasional voice of skepticism.

But some of California’s most prominent fiction authors, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, were poking fun at global warming dogma way back in the early 90s. Their satirical science fiction book, “Fallen Angels”, written in 1991, depicts a world in the grip of a new ice age, triggered by green initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions, with radical green governments trying to pin the blame for crashing global temperatures on high technology and “air stealing” space colonists – the remnants of American and Russian space efforts.


Many, perhaps most of you have probably not heard of “Fallen Angels” – it never achieved the prominence of better known stories such as the Ringworld series, the Known Space series, Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall, and many other Niven and Pournelle science fiction classics. But for me Fallen Angels planted a seed of skepticism – towards the end of the 90s, when a rising tide of voices claimed climate consensus, and predicted imminent doom, I remembered reading “Fallen Angels”, and wondered whether the anti science green dystopia they satirised was actually coming to pass. My doubt caused me to dig a little deeper, and helped me to see past the climate lies of the alarmists.

Perhaps other authors are out there, wondering if now is the time to take the plunge, to satirise that which must not be questioned. My suggestion – it didn’t do Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn’s career any harm. Author Scott Adams (Dilbert) still publishes a lot of cartoons, despite his occasional nods towards climate skepticism (e.g. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/20/dilbert-becomes-skeptical-of-climate-change-disaster/ ).

And who knows – if the lunatic fringe of the climate alarmist movement is sufficiently outraged by your effort, you could sell a lot of books.
========================================================

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallen_Angels_(science_fiction_novel)

The book is available on Amazon, here.

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104 thoughts on “Prescient: ‘Fallen Angels’ – a 1991 satire of climate alarmism

  1. It was a fun read back then. It really was prescient and funny and good adventure. I will now proceed to Amazon abd buy a fresho copy so the authors get at least some benefit.

  2. Yeah, it’s full of tuckerizations, but Gary Hudson was called out by name as a rocket engineer in the Mojave desert, so when all three authors were at the Rotary Rocket Roton rollout in March 1999, I took my copy around to get all four autographs. Once in a lifetime opportunity…

  3. Didn’t Jethro Tull do ‘Something’s On the Move’ – a track on the album ‘STORMWATCH’ – predicated on the nascent Ice Age back in the latest 1970s.
    Climate awareness has been around for a generation or more.

    Oh – and am I glad that our ships don’t go to California . . . . . .

    Auto

  4. Instapundit mentions it all the time in connection with whatever the latest Gerbil Worming (or lack thereof) tomfoolery is.

  5. I caught a rerun of the 1966 James Coburn movie, “Our Man Flint”, recently. I remembered a lot of it but I didn’t remember the main bad guys and how they planned for world domination.

    IMDB.com describes the plot: “…scientists use eco-terrorism to impose their will on the world by affecting extremes in the weather….”

    Where is Derek Flint to save us now?

  6. Prescient? You mean we actually have an ice age? In that case perhaps you’d be amused by The Day after Tomorrow as well.

    Actually Niven&Pournelle takes a jab at environmentalists in several of their books: Inferno has a environmentalist who opposed nuclear power in hell breathing coal fumes because that was the alternative, in Oath of Fealty a radical environmentalist is the main villain. On the other hand, The Mote in God’s eye is partly a dystopia caused to overpopulation and in Legacy of Heorot human meddling in an alien biosphere creates new problems as quickly as it solves the old ones.

  7. Fallen Angels is freely available online from Baen Books. Have a look, then purchase either an ebook or paperback version if you enjoyed it.

    This kind of relaxed IPR policy alone makes the publisher a hero in my eyes. I wish scientific publishers followed this brave example instead of hiding mos papers behind paywalls.

  8. I can see it now. Eventually the catastrophists will claim that the dragon slayers are right and CO2 actually cools the atmosphere thus an impending ice age. Opposite problem, same solution.

  9. .Best prediction of upcoming “morality”. No doubt the IRS will again be the enforcing agency; America’s Gestapo.

  10. I read this book way back when it first came out. I was a big Niven/Pournelle fan and was interested in the subject even then. Unfortunately I don’t think the level of the writing is up to other efforts like Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall and The Mote in God’s Eye but it is interesting nevertheless.

  11. Not biblical Angels. Astronauts skimming the atmosphere with ram scoops to replenish air supplies, nitrogen, on their orbital habitat. They go too deep, fall down go boom. The rest of the story is about them trying to get back into orbit with the help of Science Fiction Fans. Lots of inside jokes along the way and the science is hard fact real science for the most part. Keeping warm on a long walk pushes theory a bit…
    Definitely worth reading!

  12. Pleasantly surprised to find a Californian sceptical nugget in the latest (and brilliant) season of Arrested Development.
    Season4 episode2 @ 27mins there is a very quick shot of a fictional magazine called ‘We’.
    One of the columns reads as follows:
    ~Global Warming
    ~If all the farmers in the world are correct then global warming is something that is a reality but has ~little to do with human interaction.
    ~They state in a new report that can be read on page 128 that global warming is a natural aging ~process of our earth and something that is not readily stoppable. These reports have been the ~topic of great debate since research group made a small fortune on funding for advancements on ~global warming.
    ~Note that any opinions expressed in these articles are the sole opinions of the writer and not ~opinions from our very politically correct magazine.

  13. Thomas:-

    The Mote in God’s eye is partly a dystopia caused to overpopulation and in Legacy of Heorot human meddling in an alien biosphere creates new problems as quickly as it solves the old ones.

    IMO The Mote in God’s eye could still be interpreted as a poke at overpopulation concerns. The fictional Moties have such an extreme biological predilection to overpopulation, its difficult to see how their problem could apply to human populations – or by extension, how overpopulation could ever be a serious concern for humans.

    Legacy of Heorot – maybe :-).

  14. Thomas says: June 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm Niven&Pournelle … Inferno
    Dan Brown’s latest, Inferno, embraces the green Malthusian Fallacy – clumsily – complete with chart junk. If you read it, you were warned away.

  15. Stuff like this (environmental over-reach) happens all the time in the real world. I consult to the poultry industry of Arkansas USA….municipalities felt that their sewage treatment works were overloaded from all the blood, grease etc. in the effluent, so they imposed fines and forced the processors to install pre-treatment systems.

    These pre-treatment systems worked so well that there was not enough nutrients in the wastewater to allow the municipal systems to efficiently treat the human sewage component! So, tail-between-legs, the municipalities worked with the processors to loosen things up so that all systems would work.

    BTW, has anyone noticed that the Arctic sea ice extent is not playing according to script? http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  16. For a real gagger, try “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. v Bill McKibben ,the journalist as science advisor.
    From Amazon:
    instead of inhabiting her characters, she uses them as a mouthpiece to preach about, ‘dumb humans’ and the ‘wisdom of nature’, and how we’ve messed it all up. Even if you agree with her (and I mostly do), it’s awful reading. Most of her characters are sad, shallowly-written stereotypes. Note to Ms. Kingsolver, talking down to your audience doesn’t inspire positive change. I think I am done with Kingsolver after this one… Flight Behavior – that title describes my feelings toward this book – take flight, run away!

  17. Fallen Angels is prescient in it’s depiction of the lengths that pathological altruists will go to impose their dogma upon others

    My advice would be not tot read The Legacy of Heurot in the dark, late at night, on your own, especially if you happen to have a stream close to your reading place!

    Without a doubt one of the most frightening books I have ever read, God Speed

  18. It was far from their best book, and as I remember, treated Richard Stallman as some sort of demi-god. I will give him his due for persistence, and he also seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin.

    Read it for its climate precience, but don’t expect anything up the normal standards of these authors.

  19. The one thing I noticed is that lefties and eco-nuts don’t seem to have a sense of humour. They don’t understand satire or irony. Heck lefties think that Animal Farm and 1984 are the blueprints to their success whilst eco-nuts think that Soylent Green is their blueprint to success. Oh the pain of it all.

  20. For some up to date skeptical sci-fi / cli-fi, my free-to-read novelette ‘Truth’ is available in various formats here:

    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/273983

    This book is not satirical like ‘Fallen Angels’, but serious, about the memeplex that is the social phenomenon of CAGW. Featured here at WUWT and also in Judith Curry’s review of cli-fi back at Christmas time.
    Andy.

  21. Yeah, it’s full of tuckerizations, but Gary Hudson was called out by name as a rocket engineer in the Mojave desert, so when all three authors were at the Rotary Rocket Roton rollout in March 1999, I took my copy around to get all four autographs. Once in a lifetime opportunity…

    Indeed it was. I’ve got Rotary Rocket hats in a box here, and I ran the west coast office of the Space Frontier Foundation that did the streaming video when they rolled out their ATV. Tom Clancy was a pretty big hit there himself, but the wind was so high that it really screwed up the audio feeds.

    It was an amazing, unique machine — and Jerry Pournelle’s son Rich is hip deep in XCOR, another similar venture.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  22. Philip Peake

    It was far from their best book, and as I remember, treated Richard Stallman as some sort of demi-god. I will give him his due for persistence, and he also seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin.

    Stallman helped break the stranglehold of Microsoft – his free software foundation has done a lot to promote Linux, and bring real price competition and innovation to the IT market. WUWT runs on free software promoted by the likes of Stallman http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=wattsupwiththat.com . Nowdays IT companies which want to charge exorbitant fees have to deliver value.

    And one of the most important climate skeptics, the person who did more than any of us to bring down the hockey team, is a left winger.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100055793/steve-mcintyre-total-bloody-hero/

    A friend once described me as “right wing of Ghengis Khan”, I normally consider the left to be somewhere between impractical and contemptible. But you don’t have to be a right winger to advance the cause of freedom. Left wingers can also be good people.

  23. As somebody who reads all these reports coming out of the UN and Club of Rome and what Ehrlich says he intends to do etc, the books and reports read like satire and bad fiction. Which they are except intentions coupled to political power and taxpayer financing have actual real effects.

    I suspect the early 90s writers were looking at things like the World Order Models Project and the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and then the hype around Limits to Growth and then the 87 Brundtland Report and realizing this is all an excuse for unquestioned power. AND being the paymaster for all that redistribution.

    Understanding WOMP from the early 70s is very enlightening to appreciating the mentalities and lust for money and power that have always been hand in hand with these Save the World by changing human values schemes. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/ lays out WOMP.

    The Club of Rome considered WOMP a peer in its intentions and credentials involved.

  24. Philip Peake says:
    June 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    It was far from their best book, and as I remember, treated Richard Stallman as some sort of demi-god. I will give him his due for persistence, and he also seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yeah, but he is a great dance instructor of Balkan dancing.

  25. On a related topic I saw a comment on HuffPo where one commenter said (paraphrase):
    “What if we drastically reduced out co2 output as required and temperatures rose?”

    May I also add what if we continued co2 ‘business as usual’ and temperatures fell? (which they have started doing recently???).

  26. Good point Jimbo!

    I’ll go even further.

    Why not have a world-wide effort to INCREASE CO2. Maximum use of fossil fuels, plus burns of yard trimmings, plus burns of all waste paper products. Let’s see if we (mankind) can even increase CO2 in the atmosphere if we try!

  27. Actually, Rich is with NanoRacks now.

    Dad & Niven & Flynn owe the Blogfather a great pile of thanks for all the shout-outs, which he does use as a sort of punchline.

    Book’s available for purchase for Kindle, Nook, etc.

  28. @Eric — I know all about Stallman and Gnu (Gnu was the OS he was working on which never actually made it). He didn’t break Microsoft’s stranglehold, Linus Torvalds was that man. I will acknowledge that Linux uses a lot of GNU utilities, and the licensing scheme that Stallman was responsible for — which is one of the reasons that Linux doesn’t actually trash Microsoft.

    Stallman did a lot of good. He could have done a darn sight more if he had been a bit more pragmatic.

    He never did get his printer software …

  29. Niven & Pournelle are fun to read when you are tired and don’t want to make any mental effort, heir novels contain many clever ideas and elicit sympathy in all who are sick of police state, be it rightist or leftist (the same could be said about their feisty predecessor, R. A. Heinlein) — but their novels are much too wordy, hastily written and sketchy, their protagonists and their language are too tied up in the oversexed, drug-poisoned ambiance of 1960s, theirs is not really a food for thought but a chewing gum for passing time. In short, not really a great or noble literature.

    If you are looking for a much more developed view of the enforced well-wishing environmentalism and its terrible consequences, with deep observations of human character, very much of current concern, read Jack Vance’s brilliant Cadwal trilogy (Araminta Station, Ecce and Old Earth, Throy). There you find ebullient imagination, enthralling plots, and real-life characters to identify with. When you read Jack Vance, you forget that you are reading — you see and hear everything that is happening in his books. That is a great, noble literature!

  30. Auto said:
    June 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm
    Didn’t Jethro Tull do ‘Something’s On the Move’ – a track on the album ‘STORMWATCH’ – predicated on the nascent Ice Age back in the latest 1970s.
    —————————————————
    Yeah I got that “record” when it first came out. It was a global-cooling-themed album.

    On the cover there is a picture of a pissed-off polar bear stomping a snow-bound oil refinery.

    Many years later, after the global cooling fad was iced and the global warming hoax heated up, I saw Jethro Tull in concert, and between songs, Ian Anderson (the flute wielding leader of Tull), was railing against mankind “polluting” the atmosphere with CO2, thus hastening us to a fiery end.

    I love Tull’s music (saw them in concert many times; the first in 1969), and was quite saddened with Anderson being duped first by the cooling fraudsters, then by the warmunists.

    Anderson is a musical genius – science, not so much.

    *sigh*

  31. What happens when the original calculation of a disaster is incorrect? Ozone comes to mind, considering the status of our ozone hole and the radical steps that were taken to “cure” it.

  32. Thank goodness J.P. and L.N. are still with us, else the haters would disappear their works in the same way they caused Michael Crichton’s heirs and publishers to pull his last decade’s and perhaps (as he said he believed) his most important works (arguing, writing, even testifying in congress against science-ism, with agw as but one example). Good news is (so far) they haven’t forced the Wayback Machine to delete their snapshots of his site. What these radicals have done to Crichton is the digital age equivalent of desecrating a grave.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070827043626/http://www.crichton-official.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html

    http://web.archive.org/web/20071002031116/www.crichton-official.com/speeches.html

  33. Alex Pournelle says:
    Actually, Rich is with NanoRacks now.

    Oho! I’ve not kept up recently. I wish him well, and hope the transition is a good thing for them.

    I wish XCOR success also. Hmm… A vague recollection. By any chance, were you at the Playboy Gala when the XCOR test ship was parked in the Mansion’s yard? (And I was a very early subscriber to BYTE, back in the day.)

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  34. I’m not sure what Niven’s thoughts are these days. “Bowl of Heaven” which Niven co-wrote with Benford takes global warming as canon. Niven certainly used to lash out at the State in the past, but I always thought Pournelle was the more political and right-of-center of the two.

  35. FWIW, the Git believes that The Mote in God’s Eye is the best alien encounter novel of all time. Pournelle certainly challenged me to view the world somewhat differently, though I suspect he resented the fact that I never saw it entirely the way he does. We have had some heated arguments. So it goes…

  36. Keith DeHavelle says:

    June 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm
    =======
    (from your short story)
    “…..And I wonder how long I’m going to last.”…
    ———–
    It is a wonder, that some can wonder, while others never got the chance.
    Wonder what might have been missed ?
    Due to war, famine etc.

    It seems like our betters have decided that wonder is overrated and needs to be squelched.
    Evolution denies such hubris, so fight we must, it has been built into our genes.

  37. Phillip Peake:
    Richard Stallman…seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin.

    A puzzling thing to write. Lenin advocated a totalitarian state; Stallman objects to the misuse of state power to create state-enforced monopolies by means of copyright.. A bit eccentric perhaps, but strongly in favor of intellectual freedom.

    The growing influence of free software movement is a team effort, as evidenced by the preferred phrase “Gnu-Linux.” As far as pitting one leader against another, that’s too much like the media to suit me. Their stance always seems to be, “Let’s you and him fight.” (So we can cover the story.)

  38. Wonderful words and text, Fallen Angels was a good read at the time, and I still find it so today. Anything with Niven and Pournelle as authors is worth reading. Even their delinquent romps in Fantasy worlds.

    I do, however, disagree with Alexander Feht@6:41: they didn’t always challenge one’s mind in the way that Charles Sheffield could be expected to (R.I.P.), but I found them to be neither formulaic nor predictable, which is rare in authors with that many words to their names. I don’t regret the purchase of any of their books.

    (PS to AF – I’ll give Vance a try, see if you can get your hands on a copy of The Ganymede Club by Sheffield, I promise you won’t be disappointed.)

  39. Mr. Flynn (from the old “magister”, a term of respect, I assure you), how does one write a novel with three authors? Is it like mixing concrete, some blocks form the base but sand and cement are needed to tie them together? Are there mutually agreed upon areas of expertise wherein ones words are taken as gospel, and battles over the storyline test between them? Is it all democratically decided?

    Thanks for enjoyable read(s). It’s great to find good hard sci fi.

  40. Philip Peake says:
    June 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    It was far from their best book, and as I remember, treated Richard Stallman as some sort of demi-god. I will give him his due for persistence, and he also seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin.
    ###

    My respect for him as a programmer dropped a great deal after he ruined GNU Make with the Charley Foxtrot of changes he made for the 4.x release. Before that I thought he was merely a passable programmer. Goes the show you that a Marxist world view contaminates everything.

  41. Keith, thanks for the good wishes for XCOR (Jeff, Dan, Aleta & I started it up in ’99 after RR canned us all). We had the Ez-Rocket at the Playboy Manse for the Arthur Clarke 2001 celebration, but I bowed out to let some of the other folks have a chance to go. I kinda kick myself for that one, that was a bit too noble of me…

    • That Playboy Mansion gala was an extraordinary night. It’s a great pity that there is so little documentation of the event. As you know, but for others, it included the first life-size satellite-transmitted live hologram (so that Arthur Clarke could attend virtually from Sri Lanka). He was visibly choked up on the stage at several points, from the outpouring of respect and tributes.

      There was a lot of positive talk about the Ez-Rocket, and I’m sure that many got some shots of the gorillas from 2001: A Space Odyssey hamming it up (apeing it up?) around the craft.

      November 2001 was so soon after the September 2001 attacks, and my Space Frontier Foundation friends were gravely concerned about the effects as well as the appropriateness. It worked out. Attendance was full … at $1,000 per plate. “Dinner in the tent in the Mansion’s back yard” sounds modest, but the tent held 600 people in tuxedoed finery (well, the apes came au natural). The evening was superb.

      A lot of SF author luminaries were there, as well as astronauts and scientists and directors, and SF-oriented actors from James Cameron to Patrick Stewart. Stewart, as MC for the evening, was constantly chastened on his schedule by HAL 9000 (as was everyone else). At one point Stewart stormed off the stage to have it out with the voice of HAL who was playing his part rather too well. Morgan Freeman read from his draft screenplay for Rendezvous with Rama, which has sadly not come to fruition yet.

      This was ten years after the publication of the excellent (and very funny) Fallen Angels, but I had been fortunate enough to meet several of the characters in it before the book was written. I’d never been a part of the fandom, per se, (it was from this book that I learned that the plural of “fan” is “fen”) but you can’t be involved with L5 Society and OASIS without bumping into the most fascinating of people as well as the leaders who would help humanity realize its dream of moving into space.

      Thanks for being one of those leaders!

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  42. Doug Jones says:

    June 22, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    “….I kinda kick myself for that one, that was a bit too noble of me…”
    ———
    noble prize ??

  43. @Mike D. in AB:
    I’ll try Sheffield, thank you.

    It’s not that I think that Niven and Pournelle are formulaic or predictable, no.

    Wordy, repetitive (one could feel that they inflate the word count — more money, less content), and a bit too vulgar to my taste, yes.

    However, I had a guilty pleasure of reading most of their books, which is to say that I was interested enough in many of their ideas, and found their novels entertaining enough.

    Inferno would qualify as good literature even in my rarefied circle of one.

  44. “[…]their novels are much too wordy, hastily written and sketchy, their protagonists and their language are too tied up in the oversexed, drug-poisoned ambiance of 1960s, theirs is not really a food for thought but a chewing gum for passing time.”

    Well, I guess we got told, didn’t we?

    Don’t tell the guy about the 40,000 words Mr. Heinlein made them lop off the front of Mote, or how Dad’s best solo work (in my not so humble opinion) is also his shortest, most heartfelt and least political.

    Well, as long as he paid for his copies, he helped put me through college, so there’s that.

    (Language tied up in the 60’s? That’s a new one. Wow.)

    Considering that they attempted to create new church canon with Inferno, I don’t know whether to be amused or just baffled at the charge of disposability. So It Goes.

  45. For the record, I couldn’t afford to attend the Playboy Mansion gig. That was Rich, again.

  46. Mike “Inferno would qualify as good literature even in my rarefied circle of one.”

    If the goal had been to expose the evils of Christian doctrine, perhaps, but I doubt it was.

  47. CRS, DrPH says:
    June 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm
    BTW, has anyone noticed that the Arctic sea ice extent is not playing according to script?
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    I would bet that most of us who frequent this ‘pub’, are keeping track of that line. I wonder if Las Vegas has a line on that? Could be interesting.

  48. @Alex Pournelle:

    The fact that I found most of Niven & Pournelle books entertaining (and recommended them to others, including my teenage son) should be considered a compliment, I think.

    Most of the books out there (including so-called “science fiction”) are simply not readable at all. Very few of them reach the level of Jack Vance, whose stories will be popular for centuries to come — one of the reasons being that his language is not tied up with any contemporary fashion or jargon.

    Sorry if my way of expressing my opinion offended your filial feelings, but my opinion, based on reading practically all of Niven & Pournelle books, stays firm and unflinching. Few fleeting sarcasms sound very unconvincing in comparison.

  49. Read and enjoyed the mote and ringworld way back in the 70’s even State of Fear, however the novels that changed my mind about global warming were the “Empire of Man” series by David Weber and John Ringo when the AGW end game was spelled out.
    As for Agenda 21, it gets a few mentions in John Ringo’s military science fiction (Posleen wars series).
    A brutal series, with too many home truths.

  50. Alexander Feht

    It’s not that I think that Niven and Pournelle are formulaic or predictable, no.
    Wordy, repetitive (one could feel that they inflate the word count — more money, less content), and a bit too vulgar to my taste, yes.

    I like something Stephen King said in the foreword to “Four Past Midnight” – he said a lot of fans wrote to him, saying they loved 3 of the stories, but they didn’t like the fourth one. His point was, the fans all chose a different story which they didn’t like – choices were evenly scattered across all four stories. Different people like different stories.

  51. If you’re going to read from the sampler of Fallen Angels, go directly to Chapter 7: “Black Powder and Alcohol,” in which the authors have a gathering of science fiction fen discussing the knowledge base regarding solar physics and the genuine drivers of terrestrial climate change at the time of the novel’s publication.

    The characters in that chapter, by the way, are thinly-disguised versions of real science fiction fen, and the dialogue is very much a reflection of how SF fen at conventions and other gatherings – even in California – were discussing the great preposterous “Man-Made Global Warming” hokum in the late ’80s.

    Skeptics, almost every one of us.

    • go directly to Chapter 7: “Black Powder and Alcohol,”

      Gregory Lutenist was based on George Harper, and an article he wrote for ANALOG SF&F (Oct 86) entitled “A Little More Pollution, Please”

  52. In “The Legacy of Heorot”, Niven and Pournelle were trying to answer the question
    “What comes after mammals?”. Science fiction author Poul Anderson once asked editor John Campbell this question, and Campbell replied, “man”.

    Anderson stated that men are mammals. There are fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals here on earth. What new class of creatures could have evolved on other planets?

    After reading Robert Bakker’s books, I’d say, birds and dinosaurs, but Campbell’s answer was
    a creature than can, release a chemical supercharger into its blood that does to it what nitrous oxide does to internal combustion engines – enable short excess energy bursts. That’s what was introduced in “Heorot”, a new class of creatures smarter than, and able to make use of more energy, than mammals.

    .

  53. Philip Peake says:
    June 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    @Eric — I know all about Stallman and Gnu (Gnu was the OS he was working on which never actually made it). He didn’t break Microsoft’s stranglehold, Linus Torvalds was that man. I will acknowledge that Linux uses a lot of GNU utilities, and the licensing scheme that Stallman was responsible for — which is one of the reasons that Linux doesn’t actually trash Microsoft.

    Sorry, I have to correct you.

    GNU is the toolchain – userspace utilities, gcc compiler and so forth. The OS that Stallman was (and still is) working on was GNU-Mach, based on the Mach kernel and using the GNU toolchain to provide a complete OS. Mach is still being worked on and is technologically very interesting, but it hasn’t garnered the same interest as Linux because it wasn’t in a sufficiently usable state when Linus released his baby to the world.

    Linux, as you presumably know, is a kernel. With very few exceptions all Linux-based OSen use the GNU toolchain and userspace utils, with various technologies laid on top for fancy user interface.

    And yes, Linux has trashed Microsoft. Whilst they may dominate the home-user and business desktop computer market, they are a bit-player where it really matters in middleware, data-centre and fat servers a step below big iron. Linux-based OSes, the BSDs, Solaris and old-fashioned Unix compete in this space and it is a trillion dollar market worldwide. Linux-based OS are eating Unix alive here while MS doesn’t even get a look-in.

    Then there’s the mobile space, where the biggest players are Android (linux kernel, GNU userspace, fancy user-interface), iOS (based on a BSD operating system) and Nokia’s old Symbian. Windows phone is a bit-player yet again and is not making significant gains in the market.

    And don’t even bother looking at the embedded space. You don’t find an MS logo anywhere.

    All of this because of the licensing scheme Linux and the GNU toolchain use, which significantly reduces the initial and ongoing costs for providers and developers alike.

    Microsoft are very visible and they make a nice, steady income from their established Office-productivity and business desktop market, but they are not growing in any real sense, nor are they able to reliably enter new markets without making some huge failure-guaranteeing cock-up along the way. They’re trying to force increased revenue from a static or shrinking market by shifting to a rent-based licensing scheme (along with a lot of other folk, it has to be said). Finally, the market they rely is shrinking because of a shift in use patterns and a slow but steady nibbling-at-the-edges by Linux based OSen.

    So I’d say linux is very effectively trashing Microsoft. It just doesn’t look like it because it’s all beneath the surface. Rather like termites in a house.

  54. theofloinn says:
    June 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    how does one write a novel with three authors?

    Superbly.
    ——————-
    A Michael Flynn sighting on WUWT. Awesome!!

    Jerry Pournelle story: Many years ago I had an opportunity to spend some time with him. I ran a charitable organization that had booked him as a speaker. I picked him up at the airport, and drove him around to various radio interviews and engagements. One of those engagements was a tour of a brand-spanking-new multi-disciplinary research facility at a major midwest university. He personally knew several of the researchers there, and they were all to happy to show their wares, which was very cool. However, the sniveling and brown-nosing of the administrator (a person of no small reputation himself) was comical bordering on embarrassing. “If you talk to Newt, put in a good word for us.” Sure, you betcha.

    My favorite part of the whole experience was the way he would, when introduced to a woman, take and kiss her hand, and in his south Louisiana accent, drawl “a pleasure to meet you.” What a masher.

    • A Michael Flynn sighting on WUWT. Awesome!!

      I felt a disturbance in the Force.
      + + +

      Oddly, I never actually met Jerry until after Fallen Angels was written. I was living in New Jersey at the time. The whole thing was done by electronic computing machines linked by X-modem; perhaps the first transcontinental electronic SF composition. It was complicated by an incompatibility between my Apple II and N+P’s DOS-boxes, solved by the late Jim Baen who received my drafts by modem, translated them into Window-ish stuff, and sent them off again by modem to sunny California. How did people live like that?
      Then I found myself in LA on a statistical consulting gig and we got together for dinner. As I was sitting down, Larry (whom I had met, twice before) turned to Jerry and said, “Mike tells funny stories.” Then he turned to me and said, “Tell funny stories.” That sort of thing is guaranteed to make the mind turn blank, let me tell you.
      I believe that was the time that Jerry tried to kill me, which he did by getting behind the wheel of his new car and saying, :”Want to see what this baby will do?”

      • @The Ofloinn

        The whole thing was done by electronic computing machines linked by X-modem; perhaps the first transcontinental electronic SF composition.

        I don’t know that this is quite true. In 1983/4, I helped set up the link between Arthur Clarke in Sri Lanka and his Hollywood editors (they probably considered themselves co-authors). But only Sir Arthur (appropriately) was credited with the resulting work — the screenplay for 2010: The Year We Made Contact. Crude modems indeed! But they worked.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • At 1101 AM on 24 June, Keith DeHavelle had remarked:

        In 1983/4, I helped set up the link between Arthur Clarke in Sri Lanka and his Hollywood editors (they probably considered themselves co-authors). But only Sir Arthur (appropriately) was credited with the resulting work — the screenplay for 2010: The Year We Made Contact. Crude modems indeed! But they worked.

        Clarke was making use of a Kaypro CP/M machine at that time. He could certainly have turned out the work as plain ASCII text files readily amenable to assimilation by any DOS box then extant.

        I mean, it wasn’t as if he’d been using a – blecch! Apple ][, right?

      • @Tucci78
        Well, I was interested in the Lisa around that time — but could not justify the $10,000 price tag. (I wound up getting a Molecular as the main office rig. My staff were always amused that you could shut off the entire multi-user system by typing “down” but could not later type “up.”)

        As for this project, indeed, it was a Kaypro bought (I was told) from one of my clients at the time, a computer store in Los Angeles called Pathfinder. Long gone, of course. But sadly, so is Sir Arthur.

        I’m glad we could do the 2001 tribute in 2001, while he was still with us. But I had been deeply saddened at Robert Heinlein’s passing, and raise a glass now to toast the fact that extraordinary world-builders such as Niven, Pournelle and Flynn are still with us. They’ve inspired my own modest efforts in that direction.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • At 9:00 PM on 24 June, Keith DeHavelle had written of the early ’80s:

        Well, I was interested in the Lisa around that time — but could not justify the $10,000 price tag.

        That’s 1980s dollars, too – which kinda oughtta give some idea of why I’ve always maintained a hard hatred of Apple. Beaucoup more bucks for capabilities that at the time cranked along for most users just fine under CP/M on a Zilog Z-80 chip originally designed for running stoplights at traffic intersections.

        And doing it much less expensively.

        Regarding Arthur C. Clarke, well…. I’d never interacted with him beyond reading his stuff, but I’m not quite so fond of the guy’s output owing to the political dispositions manifesting in his fiction.

        Ingenious gadget guy on the nuts-and-bolts side, but insufficiently perceptive – and therefore vigilantly critical – as regards the bureaucratic imperative, and when the gosh-wow-ness of the gadgetry fades with time, what you’re left with in any work of speculative fiction is the human story, with all the reflections of the author’s worldview regarding affairs among people.

  55. Alexander Feht says:
    June 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    . . . If you are looking for a much more developed view of the enforced well-wishing environmentalism and its terrible consequences, with deep observations of human character, very much of current concern, read Jack Vance’s brilliant Cadwal trilogy (Araminta Station, Ecce and Old Earth, Throy). There you find ebullient imagination, enthralling plots, and real-life characters to identify with. When you read Jack Vance, you forget that you are reading — you see and hear everything that is happening in his books. That is a great, noble literature!

    I couldn’t agree more. Also must note, sadly, that Jack Vance died on May 26th, still unrecognized as one of the greats of 20th-century literature, but that will surely change. RIP.

    http://jackvance.com

    /Mr Lynn

  56. ***
    Alex Pournelle says:
    June 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    or how Dad’s best solo work (in my not so humble opinion) is also his shortest, most heartfelt and least political.
    ***

    Which one was that?

    Read & enjoyed most of your dad’s work…

  57. Tucci78 That discussion may very well be authentic for science fiction fen, just don’t mistake it as being relevant for what scientists thought at the time.

    • Regarding my discussion of how Chapter 7 of Fallen Angels had reflected the attitude of most SF fen in the late 1980s with regard to the AGW hoax, at 8:39 AM on 23 June, Thomas had commented:

      That discussion may very well be authentic for science fiction fen, just don’t mistake it as being relevant for what scientists thought at the time.

      Define “scientists,” please. In my experience, the scientists who had honestly and scrupulously considered the CO2 “forcing” mechanism upon which the warmist charlatans were caterwauling their predictions of catastrophe had come to the conclusion that this yammer was nothing more than purest hokum.

      I got my first information on this subject in 1981, by way of correspondence with Petr Beckmann, who was then publishing the newsletter Access to Energy, and through Dr. Beckmann I was introduced to numerous scientists – real scientists – who scoffed at the blithering idiocy of what their professional societies would come later to uncritically accept as “orthodoxy” on the subjects of the global climate and man’s ability to significantly affect it.

      The plain fact of the matter is that academic “Big Science” research is utterly dependent upon government grants-in-aid, and when it became clear that the politicians were not funding anyone who didn’t kowtow to this preposterous “man-made global warming” bogosity, the policy among the scientific organizations – not scientists themselves – surrendered to the corruption.

      Wherefore with knees that feign to quake –
      Bent head and shaded brow –
      To this dead dog, for my father’s sake,
      In Rimmon’s House I bow!

  58. Tucci78, Beckmann was an excellent man, a delightful instructor, and a terrible punster. He taught my introductory circuit analysis course waaaay back in the dark ages, ’78 or ’79. Shamelessly sucking up, I brought a copy of _The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear_ to class and casually laid it down on my desk. He saw it and said, “Hmmm, good book.”

    • At 11:31 AM on 23 June, Doug Jones had written:

      Beckmann was an excellent man, a delightful instructor, and a terrible punster. He taught my introductory circuit analysis course waaaay back in the dark ages, ’78 or ’79. Shamelessly sucking up, I brought a copy of The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear to class and casually laid it down on my desk. He saw it and said, “Hmmm, good book.”

      1977 or ’78 was about when I’d first read The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear, and became a subscriber to Access to Energy. Personal correspondence followed not long thereafter, and I recall Dr. Beckmann sounding me from time to time for some clarification on the various aspects of his medical conditions.

      Not that I was able to help much. I’m a general practitioner, not someone comparable in experience or fund of knowledge to the particular specialists attending his medical and surgical management. But he didn’t hesitate to make use of whatever resources he found among his circle of friends and acquaintances.

      Back in the pre-WWW days, Dr. Beckmann ran a dial-in bulletin board system (BBS) called “Fort Freedom,” a 1989 capture of which is presently available on the Web at FortFreedom.org, and this mirror includes some (but not by any means all) of the materials he’d harvested from other correspondents regarding the preceding years of the AGW fraud. Dr. Beckmann paid a great deal more attention to this Watermelon bogosity in the interval between 1988 and his death in 1993, and if you’re familiar with his style in person, you’ll have no difficulty imagining the vitriol that surged merrily from his typewriter in the letters I’d received from him.

      He despised the cadre of conniving quacks who were circle-jerking this abomination into both the formerly scientific literature and the thuggish policies of government, and in addition to those who knew of his interest in the subject sending along to him what news could be gathered, he didn’t hesitate to flip through his Rolodex to get amplification and clarification on the subject from correspondents who were experienced experts in the field of climatology.

      A man of eloquence and vehemence, and a pleasure to know.

  59. Tucci78, Petr Beckmann wasn’t a climate scientist but an electrical engineer. He may have had his ideas about climate change and how the theory of relativity was all wrong, but that was on a strict amateur basis. You are just another of the conspiracy theory bunch here, I’m afraid, and as such I guess science fiction suits you better than facts. (Nothing wrong with science fiction, but it is fiction, not something you should get your facts from).

  60. At 11:41 AM on 23 June, Thomas perpetrates the logical fallacy argumentum ad hominem (“attack against the man”) not once but twice, posting:

    Petr Beckmann wasn’t a climate scientist but an electrical engineer. He may have had his ideas about climate change and how the theory of relativity was all wrong, but that was on a strict amateur basis. You are just another of the conspiracy theory bunch here, I’m afraid, and as such I guess science fiction suits you better than facts. (Nothing wrong with science fiction, but it is fiction, not something you should get your facts from).

    In the post of mine to which Thomas is making this logic-bereft non-reply, I’d spoken of Dr. Beckmann only as the correspondent who, in 1981, had first brought to my attention the then-nascent but manifestly ludicrous pseudoscience of “man-made global warming,” and through whose good offices I later gained access to other sources of information, including the publications and other writings of scientists more than adequately qualified to critique the dubious methodologies, the absence of evidence, and the strained, staggering, unsupported conclusions to be found in the papers and assertions of the conniving “consensus” cabal who came to be exposed so spectacularly in the initial Climategate release (17 November 2009).

    Thomas‘ rant about how Dr. Beckmann “wasn’t a climate scientist but an electrical engineer” (actually a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Colorado) appears purposefully to evade the fact that one does not have to be a specialist in a particular scientific discipline in order to be able to critique the presentation of work in disparate areas of scientific inquiry, particularly in terms of adherence to – or, with regard to the warmist charlatans, deviation from – standards of sound methodology in both investigation and publication.

    To draw on a couple of aphorisms, one doesn’t have to be a poultryman to tell when an egg is rotten – and one doesn’t have to eat the whole frelkin’ egg to remark on its rottenness, either.

    Then there’s the attack on science fiction fen (and those of my acquaintance will doubtless be flattered no end to be termed members of “the conspiracy theory bunch here” by someone like Thomas, who is so obviously a friggin’ mundane) for their interest in a genre – a literature of ideas – which appeals to the intellect among a dedicated readership which has been averaging higher levels of scientific literacy than the ruck and muck for at least a century now.

    Hm. Alex Pournelle is frequenting this discussion. I wonder how his dad – not to mention Mr. Niven and a few other SFWA members – might respond to Thomas‘ cement-headed scorn?

  61. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle although great in concert are best as sole authors in my opinion.
    Larry Niven’s Known Space series is as seminal as Robert Heinlein’s future history series and more complex and interesting. Jerry Pournelle’s Codominium series is equally far reaching and ranks with the best of Military Science Fiction i.e. David Drake, Gorden Dickinson, David Weber etc.

    • At 1:34 PM on 23 June, Katana had written:

      Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle although great in concert are best as sole authors in my opinion.

      I’m inclined to agree with you, having followed both writers’ careers from their initial appearances in the SF magazines (and Dr. Pournelle’s article on the Nomonhan Incident in a wargaming periodical), but they seem to do well bouncing ideas off each other, and they definitely don’t lose strength or focus when working in collaboration – as I’d originally feared they might.

      Given that productivity is a blessing (“Quantity has a quality all its own”), I’d long since come to the conclusion that if working together gave Pournelle and Niven cause to crank out more fiction than would otherwise have been the case, I’d settle back and take what came.

      I haven’t been disappointed yet.

  62. Tucci78, you have presented no factual arguments. Just an appeal to authority where you choose an electrical engineer as your authority and a lot of insults against the entire profession of climate scientists, only to complain that *I* use ad hominems. As you come up with no scientific arguments, what else can I do but comment on the credibility of the one person you name as if he meant anything? And as far as ad hominems go, all your posts contain far more of them than anything I produced.

    I didn’t attack science fiction fans, I attacked your conspiracy theories about how corrupt scientists deliberately distort the truth. There is nothing wrong with reading science fiction, I do it a lot, but if you think it’s a good source of scientific facts, then you have a problem. Most science fiction fans I know do know the difference. For example, anyone who read that passage from Fallen Angels you linked to and actually believed the fusion in the sun had almost stopped would have been seriously misled. It was a far out idea by some scientists at the time, never a mainstream view, but why should Pournelle care? It sounded cool, and he was writing fiction. No different from the scientific sounding stuff in The Day After Tomorrow which didn’t make much sense either.

    • Proving that he has absolutely no friggin’ education in formal logic, at 2:30 PM on 23 June we’ve got the egregious Thomas conflating argumentum ad hominem with simple insult (a common failing among the blithering “Liberal” fascisti, who seem to think that the idiot use of fancy Latin tags somehow perfumes their stupidity), writing that I

      …have presented no factual arguments. Just an appeal to authority where you choose an electrical engineer as your authority and a lot of insults against the entire profession of climate scientists only to complain that *I* use ad hominems.”

      …thereby also proving that Thomas is as the beasts that perish when it comes to understanding the circumstances under which the fallacy of appeal to authority can be discerned.

      Thomas, old sock, did you ever come anywhere near a course in formal logic in your little life? Or even try out for the debate team in high school?

      To attack a man’s position on a subject on no basis other than his alleged qualification to speak constitutes the evasion of a disputant’s responsibility to address the substance of that position. Thomas could well have snarked at Dr. Beckmann’s credentials in passing, but he would have had to consider Dr. Beckmann’s statements on the subject of anthropogenic global warming in order to claim that Dr. Beckmann’s views on the climate catastrophists’ duplicitous Cargo Cult Science were incorrect.

      And this – of course! – Thomas has failed to do. Therefore “attack upon the man” rather than attack upon the contention held. Argumentum ad hominem.

      In my posts I’ve merely recounted how Dr. Beckmann had brought the spectacular crapola of the AGW concept to my attention back in 1981, being merely a factual account of my earliest personal experience in considering this crippled conjecture through the courtesy of a correspondent, and noting said correspondent’s own personal response to the reeking stench thereof.

      That I did not present “factual arguments” against the great hideous “man-made climate change” fraud in this forum is nothing more than plain fact. I did not intend to do so, nor am I going to do so. In this venue, that would be carrying coals to Newcastle, and I will not indulge the asininity of Thomas in this regard, for Thomas is obviously a credulous climate catastrophe-pusher, almost certainly refractory to reasoned argument on this subject and being very much beneath contempt therefore.

      That, by the way, is insult. Not argumentum ad hominem but rather another chorus in the hymn of hatred which these chiseling bastiches have earned. Opprobrium is at the very least is what they deserve, and if there is justice in our republic, both criminal prosecution as well as civil suits at law to recover compensatory and punitive damages resulting from their political depredations.

      Mind you, I’d not object more than faintly if their neighbors – having been subjected to energy costs made to “necessarily skyrocket” by the administration of our Illegal-Immigrant-in-Chief – were to get the tar a-bubble and the feathers ready to give these Watermelons a ride out of town on fencerails.

      As for Thomas‘ lackwit misconception of science fiction fen as credulously relying only upon speculative fiction for scientific fund of knowledge, why should we irk ourselves further over the yammering of someone who’s manifestly both a warmist and a friggin’ mundane?

      Now that’s argumentum ad hominem of a sort, isn’t it?

  63. @Alex Pournelle

    Your dad is awesome. Larry Niven is equally so. I have read all their work, and I don’t see 60’s influence – beyond that they wrote stories in the early to mid 70’s and those stories reflected the times.

    I heard Larry Niven last night on Coast to Coast (which is great for insomniacs). He seemed overly fearful of organ banks – I’m not sure he’s up to date on the new work being done with bioprinting or using denatured organs and adult stem cells to regrow or regenerate organs (work being done by Dr Atala and others… http://www.ted.com/speakers/anthony_atala.html).

    It will be a sad day when we won’t have their contributions in science fiction.

  64. Eric Worrall says:
    Different people like different stories.

    I’ve been thinking about this common generalization. Many times.

    In some up-to-the-minute, practical sense the “each to his taste” adage holds water.
    For example, I do not enjoy the prolific writings of Charles Dickens. I could write a book about why I don’t like Charles Dickens. My opinion wouldn’t harm in the least Dickens’ stature as a “great writer,” of course. He is an established authority in the modern system of cultural coordinates. Fighting the establishment of any kind is a dangerous, unprofitable, and depressing adventure.

    But in time — in a long time — people tend to re-evaluate their idols. It already happened in the past, and it will happen again. People stop reading books that were extremely popular before, and discover more or less forgotten works that reflect their current interests. Only very few books survive this “paradigm shift” process; they are invariably written in prose that speaks to any generation, without being too time-specific in its cultural references. The same could be observed in music and in the fine arts.

    Since this is a lengthy process, encompassing many generations, people usually don’t notice how it happens. Shostakovich, for example, continues to be regarded as an authority of high degree in the circles of musicologists and theoreticians, especially those of old Soviet school. At the same time, it is already very difficult to find a lay person who really likes to listen to Shostakovich’s music. He has already started to fade into oblivion (as he deserves), though it would take generations before all panegyrics written about him will be forgotten, before textbooks will change, before Shostakovich will be relegated to the historical footnotes describing him as a cowardly, subservient Soviet graphomaniac, highly professional but no more than that. It will inevitably happen — but today my opinion would provoke a fury of protests, of course. People do not part with their delusions, delusions die with their holders.

    Thus, I think, the terms “good taste” and “vulgar taste” have objective meanings, and an impartial, informed observer could sometimes predict, on the objective and logical basis, which of the popular works of literature, music, etc., would survive the judgment of generations, and which would not. In the long run, “different people like different stories” is a false wisdom.

  65. Tucci78:
    Re: Opprobrium is at the very least is what they deserve, and if there is justice in our republic, both criminal prosecution as well as civil suits at law to recover compensatory and punitive damages resulting from their political depredations.

    To use Niven & Pournelle’s favorite expression: TANJ.
    They are laughing at us.

    • In response to my earlier observation:

      Opprobrium is at the very least is what they [the warmists] deserve, and if there is justice in our republic, both criminal prosecution as well as civil suits at law to recover compensatory and punitive damages resulting from their political depredations.

      Mind you, I’d not object more than faintly if their neighbors – having been subjected to energy costs made to “necessarily skyrocket” by the administration of our Illegal-Immigrant-in-Chief – were to get the tar a-bubble and the feathers ready to give these Watermelons a ride out of town on fencerails.

      …at 4:32 PM on 23 June Alexander Feht had commented:

      To use Niven & Pournelle’s favorite expression: TANJ.
      They are laughing at us.

      Thus the desirability of less formal means to address their infamies.

      Let’s listen to their chortles as they begin to arrive at burn units all over the republic, greasy with petrolatum (still about the best thing to get tar off a critter’s hide) and reeking of pitch and singed hair.

      When push comes to shove, and the citizenry cannot have recourse to a legal system that is not corrupted beyond function by the partisans of a felonious and hostile regime, inter arma silent leges.

      Or perhaps it’s better to quote a colleague of mine – Dr. John Locke – from his Two Treatises of Government regarding “an appeal to heaven”:

      “What is my Remedy against a Robber, that so broke into my House? Appeal to the Law for Justice. But perhaps Justice is denied, or I am crippled and cannot stir, robbed and have not the means to do it. If God has taken away all means of seeking remedy, there is nothing left but patience. But my Son, when able, may seek the Relief of the Law, which I am denied: He or his Son may renew his Appeal, till he recover his Right. But the Conquered, or their Children, have no Court, no Arbitrator on Earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephtha did, to Heaven, and repeat their Appeal, till they have recovered the native Right of their Ancestors….”

  66. @ Thomas

    How does one determine who is a “qualified climatologist”? There are very few universities that offer a degree in climatology. Hubert Lamb, a climatologist I greatly admire, attained his degree in geography.

    The U.S. government, the largest employer of climatologists, suggests:
    * 24 hours of meteorology or atmospheric science courses
    * 3 hours ordinary differential equations
    * 6 hours of college physics or 9 hours of physical sciences, including chemistry
    * Statistics and computer science are also recommended. Statistics is helpful in computing and analyzing data, and many climatologists are running models on supercomputers.

    No mention there of geologists, who would arguably be the most climatologically knowledgeable group. I am glad to see the recommendation of taking a statistics unit given that hardly any “qualified” climatologists show any grasp of that subject! I am glad also that they do not recommend failing theology as Al Gore did in order to become “qualified”.

    • At 7:52 PM on 23 June, The Pompous Git writes that:

      The U.S. government, the largest employer of climatologists, suggests:

      * 24 hours of meteorology or atmospheric science courses
      * 3 hours ordinary differential equations
      * 6 hours of college physics or 9 hours of physical sciences, including chemistry
      * Statistics and computer science are also recommended. Statistics is helpful in computing and analyzing data, and many climatologists are running models on supercomputers.

      Now that’s interesting. I myself am twice as well-qualified in undergraduate differential equations and have 8 credit hours of college-level physics in my C.V., with a helluva lot more hours in the “physical sciences,” including analytic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, marine biology, instrumental analysis, microbiology, vertebrate physiology, chordate morphology, endocrinology, and what-not else. After which, of course, came the medical school curriculum, which is almost entirely pure and applied science studies for the first two years, incidental to which was introduction to statistical analysis in the consideration of epidemiology.

      And just about every meteorologist of my personal acquaintance isn’t more than a few credits shy of full “climatologist” qualification.

      I honestly hadn’t known how cheaply in terms of effort and knowledge the title “climate scientist” could be won.

  67. Tucci78 “but he would have had to consider Dr. Beckmann’s statements on the subject of anthropogenic global warming”

    Great advice, except Tucci didn’t actually present any such arguments or give a link to any. Tucci then go on to explain that he has no intention of ever presenting any factual argument, probably because he is to incompetent to come up with anything but incoherent rants and insults. It’s so much easier to attack me for not responding to those non-existing arguments.

    The Pompous Git, what about looking at the publication record? Looking at relevant articles published in scientific journals is not perfect, but probably the best that can be done on a casual basis.

    • Ignoring the fact that I had simply “recounted how Dr. Beckmann had brought the spectacular crapola of the AGW concept to my attention back in 1981, being merely a factual account of my earliest personal experience in considering this crippled conjecture through the courtesy of a correspondent, and noting said correspondent’s own personal response to the reeking stench thereof,” at 10:24 PM on 23 June we’ve got the necrophilic Thomas insisting we dig up the bones of a man who had died in 1993 so that Thomas can “consider Dr. Beckmann’s statements on the subject of anthropogenic global warming” on the basis of a BBS mirror created in 1989.

      Little hint, Thomas. I gave those reading here a link to that FortFreedom.org mirror, already permitting all and sundry to look directly into what Dr. Beckmann had aggregated and articulated on his BBS by late 1989.

      You didn’t look? Well, whose fault is that?

      Not that any nit-picking in which Thomas might care to indulge matters one goddam little bit in the context of our present-day discussion of the “man-made global climate change” fraud, because in 1989 Dr. Beckmann was working on the basis of then-prevailing knowledge both of climate science and the chicanery of the “consensus” quacks, and all honest folk reading in this forum know that the Watermelon manure pile grew higher and broader and ever more hideously malodorous through the decades following.

      I like to imagine Dr. Beckmann’s merry laughter at the revelations to be romped through in FOIA2009.zip, but he’d been sixteen years’ dead by 17 November 2009, and until somebody manages to get the mythical USB 2.0 computer/Ouija board interface working, we’re not going to commune with Dr. Beckmann’s spirit to oblige Thomas’ perverse fixation on what that particular individual might have said about the past 24 years’ worth of developments in the criminally debauched discipline of climatology.

      It would be rather too much like drawing upon Dr. Beckmann’s observations about AIDS as of 1989 in the discussion of the syndrome and its complications today. The first clinically reliable serological tests for HIV-1 had not become available until 1985, and the first marginally effective antiretroviral chemotherapeutic agents (leading in the mid-’90s – a couple of years after Dr. Beckmann’s death – to the initial implementation of HAART combination regimens) had not even been accorded marketing approval until 1987.

      What I’d written yesterday with regard to the presentation of “factual argument” on the subject of global climate change (and why the contention of anthropogenic causation is purest horsehockey) was that in this forum and at this time I have no intention of making the case for such a debunking because – as I’d observed – it’s just carrying coals to Newcastle. Those reading here with honest intentions have for the greatest part followed the autopsy of the warmists’ dead and stinking dog and do not need a recapitulation of the postmortem findings, while Waterrmelons like Thomas are impervious to reasoned argument by virtue of their feculent dishonesty and other manifestations of moral depravity.

      Instead, permit me to provide Thomas a link to science educator Joanne Nova’s The Skeptic’s Handbook (2009 – pre-Climategate) and suggest that he make use of this and the other resources Ms. Nova has aggregated and made accessible by way of her Web site. That’s about all the hand-holding this critter needs. Or warrants.

      Let’s send him back to “Dick and Jane” primer level. Thomas certainly shows no sign of the literacy in these matters which might be expected of an honorable frequenter of Mr. Watts’ online offerings, does he?

  68. @ Thomas

    Interesting — less than 40 hours of study and pals in the right places is all you need to qualify as a climatologist. No wonder so many of the last decade’s climate papers read like the studies were undertaken by people with no knowledge of the literature! I sure am glad that my GP put in more diligence to attain his qualification.

  69. Dear Tucci, maybe one day you will grow up. Until then, have a nice day and wipe that spittle off your screen.

    • In response to my comment at 1:26 AM on 24 June, we have from Thomas at 2:23 AM one of those “non-response” boluses of bilge typical of the credulous (and/or duplicitous) puckers who cling bitterly to the utterly bankrupt AGW fraud, confirming my diagnosis of his reason for infesting this forum.

      And it ain’t honest interest in the subject at hand, folks. Well, what the hell are we supposed to expect of yet another friggin’ mundane Watermelon, anyway?

  70. “It was far from their best book, and as I remember, treated Richard Stallman as some sort of demi-god. I will give him his due for persistence, and he also seems to be a competent programmer, but on the political side he to way to the left of Lenin.”

    ISTR they auctioned (for charity) placement in the book.

  71. Fallen Angels: I loved it! High irony for the eco-fanatics….
    I’ve enjoyed many of the books written by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, authored individually and collaboratively. Thanks for bringing back those good memories….
    MtK

  72. Just got my copy from Amazon yesterday. I bought the paperback so I could more easily share it with family and friends.

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