Skeptical Science gets Romm-Bombed

Reposted from Popular Technology with permission

Skeptical Science: Too Inaccurate for Joe Romm

In March of 2012, the climate alarmist website Skeptical Science had their forums “hacked” and the contents posted online. In these it was revealed that Skeptical Science was found to be even too inaccurate for fellow alarmist Joe Romm of Climate Progress,

“Just got this email from Joe Romm: You must do more post vetting. More errors are creeping into posts and it will start making people like me wary of using them.” – John Cook [Skeptical Science], December 2, 2011

This was met with both admission and denial,

“…I somewhat agree with Romm. There does seem to be a perpensity of us towards producing masss volumes of articles when I feel sometimes we should be spending more time critiquing.” – Robert  [Skeptical Science], December 2, 2011

“I am pretty much done reading Romm. His knee-jerk attacks on anything remotely contradictory to his own narrative as “flawed” are irksome in the extreme.” – thingsbreak [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

“I don’t care for Romm either, […] For the sake of accuracy, we can afford to wait until the heavy hitters have weighed in, we don’t have to pretend to an authority we don’t have.” – neal [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

“Romm is waspish and curt, […] but I have noticed that SkS tends to run into trouble when we do our own analysis.” – Albatross  [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

“I think our own analysis needs to be vetted externally or by those absolutely qualified on the subject matter prior to being put out there.” – Robert  [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

“Romm was the one to rubbish the Schmittner study. He got burnt. Tough titties.” – Rob  [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

Maybe Romm is getting a touch jealous of SkS’s rising fame.” – Rob Honeycutt [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011

References:

From the Skeptical Science “leak”: Interesting stuff about generating and marketing “The Consensus Project” (Tom Nelson, March 23, 2012)

Skeptical Science hacked, private user details publicly posted online (Skeptical Science, March 25, 2011)

Alarmism or Not? Joe Romm and the ‘Crying Wolf’ Dilemma (Watts Up With That?, May 1, 2012)

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Jeff Alberts

The real problem is S(k)S has way too many Robs.
/sarc

Jimmy Haigh

They are all living in “la-la land”.

The Albatross guy doesn’t want his name out.

DaveA

What, you mean science articles written by ageing hippie douches aren’t always right?
(credit South Park)

Isn’t that just so Establishment? “This guy’s criticism of us is right, therefore he’s some sort of extremist.”

Mark T

What’s a perpensity?
Mark

OMG….the SkS brats booted from the Romm Romper Room ? ? ?
Nice to know that the Truth does not face a unified opposition…..

Miaoww!

malcolm

“Maybe Romm is getting a touch jealous of SkS’s rising fame.” – Rob Honeycutt [Skeptical Science], December 3, 2011
LOL

Harry

[snip]

Gary Hladik

The real problem is that they’re neither “skeptical” nor “scientific”. If they would only live up to their name, their problems would disappear.
Well, except for one: then warmists would call them the D-word. But I consider that a badge of honor.

Maybe Romm will now know how the SS crew truly feels about him.

davidmhoffer

Two key individuals from SkS admitting that they get into trouble when they discuss the science themselves. Oddly, they remain certain as to which science is correct and which not, despite admitting that they don’t understand it so badly that they look like fools when they try and explain it.
Can you imagine a judge standing up in a court of law, announcing that he doesn’t understand the evidence, and then rendering a judgment? (Happens every day except the admission part).

sHx

The Albatross guy doesn’t want his name out.
I agree with, Shub. If you’re going to quote from tree-hut docs (the secret SkS forum), then only forum names ought to be used. It is up to SkS’s albatros to decide when, where and how to ‘come out’, so to speak.

David Ball

Mark T says:
September 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm
It is an admission of affection. Example; He walked up to our table and reading from his notepad said ” I am your perpensity.”

sHx

Further to my earlier comment about ‘the albatross guy’, see how SteveMc handled a similar case just recently.
http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/20/conspiracy-theorist-lewandowsky-tries-to-manufacture-doubt/#comment-356590
REPLY: Based on that example, I’ll follow suit. But these guys really do need to learn that words and actions have consequences. – Anthony

numerobis

So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime and nobody should report on what was illicitly revealed, but hacking CRU or SkS is good clean fun?

ursus augustus

Ladies and Gentlemen,
They are catfighting among themselves! Riioowwr! fssssk,! fsssk! John Cook and co wanting to scratch Joe Romm’s eyes out! LOL
Good news indeed and passingly amusing.

James Allison

There is something about these guys that brings this skit to mind.

numerobis says: “So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime”

When did the Heritage Foundation get hacked?

davidmhoffer

numerobis says:
September 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm
So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime and nobody should report on what was illicitly revealed, but hacking CRU or SkS is good clean fun?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Just to be clear, nobody outright lied to get the SkS documents and, more importantly, nobody falsified documents and attempted to attribute it to them. The comparison to Heritage is fallacious. There was nothing embarrasing in the legitimate Heritage documents (hence the forgery) while the SkS documents are littered with tacit admissions of guilt.
As for comparison to the CRU, the guilty party or parties remains unknown. That being the case, we cannot determine if it was a hack or a whistle blower. The preponderance of evidence suggests a whistle blower. Again, there was much to be embarrased about, and nothing forged.
Nice try mumerobis, but the moral equivalence just isn’t comparable.

intrepid_wanders

Shub Niggurath says:
September 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm
The Albatross guy doesn’t want his name out.

And as pointless as it may be, “Rob” will like to be redacted as well.
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/sks-behind-the-scenes-on-deaf-ears/
The post should be renamed “Small Kindness from The Air Vent”. Apparently, you did not get the minutes at our last “Big Oil Meeting” where we handed out the blog bonuses 😉

Tom in Worc (US)

IMHO,
sHx & Shub have it right. Take the names out.
My 2 cents.

pat

i’m sceptical:
26 Sept: SMH: Reuters: 100m to die by 2030 if climate action fails: report
More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.
As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA…
The full report is available at: http://daraint.org/
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/100m-to-die-by-2030-if-climate-action-fails-report-20120926-26k4d.html
25 Sept: New Scientist: Climate change already harming the global economy
According to the Climate Vulnerability Monitor – a report by Spanish non-profit organisation DARA – in 2010 climate change shaved 1.6 per cent off global gross domestic product…
If the claims stand up, it boosts the case for urgent action, says Cameron Hepburn of the London School of Economics. “Caps on emissions should be much tighter, and carbon prices much higher, than they are now.”…
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22300-climate-change-already-harming-the-global-economy.html
24 Sept: RespondingToClimateChange: John Parnell: All eyes on New York as climate change debate moves to the Big Apple
New York is the stage for a week of climate change debate starting at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday…
Later on Wednesday DARA, together with the Government of Bangladesh – the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum – will launch the second edition of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor…
The Clinton Global Initiative will also host its annual meeting with energy and sustainable development on the agenda, with events taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Finally, the Climate Group has organised Climate Week NYC to coincide with the UN meet-up. Events covering food, energy, economics, policy and culminating in the Cleanweb Hackathon that will see teams given 28 hours to design and develop working apps that address resource use…
http://www.rtcc.org/policy/all-eyes-on-new-york-as-climate-change-debate-moves-to-the-big-apple/

Christian_J.

“numerobis says:
September 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm
So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime and nobody should report on what was illicitly revealed, but hacking CRU or SkS is good clean fun?”
You should really be aiming that question at Peter H. Gleick, I heard he was or is the expert.

numerobis says September 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm
So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime and nobody should report on what was illicitly revealed, but hacking CRU or SkS is good clean fun?

Run it up the ‘ole flag pole as they say … caught warranted and justified ‘flak’ for doing so … shot down in ruins as the saying goes since the proposition runs afoul of known facts despite attempted at ‘twisting and spinning’ … and not even a spec of ‘pride’ left to hide one’s revealed privates now have we … I’ll guess you’ll be running along now … but wait! Will you join us in mid November for the (now) annual Gore-a-thon-dirty-weather-climate thingy?
.

Simon

“I think our own analysis needs to be vetted externally or by those absolutely qualified on the subject matter prior to being put out there.”
It’s a pity other websites don’t use this yardstick before publishing.

R

Isn’t it ironic when people hiding behind pseudonyms such as “Poptech” decide to try and out people’s identities. Andrew Khan certainly do better methinks.

J.Hansford

Fighting among themselves now ‘eh… Sounds like the beginning of the end for that Blog. The alarmist sites never last long once the funding goes or they fall out of favor with the sugar daddy.

Perpensity – n. 1. Perpension.
Perpension n. 1. Careful consideration; pondering.
Umm… maybe they meant Propensity? An innate inclination; a tendency
http://www.tfd.com

Bluebottle

Posting this stuff mainly reflects badly on you, not them. At one stage you took a principled stand on this, now what? Holding up someone’s else’s stolen underwear for ridicule? Forget moral equivalence and comparisons, you stand or fall based on your own actions and this is only to your discredit, and that’s how it will be seen in time. Black mark on your record. Fail.
REPLY: Lessons on integrity from a person with a fake name – gotta love it. -Anthony

pat

EDF still flogging a dead horse!
25 Sept: WaPo: Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog: Are the U.S. and Europe headed for a trade war over airline carbon fees?
But Congress didn’t take kindly to a unilateral attempt by Europe to tax U.S. airlines. The House has already passed a bill that would forbid air carriers from participating in the program, period. The Senate version is a little more flexible: It would allow the U.S. transportation secretary to determine whether it was in the country’s interest to participate in the program…
Both the House and Senate bills also require the Department of Transportation to hold airlines “harmless” in the event that they get slapped with fines for not participating in the E.U. program. And if U.S. airlines don’t comply with the law, they’ll face as much as $22 billion in fines between now and 2020, according to one estimate. So who will cover the airlines’ fines? Taxpayers? The bills’ supporters have remained fairly vague on this point.
There are two possible scenarios here, explains Annie Petsonk, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund. First, if the Senate bill becomes law and airlines are forced to pay fines to the E.U., they could always try suing the government to recoup their losses — in which case they would be paid out of the taxpayer-backed Judgment Fund…
An alternative, under an obscure but important U.S. law called the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act (with practice, this rolls off the tongue), would be for the United States to declare that the E.U. is acting unreasonably and impose fines on European airlines in retaliation. That money could then be used to reimburse U.S. airlines. The trouble, Petsonk notes, is that Europe has its own laws that allow its regulators to retaliate in turn. Soon we’re in a never-ending battle over trans-Atlantic fees and fines. “Then you have a full-blown trade war,” says Petsonk…
Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases. While airlines account for just 3 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, that’s expected to increase up to 700 percent by 2050. And a recent report from the World Bank found that a modest carbon tax — say, $25 per ton — could cut aviation emissions by 5 to 10 percent in the short term, mostly as airlines retired their older, more inefficient aircraft early. In theory, says Petsonk, the United States and Europe should be able to hammer out a deal on this minor step to address climate change…
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/25/could-the-u-s-and-europe-start-a-trade-war-over-airline-carbon-fees/

“R” says September 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm
Isn’t it ironic when people hiding behind pseudonyms such as …

This reminds me of the old 1970’s – 1980’s original Seasame street series ala:
. . . . . “This message brought to you by the letter ‘R’. ”
.

R says:
September 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm
Isn’t it ironic when people hiding behind pseudonyms such as “Poptech” decide to try and out people’s identities. Andrew Khan certainly do better methinks.

My friend standing next to me is laughing his ass off that you think that is my real last name.

The emails were taken without authorisation – stolen. The details of how are not important. To justify publishing stolen documents you need to show the “public interest” defense; that it is more important than the right of privacy. Colleges disagreeing about the quality of each others work is not the same a illigally blocking FOIA or faking stuff, or threaning behavour. So where’is the beef!.
REPLY: Gosh, where where you when Peter Gleick stole emails and sent them to the media under a fake name with a fake letter with made up facts? Cook admits that he thinks lax security at SkSk was the problem and anyone could just walk in and look at them.
John Cook writes in a post on 23 February 2012:

Got an email from Brian P this morning saying that the whole forum was publicly available to him, even when he wasn’t logged in. I checked and this was true.A little panicky, I investigated and worked out that all the permission levels of each forum had been set down to zero. Normally, they’re set so only authors can access most of them, except the translator forum is also accessible to translators. Strangely though, there is an admin forum that only admins can access and that wasn’t set to zero – it was still set so only admins can access it.
I have no idea how this happened. Several possibilities come to mind. First, I did it by accident when I was screwing around with the database sometime. Someone with admin access (there are about half a dozen SkSers with this access) made the change. Or we were hacked in some way and the hacker changed the levels. None of the options seem likely to me but the most likely is human error on my part although the fact that the admin forum was still set at admin level belies some kind of blanket wiping of all levels.
So I’m a little freaked out – it’s not knowing how this happened that has me most worried. Has anyone been looking at the forum and how long has this been available? But I’ve been procrastinating some of those security measures that have been suggested to me and as soon as I get to work this morning, am going to implement some of those measures.

Pretty hard to argue “stolen” with an admission of public access like that. – Anthony

MangoChutney

@shub
Don’t forget “Albertross” is the guy who stated he had followed my denier history for several years at the BBC, Bishophill and WUWT when I crossed swords with him at SkS. Albatross considers this sort of activity his “work” and (tin foil hat at the ready) it seems SkS may have their own denier profile database. (I could be wrong and a llittle paranoid, but it was a shock when I realised Albatross was following my “carreer denial”)
Having said that, I hide behind a nickname (used to work for a Uni and didn’t want to be identified for fear of losing my job – retired now, so not a problem, but quite like the name), so I can understand his reasons for not wanting to be outed.

R

“In March this year, the SkS database was illegally hacked and private user details and correspondence was uploaded onto the web. At the time, I didn’t give too many details about how the hacker was able to obtain the entire database for security reasons, but I will share more details now. The hacker hijacked an SkS user account, uploaded files onto the server enabling them to gain access to the entire database, deleted log files to cover their tracks and stole a dump of the entire database. This was achieved using more than two dozen different IP addresses from all over the world over a 5 hour period. At the time, I posted that the hacker uploaded the personal details of every SkS user account, but I’ve since discovered that he omitted the personal details of any known climate contrarians in our user database. While posting the private details on the web, the hacker also lied about his illegal actions, a falsehood all too eagerly accepted by those needing an excuse to partake in the unethical process of publishing stolen private correspondence.”
Anthony are you going to continue to imply that the issue was lax security?
REPLY: I think that was a face saving effort on Cook’s part – he’s provided nothing of substance to back that up. Given that Cook endorses all sorts of deletion shenanigans and post facto editing of content and comments at SkS I have no reason to believe his explanation. The act still looks more like sloppiness than a hack, as a hacker with full control could do a lot of damage, like delete entire threads and hijack the home page…but none of that happened. – Anthony

Bluebottle

[snip – sorry whining hour is over -mod]

It wasn’t just the Skeptical Science forum that was stolen and published on the web – it was the entire user database (minus a few select users whose private details the hacker didn’t want exposed). This includes the email address and IP address of every user in our database. Anyone who has viewed the file containing the hacked forum can confirm that it contains the entire user database and that the forum was amended to display the email and IP address of every person posting on the forum.
It turns out when our forum was laid open to the public, my speculation that someone might have hacked the database and changed the forum levels was correct. The hacker gained access to an admin level user account, uploaded files onto our server and obtained a dump of our entire database. Publishing illegally obtained private correspondence comes with it’s ethical issues – one can choose to ignore ethics or justify their unethical behaviour with justifications like “the illegally obtained private details were stolen due to lax security”. Of course, the latter justification is hardly grounds for unethical behaviour but even so, it’s based on a falsehood promoted by the hacker in the same comment where he first uploaded the entire user database.

DirkH

numerobis says:
September 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm
“So, just to be clear: hacking Heritage is a horrible crime and nobody should report on what was illicitly revealed, but hacking CRU or SkS is good clean fun?”
numerobis, you are a total troll. I have looked at – who was it? deltoid? Sks? Anyway, that alarmist site that published Gleick’s rather boring loot and his incoherent, childish “strategy memo” fabrication. We are all for spreading Gleick’s fantasy strategy memo in all its ridiculousness far and wide and we have reported what we found. Remember how he smuggled his own name in there as an example of a prominent Heartland fiend? And we all had a good laugh at his narcicism.
Just go ahead doing what you’re doing; we crave the laughs.

DirkH

John Cook writes in a post on 23 February 2012:
“[…] I have no idea how this happened. Several possibilities come to mind. First, I did it by accident when I was screwing around with the database sometime. Someone with admin access (there are about half a dozen SkSers with this access) made the change. Or we were hacked in some way and the hacker changed the levels. None of the options seem likely to me”
The most plausible explanation is that one of the SkSers is slowly seeing the light and has decided to come clean. There’s only so much hypocrisy and fanaticism some can bear.

DirkH

Rob, Robert, and Rob Honeycutt…
…there must be a goon cloning machine in Dr. Cook’s lair…
“Which one of you is the rotten clone that set the permission levels to public?”

Shevva

LoL, bye SkS you will not be missed.
Oh and not one of you SkS acoyltes has mentioned Poor old Joanne Nova being hacked for real constantly, then again I expect no less.

John Mason

Why have the quoted posts been edited? It is not the first time that I have noticed this feature in hacked SkS material.

Paul Coppin

stacyglen says:
September 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm
The emails were taken without authorisation – stolen. The details of how are not important. To justify publishing stolen documents you need to show the “public interest” defense; that it is more important than the right of privacy. Colleges disagreeing about the quality of each others work is not the same a illigally blocking FOIA or faking stuff, or threaning behavour. So where’is the beef!.

Be interesting to hear your opinion of Wikileaks….
John Cook says:
September 26, 2012 at 2:15 am
[…]
Publishing illegally obtained private correspondence comes with it’s ethical issues – one can choose to ignore ethics or justify their unethical behaviour with justifications like “the illegally obtained private details were stolen due to lax security”.

[…]
Thank you for participating. Ethics is a wicked referee in the info game. Debating the ethics of “private” communications is but one aspect in the climate info wars. Of no less relevance is the ethics surrounding alarmism, manufactured truth, outright lies, spurious research, and ideology-peddling. In reality, ethics left the arena long ago. On an individual basis, ethical behavior can rule one’s conscience, but for too many on the warmist side, climate discussions long ago passed any pretence of being eithical. What passes for politico-public climate science discussion in most cases is the tyranny of the authority of willful ignorance of real science.

Skeptical Science and Accuracy?

Richard M

I think a better name for this thread might be …. When Narcissists Collide …. gets to the heart of the situation.
BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever seen “Heartland” spelled so badly 😉

John Endocott

@John Cook
And how exactly did Sks treat Mr Glieks illegally obtained and falseafied documents? What sauce for the goose, Mr Cook….

dikranmarsupial

Dear Anthony, thank you for redacting the personal details again. All three hacks were utterly reprehensible,but at the end of the day what really matters is what the scienc actually says. I was one of several contributors at SkS that went on the record to register our approval of your previous stance on the SkS hack, words and actions do indeed have consequences – sometimes they are positive.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Skeptical-Science-hacked-private-user-details-publicly-posted-online.html
dana1981 at 01:17 AM on 25 March, 2012
Anthony Watts immediately notified us when the hacker tried to post the stolen information on WUWT, and has not allowed it to be posted, so he deserves credit for doing the right thing. Unfortunately a couple of other blogs have allowed their dislike of SkS to trump their ethical standards.
logicman at 02:46 AM on 25 March, 2012
I would like to add my own voice to others in thanking Anthony Watts for not posting the hacked information.
The hacker has caused some inconvenience, but has not found anything of value in the scientific debate. Facts, properly evaluated, cannot be outweighed by private conversations. …
Dikran Marsupial at 03:00 AM on 25 March, 2012
I would also like to thank Anthony Watts and the other bloggers who have refused to share the links; it is greatly appreciated. I hope the hacker draws the conclusion from their response that his or her actions were not in any way justifiable, especially revealing contributors private details, that was absolutely reprehensible.
Daniel J. Andrews at 03:48 AM on 25 March, 2012

Good on Anthony for his refusal to host the stolen material. That’s two complimentary things I’ve heard about him today from sites that have challenged some of his posts in the past.
Albatross at 07:29 AM on 25 March, 2012

Thanks everyone here for their kind words and support, and thanks to Anthony Watts for taking the high road.

Bluebottle says: “Posting this stuff mainly reflects badly on you, not them.”
I would like to agree with you but I cannot. We have had three clear instances of illegality:
CRU where FOI law was broken
Gleich who stole documents and most likely forged others
Lew. Who if I had the money I would take to court for his vindictive libel.
In each case we have followed the procedures, made the complaints, relied on their “peers” to do the right thing. And in each and every case the crimes of their peers is worse than the original because they are not so much condoning as encouraging the illegal behaviour.
We have been utterly failed not only by the legal authorities but academics have shown themselves to have disgusting immoral attitude that demonises anyone from outside who dares to criticise them …. even when that criticism is that their colleagues have clearly and overtly broken the law.