Low brow PR antics from 'Skeptical Science' disguised as an April Fools joke

We mentioned before how we thought John Cook’s Hiroshima bomb global warming comparator sidebar widget for websites was ridiculous propaganda. True to form, yesterday the SkS Kidz tried to elevate the application status by creating what appears to be a fake “hack”, complete with a gussied up timeline of them supposedly solving the issue.



Of course, from my viewpoint, there was no hack at all, it was simply a juvenile attempt to draw attention to their widget by adding a collection of bogus metrics such as kitten sneezes, bovine flatulence, Santa chimney excursions, cheeseburgers, and yes, even “twerking” as these energy expenditures supposedly relate to heat collecting in the atmosphere. The hope was that it would generate some concern, maybe some outrage, which would translate to some news coverage. I’ve seen PR tricks like this before, and this wasn’t even a good one.

The dead giveaway is the way they describe the hack in the post about it. Gone are the concerned, simmering hushed condemnations we are used to hearing with their last embarrassment on the Internet, instead we get descriptions of each metric added with this bit of praise:

The bovine flatulence metric appears to get the total methane production from Methane Emissions from Cattle, by Johnson and Johnson, 1995, which puts the figure at 80 teragrams per year.   The energy released by combusting methane is easy to find.  Of course, this doesn’t account for increases in cattle populations in the past twenty years.

Other figures are easier to verify.  The hacker at least seems to have done his (or her) homework.

But twerking by itself is just plain wrong.  Mixing twerking with science is an abomination.

The comments left on the post also indicate some, but not all, figured out this “hack” was bogus. This was co-written by the same Bob Lacatena that supposedly had the previous SkS hack all figured out, only to be mocked by Lucia in six parts.

As Mark Steyn described in his uncertainty over Bill McKibben’s recent call for climate scientists to go on strike:

But I had to read this piece twice just to make sure it wasn’t one of those leaden April Fool’s jests the author can’t quite pull off.

In the case of this post from the SkS kids “…leaden April Fool’s jests the author can’t quite pull off.” sums it up pretty well in my opinion.

This PR widget was already ridiculous with Hiroshima bombs, now this lame attempt to bring attention to it on April Fools Day simply elevates their work to desperation status.



48 thoughts on “Low brow PR antics from 'Skeptical Science' disguised as an April Fools joke

  1. Sorry I will still Not Bother to visits SS.
    There is enough rubbish in my life already.

  2. We need a widget for “missing Hiroshima Bombs”. The amounts that climate science originally forecast to be accumulating each year versus the amount that is actually happening and is then “missing”. Like most things in climate science, the amount missing is about 70% of that forecasted.

  3. What is SkS? I did a search and couldn’t find anything credible via the results. Is there something I am missing here on page 30 or something?

  4. If you convert Hiroshimas to W/m^2 it comes out to only 0.5 for the last 17 years, or only about 25% of the direct forcing of 1.94W/m^2 since preindustrial. This is NOT a widget for alarm, it is one for low sensitivity.

  5. I believe SkS inadvertently laid bear the ludicrousness of his H. bombs of energy by the equally acceptable kitten sneezes. Hey, why not. At least it would give them a human heart.

  6. Anthony/Mods… Delete this post after reading. Just an fyi…
    Extra letter in word in first sentence: “Hiromshima” Drop middle “m”
    [Done. Thank you. Mod]

  7. There is a Russian saying that goes along the lines;
    “A good joke is 10% joke and 90% true.”
    This is not even 1% true which is why it fails as a joke.

  8. When you’re as irrelevant as SkS, it can seem like you’re on your own planet in a foreign reality … and looney can seem sane … this AGW cult is really out there.

  9. Yes Alan Robertson, that’s true but the picture is a Chinese Copy of The Russian Developed, “Samozariadnyia Karabina Simonova” (translated as “Russian military carbine”). Of course SKS has other meanings, but Cook’s Skeptical Science rarely has any meaning for me.
    Other verified meanings for the abbreviation SKS include ….
    Abbr. Meaning
    SKS Szkolny Klub Sportowy (Polish: School Sports Club)
    SKS Some Kind Soul
    SKS Vojens Lufthavn, Denmark – Jojens (Airport Code)
    SKS Snow King Special (Polaris Snowmobiles)
    SKS Suomen Kartografinen Seura (Cartographic Society of Finland)
    SKS Syarikat Kejuruteraan Sistematik Sdn Bhd (Brunei)
    SKS Strany Konzervativní Smlouvy
    SKS St Kevin’s School (Gold Coast, Australia)
    SKS Stanley Knowles School (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
    SKS Svalbard KLM SDS Station
    SKS Sustainable Knowledge Society (information science)
    SKS Swayam Krushi Sangha
    SKS Shanghai Krupp Stainless (Shanghia, China)
    SKS SIRS Knowledge Source (ProQuest software)
    SKS Smart Key System (cars)
    There are a host of other known casual or “unverified meanings”
    Shelby Kate Schmitz
    Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura
    Self Knowledge Symposium
    Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran
    Satuan Kredit Semester
    Sistem Kredit Semester
    Storm King School
    Sigma Kappa Sigma
    Stock for Standard
    Skaitos Kompiuteriu Servisas
    Szkolnego Klubu Sportowego
    South Kent School
    Skandinaviska Killi Saellskapet
    Same Key System
    Storage Key Storage
    Schiff Kreidler Shell
    Swayam Krishi Sangam
    Survival Knife System
    Sintrale Kommisje Skûtsjesilen
    Sistem Kebut Semalam
    Samaj Kalyan Sangstha
    Sate Khas Senayan
    Suomen Kansan Sinivalkoiset
    Svenska Kemistsamfundet Swedish
    Solar King Supply
    Superconducting Kaon Spectrometer
    Shwachman-Kulczycki score
    sulfated keratan sulfate
    Synchronizing Key Server
    Sistem Kebut Semalem
    Straight Key Standard
    Schweizer Kavallerie Schwadron
    Smart Kids Software
    Slovenski Katehetski Svet
    Single Kernel Simulation
    Stocks and Shotgun
    swayam krishi sangham
    Sigma Kappa Sorority
    Stop Kindersex Stop
    Stichting Karnaval Steenbergen
    Samozaryadnyi Karabin Sistemi
    Sayoc Kali Silak
    Skandinavisk Killi Selskab
    Stapler Kran Service
    Sintrale Kommisje Skutsjesilen
    Sea Kayak Specialists
    Scanning Kinetic Spectroscopy
    Special Knowledge and Skills
    Studentpartiet Kommunpartiet Studenterna
    SuRgiCaL KiLLinG SprEE
    Shariket Kahraba Skikda
    Spatial Knowledge Systems
    Schlamm Kompostierungs System
    Silent Killing Squad
    Sena Kalyan Sangstha
    Solar Kombi Speicher
    Smart Kids Savers
    Symmetric Key Services
    Segel Kameradschaft Scheppen
    sight korsak svd
    Samaj Kallyan Samity
    Samaj Kallyan Sangstha
    Shearing Knife Sheath
    Studencki Komitet Solidarnosci
    Sealed Knot Society
    Sacramento Kings Sports
    Samuel Kass Sam
    Senhit Keren Seraye
    Shaikh Kahlifa bin Salman
    Staceyjoy Knitting Stitch
    Stunt Kites in Sweden
    Sundance Kayak School
    Suzuki Katana Specials
    Switzerland Karten der Schweiz
    Science Killing Scoundrel
    No doubt there are further possibilities.

  10. These boobs say:

    The bovine flatulence metric appears to get the total methane production from Methane Emissions from Cattle, by Johnson and Johnson, 1995, which puts the figure at 80 teragrams per year. The energy released by combusting methane is easy to find. Of course, this doesn’t account for increases in cattle populations in the past twenty years.

    Heh, some environmentalists. The USEPA just released an updated methane inventory, including enteric emissions from cattle, methane contributions from manure etc.

    Enteric fermentation is the largest anthropogenic source of CH4 emissions in the United States. In 2012, enteric fermentation CH4 emissions were 141.0 Tg CO2 Eq. (25.0 percent of total CH4 emissions), which represents an increase of 3.1 Tg CO2 Eq. (2.3 percent) since 1990. This increase in emissions from 1990 to 2012 in enteric generally follows the increasing trends in cattle populations. From 1990 to 1995 emissions increased and then decreased from 1996 to 2001, mainly due to fluctuations in beef cattle populations and increased digestibility of feed for feedlot cattle. Emissions generally increased from 2002 to 2007, though with a slight decrease in 2004, as both dairy and beef populations underwent increases and the literature for dairy cow diets indicated a trend toward a decrease in feed digestibility for those years. Emissions decreased again from 2008 to 2012 as beef cattle populations again decreased.

  11. Just hack happy at SKS, the sound of one hand clapping or just heads exploding, situation as usual at the abnormal tree house, I feel another Josh cartoon coming on.

  12. Could have been worse, their toy box might, maybe, perhaps, been broken into and their favourite dress up costumes taken.

  13. As Mark Steyn described in his uncertainty over Bill McKibben’s recent call for climate scientists to go on strike:
    Seems Mark Steyn is finding within the climate field a treasure trove of “interesting” personalities he can mock and ridicule. What fun this will be.

  14. Not content with trying to scare people with their end of world cries, they now try to scare their own patrons into stopping using their widgets … bizarre.
    If you had a widget that reportedly (joke or no joke) had been hacked, would you keep it on your site?

  15. I thought the kitten sneezes was a p155take! Ah well, perhaps I failed the gullibility test there.

  16. Science Killing Scoundrel says:
    April 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm
    Yep, that’s a CHICOM copy of the Soviet SKS. CHICOMS are Commies, too. You went to a lot of trouble to deflect my hint that Greens are watermelons, Red inside.
    I won’t say it’s always fun when Commies Greens drive by, but it’s always obvious.

  17. It’s probably sensible that somebody read and keep an eye on them, for their own safety if nothing else. But it’s not going to be me. Even here I won’t read most articles about that website.

  18. If you think your site has been compromised in any way you would take it down, or your ISP would. If a hacker can change a widget there is no telling what other nasties they can drop on the site. Leaving it up while it is being secured is no less that irresponsible. PowerDNS provide domain name resolution. I have informed them that for a period of time they were providing DNS for a compromised site. I don’t expect a response.

  19. “”leaden April Fool’s jests the author can’t quite pull off.” sums it up pretty well in my opinion.”
    I’m fairly convinced that somebody was pulling something off…..

  20. Yes, if i followed SKS then I suppose I would continue to host the widget even after i thought it had been hacked.
    The SKS have a strong following of true believers. After Bob Lacatena’s lengthy tale disclosing the hilarious details of a second incident in which user names and passwords were stolen their readers reacted oddly.  Here’s an example,
    “MP3CE at 08:16 AM on 24 March, 2014
    Realy KUDOS to you, guys !!! What a great job you do here!”

  21. OT. The BBC & the Wet Office in the UK are making hay whilst the Sun doesn’t shine about the weather conditions over here. For the first time I have heard them in the last couple of days down drone on about “pollution” over Britain, referring to UK emissions & EU emissions being blown over to us by winds from north Africa, aclong with vast dust clouds of sand particles, whipped up by well known meteorological phenomena, & being deposited on the ground, streets, & cars. They don’t miss a trick. The emission are ALWAY there ALL year round, not that they are significant in any case. So, what do they do? Classically, they get spokespersons/come-drama-queens to spout about “health” & “risk” telling us all that we should stay indoors all day, don’t do any strenuous exercise especially if you have a chest condition, coupled with the statements like We don’t (yes we do) want to panic or frighten people just make them aware (read scared)!” The good old Precautionary Principle is always good for a scare story! Where I live in Devon in the South-West of England, we have beautiful iron rich & fertile clayey soil, & it’s ALL mud when wet (as it is now), & ALL dust when dry as the tractors roar around the lanes! We’re used to it. Just letting you know what is coming your way re-ramping up the pollution scares as AGW is clearly dying in Europe, it’s just going to be a long lingering death. On Channel 4 News last night, Richard Tol, dissenting UNIPCC professor advising the GWPF & other organisations, was hung out to dry by biased anchorman/woman letting loose the Grantham Institute’s rabid dog Bob Ward unfettered rantings against Professor Tol, & very little opportunity for redress the balance, yet more not-so-impartial” reporting in the UK! Details over at Bishop Hill’s blog. AtB

  22. … Pass ‘often wrong john’ a brown paper bag so that he can re-breathe some of his own co2 contribution to stop his giggling before he wets himself.

  23. How about a widget to track the accumulation of bogus climate science? This could be represented in terms of m^3 of flatulence, gallons of acid reflux, pounds of manure, …

  24. Kitten sneezes divided by Hiroshima bombs times the cube root of pigs in a poke at half past a monkeys ass will equate to AGW logic about something…go figure…or not.

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