We mentioned before how we thought John Cook’s Hiroshima bomb global warming comparator sidebar widget for websites was ridiculous propaganda. True to form, yesterday the SkS Kidz tried to elevate the application status by creating what appears to be a fake “hack”, complete with a gussied up timeline of them supposedly solving the issue.
Of course, from my viewpoint, there was no hack at all, it was simply a juvenile attempt to draw attention to their widget by adding a collection of bogus metrics such as kitten sneezes, bovine flatulence, Santa chimney excursions, cheeseburgers, and yes, even “twerking” as these energy expenditures supposedly relate to heat collecting in the atmosphere. The hope was that it would generate some concern, maybe some outrage, which would translate to some news coverage. I’ve seen PR tricks like this before, and this wasn’t even a good one.
The dead giveaway is the way they describe the hack in the post about it. Gone are the concerned, simmering hushed condemnations we are used to hearing with their last embarrassment on the Internet, instead we get descriptions of each metric added with this bit of praise:
The bovine flatulence metric appears to get the total methane production from Methane Emissions from Cattle, by Johnson and Johnson, 1995, which puts the figure at 80 teragrams per year. The energy released by combusting methane is easy to find. Of course, this doesn’t account for increases in cattle populations in the past twenty years.
Other figures are easier to verify. The hacker at least seems to have done his (or her) homework.
But twerking by itself is just plain wrong. Mixing twerking with science is an abomination.
The comments left on the post also indicate some, but not all, figured out this “hack” was bogus. This was co-written by the same Bob Lacatena that supposedly had the previous SkS hack all figured out, only to be mocked by Lucia in six parts.
As Mark Steyn described in his uncertainty over Bill McKibben’s recent call for climate scientists to go on strike:
But I had to read this piece twice just to make sure it wasn’t one of those leaden April Fool’s jests the author can’t quite pull off.
In the case of this post from the SkS kids “…leaden April Fool’s jests the author can’t quite pull off.” sums it up pretty well in my opinion.
This PR widget was already ridiculous with Hiroshima bombs, now this lame attempt to bring attention to it on April Fools Day simply elevates their work to desperation status.