Hump Day Hilarity: Bringing in the sieves

Science by Lucia, cartoon by Josh.

Josh writes:

Yesterday Lucia sent me an email about the recent Gergis et al ‘on hold’ paper with the subject title “Do you understand the math enough to do a cartoon?”.

My response was, of course, to nervously read the email to gauge just how embarrassing my assured ‘fail’ would be.

Luckily Lucia is a genius at words as well as numbers and after a few emails back and forth she had explained the problem sufficiently well and suggested a possible cartoon solution. So this is truly a joint cartoon with all the clever bits by Lucia and some drawing by me.

She even wrote a haiku.

Screening fallacy:

If you sieve for hockeysticks

that’s just what you’ll get.

If you want to understand more, head over to The Blackboard or Climate Audit, there’s lots to read.

Cartoons by Josh


The longest, most high resolution, most inconvenient paleoclimate data that hasn’t been published


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“Hockey stick-o-matic”! 😀 Now THAT’S funny!

John Whitman

In the cartoon, as Gerbis stands by the falling hockey sticks, she suddenly exclaims, “Holy Hockey Sticks, Batmann!”


Link to Josh’s cartoon is broken it appears. Luckily it can be seen on Josh’s site and I must say it’s a good one!
REPLY: Link removed, it was errant, besides the cartoon is right in front of you!


Photo link went dead. Try this one:
(Or this one: )

the “photo link” was errant, besides it is right in front of you!


The puck stops here !

Gergis another hockey stick …

Well, I don’t see the cartoon either here. Gerbis and the rest of her team will wince when they see it. Good job Lucia/Josh.
REPLY: Finally somebody with enough clarity to explain what was going on, previous commenters said “link” was bad…
Issue had to do with the train wreck image cache system at Bishop Hill’s website. You can’t view the image if you haven’t been to his website first, and of course the way the email was sent to me, it referenced the cache image rather than the actual one. So I made a local copy. I wish he’d dump that buggy thing and move to wordpress.
GerGis btw…- Anthony


Mathematician and wit David Berlinski once described a similar process in attempts to duplicate the origin of life:
“They began with what they needed and purified what they got until they got what they wanted.”

Anthony, as of 9AM ET, the cartoon is not showing up on your page, not “right in front” of us, which is what I think Darrin and daveburton were trying to say.
Try here:

Disregard. Your reply to Ric Werme showed up after I posted.

Richard T. Fowler

I think the caption should have been:
What is now commonly referred to as ‘research’.

Richard T. Fowler

Or perhaps just “Now commonly referred to as ‘research’.”

Jimmy Haigh.

I vaguely remember reading something when I was about 8 years old that if you dropped a needle on to a chessboard the probability of it falling entirely within a square was something to do with Pi.
If Lucia’s table had had a tablecloth with a chessboard pattern that would have bamboozled the warm-mongers even more! I think…


This is one of the best to date. Bravo!

Jimmy Haigh.

There could be afollow up cartoon showing the view from the other side of the wall where what is falling from the “waste” shut being the truth.

Jimmy Haigh.

Jimmy Haigh. says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
June 13, 2012 at 7:07 am
Gordon Bennet! Sorry – spell checking spelling error – “shut” should be “chute”…

Anthony Scalzi

I second RTF’s caption.

John F. Hultquist

I, having arrived at the party after the refreshments were found, think Lucia and Josh should be congratulated for their efforts.
A great cartoon. Fantastic.
Thanks, to both.
An aside: The chute for waste suggests the processors of the “data” hope the stuff going that way will disappear. In the early days of potato processing the peelings – thought of as waste – were flushed out the back of the structures where they decomposed and reentered the waterways and fields of the agricultural community. As the quantity of the processing grew the problems of waste had to be addressed.

S. Geiger

Very nice. Would be cool if a window were in the building allowing a glimpse of just how big that “waste pile” was compared to the few sticks that made through the machine. 😉


The only improvement on the cartoon is to remember that they are ‘green’. So, it is not ‘waste’, it is ‘compost’. Because obviously they do not recycle it. And it if reappears later, it resembles fertilizer.


The only improvement I can offer is to remember that the AGW crowd considers themselves “green.” So, it would not be “waste”. It would be “compost”. It is obviously not recycled, but if it does come back later, it really resembles fertilizer.

John Whitman

John Whitman says:
June 13, 2012 at 5:07 am
In the cartoon, as Gerbis stands by the falling hockey sticks, she suddenly exclaims, “Holy Hockey Sticks, Batmann!”
– – – – – – –
Oops. Sorry for misspelling her name, it should be Gergis.

Baa Humbug

Hockey Stick the Musical
Well this graph is Automatic, it’s Briffa-matic, it’s Mann-O-matic
Why it’s Gergis-lightning
We’ll get some overhead sifters and cherry picked proxies oh yeah
keep talkin’ whoa keep talkin’
Diversion cut offs and predictor selectors oh yeah
I’ll get the money, I’ll see you get the money
With hockeysticks on the floor, they’ll be waitin’ at the door
You know that ain’t shit when we’ll be gettin’ lots of tit in Gergis lightnin’
Go, Gergis lightnin’, you’re burnin’ up the grants
Gergis lightning, go Gergis lightning

The waste chute should circle right into a big red dumpster, overflowing with non-hockey sticks (arcs, zigzags, waves). The dumpster should be labeled:
Hide the Decline
Hide from FOIA

Since the fundamental basis of the CO2 driven CAGW hypothesis is a fallacious argumentum ad ignorantiam, i.e. It has to be CO2 because we can’t find “anything” else that fills the bill, the hypothesis would seem to be doubly “denied” as their modus operandi has been revealed to apparently include a rule to studiously avoiding looking anywhere where that “anything” could possibly exist.

Alan S. Blue

Do we have a total count of “Items -in-” to the sieve?
Not ‘how many papers’ or ‘how many temperature reconstructions’, but how many -trees-, how many sediment samples, how many ice cores?
Because the sieve is actually quite remarkable at excluding stuff, and the final number should be quite boggling. Especially compared with how many items come -out- of the sieve.


At least we now have two hockey sticks: Mann’s & Gergis, manufactured from the same material, fitting the same curve to the blade and extending the handle with similar statistics. Just in time for the Hockey Finals, at least I hope so. In the mean time, drop the puck., we have plenty of net minders.


Sorry for the double post… as you can tell by the name mangle, something strange was afoot with the browser and WordPress logging. Thought it was gone and tried again.

In the blue collar world there is an axiom:
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Same applies to climate models:
When all your “research” is climate model output, everything looks like global warming.
Great cartoon !!


For the non-scientific viewers (like me), this cartoon clearly explains that which had eluded me.
Absolutely brilliant.

Malcolm Miller

Hockey is a game played on grass. “Ice hockey” is a game played on ice. More countries play hockey than play ice hockey. Why then, do your artists always show an ice hockey stick and not a real hocket stick?


Malcolm Miller
Steve McIntyre is Canadian. As he has the puck, he names the game. Besides, the field hockey stick has a very curved but short blade and a shorter handle. Hence, no matter how the Team manipulates the data, one cannot get a right angle blade, people would surely talk. And with a short handle, you only get back to the Little Ice Age and nothing back to Medieval times. So it’s ice hockey, like it or not.

Beth Cooper

O the hockey sticks keep comin’
And the propaganda’s numbin’
But the critics they are watchin’
And they’re cleverly out foxin’
The very sticky methodology
Of the climate scientology.
For Steve, Lucia, Josh, they get the trick,
‘If yer sieve fer hockey sticks,
That’s what yer get.’ …you bet!


Some of them fall upside down? No worries, mate (flip)

Gunga Din

Malcolm Miller says:
June 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm
Hockey is a game played on grass. “Ice hockey” is a game played on ice. More countries play hockey than play ice hockey. Why then, do your artists always show an ice hockey stick and not a real hocket stick?
“Hockey” in the US is associated with ice hockey rather than field hockey. Also, the feild hockey stick has more of a “J” shape. On a time trend the tip would go backwards. While Mann’s “Hockey Stick” did set science back quite a bit, his trend resembled an ice hockey stick more than a field hockey stick.

Christopher Hanley

“…Do you understand the math enough to do a cartoon?…”
Although Karoly makes out that the paper has been merely “put on hold” due to some perhaps minor glitch in the mysterious methodology used (too complicated for a mere layperson to understand), I don’t see it as a matter of mathematics but of logic.
It is remarkable that scientists at PhD level and their leader (Karoly) could fall into such an elementary defect as circular reasoning.
It is, however, a flaw which bedevils the whole of IPCC ‘science’ and given the state of science education at present, is likely to continue for some time to come.

Harold Pierce Jr

I can’t resist: “What is Mike Mann’s favorite tune?

A plasterer's labourer

@Baa Humbug says:
June 13, 2012 at 10:04 am
Hockey Stick the Musical
That’s the funniest thing Iv’e read all day
and ‘You know that ain’t shit when we’ll be gettin’ lots of tit’ what a line!
All the very best to Ant’ Keep it up mate! you’re getting there.