On Climate, Comedy, Copyrights, and Cinematography

The good news: there’s new and exciting opportunities opening themselves to us.The bad news; some people are hilariously unquestioning.

comedy-climate-cinema

It has been an even more entertaining than usual couple of days in the alarmosphere. I’d been traveling the last week, doing TV station work and station surveys. While on the road I discovered through an email that I was the subject of a YouTube Video called “Climate Crock of the Week”.

The video was about my surfacestations.org project and was titled “What’s up with Watts?”. It was sad and funny at the same time, and as is typically the case with our old friends it was directed at me personally, far more than it tried substance. Equally typically, and sadly, what substance it tried turned out to be wrong. I continued on my travels, my friend Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. posted an opinion on it last week to address some of the issues.

Little did I know bizarro land awaited upon my return home.

Sitting down Saturday night, to watch the video again, detecting through its exquisite subtleties and nuance, I couldn’t help but laugh, because once again I noticed that everything reported in it was just wrong.

In fact, it probably was the worst job of fact-finding I had ever seen, which as WUWT readers know, is a bold assessment. I’ve been involved in broadcast TV news for 25 years, and have seen some really bad work from greenhorns fresh out of reporters school. This video reminded me of those. It was as if whoever put it together had never researched it, but just strung together a bunch of graphics, video, photos, and a monotone voice-over track with ad hominems liberally sprinkled for seasoning. I figured it was probably just an overzealous college student out to save the world and this was some college project. It had that air of  radical burningman quality about it.

Curiosity piqued, I inquired into just who is this climate Solon? To my surprise, he turned out to be an “independent film producer” working out of his house in Midland, MI under the name “Greenman Studio”, one Peter Sinclair, a proud graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Camp. I still figured him to be a kid and imagined his mom was yelling down into the basement “Peter that’s too loud, turn it down!”.

I also wondered if it was the same “Green Man” that had once prompted surfacestations volunteer Gary Boden to create this nifty patch:

mercury_monkey_station.jpg

This came about because my now defunct local “Alternate Weekly” had a ghost writer named “green man” who penned an unintentionally (I think) hilarious editorial about me and the www.surfacestations.org project back in 2007 in which he wrote the famous line:

“The Reverend Anthony WTF Watts and his screeching mercury monkeys…”

…in response to our daring to survey the weather stations nationwide. The “mercury” is reference to thermometers.

What was funny is that in my original story, one of my commenters posted a silly comment about well, “green stuff” and the editor of the local “Alternate Weekly” went ballistic and demanded I remove it  and gave me a stern lecture on libel. I was happy to comply not out of legal obligation but courtesy and deleted the comment.

Is this Green Man the same guy? Inquiring minds want to know.

OK back to the present. I checked my email for some correspondence from Mr. Sinclair for the past week and found none, and looked back even further to see if he had contacted me about the surfacestations project weeks before in email or in my letters pile. I found nothing and was surprised that he had made a video using my work without at least a basic request or notice.  Normally when somebody wants to publish something in another media type (that is not a blog or webpage) from the surfacestations project or my blog, they contact me and ask permission to use the items. The word normal, however, upon scrutiny really doesn’t apply here.

I’ve gotten dozens of such requests from magazines, newsletters, book publishers, and TV stations. So far, I’ve never said no to any request for such materials or copyright waivers. I’ve filled out lots of forms granting my copyright waiver for the legally skittish that need more than an email or “sure, go ahead” over the phone.

SurfaceStationsReportCover

click for PDF

But, in the video Mr. Sinclair produced and posted on YouTube, I noticed that he did in fact use photographs and graphics from my published book “Is The U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”.  I hold the copyright on this book. The notice for copyright is in the inside front cover.  © 2009 Surfacestations.org  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this report or portions thereof in any form.  ISBN 13: 978-1-934791-29-5  and ISBN 10: 1-934791-26-6.

There was also a Warner Brothers video clip from the movie “Anchorman” with a segment about the incompetent TV weatherman which I assume was added to portray me in my chosen career, and amazingly (and most amusingly) there was another video clip from the movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” which is a campy sendup of “War of the Worlds”. Interestingly in  the credits, and I know this because I happened to watch the movie about two weeks before on Showtime, there is a “John Van Vliet” listed in the credits. It made me wonder if it is the same John Van Vliet that created the “opentemp” program launched just a couple of months after I first started the surfacestations project in an attempt to derail it early on. He made the mistake of using incomplete data. More on incomplete data later.

I noted that neither clip was from the trailers you could find on YouTube and were of high quality, so maybe they were cribbed from a DVD or perhaps an Apple video download, since I recognized from the editing effects that Mr. Sinclair owns a Macintosh. WB has some pretty stringent clip licensing requirements, which I know from doing TV news and a reporter wanting once to use part of a film from WB in a special news report. WB wanted our TV station to pay, but the cost was sky high for our small TV station. They finally whittled it down to something we could afford.

Doing a little more research, I found that Mr. Sinclair does a series of animated online greeting cards, which you can see here: http://www.care2.com/ecards/bio/1023

I thought this one was funny: http://www.care2.com/send/card/0840

The description portrayed him as a pretty nice guy with an alternate minded view of the world like a lot of college students have. He is not a college student, though he has a son who is of college age, a nice Ron Paul supporter, I am told from someone who has met him. His rather conservative son, contrasts the rather left-wing eco-activist ad hominem and rhetorically unrestrained father(see here). It is almost humorous greeting card-worthy, this role reversal.

But since he had used that © symbol, Mr. Sinclair demonstrated awareness of copyright protections, having availed himself of them, e.g., here, right below his own artwork.

With knowledge of this and ad hominem attacks made on me personally, I reasonably presumed his copyright violation on my part was likely intentional. I also figured that this might be a teachable moment, as I was still thinking this is a kid just out of college since there seems to be no business website for Greenman studio in operation yet, it is still “under construction”.

http://www.greenmanstudio.com/

And, I mused, by bringing the copyright issue to his attention, I’d probably be doing him a favor, since I surmised he’d be at risk for using the film clips. I figured anybody working a business out of a house without an operating web page probably can’t afford licensing fees. No deep pockets there. I certainly have no personal beef with Mr. Sinclair, it is just the copyright issue.

But my copyright had been ignored, with evidence that Mr. Sinclair as a publisher himself using the © symbol understands copyrights, and WB’s copyright also looked like it also had been ignored. And well, lets face it, he got the facts wrong about the project and never contacted or interviewed me to get any facts from my side (more on that later). So it could hardly be defined as “journalism” and the protections that such enterprise affords for “fair use”. So I filled out the form for copyright issues on YouTube, and pressed enter.

What I expected to happen is that I’d get an angry email or blog comment from the guy, I’d suggest to him (privately) to make a couple of modifications, grant him a copyright for the factual graphics from the surfacestations project, and tell him to put his video back up on the web. End of story, lesson learned.

What I didn’t expect was the alarmosphere going into berserk overdrive.

After all, this was not yet a “weekday” which it increasingly seems to be what we call those periods when our friends lapse into said mode. It turns out that YouTube put my name and the surfacestations.org URL up on the video pane for the former video, made me a target for hatred by the “scream first, ask questions later” types.

The first hint of this started on Sunday when I got a comment on my blog. The commenter, who obviously didn’t know the difference between copyright law and constitutional law wanted to know why I had “denied free speech” to Mr. Sinclair. Of course, “free speech” protections involve state infringement and,as powerful as our friends do apparently believe I have become, neither am I the state nor was the state involved here, so the angst was yet again rather misplaced. Regardless, I also thought this a pretty odd comment. Since Mr. Sinclair still hadn’t contacted me, I paid no attention to it.

Then I began receiving more odd comments, and I’m thinking; “why are these people making a private copyright dispute their personal business?”

Here’s sampling of  a  few comments I got that never made WUWT:

“Watts you are a coward chickesh** no good dumba** weatherman hiding behind a law that you’ve irrationally applied”

“You can’t handle the TRUTH, if I were Jack Nicholson I’d kick your a**”

“Wattsup, you and your stupid picture book project are toast!”

I even got comments from “Omar” in Finland:

“Looks like your attempt to smother and censor information has fired back badly on you Mr Watts: Do you have – how you say – the cahones to explain yourself? I think not. You appear to be a child coward man.”

Censoring huh? And around the alarmosphere all sorts of curious accusations of censorship — again, with the long arm of the state nowhere to be found, this seemed to be a variant of the Tim Robbins (see also “paranoid” and “uncomprehending”) School of Crying “Censorship”. Even more bizarre, were the demands. On the “DeSmog Blog”, Kevin Grandia lambasted me for not knowing anything about law, and then demanded I email him and explain myself and my reasons for filing a copyright complaint. I’m no lawyer, but clearly giving details of a dispute to an angry third party not involved isn’t right up there with sound legal advice.

Still apparently confused that his dispute lay not with me but with YouTube or the concepts of intellectual property, when that didn’t get the required response, Mr. Grandia posted another angry column over on the Huffington Post, and made the same demand. He’s wondering why I haven’t responded directly to him.

Really.

But being that guardian of smoggy freedom, Mr. Grandia took it a step further, and, in a rather ironic follow-up to his seizing of the mantle of all that conforms to the laws, somehow located the original YouTube video and reposted it to YouTube under the “DeSmog Blog” label:

You can watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_0-gX7aUKk

So much for my “censorship”, feel free to view it. You see, I’ve had lots of angry criticism in the last two years, this is nothing new, so I’m not really concerned about the criticisms.

When viewing, note the graph from NCDC in the video which “proves” my surfacestations project is (choose your own derogatory word). More on that momentarily.

The alarmosphere was reaching a tipping point. I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody would blog the coup de grace, and yet; I still haven’t heard from Mr. Sinclair so I could tell him about what I’d like changed.

OK. But if Mr. Sinclair had contacted me (like a journalist would) before he made his video, instead of simply reading the NCDC Talking points memo (revised version seen here, PDF) he could have found out a few things, such as:

  • NCDC used an old outdated version of my data set (April 2008) they found on my website and assumed it was “current”. Big mistake on their part. Big admission of not overly concerning himself with first-hand knowledge, or even substance, on his part.
  • NCDC did not contact me about use of the data. The data, BTW is not yet public domain, though I plan to make it so after I’ve published my paper. So like Mr. Sinclair, technically they are also in violation of copyright. Surfacestations is a private project, I emphasize, what with the public-private concept being one of the major precipitors of the alarmosphere’s angst.
  • That data NCDC found had not been quality controlled, many of the ratings changed after quality control was applied, thus changing the outcome.
  • When notified of this, they did nothing to deal with the issue, such as notifying readers.
  • NCDC published no methodology, data or formula used, or show work of any kind that would normally be required in a scientific paper.
  • The author is missing from the document thus it was published anonymously. Apparently nobody at NCDC would put his or her name on it.
  • When notified of the fact that the author’s name Thomas C. Peterson (of NCDC) was embedded in the properties of the PDF document (which happens on registration of the Adobe Acrobat program, causing insertion in all output), NCDC’s only response was to remove the author’s name from the document and place it back online. It is odd behavior for a scientist to publish work but not put your name on it.
  • NCDC got the number of USHCN stations wrong in their original document document graph, citing 1228 when it is actually 1218 I notified them of this and they eventually fixed it.
  • That NCDC original document did not even cite my published work,  or even use my name to credit me. I have the original which you can view here Note also the name in the document properties and the number of USHCN2 stations above the graph.

I’m regularly lambasted for publishing things here that are not “peer reviewed”. But, when NCDC does it, and does it unbelievably badly, not only is the “talking points memo” embraced by the alarmosphere as “truth” and “falsification”, but NOT ONE of those embracing it show the remotest interest in questioning why it fails to meet even the basic standards for a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

My own local paper wouldn’t publish a letter or memo where the author is not identified. Yet an anonymous NCDC memo the author won’t even own up to is considered “climate truth”.

Students of the alarmists may have noticed some time ago, how the burden of proof and quality of publication shifts when the other side of the aisle is doing the talking.  In fact, nobody who has jumped into the fray has asked me any questions, yet take as accurate our gift-card designer cum climate scientist Mr. Sinclair at his word, without asking me a single question.

I guess it doesn’t matter now, The Good Ship Teachable Moment has sailed, now that “Big Smog” has stepped in as the defender of freedom. I think Mr. Grandia is hoping that I’ll file a copyright complaint against him.

But here is the kicker. Once you sort through all the ad homs in the video, you find the nugget. It involves that graph that Mr. Sinclair cites from the NCDC Talking Points Memo. If he had asked, he would have found out that it has some pretty embarrassing flaws.

Figure 1. From the NCDC Talking Points Memo.

As referenced in the text of the NCDC  Talking Points Memo, the Figure1 graph compares two homogenized data sets, and demonstrates an uncanny correlation. Here is what they say:

Two national time series were made using the same homogeneity adjusted data set and the same gridding and area averaging technique used by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center for its annual climate monitoring.

Seems reasonable, until you understand what “homgenization” really is.

What’s “homogenization” you say? Some kind of dairy product treatment?

Well no, not quite. It is data that has been put through a series of processes that render it so the end result is like comparing the temperature between several bowls of water that have been mixed together, then poured back into the original bowls and the temperature measured of each. What you get is an end temperature for each bowl that is a mixture of the other nearby bowl temperatures.

Here’s another way that is more visual. Think of it like measuring water pollution. Here’s a simple visual table of CRN station quality ratings (as used in my book) and what they might look like as water pollution turbidity levels, rated as 1 to 5 from best to worst turbidity:

CRN1-bowlCRN2-bowlCRN3-bowl

CRN4-bowlCRN5-bowl

In homgenization the data is weighted against the nearby neighbors within a radius. And so a station the might start out as a “1” data wise, might end up getting polluted with the data of nearby stations and end up as as new value, say weighted at “2.5”. Our contributing author John Goetz explains how even single stations can affect many many other stations in the GISS and NOAA data homogenization methods carried out on US surface temperature data here and here.

bowls-USmap

In the map above, applying a homogenization smoothing, weighting  stations by distance nearby the stations with question marks, what would you imagine the values (of turbidity) of them would be? And, how close would these two values be for the east coast station in question and the west coast station in question? Each would be closer to a smoothed center average value based on the neighboring stations. Of course this isn’t the actual method, just a visual analogy.

So, essentially, NCDC’s graph is comparing homogenized data to homogenized data, and thus there would not likely be any large difference between “good” and “bad” stations. All the differences have been smoothed out by homogenization  pollution from neighboring stations!

The best way to compare the effect of siting between groups of stations is to use the “raw” data, before it has passed through the multitude of adjustments that NCDC does. Admittedly, raw data can have its own problems, but there are ways my friends and I at the Pielke research team can make valid station trend comparisons without making numerical adjustments to the actual data raw data.

And finally for those who say “Watts doesn’t want you to see this video” or “he fears the science”, I direct you to this WUWT entry, dated June 26th, 2009:

NCDC writes ghost “talking points” rebuttal to surfacestations project

I was the first one to report on the NCDC Talking Points Memo. Fearing science, video and all that, I chose to publicly blog on a subject critical and even damaging to my own research, knowing full well others would pick it up, including those who would not treat this even-handedness kindly.

The document is an internal memo for NOAA. It didn’t get wide attention after it was first published on June 9th, in fact I don’t think it got any attention at all.

Without my pulling it out of internal memo obscurity and discussing it on WUWT, Dr. Pielke likely wouldn’t have commented on it, McIntyre wouldn’t have written about ittwice, and thus from all the pickups from those articles, Mr. Sinclair probably wouldn’t have ever seen it. Surely there would not be this delightfully entertaining, rather revealing, and grade school caliber commentary had I not sought to publish it to a wide audience.

But that’s OK. The result is not something I fear, even if my final analysis shows the USA trends are unaffected. There are other things we know and will learn that are of significance.

In fact I’ve had some very positive things come out of this, both on the media and scientific side. Some offers and ideas have been floated.

But that’s a story that will have to wait. Maybe Mr. Grandia will place an online demand for it. Stay tuned. They rarely disappoint.

Oh, and I got to “meet” Mr. Sinclair, the father of a college-age kid though not quite  the young college kid I expected:

On Climate, Comedy, Copyrights, and CinematographyThe good news: there’s new and exciting opportunities opening themselves to us.The bad news; some people are hilariously unquestioning.

comedy-climate-cinema

It has been an even more entertaining than usual couple of days in the alarmosphere. I’d been traveling the last week, doing TV station work and station surveys. While on the road I discovered through an email that I was the subject of a YouTube Video called “Climate Crock of the Week”.

The video was about my surfacestations.org project and was titled “What’s up with Watts?”. It was sad and funny at the same time, and as is typically the case with our old friends it was directed at me personally, far more than it tried substance. Equally typically, and sadly, what substance it tried turned out to be wrong. I continued on my travels, My friend Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. posted an opinion on it last week to address some of the issues.

Little did I know bizarro land awaited upon my return home.

Sitting down Saturday night, to watch the video again detecting through its exquisite subtleties and nuance. I couldn’t help but laugh, because once again I noticed that everything reported in it was just wrong.

In fact, it probably was the worst job of fact-finding I had ever seen, which as WUWT readers know, is a bold assessment. I’ve been involved in broadcast TV news for 25 years, and have seen some really bad work from greenhorns fresh out of reporters school. This video reminded me of those. It was if whoever put it together had never researched it, but just strung together a bunch of graphics, video, photos, and the most monotone Pat Paulsen narration I’d ever heard. I figured it was probably just an overzealous college student out to save the world and this was some college project. It had that air of  radical burningman quality about it.

Curiosity piqued, I inquired into just who is this climate Solon? To my surprise, he turned out to be an “independent film producer” working out of his house in Midland, MI under the name “Greenman Studio”, one Peter Sinclair, a proud graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Camp. I still figured him to be a kid and imagined his mom was yelling down into the basement “Peter that’s too loud, turn it down!”.

I also wondered if it was the same “Green Man” that had once prompted surfacestations volunteer Gary Boden to create this nifty patch:

mercury_monkey_station.jpg

This came about because my now defunct local “Alternate Weekly” had a ghost writer named “green man” who penned and unintentionally (I think) editorial about me and the www.surfacestations.org project back in 2007 in which he wrote the famous line:

“The Reverend Anthony WTF Watts and his screeching mercury monkeys…”

…in response to our daring to survey the weather stations nationwide.

What was funny is that in my original story, one of my commenters posted a funny comment about well, “green stuff” and the editor of the local “Alternate Weekly” went ballistic and demanded I remove it  and gave me a stern lecture on libel. I was happy to comply not out of legal obligation but courtesy and deleted the comment.

Is this Green Man the same guy? Inquiring minds want to know.

OK back to the present. I checked my email for some correspondence from Mr. Sinclair for the past week and found none, and looked back even further to see if he had contacted me about the surfacestations project weeks before in email or in my letters pile. I found nothing and was surprised that he had made a video using my work without at least a basic request or notice.  Normally when somebody wants to publish something in another media type (that is not a blog or webpage) from the surfacestations project or my blog, they contact me and ask permission to use the items. The word normal, however, upon scrutiny really doesn’t apply here.

I’ve gotten dozens of such requests from magazines, newsletters, book publishers, and TV stations. So far, I’ve never said no to any request for such materials or copyright waivers. I’ve filled out lots of forms granting my copyright waiver for the legally skittish that need more than an email or “sure, go ahead” over the phone.

But, in the video Mr. Sinclair produced and posted on YouTube, I noticed that he did in fact use photographs and graphics from my published book “Is The U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”.  I hold the copyright on this book. The notice for copyright is in the inside front cover.  © 2009 Surfacestations.org  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this report or portions thereof in any form.  ISBN 13: 978-1-934791-29-5  and ISBN 10: 1-934791-26-6.

There was also a Warner Brothers video clip from the movie “Anchorman” with a segment about the incompetent TV weatherman which I assume was added to portray me in my chosen career, and amazingly (and most amusingly) there was another video clip from the movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” which is a campy sendup of “War of the Worlds”. Interestingly in  the credits, and I know this because I happened to watch the movie about two weeks before on Showtime, there is a “John Van Vliet” listed in the credits. It made me wonder if it is the same John Van Vliet that created the “opentemp” program launched just a couple of months after I first started the surfacestations project in an attempt to derail it early on. He made the mistake of using incomplete data. More on incomplete data later.

I noted that neither clip was from the trailers you could find on YouTube and were of high quality, so maybe they were cribbed from a DVD or perhaps an Apple video download, since I recognized from the editing effects that Mr. Sinclair owns a Macintosh. WB has some pretty stringent clip licensing requirements, which I know from doing TV news and a reporter wanting once to use part of a film from WB in a special news report. WB wanted our TV station to pay, but the cost was sky high for our small TV station. They finally whittled it down to something we could afford.

Doing a little more research, I found that Mr. Sinclair does a series of animated online greeting cards, which you can see here:

http://www.care2.com/ecards/bio/1023

I thought this one was pretty funny: http://www.care2.com/send/card/0840

The description portrayed him as a pretty nice guy with an alternate minded view of the world like a lot of college students have. He is not a college student, though he has a son who is of college age, a nice Ron Paul supporter, I am told from someone who has met him. His rather conservative son, contrasts the rather left-wing eco-activist ad hominem and rhetorically unrestrained father(see here). It is almost humorous greeting card-worthy, this role reversal.

But since he had used that © symbol, Mr. Sinclair demonstrated awareness of copyright protections, having availed himself of them, e.g., here, right below his own artwork.  With knowledge of this and ad hominem attacks made on me personally, I reasonably presumed his copyright violation on my part was likely intentional. I also figured that this might be a teachable moment, as I was still thinking this is a kid just out of college since there seems to be no business website for Greenman studio in operation yet, it is still “under construction”.

http://www.greenmanstudio.com/

And, I mused, by bringing the copyright issue to his attention, I’d probably be doing him a favor, since I surmised he’d be at risk for using the film clips. I figured anybody working a business out of a house without an operating web page probably can’t afford licensing fees. No deep pockets there. I certainly have no personal beef with Mr. Sinclair, it is just the copyright issue.

But my copyright had been ignored, with evidence that Mr. Sinclair as a publisher himself using the © symbol understands copyrights, and WB’s copyright also looked like it also had been ignored. And well, lets face it, he got the facts wrong about the project and never contacted or interviewed me to get any facts from my side (more on that later). So it could hardly be defined as “journalism” and the protections that such enterprise affords for “fair use”. So I filled out the form for copyright issues on YouTube, and pressed enter.

What I expected to happen is that I’d get an angry email or blog comment from the guy, I’d suggest to him (privately) to make a couple of modifications, grant him a copyright for the factual graphics from the surfacestations project, and tell him to put his video back up on the web. End of story, lesson learned.

What I didn’t expect was the alarmosphere going into berserk overdrive. After all, this was not yet a “weekday” which it increasingly seems to be what we call those periods when our friends lapse into said mode. It turns out that YouTube put my name and the surfacestations.org URL up on the video pane for the former video, made me a target for hatred by the “scream first, ask questions later” types.

The first hint of this started on Sunday when I got a comment on my blog. The commenter, who obviously didn’t know the difference between copyright law and constitutional law wanted to know why I had “denied free speech” to Mr. Sinclair. Of course, “free speech” protections involve state infringement and,as powerful as our friends do apparently believe I have become, neither am I the state nor was the state involved here, so the angst was yet again rather misplaced. Regardless, I also thought it this a pretty odd comment, since Mr. Sinclair still hadn’t contacted me, and I paid no attention to it.

Then I began receiving more odd comments, and I’m thinking; “why are these people making a private copyright dispute their personal business?”

Here’s sampling of  a  few comments I got that never made WUWT:

“Watts you are a coward chickesh** no good dumba** weatherman hiding behind a law that you’ve irrationally applied”

“You can’t handle the TRUTH, if I were Jack Nicholson I’d kick your a**”

“Wattsup, you and your stupid picture book project are toast!”

I even got comments from “Omar” in Finland:

“Looks like your attempt to smother and censor information has fired back badly on you Mr Watts: Do you have – how you say – the cahones to explain yourself? I think not. You appear to be a child coward man.”

And around the alarmosphere all sorts of curious accusations of censorship — again, with the long arm of the state nowhere to be found, this seemed to be a variant of the Tim Robbins (see also “paranoid” and “uncomprehending”) School of Crying “Censorship”. Even more bizarre, were the demands. On the “DeSmog Blog”, Kevin Grandia lambasted me for not knowing anything about law, and then demanded I email him and explain myself and my reasons for filing a copyright complaint. I’m no lawyer, but clearly giving details of a dispute to an angry third party not involved isn’t right up there with sound legal advice.

Still apparently confused that his dispute lay not with me but with YouTube or the concepts of intellectual property, when that didn’t get the required response, Mr. Grandia posted another angry column over on the Huffington Post, and made the same demand. He’s wondering why I haven’t responded directly to him.

Really.

But being that guardian of smoggy freedom, Mr. Grandia took it a step further, and, in a rather ironic follow-up to his seizing of the mantle of all that conforms to the laws, somehow located the original YouTube video and reposted it to YouTube under the “DeSmog Blog” label:

You can watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_0-gX7aUKk

Note the graph from NCDC in the video which “proves” my surfacestations project is (choose your own derogatory word). More on that momentarily.

The alarmosphere was reaching a tipping point. I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody would blog the coup de grace, and yet; I still haven’t heard from Mr. Sinclair so I could tell him about what I’d like changed.

OK Nut if Mr. Sinclair had contacted me (like a journalist would) before he made his video, instead of simply reading the NCDC Talking points memo (seen here, PDF) he could have found out a few things, such as:

  • NCDC used an old outdated version of my data set (April 2008) they found on my website and assumed it was “current”. Big mistake on their part. Big admission of not overly concerning himself with first-hand knowledge, or even substance, on his part.
  • NCDC did not contact me about use of the data. The data, BTW is not yet public domain, though I plan to make it so after I’ve published my paper. So like Mr. Sinclair, technically they are also in violation of copyright. Surfacestations is a private project, I emphasize, what with the public-private concept being one of the major precipitors of the alarmosphere’s angst.
  • That data NCDC found had not been quality controlled, many of the ratings changed after quality control was applied, thus changing the outcome.
  • When notified of this, they did nothing to deal with the issue, such as notifying readers.
  • NCDC published no methodology, data or formula used, or show work of any kind that would normally be required in a scientific paper.
  • The author is missing from the document thus it was published anonymously. Apparently nobody at NCDC would put his or her name on it.
  • When notified of the fact that the author’s name Thomas C. Peterson (of NCDC) was embedded in the properties of the PDF document (which happens on registration of the Adobe Acrobat program, causing insertion in all output), NCDC’s only response was to remove the author’s name from the document.
  • NCDC got the number of USHCN stations wrong in their original document document graph, citing 1228 when it is actually 1218 I notified them of this and they eventually fixed it.
  • That NCDC original document did not even cite my published work,  or even use my name to credit me. I have the original which you can view here Note also the name in the document properties and the number of USHCN2 stations above the graph.

I’m regularly lambasted for publishing things here that are not “peer reviewed”, but when NCDC does it, and does it unbelievably badly, not only is the “talking points memo” embraced by the alarmosphere as “truth” and “falsification”. Not ONE of those embracing it show the remotes interest in questioning why it fails to meet even the basic standards for a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. My own local paper wouldn’t publish a letter or memo where the author is not identified. Yet an anonymous memo the author won’t even own up to is considered climate truth.

Students of the alarmists may have noticed some time ago, how the burden of proof and quality of publication shifts when the other side of the aisle is doing the talking.  In fact nobody who has jumped into the foray has asked me any questions, yet take our gift-card designer cum climate scientist Mr. Sinclair at his word that what he reported, without asking me a single question, is accurate.

I guess it doesn’t matter now, The Good Ship Teachable Moment has sailed, now that “Big Smog” has stepped in as the defender of freedom. I think Mr. Grandia is hoping that I’ll file a copyright complaint against him.

But here is the kicker. It involves that graph that Mr. Sinclair cites from the NCDC Talking Points Memo. If he had asked, he would have found this out.

Figure 1. From Talking Points Memo.

As referenced in the text of the Talking Points Memo, the NCDC graph compares two homogenized data sets. What’s that you say? Some kind of dairy product?

Well no, not quite. It is data that has been put through a series of processes that render it

such that end result is like comparing the temperature of several bowls of water

[need work here and diagram to explain homgenization of data]

And finally for those who say “Watts doesn’t want you to see this video” or “he fears the science”, I direct you to this WUWT entry, dated June 26th, 2009:

NCDC writes ghost “talking points” rebuttal to surfacestations project

I was the first one to report on the NCDC Talking Points Memo. Fearing science, video and all that, I chose to publicly blog on a subject critical and even damaging to my own research, knowing full well others would pick it up, including those who would not treat this even-handedness kindly.

The document is an internal memo for NOAA. It didn’t get wide attention after it was first published on June 9th, in fact I don’t think it got any attention at all.

Without my pulling it out of internal memo obscurity and discussing it on WUWT, Pielke likely wouldn’t have commented on it, McIntyre wouldn’t have written about ittwice, and thus from all the pickups from those articles, Mr. Sinclair probably wouldn’t have ever seen it. Surely there would not be this delightfully entertaining, rather revealing, and grade school caliber commentary had I not sought to publish it to a wide audience.

But that’s OK. The result is not something I fear, even if it shows the trends are unaffected. There’s other things we know and will learn.

In fact I’ve had some very positive things come out of this both on the media and scientific side. Some offer and ideas have been floated.

But that’s a story that will have to wait. Maybe Mr. Grandia will place an online demand for it. Stay tuned. They rarely disappoint.

Oh, and I got to “meet” Mr. Sinclair, the father of a college-age kid though not quite the young college kid I expected:

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
HarryG

Anthony
He has issued a challenge to a debate – take him up on it. Send the invitation to others like Plimer. Bring it on.

Amazing. How can folks get so stampeded over so little. Sigh.
Pop a cold one and enjoy the soap opera!

chillybean

Great post Anthony. I do like a bit of real journalism cutting through the alarmist BS now and then. He want’s to debate, why not go for it & post the video here.

crosspatch

I don’t believe they will ever debate in person. They want to sit in the weeds and snipe. They want the conversation to go in one direction.

Don Penim

Great story. I was wondering when and how you were going to address Peter Sinclair’s “Crock of the Week” video about you. Your attention to detail is appreciated. It would be great to see you debate him.
I am curious if you saw what George Monbiot of the Guardian UK thought about your endeavors with Mr. Sinclair’s video.
Mr. Monbiot says “ Anthony Watts, sceptic and scourge of climate change science, has used copyright laws to censor an opponent. Climate change deniers claim they’re censored. What hypocrites.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/30/climate-change-deniers-monbiot

tallbloke

I was pointed to another of Sinclair’s ‘climate crock of the week’ vids by a warmist I was debating. It was of the various 7 year cooling trends it was possible to find in the temperature record, and was quoted to point up my ‘cherry picking’ of the data.
I pointed out that the video was careful to show temperatures only since 1975, and that Sinclair neglected to mention that the other two periods where a 7 year cooling trend was identified were both associated with major volcanos, whereas the current cooling is not.
Sinclair is a propagandist of the worst ilk, not a climate researcher.

VG

New Scientist article (current Issue) admits that no one is interested in AGW anymore LOL

Anthony, your good humor and grace while subjected to execrable and actionable slander and libel by nincompoops is truly admirable. You have risen above the childish tantrum level exhibited by untalented fools.
You could have responded (reacted) differently. I know my own reactions when I watched the video and read the comments beneath it last week were more along the lines of shock and outrage.
But instead you have responded with maturity and wry wit, and made it all into a teaching moment. I salute you for that.
These are trying times. Catastrophes loom in science and politics, and I’m not talking about global warming. We face an uncertain future because our traditional institutions, fundamental rights and liberties, and even our culture and civilization are under attack by the most nefarious elements. It is difficult to see how best to defend ourselves from all that.
Your example of calm, good natured, intelligent, and ethical forbearance is a lesson in right behavior. The path with integrity is our best approach to the mountain of problems we face. We all could learn from your example. I know I have. Thank you for that.

VG

I would definitely take him on, he’s asking for it. BTW It seems that there are fewer and fewer maybe he does not realize that the big wigs APS and even Nature maybe be having second thoughts. Even maybe the IPCC (the’ve told Kevin Rudd not to worry about passing the ETS now).

geoffchambers

This story has got into the British press at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/30/climate-change-deniers-monbiot?commentpage=4&commentposted=1
I tried to post a link to this article, but my comments to the Guardian are currently being “moderated” (i.e. censored). Would some reader here like to inform Guardian readers about this article?

geoffchambers

PS Actually, it would be brilliant if Alan himself could comment on the Monbiot Guardian article. These articles by Monbiot in the Guardian are the principle outlet in the British Press for the warmist / sceptic debate, sometimes attracting 1000+ comments. If Alan posted a comment, Monbiot could hardly fail to reply, and the debate would be open.
Reply: Do you mean Anthony? ~ ctm

Mike McMillan

Sure, you laugh now, but what happens when “60 Minutes” exposes your underhanded scheme to discredit the work of thousands of bureaucrats and academics on the government dole payroll. Hah! You shall wilt under the withering cross-examination from the perky Katie Couric.
Don’t let AMPAS know about this. Mr Sinclair has a sure Oscar™ contender in the “Documentary” (chuckle) category. Good to see someone from Michigan has found work.
We’ll have to see if this affects the old blog stats.

INGSOC

Well done Mr. Watts! I encounter (and demolish) these leftover hippies on a regular basis wherever I encounter them. Your dismemberment of these warmongers however is on the level of an art form! Well spoken sir!
I look forward to the coming attractions. I think I have figured some out, but will wait with joy for any new developments.
Cheers!

Ron de Haan

This is an unbelievable story.
How low can they go!
Anthony, you are handling it perfectly.
You keep concentrating on the science which is their weak spot and never cease to be the true gentleman that you are.
I admire you for your cool and detailed approach and I wish you all the best.

John Wright

I can only agree with HarryG. Otherwise, are there no lawyers on this blog? The time has come to wipe the floor with someone.

Sinclair must believe copyright means he has the right to copy. Right?

Patrik

Funny how he really can’t answer the question about solutions to the problem.
Not surprising.

DaveF

The level of threats and abuse hurled at those who disagree with the orthodoxy is symptomatic of an awfully weak argument, which is encouraging, in a bizarre sort of way. Keep on keeping on, Mr Watts.

Patrik

Also – has this guy really had his stuff peer reviewed? 😉

The Engineer

Monbiot at the Guardian has also jumped on the bandwagon.
But the guardians moderators are becoming like RCs. Anything
slightly against Monbiots opinions are removed immediately.

Dodgy Geezer

Mr Watts, you are NOT in a debate here.
You are in politics. That means, to the other side, you are DEFINED as wrong. There is no way of changing that. It is similar to the attitude which I understand that Americans have with respect to Communism – it MUST be wrong, and everything a communist does MUST be aimed at undermining the United States Constitution.
I am not a political person myself, but the game seems to involve each side shouting insults at the other, and then turning to their own supporters to measure the volume of cheering. The aim seems to be to be that of maintaining morale amongst your own troops by ‘scoring points’, and certainly nothing to do with examining the truth. Similar insults would be traded by the front lines of opposing armies in classical battles, and survive to this day in sporting encounters.
I suggest that, unless you want to move into the specialist world of media soundbites and spin-doctoring, you provide political opponents with as little material as possible to work on. They are likely to be better at lies and smearing than you. If you concentrate on the science you will build a sound foundation. If you ignore the political opposition, they are likely to make more and more extreme assertions in an effort to overtop their last insult, and these exaggerations will emphasis the hollowness of their position. I can see indications that this is already beginning to happen, and that it will be a winning strategy….

Patrick Davis

Anthony, I bet you were wearing your Playtex 24hr Girdle as I am sure your sides split with laughter with this fellow and his “6 minute” sound bites to get Gore’s “gospel” spread.

Donal

He he, I just knew someone wimped on the Kool-Aid. And so modest too! Sinclair’s site must be a hoot.

AndyH

…and watch out out you don’t get crushed by the bite sized nuggets!

dorlomin

Yes I agree with you, ad hominems are the sign of desperate people with no ability to argue science.
Luckily there are no ad hominem attacks here at WUWT. A clear sign they are the real scientists unlike the world government AGW lackies.

Capn Jack Walker

Thank you Anthony.
I only came to learn as many did.

te1emachus

This is the video that Arch Denier Anthony Watts (wattsupwiththat.com) tried to ban from YouTube.

Wow, I never realized you had that kind of power, it must come with the “Arch Denier” throne. I’m sure they wonder why so few people take them seriously even while they make such a trivial and commonplace incident sound like they are being violently repressed by the Gestapo.

Jack Simmons

It would appear a deep panic is setting in with the AGW crowd.
I guess this is what passes for research for some people.
Thank you so much Anthony for keeping a level head through all this.

RW

How much of what you’ve written about Peter Sinclair would you consider ad hominem?

FerdinandAkin

Mr. Watts,
Please by all means enter into a debate with Peter Sinclair.

HendrikE

Anthony,
Isn’t it an idea to put a link to this site and page on You Tube, so all these screamers can get the whole picture, and as an by-effect, have a chance to visit some more blogs on this site. It might enlighten a few…
Keep up the good work! Greetings from the low countries.

You have given Mr. Sinclair far more webspace than he is worthy of, and far more of your time than he warrants, Anthony. Let his kind bray while you snatch free moments to play with your kids. Green Men will dig their own holes unassisted.

JimB

Anthony,
Hats off to you for your professionalism and perseverance through this long, strange trip.
The value you bring to the table with your endeavours is incalculable.
h/t to YOU.
JimB

Neven

That’s a lot of words, but I still don’t understand why you had the video taken down. If you would just have ignored it and then written this text you would’ve come out a lot stronger. Taking it down was a big mistake, tactically speaking, especially because this blog is always full of indignation regarding suppressed reports etc. When you fight fire with fire, you become the fire, Anthony.
But I’m looking forward to the results of the surfacestations-project and an explanation in the eventuality it diverges from satellite data.

Allen63

I had missed that the NCDC data comparisons were BOTH “homogenized”.
Of course, that renders their comparison meaningless and their conclusion untrue. Are they liars or fools?

Paul Coppin

I have been down the same path with Youtube as well: having my name splashed across the top of a video while a copyright complaint was being dealt with, even though the thief carried on with delicious anonymity. While Youtube is many great things, there are some not so good things as well.
But, as they say in the ad business, there is no such thing as bad press. As a consequence of the video and of Grandia at Huff’n Puff, you will reach even more lay people, not all of whom are card carrying nutbars. And as the nutbars get increasingly juxtaposed against normalcy, their wackiness becomes even more apparent. Win-win, I’d say, even though the methodology may not be “ethical”

Purakanui

The last refuge of those with no proof and failed arguments is abuse. The more they rant and insult, the more they show that they know that they are losing.

JamesG

In the final analysis it’s only the truth that’s important. If it actually turns out that the software used does indeed correct for these station abnormalities then it’s a good 3rd party verification. The point of the homogenized plot was to show that a software procedure can remove bad station bias. That the graph is only plotted from 1950 because the 30’s were just as warm is the underhand part.
I’m sure your friend Steve McI said he expected the software would prove ok for the lower 48 and that the real issue is the correction, or lack of it, for the rest of the world. He even has an R script that did the comparison between 1+2 graded stations with the GISS plot (to show JohnV how to do easy gridding). Now that most of the stations are measured has anyone actually re-done it anywhere?

Jimmy Haigh

Excellent work Reverend Anthony.
I notiverd a broken link in your text – see below at “I have the original which you can view here”
“That NCDC original document did not even cite my published work, or even use my name to credit me. I have the original which you can view here Note also the name in the document properties and the number of USHCN2 stations above the graph.”
Reply: Fixed. Thanks ~ ctm

ROM

Here in Australia, the term “cult” is being used more and more in the last few months by even the man in the street to describe the AGW warmists and activists movement.
Increasingly, the AGW warmists are being classed as a “Mother Earth” worshipping “cult” that has no regard for facts or for human well being.
1 / As in all cults, this warmist “cult” has a hierarchical structure with a few very prominent and extremist leaders at the top that the cult acolytes coalesce around and base their beliefs on the teachings of that leadership.
2 / The “cult” members or acolytes do not accept any rational explanations for happenings, events or established facts that run contrary to their beliefs or the cult dictates.
3 / Strangely, it is often very intelligent and supposedly rational thinking and often quite highly qualified members of society who become the most fanatical of the cult’s membership and leadership.
4 / The cult members launch completely irrational ad hominen attacks, usually without any basis in fact, on anybody that dares to challenge their beliefs either in private or openly.
5 / No consideration is given to any human or animal suffering that may be imposed by following the dictates of the cult or it’s leadership.
6 / Facts are never needed for belief in the cult dictates, just a fanatical belief in the cult leadership and the dictates that leadership promulgates.
7 / Most of the more extreme cult members will remain believers for their entire lifetimes and nothing will shake them in those beliefs so the AGW cult now has a full generation to run before it’s final demise.
8 / The cult leadership will subtly change direction if the stars are moving against them and the acolytes will be told and will believe that is being done for the greater good of all or it has been dictated by the superior being.
All in all, the AGW warmist movement is now steadily deteriorating to the level of a western based Earth worshipping cult and that ultimately spells the end of it’s influence and power and it’s ability to influence the future.
As this realisation sinks in to many fringe dweller believers of the AGW movement, there will be a steady and increasing drift of former believers away from any avowed contact or belief in the teachings and dictates of the cult.
Like all new cults it still has and will have for some time yet, the means and ability to create a great deal of anguish, pain and harm before it’s run is ended.

rtgr

to be honoust Anthony it wasnt the smartest thing to do. You know how the game is played (especially on youtube), you really didnt see this comming?
You should have responded with a more convincing video yourself .

Bruce Cobb

That “debate” challenge is most likely an empty gesture. Not only are alarmists cowards, but they seem to know instinctively that their arguments are primarily emotional ones, not scientific, and they will be crushed like bugs.

Gary Heard

Was the title an Alliterative Attempt to Analyse the Asenine Ambiguity of Amoral Appropriation of Atmospherics Aspects?
Sorry, couldn’t resist it.
My thanks for the work you are doing for showing that results cannot be accurate if the positioning of the instrumentation is not consistant.

You are dealing with RELIGION, Mr. Watts. “Do not question our God, Gaia, and our priests which include Al Gore and James Hansen!” All throughout history and even into present day, religion has made people do some really stupid things. And if you question … the true believes assail you at force. They are an organized religion and they are gaining more and more followers through coercion, fear, lies, and brainwashing. They try to brainwash our impressionable young. This is more than a cult. It is better organized. It is a religion.

J.Hansford

Excellent stuff Anthony….. As they say.
….Any Publicity is good publicity.
Your blog traffic graph at the end of the month will be interesting.

bill

I wonder who wrote this:
A couple of months ago I wrote about the upcoming release of Windows Vista, and how I was disappointed that this new release from Microsoft and all of its Digital Rights Management (DRM) nonsense made the operating system turn your PC into a version of George Orwell’s Big Brother
DRM is all about protecting copyright. How can this be “nonsense”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/01/21/ubuntu-an-amazing-alternative-to-windows/#more-62
I also like the screen capture of ubuntu with its prominent BitTorrent icon.
It has some legal uses just not many.
However it’s good to see you have other people’s interests at heart!
Hhhhhmmmmm!

Des

This just goes to show that they are getting desperate, and that the tide is slowly turning.
have a feeling its not going to be quick enough though.

Paul Coppin

rtgr (04:07:22) :
to be honoust Anthony it wasnt the smartest thing to do. You know how the game is played (especially on youtube), you really didnt see this comming?
You should have responded with a more convincing video yourself .

No, Anthony has done this exactly right. Serving notice that he takes this seriously, as he has, is on target. He has no need to play the “game” on Youtube. Its not a game. There is a curious thing about Youtube: despite how viral certain videos go, most have no credible staying power at all (verbatim clip excerpts of newscasts are a bit of a different story).
A lot of the response is from people looking to see what the fuss is about. Anthony has spent about as many column-inches as he should. Challenging the videos on appropriate legal grounds is the the correct process. Eventually, it all comes to an end, unless Anthony keeps it in the spotlight. For Sinclair or Grandia to do so, leaves them open eventually to legal action, and ultimately makes them look (more) bizarre. Anyone who’s been involved in blogs (and Youtube is a blog, just like all the rest), knows you are wasting your energy chasing anonymous phantom commenters. You use the tools of deletion with effect.

Gail Combs

Neven (03:33:51) : said
“…That’s a lot of words, but I still don’t understand why you had the video taken down. If you would just have ignored it and then written this text you would’ve come out a lot stronger. Taking it down was a big mistake, tactically speaking, especially because this blog is always full of indignation regarding suppressed reports etc. When you fight fire with fire, you become the fire, Anthony….”
This is why
Anthony said
“…But my copyright had been ignored, with evidence that Mr. Sinclair as a publisher himself using the © symbol understands copyrights, and WB’s copyright also looked like it also had been ignored. And well, lets face it, he got the facts wrong about the project and never contacted or interviewed me to get any facts from my side (more on that later). So it could hardly be defined as “journalism” and the protections that such enterprise affords for “fair use”. So I filled out the form for copyright issues on YouTube, and pressed enter….”
That was a pretty tame reaction since he could have brought the copyright violation to Warner Brothers notice and let THEM sue the pants off Mr. Sinclair and thereby stayed clear of the fecal hitting the rotating blade. Instead he has explain what he has done and why for all the world to pick apart. He did nothing to Mr Sinclair except point out to YouTube he did not have Anthony’s permission for copyright use and more important probably DID NOT have WB’s. YouTube was the final decider on whether to leave the Video up. If Anthony’s complaint was groundless they would ignore it.
On the whole Anthony came off looking like a gentleman willing to stand-up for himself against a bully without descending to his level. Please realize that failure to defend his copyright could put his “copyright protection” at risk so a response was required. Anthony used the lowest level response unlike Mr. Sinclair.

Telboy

geoffchambers 01:11:46
Managed to post on the Grauniad Monbigot article directing readers to WUWT. Could be a case of pearls before swine, though.