GOOGLE and the ‘adjustment’ of inconvenient viewpoints, especially climate

Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen

 

google_kicks_minoritiesDisclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, Kip Hansen,  and do not reflect the opinions of WUWT or Anthony Watts, owner and editor of this blog.  This is an independent Opinion Piece.  It is published here by the kind forbearance of Anthony Watts and does not necessarily reflect Mr. Watts’ personal or professional viewpoints. Any errors are mine alone — Kip Hansen.

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Long Item Warning:  This piece is 3600 words long and is estimated to take the average reader 18 minutes to read (every minute worth your effort).  I urge you to set it aside and return to it when you really have the time to read it in its entirety.  This is an important issue for most readers here. — Kip Hansen

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An odd thing happened when I wrote two recent essays regarding changes that Google has made to its web indexing/search algorithm.  There were two different general opposition opinions expressed:  1) Google is doing nothing wrong, they have a near monopoly just because their product is better and people like it and 2) (lots of noise ending in) “….how dare you accuse Google of being bad!”

It’s a good thing that this site isn’t run by Google, because, if this were Google, those contrary voices would have had to be de-ranked, demoted, and sent to the very bottom of the comments list. After all, it is my opinion that they might be “mis-leading”, “low-quality opinions”, “offensive” (at least to me) or (according to my world-view) “false information”.

Of course, I haven’t really accused Google of anything — Google has publicly announced what it intended to do and has now done.

The change Google made is simply this:  as Ben Gomes, vice-president of engineering, Google Search, said in a blogpost in 2017: “We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content … “

It is worthwhile to look at the larger statement made by Ben Gomes back in April 2017, as reported by The Guardian:

The Guardian piece is titled: “Google acts against fake news on search engine. Firm introduces user tools for reporting misleading content, and pledges to improve results generated by algorithm”          ….

“Ben Gomes, vice-president of engineering @ Google Search, said in a blogpost: “In a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high-profile of these issues is the phenomenon of ‘fake news’, where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive, or downright false information.”

Regarding the changes to its search algorithm, Gomes added: “We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content … so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December [2016] are less likely to appear.”        ….

Google also promised to open up  how it would make such decisions in the future, although there remained criticism over its lack of transparency.

“As is often the case when Google announces changes, this couldn’t be more vague,” suggested Joost De Valk, a search engine expert at the consultancy firm Yoast.

“The changes come following months of pressure on Google over low-quality and offensive results in its search products, including autocomplete suggestions  which promote the idea that climate change is a hoax.”

–by Alex Hern, Technology Reporter for the Guardian

This sounds like a great idea — let’s get rid of search result links to “content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive, or downright false information.”   A worthy goal.  Just about as worthy as a local citizens committee organized to rid the local public library of books that are “misleading, low quality, offensive, or [contain] downright false information.”

Out with Poe, Mark Twain and Darwin …  or maybe turn it around, out with any book (or www link) that questions Darwin. That’s the rub.  Evolution is a societal (and scientific) controversy  — who is to decide whether we chuck Darwin or chuck books critical of Darwin.  Most scientists would call for the de-ranking of websites that promote strict Genesis-based Young Earth animals-created-out-of-nothing Biblical viewpoints, but then again, if we’re chucking critical-of-Darwin books, do we have to throw out textbooks which clearly show that strict-Darwinism is a false idea — and has been replaced with a more correct ideas described in the Wiki in  History of evolutionary thought?  Or do we just chuck books we don’t like about Darwinian evolution?  And, who gets to be “we” in the previous sentence?

What about statistics?  Bayes or Frequentist?  Some in each camp of thought consider the other camp to be utter nonsense — but which one do we demote or de-rank as “misleading, low quality, offensive, or downright false information.”  Or do we make sure to include information equally from both sides?  Or favor one side a little?  A lot?  Or pretend that they could both be equally valid?  Or let the citizenry decide by giving equal access to all statistics texts or links based on popularity?

What about really sticky social/moral controversies?   Like the Right to Abortion or the Right of Fetuses to Life?   Which content should we mark up as “authoritative” and which content should we demote as “offensive or downright false”?  Activists on both sides of this issue consider the other side to not only be incorrect, but Wrong, Evil and worse.  Again, favor one?  The other?  Equal position in rank to both?  Pretend that the US Supreme Court is the authority on this moral issue so take the Right to Abortion as authoritative and demote and de-rank all Right to Life web sites?

How about the really hot topic of Gun Ownership/Gun Rights in America?  Fifty years ago, the NRA was the authority on the issue — today, public sentiment has shifted but the US Constitution has remain unchanged.

Over the last few years, I have written here at  WUWT a series on Scientific Controversies: Five major controversies in which one side seems to have an accepted consensus view but also has a vital and strong contrarian view that is solidly scientifically supported.  In at least one case, the Salt Wars, the consensus view, enshrined in the policy views of major government agencies and professional societies,  has been proven to be based on a view of human physiology that has been found to be incorrect — a fact that has not changed the policy stands of those organizations promoting the consensus’ policy preferences.   [see links a bit further on].

It is this situation with public policy positions in regards to scientific controversies that exacerbates the “taking sides” exhibited by Google in its assignment of value judgements on “what viewpoint is authoritative” and “what is unhelpful”.  A Google Search on “dietary salt” reveals the prevalence of the consensus view by Google-determined “authoritative” web sites.  I was able to find the Cochrane Review on salt, which is dated, but which revealed the weakness of the consensus view (as exemplified by the American Heart Association’s Sodium and Salt page.)  The New York Times stories on the issue are represented in search results by Jane Brody’s consensus view supporting piece “Clearing Up the Confusion About Salt” (which doesn’t, by the way, clear up the confusion) but not “Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong” by Gina Kolata in the same newspaper.  Kolata reports on Dr. Jens Titze’s meticulous research — links to which are in my essay “Modern Scientific Controversies Part 6: Follow Up” (and can be found in the Quick Links  at the end of this essay.)  Whether the changes in search results are intentional or not, or whether they are a fair sample, is not the point — the point is that someone has to adjust the algorithm according to some standard to bias the results (using bias in its native sense) to pick out and elevate “authoritative” pages and demote others to be considered unhelpful, low-quality, offensive, misleading or as containing false information.

The bottom line?  There are Social, Political, Moral, and Scientific Controversies in our modern society that are alive and well and being hammered out.  Some of them may come to conclusions as science advances and others, involving social and moral issues, may never resolve.  Some science issues will resolve, but then later be found to have been resolved incorrectly — as has the dietary salt issue.

On these types of societal controversies, when Google adjusts their “signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content” exactly what is their basis for deciding who (what organizations, what web sites,  representing which viewpoints)  is authoritative and who (what organizations, what web sites,  representing which viewpoints) are “blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive, or downright false information” or “unhelpful”?

Google has apparently marked websites with a top-level domain of .gov as authoritative.  Sounds good?  Sure, unless your views of this controversial subject are contrary to current government policies or you think the government is up to no good on some issue.  People searching your issue will find the government sites on the issue and your viewpoint will be buried.  How would you feel if you lived in a totalitarian nation  and find that a site humanrights.gov.tt (the government of Totaliaria) is  considered by Google to be authoritative?

So, we know that Google has done and is doing this.  We do not accuse them of this, they announce it to the world.

And what will be the real world effects of their intentional biasing of search algorithms?

I think we can all accept that Climate Change is a subject of some public and political controversy and most of the readers here believe that it is a scientific controversy as well.  There is a strong “consensus view” enshrined in  the UN agreements, agencies, and policies: all represented by the IPCC,  its reports and its recommendations.  There is a strong, but minority, scientific view that the IPCC reports are political and go far beyond the science.  This is represented in the United States in survey after survey in which the general public is found to be strongly divided on the issue.

Let’s look at an example close to home of how Google’s assignment of the label “authoritative” to some sources of information and de-ranking as “low-quality” (etc.) other sources affects  this website, Watts Up With That.

How popular with the citizens of the World Wide Web is WUWT?   Last check WUWT had an Alexa rating of Global Rank: 38,982 and a US Rank: 13,124  (these are unverified numbers — anyone with a current Alexa subscription is invited to supply today’s rankings — note:  lower numbers are better, Google.com is #1). To give you some idea of scale, there are 1,766,926,408 registered web domains — in words:  roughly one billion, seven hundred sixty seven million. Of these over 150 million are blogs.   Out of those 1.76 billion sites, and more than 150 million blogs, WUWT ranks 13,124 in the US and 38,982 in the world.  RealClimate.com, created by government employees on your time/your dime, reportedly rates Globally 18,850,016  (again, anyone with Alexa access is invited to update this number).  There is a report that “Climate.nasa.gov” ranks far better at Global Rank: 984 and US Rank: 442, but this is a distortion as we see in the following charts:

alexa_consensus_23July18

 

The Alexa stats are for the root domain NASA.GOV, as indicated by all the nasa.gov sub-domains sharing the exact same statistics, it is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration site that it so high on the list, not the Climate sub-domain. How does WUWT fare in its similar chart?

alexa_skeptics_23July18

The first thing you’ll notice is that Alexa has separated “Climate Change” and the social issue of “Climate Change Skepticism”, listing WUWT in a category of “Society/Issues/Environment/Opposing_Views/Climate_Change_Skeptics”.  Some might argue with that, but it would be a breath of fresh air if Google were to include on search pages for these types of controversial issues, on the first page of results, the top two or three “opposing views” under the top two or three “consensus views”.

Of course, in its own category, WUWT is #1 — by a huge margin.  Why such a big margin?

monthly_page_views_2016_201

All through 2016 (WUWT’s tenth year) and through the migration to the new server recently, WUWT had a monthly average of nearly 3 MILLION page views per month.  Compare this to the NBC touted “Two government websites on climate change [that] survive in the Trump era” — breathlessly reported to have collectively drawnmore than 68,000 page views in May [2018], a more than 50 percent increase from the year before”  —  almost 700 views per day.  Compare to WUWT long-term average of between 80,000 to 100,000 page views per day.

You might ask, if WUWT is already doing so well on the web, why would anyone be upset with the de-ranking/demoting of WUWT in Google Search results?

One, nobody likes to be publicly disrespected, not even me.  Minority voices, like WUWT, who feel they have something important to say want people interested in our issue to be able to find us, and object to someone in a position of public trust, like Google, interfering with, stifling, the ability of interested potential readers to easily locate us by subject search.

Now, let’s do the latest numbers from WordPress:

WUWT_Weekly_Page_Views

WUWT_Search_Referrals

Google’s de-ranking efforts, since early June 2018, have resulted in a greater than 30% drop in search engine referrals — about 12,000 views/visitors lost per week. These particular lost referrals mean that new readers don’t arrive at the home page and don’t subsequently click through to one or more posts. Loss of “first-time” readers means a loss of the portion of those that would become regular readers.  Lost page views (and some of them lost new visitors) equates to lost ad revenue for WUWT — as revenue erodes, the ability of Anthony Watts to keep WUWT on the web decreases.

How do you suppress alternate points of view? Look to the history of newspaper wars in America’s major cities over the last century.   Think of the yellow journalism days, battles for dominance between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Simple, you curtail their access to markets, you dissuade their advertisers, you attack their income streams, you limit their distribution.  Google’s de-ranking of WUWT, the world’s #1 Climate Skeptic website, does all three of these.  Possibly intentionally, possibly unintentionally.  Regardless, it does it — makes it harder to keep the WUWT point-of-view on the web.

Is this intentional?  In my opinion, it is probably not a specific attack on WUWT , though this is as yet unknown — (if there are any skeptic sympathizers in Google’s inner circle who can ferret out this information, email me — see the Author’s Note for address, anonymity guaranteed.)  On the other hand, it is certainly intentional to advance the consensus view by upgrading sites to be labeled “authoritative” to be those with .gov  top-level domain, such as nasa.gov,  noaa.gov, and thus all their subdomains, like climate.nasa.gov. In the United Kingdom, the top-level domain for governmental sites is .gov.uk, thus metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide    There are dangers to democracy inherent in automatically labeling all governmental websites as “authoritative” — the list in my lifetime alone of instances of malfeasance by national government agencies is long and black.

There may have been efforts to specifically de-rank sites that are “skeptical of climate science” from some consensus talking points list — this is unknown and would be pure speculation at this point.  But, it would have been a simple thing for Googlers to look up the Alexa rankings under “Society/ Issues/ Environment/ Opposing_Views/ Climate Change Skeptics” and say:  “Ah, here’s where we start de-ranking, after all, climate change skeptics are, by our way of thinking,  unreliable, misleading, unhelpful…and their information must be  false, because it doesn’t agree with us”.

Do we know that Google for sure actually did this on this particular topic?  No, but Google has not been transparent about their actions — they have only announced their broad intentions and we can see the effect on Google search results.  We do know that Google has publically stated that they will de-rank and demote sites that are in their opinion, and in their own words:  low-quality content, misleading content, offensive, or downright false.  In our field, we know Google’s opinion is that this means climate skeptic sites.  [see the Ben Gomes statement linked in paragraph 2, climate skepticism was used as an example.]

What to do?

This is a difficult question but  can be represented as the Yellow Pages problem from days of yore.  If you had a new business, you struggled to stay alive through the first year until the new Yellow Pages came out and listed your business under as many categories for which  you could afford to pay, with as big as possible an ad on your main category page, hopefully near the top of the list, which was alphabetical.  (Thus there were a lot of businesses like “AAA Locks and Security”.)  If I recall correctly, you could pay extra for ad placement on the appropriate page.

Now, with the Internet taking the role of the Yellow Pages for most localities, one must rank high in search results.  This has spawned a whole industry of  Search Engine Optimization or SEO where professional help is offered to improve your website’s placement in (mainly) Google search results.

The professional practice of SEO has always been considered by Google to be “gaming the system” and Google has spent a great deal of time and effort to fight and prevent such gaming.  But now, it seems, Google  itself is doing the “gaming of the system” — this is not an accusation, this is Google’s announced solution to “fake news” and “low-quality and offensive results in its search products”.

The story of the years-long fight of Shivaun and Adam Raff   against the enterprise that is Google today should stand as a practical lesson to us.   Taking Google  on is not a job for the timid — it may be a job only a national government or one of its powerful agencies can successfully undertake.

However, Google is incredibly sensitive to Public Shaming especially when that comes from the sector of society that is their political base — liberal intense-users of the Internet and associated technologies.  Google  changes policies only after concerted embarrassment in public view — Twitter swarms, bad press, being publicly called out on issues.

While they are not going to change any policies that are to their own economic advantage, they well may re-adjust their  search algorithms to a less-biased state if enough fuss is raised on the issues of Free Flow of Information and Freedom of Ideas.

Here are some thoughts on what we can do:

  1. In your social media spaces, call attention to Google’s giving preference to government sources and de-ranking sites and blogs that criticize or call for reforms — basically demoting the voice of the people in favor of the voice of the government.
  2. Do the same pointing out Google’s biasing search results so that the Big Guys that hold Mainstream Views come out on top — and important minority views are buried under the dross. All this instead of letting the Internet decide through popularity-based rankings.
  3. Use any search engine other than Google and encourage your families, friends, neighbor, businesses to switch default search engines to something else — anything else. Chiefio has an excellent essay about how even DuckDuckGo is biased (because it uses Google’s database) and offers an alternative https://www.mojeek.com/

[Don’t think Google biases search?  Try this “How do I change the default search engine in my browser?”  in a Google search.  For me, the whole first screen-full of links tell you how to switch to Google.]

  1. If you have a blog and wish to join a BoycottGoogleSearch movement, where any attempt to refer to your site from a Google domain returns a re-direct to a BoycottGoogleSearch page (which explains why we boycott Google) please contact me directly at my first name at the domain i4 decimal net. If there is enough support, I will set up the infra-structure and supply code to put on your pages.
  2. Your suggestions are welcome in comments. However, if your comment is simply how useless fighting Google is, how quixotic, how you think it is “wrong”, how stupid, how self-destructive, or whatever non-constructive idea comes to your head — please be aware that  I already know these things.  I am perfectly willing to stipulate all of that, there is no need to argue them in comments, it will not add anything to the conversation.
  3. Whenever possible, share WUWT stories with links on Facebook and Twitter, it helps spread the word.
  4. If “tilting against the Google windmill” is not to your taste, throw a hundred bucks into the WUWT Tip Jar and you will have done your part with much less fuss and mess. As Google’s actions will rob WUWT of much needed financial support (advertising dollars). The world will be a better place for it and you will have my [Kip Hansen’s] personal thanks (with that and an extra five bucks you can get a cup of coffee.) Thank you.

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Author’s Comment Policy:

Regular readers know I try very hard to answer their questions and field their concerns about my work here at WUWT.  As this topic is intensely controversial, I will be glad to respond to polite, constructive comments as best I can.  Feel free to leave your contrary views if you must but I will not be responding to them — it would simply waste my time and yours.

Those interested in the BoycottGoogleSearch effort can email me at my first name at the domain i4.net.

Thank you for reading.

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Quick Links:

estimated time to read

Ben Gomes said in a blogpost in 2017

Google acts against fake news on search engine.

Alex Hern

History of evolutionary thought

WUWT a series on Scientific Controversies

The Salt Wars

Cochrane Review on salt

American Heart Association’s Sodium and Salt page

Clearing Up the Confusion About Salt

Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong

Modern Scientific Controversies Part 6: Follow Up

Watts Up With That

RealClimate.com

Climate.nasa.gov

Two government websites on climate change [that] survive in the Trump era

history of newspaper wars in America’s major cities over the last century

Joseph Pulitzer

William Randolph Hearst

climate.nasa.gov

metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide

Search Engine Optimization

SEO

gaming the system

Goggle’s effort to fight and prevent such gaming

Google’s announced solution to “fake news” and “low-quality and offensive results in its search products”

Shivaun and Adam Raff

throw $100 into the Tip Jar

switch default search engines to something else

“How do I change the default search engine in my browser?”

throw a hundred bucks into the WUWT Tip Jar

High salt intake – Titze    pdf here

Increased salt consumption – Titze  pdf  here

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dodgy geezer

Deranking WUWT is nothing.

Here are two front page sub-headlines from today’s BBC page:

1 – New laws must be introduced to ensure that the Web only contains correct news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44995490

2 – people who believe the wrong things should be banned from public office https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44995171

We are in for a fight….

Phillip Bratby

Of course the BBC tells you why you can trust the BBC. The BBC doesn’t seem to realise that it creates fake news on an industrial scale:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/help-41670342
Other have a more realistic appreciation of how biased the BBC really is:
https://biasedbbc.org/blog/2017/12/01/why-you-can-trust-bbc-news/

We live in a very dangerous world.

Old England

It’s not that the BBC doesn’t realise that it is brimming with fake news – it appears to pick and then tailor items to suit and to promote it’s own left-wing socialist-marxist culture and world view.

Anyone wanting to work for the BBC has nil chance if they let slip that they hold or support conservative views.

Curious George

People in power decide what is correct. That’s the end of the republic.

Bryan A

They are definitely turning to the Dark Side

KWG1947

Turned more appropriate.

Clay Sanborn

This is the main purpose for having the 2nd Amendment (personal right to own firearms and ability to form a militia, of the people, against a tyrannical gov’t) in the US Constitution.

MarkW

How long will the 2nd amendment last once the government starts telling the masses that only evil people would want to own a gun and then eliminating all references to stories of people using guns to defend themselves and others?

jim hogg

The 2nd Amendment is no longer relevant, and that’s by its own logic. The creation of a vast military machine to defend the US has rendered the 2nd Amendment obsolete. The tyrannical government your founding fathers were concerned about was the English one. The militias referred to were to come to the aid of the US state as they did in the 1770s.

For good or ill however, it’s unlikely that any US government will ever be brave enough to point this out to the NRA and the legion of supporters of gun ownership. If you go back ot the 2nd A and read what it says exactly and not what you want it to say, you may be surprised, though probably not in a good way.

ripshin

Ah, another UK-er lecturing us Americans on our Constitution. How refreshing… /sarc

In point of fact, like many others before, your reading of our 2nd Amendment demonstrates your blindness. This is further evidenced by your hilariously tone-deaf defense of the BBC below. In fact, I had to read that one several times just to assure myself that you weren’t, in fact, writing a brilliant piece of satire.

The difference in world-view between you and me (and many, many other conservative-type Americans) is that we don’t inherently trust our own government. Natural skepticism towards those in power is healthy, and helps keep that power in check.

Thus, we can reasonably argue that the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is not simply about a foreign invader, but rather, as in Madison’s original wording: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country…” (noting in passing that this right is not dependent upon serving in a militia, but rather is based on the idea that the existence of a militia requires that the free people of the country are well armed individually) the well armed populace ensures the freedom from tyranny from all sources, including especially, their own government.

rip

Another Paul

“The creation of a vast military machine to defend the US has rendered the 2nd Amendment obsolete”

No. Who do you think operates the weapons in that “vast military machine”? Hint: it’s We the People.

MarkW

Being able to form a militia against foreign invaders was only one reason for the 2nd amendment. It was never the only one.
As Thomas Jefferson mentioned, the primary purpose was so that citizens could defend themselves against the government.

paul courtney

Jim Hogg: The best legal minds over two centuries have found different meaning, but you’ve read it and we should all defer to your interpretation. Our founding fathers had enough time to consider more than just the English tyrant, there are plenty of writings at the time that show they considered and feared tyranny from the gov’t they were creating. You think you’ve read enough, but you haven’t.

In a democracy, a legion of supporters means something. In a constitutional republic, the constitution limits the legions. But any US gov’t that decides to go against the constitution AND the legions would not be brave, it would be out of office. You should try it in your country-it works until progressives undermine it.

JClarke

Read the Federalist Papers. You can get it straight from the horses mouth. The 2nd amendment was intended to protect the People from the tyranny of any government. The word militia, that every liberal tries to hang their hat on to argue that there is no individual right, at the time the constitution was written referred to every male over the age of 18. It’s not relevant anyway as the right conferred is contained in the second sentence. It distinctly does not say the right of the states or the right of the militia. It says the right of the PEOPLE.
The second amendment is not second by chance. The founders enumerated them in order of importance. Think about that!

jim hogg

A remarkably distorted and inaccurate view of the BBC. The BBC is the propaganda wing of the English state, which is as far from a marxist project as it’s possible to imagine, it being pro privilege, status, power, wealth, authority, monarchy, and only as tolerant of democracy as it can get away with. That you see it as marxist/leftist indicates clearly that your politics are probably out of sight on the right, with a McCarthy like fear of reds under the bed.

The BBC plays a long and fairly nuanced game. It endeavours to be as accurate and unbiased as possible in all areas which are not politically sensitive in order to build up its stock of credibility and it does this fairly well (after all, the English state has been in existence a very long time and has indulged in innumerable acts of deceit over the centuries, hence the well justified nickname “Perfidious Albion”.). But when the chips are down it will do exactly as the Establishment/government/Monarchy needs it to do. Between such times, a bit of healthy difference with the government of the day simply helps to maintain that stock of credibility it needs to fall back on when it’s necessary to fire out the required propaganda.

It’s handling of the build up to the Scottish independence referendum clearly revealed its establishment/government obeisance. Had it been marxist/left in the slightest it would probably have been pro Scottish independence as the SNP were offering a socialist vision for Scotland, but instead, as has been shown by several academic bias studies since, it did exactly what the English state needed it to do. The Novichoks affair also clearly demonstrated its commitment to the government line despite a remarkable lack of evidence and logic. No, Old England, I think you need to take a more detailed and ideology free look at the BBC, your state broacaster.

kramer

Jim Hogg wrote: “indicates clearly that your politics are probably out of sight on the right, with a McCarthy like fear of reds under the bed.

FDR’s government was infested with communists. You can read all about them in the NSA’s VENOA files.

Any concerns McCarthy had on commies in our government were correct.

ThomasJK

McCarthy had legitimate, fully rational and logical concerns, not irrational, illogical fears. Subsequent events have done more to prove him to be justified in his concerns than they have done to prove him wrong. But of course rumor mills will continue to grind for as long as their grinding serves a political purpose.

Old England

Interestingly the BBC article about ‘Fake News’ that you reference was itself Fake News.

Have a look at http://www.order-order.com , about the 6th article down which demonstrates that. Can’t get the article link to copy on this tablet.

David Chappell
Phoenix44

Then the BBC should fire its self-proclaimed Marxists. Marx has been thouroughly debunked, by both economists and history.

wws

Then the BBC should fire its self-proclaimed Marxists.”

Puh-lease – you really think the BBC could fire everyone in management?

sycomputing

Marx has been thouroughly debunked, by both economists and history.

Yes but that doesn’t matter to the modern Progressive Liberal, because they haven’t had their opportunity to try.

The rational mind sees a failure of concept, while the Progressive Liberal sees a mere failure in implementation.

RicDre

I think most Progressive Liberals will tell you that it hasn’t failed, it was just never implemented correctly and this time they are going to implement it correctly.

RicDre

oops, I was a little slow in replying and sycomputing beat me to the comment.

sycomputing

Brilliant minds think alike, and often at the same time…

🙂

John Endicott

“I think most Progressive Liberals will tell you that it hasn’t failed, it was just never implemented correctly and this time they are going to implement it correctly.”

Which is exactly what the previous failed Marxists would have told you and the failed Marxists before them and so on. Same story, same dismal failure.

Louis Hunt

I don’t think it matters much to progressives whether their version of Marxism fails or succeeds. They would happily rule over a North-Korea-type state as long as they are the elites in charge telling everyone else what to do and getting the first pick of whatever goods are produced.

ThomasJK

Socialism/Marxism will never work as envisioned for as long as a government of any persuasion is involved in the implementation and operation. So………Now what?

ozspeaksup

well the boobs at the beeb will be busy removing over half their trash news then!!

Marcus

The BBC is laughable, MSNBC is downright hilarious !! Best comedy shows I’ve watched in years …. TDS on steroids !! LOL.

RicDre

At least MSNBC admits that they are a left-wing news outlet. For a good laugh, visit CNN which pretends to be a neutral news outlet.

honest liberty

that disgusting smug “blonde” with the fake tan is absolutely sickening. She is the epitome of what it means to be a w’h.or.e. She has sold her soul to be on day time national television, and she is spewing nonstop propaganda. It boils my blood to see that crap being permitted. Seriously. We ought to sue all the major networks for fake news, but then again, that Monsanto case with Fox news had the supreme court rule that these agencies have no obligation to publish accurate information.

They are all soulless animals on CNN as far as I am concerned. Nothing credible. Nothing of value. Nothing but temper tantrum throwing TDS suffering psychotics.

Am I being to polite?

Sheri

People who believe the wrong things should be banned from public office? That’s Russia and China’s policy, not to forget NK, Cuba, several African nations, and now apparently Europe’s will be soon.

jim hogg

And that will leave only the home of the brave and the land of the free, as the loyal defenders of truth and accuracy with Donald brandishing the flag and leading the righteous charge against fakery and ideological distortion . . . Oh America . . unwitting self parody.

This site, which still carries good articles from time to time, and has some truly brilliant and extremely knowledgeable commenters too on occasion (like rgb@duke, Willis E, and many others – though rgb has been mia for a while, sadly) unfortunately grows more like Breitbart by the month, tragically and disappointingly, threatening the credibility of the whole honourable Anthony Watts project . . .

honest liberty

Jim, I haven’t seen you comment here before but with what little I’ve seen today…
it is apparent you prefer moral relativity as your reality. Truth is what you make it eh?
how shameful and self-deceiving. Nice try though, we don’t suffer sophists lightly

paul courtney

Mr. Hogg: I follow Breitbart, its bias is easy to see and gauge. Your attempt at insulting Watts with that was a swing and a miss. Mr. Watts has simply noticed the similarities of progs on climate and progs on other issues (ironically, they are consistently anti-progress). Why don’t you take Mr. Stokes’ advice and start your own? Why waste your valuable time with what you see as a tragic disappointment?

Irritable Bill

Start a petition and deliver it to Trump via someone of huge popularity and presence…my pick would be Patrick Moore.
Of course we are going to need a conservative search engine, and soon or we will not be able to fight back against the socialists. Anyone undertaking such a task will become the worlds wealthiest man…or woman on planet Earth. Anyone out there like that idea?

“Of course we are going to need a conservative search engine”

Don’t just talk about it. Do it! Grow rich!

They made a conservative wikipedia, so it can be done. Good luck!

Marcus

Loosing a bit of money on Google stocks Nickk[snip]!

Farmer Ch E retired

This is a “Nick Stokes Alert” – He’s responsible for 11 posts so far (8% of total) meaning this must be an important and inconvenient subject for him.

jorgekafkazar

Any topic here that draws warmist [snip] is dangerous to their lies.

[Nick Stokes may fairly be categorized as warmist, but he is definitely not a troll. -mod]

Chris

Or he has observed that WUWT is full of “all talk and no action” commenters. Start a conservative Google. Author a paper that refutes AGW and submit it for publication. Start a hedge fund that invests in shuttered coal mines. Do more than just read WUWT articles and whinge.

Simon

OK so I spent five minutes looking at the conservative wikipedia. I didn’t think people thought like that any more. Wow just wow.

Brett Keane

Simon @July 29, 2018 11:55 am: It’s called the real world, the one out of the Swamp. Where us deplorables live, and are now winning. But we’ll never tell you how you must live, and that is the difference, Wow just wow-er.

Simon

Brett
Surely you are not saying the conservative wiki site is what people actually believe… that homosexuals are pedophiles. That Obama was a Muslim? That Trump is a Christian? Really?

Greg Cavanagh

You’ll find dozens of YouTube vids where Obama himself tells you of his Muslim faith. Don’t you believe Obama’s own words when he talks about himself?

Chris

Greg, can you post a couple of them here?

Greg Cavanagh

Chris, seriously. You couldn’t do a youtube search for yourself? I gave you the search term “my muslim faith” and yet you fail at that?
https://youtu.be/XKGdkqfBICw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jgozLjv-iI

There was a tube showing about 20 clips of him saying “my muslim faith”, but that tube has since disappeared. I can’t find it. But I can assure you it was a clip of him saying exactly that on many occasions. The above is all I can find where he says it accidentally, and not yet been disappeared.

Simon

This is so fake, obviously been doctored. Obama is a Christian.

Chris

Greg, first, regarding doing a search myself. 1) a strong debater provides evidence to support their own case 2) I assume there are dozens if not 100s of nut job videos on YT about Obama and Muslims, so I was giving you a chance to present your best evidence.

Since (1) doesn’t matter to you, next time you ask for evidence that increasing CO2 levels are causing rising temperatures, I’ll say “There are lots of papers on that, Google it yourself.” Fair enough?

To (2), your core evidence is a 10 second video in which Obama accidentally says the word Muslim instead of Christian, and then a 4 min video that has been heavily, heavily edited to highlight times Obama said the word Muslim. Pathetic beyond belief.

Do you know that in 1805 Thomas Jefferson moved a White House state dinner from 330pm to precisely sunset to accommodate a Muslim ambassador from Tunisia for whom the White House was holding a state dinner? Do you know that Jefferson specifically thought about the Muslim faith and wanted to ensure that the Constitution did not discriminate against any religion?

Tom Abbott

Obama said once that the Muslim “Call to Prayer” was the most beautiful sound on Earth.

He does seem rather enamored of Islam. Bows down to their political leaders; Gives terrorists tens of billions of dollars.

Whether Obama is Muslim or not, he is definitely the biggest enabler of radical Islam in World History.

Chris

“Whether Obama is Muslim or not, he is definitely the biggest enabler of radical Islam in World History.”

I’ve read some ignorant statements, but this definitely makes the top 10 all time. Have you heard of the Crusades? Have you heard of the Iraq War? Newsflash – neither of those were started by Obama.

Justin McCarthy

Making nice with Islam hardly makes Obama a Muslim. I think I remember Bush incoherently babbling about how “Islam is the religion of peace.” after a few Muslims had vaporized 3000 human beings in the name of Islam. More likely Obama was non-religious and somewhat antagonistic to all vestiges of the capitalistic colonial west. Including its dominant religions. He found political cover in a version of Black Liberation Christian Theology as espoused by the good Reverend Wright and then quickly dumped that affiliation when Reverend Wright became radioactive when his invective against America became public. I have a belief that Obama’s religion was opportunistic.

As for enabling the ascension of Islamic Terrorism in the form of ISIS, I think that award goes to Bush for breaking Iraq which lead to the destabilization of Syria and creating the power vacuum that ISIS thrived within with help from our Sunni Muslim “Allies” in their effort to attempt to balance Iran after the Iraq debacle. I would give Obama credit for attempting to stay out of the Syrian mess. Also, Obama was not shy about vaporizing his Muslim “co-religionists” in his stepped up drone attacks. Many of whom were innocent victims or collateral damage.

Reed Coray

Brett, I hope you’re correct when you say that at least locally “us deplorables are winning,” because that’s the only path to a win-win scenario. If you’re incorrect and globally the liberals (nee socialists) are winning, then in the end everyone, including liberals, will lose.

Greg Cavanagh

Here’s a better video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCAffMSWSzY

And Chris, it is not possible for a Christian to make the mistake in accidentally saying “my muslim faith”. That is an impossible mistake.

Yes, the video I remember where he was quoted about 20 times stating those words has been disappeared. I wasn’t terribly surprised.

And there are many scientific papers claiming everything possible. A single paper means nothing at all, nor does a paper that tells the opposite. Nor does consensus tell you the truth of the matter. In the end, we’ve got to make a judgement call, and wait for the future to unfold.

I refer back to my original statement above, His mistake “my muslim faith” would never be uttered by a Christian. Impossible.

MarkW

How is it that people who disagree with the great Simon are allowed to live?

Simon

You agree with that stuff mark?

Simon

You agree with that stuff mark?

Simon

Markw, your silence means you agree with me, so what’s the issue? You hate me being right?

John Endicott

Simon, it’s customary to wait at least 24 hours before claiming someone’s non-reply is indicative of anything. After all people can’t be expected to be here 24 hours a day. Some of us have lives and jobs. While that may not apply to many of you on the left, it’s a reality for most of us on the right.

MarkW

It usually takes me at least that long in order to stop laughing so that I can reply.

honest liberty

heck, and even then, it is difficult to remember every single article and every comment we each make. I often forget some of the more engaging comment threads I partake in because of timing, life, work, etc..

Simon. You don’t need to try to win so hard, it is unbecoming.

Sheri

Nonresponse is NOT indicative of agreement. Only foolish people think like that.

F. Leghorn

No. He just stopped feeding the troll.

MarkW

The great and powerful Simon actually believes that I spend all my time looking for his utterances in order to properly respond to them.

Chris

And note that MarkW didn’t reply to Simon’s question. Even though Mark posts hundreds of comments a week on WUWT, he’s just too darn busy to reply.

John Endicott

If he replied to every nonsense post on here, it would be a full time job. Unless you are willing to give him a full time salary to do it, you have no reason to expect him to do so.

Alan Tomalty

At least Google doesn’t OWN the internet YET.

At least Google doesn’t OWN Global Warming Contour Maps.

The Robot-Train explains how to understand Global Warming Contour Maps: https://agree-to-disagree.com/robot-train-contour-maps
.

comment image

At least Google doesn’t post irrelevant off-topic plugs for a pet project nobody can interpret.

Jeff Alberts

We don’t need a conservative search engine, or a conservative wiki. We need unbiased ones. Putting “conservative” in front of something introduces its own biases.

jim hogg

Or, how about a revolutionary idea: a search engine that simultaneously prioritises accuracy, evidence and logic, and demotes ideological bias of whatever taint. . . ?

John Endicott

So definitely not Google then.

kramer

jim hogg wrote: “how about a revolutionary idea: a search engine that simultaneously prioritises accuracy, evidence and logic, and demotes ideological bias of whatever taint. . . ?

Everybody has ideological biases.

The issue know with ‘fake’ news is how does the left mute the right’s ideological biases?

paul courtney

Mr. Hogg: Governed by angels, or are the users also angels? Or are you trying to set some speed record in concern-tr0ll identification?

Percy Jackson

Kip
All search engines are biased. As typical search might return over 1 million pages and the search
engine has to decide how to rank them (there are 1 million factorial possibilities). There is no unbiased way to rank web-page.

One can go further and prove mathematically that only for real numbers can you define “greater than”
or say that one number is bigger than another. This means that for any multi-dimensional data set (and web pages are certainly that) there is no mathematically valid way to rank them. All methods are subjective and biased.

Furthermore Google is a US company and as such it’s algorithm is protected by the first amendment as an example of free speech. So Google can write whatever program they like and the courts will protect them.
Furthermore google is always going to optimise its algorithm to maximise its ad revenue.

If you don’t like google’s algorithm then write your own program. Or learn to use better and more
precise search terms. Searching for “pro-life usa” returns very different search results than abortion.

Alan Tomalty

It has always pissed me off that if you get a 100000 returns on a search that you cant start at the other end or anywhere in the middle. You can only go the 1st 10 pages and after that one page at a time.

Philip Mulholland

Alan,

You ask an interesting question. Compare these two Google URL search results:-
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22climate+change%22&ei=iahdW4nTIeaFgAbFsozwCg&start=10&sa=N&biw=1322&bih=790
Now choose to look at the list at #90 you get the following URL
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22climate+change%22&ei=mqhdW9WYN4OPgAbilpTABw&start=90&sa=N&biw=1322&bih=790

OK so far? Notice the difference in the code string?
Now choose to start your search at list #300000
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22climate+change%22&ei=mqhdW9WYN4OPgAbilpTABw&start=300000&sa=N&biw=1322&bih=790
Oops, you get this error message:-
“Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query. (You asked for results starting from 300000.)”

Now isn’t that interesting? Google will not allow you to dig deeper that the first 1000 search hits.

OK let’s dig some more and look for list #990
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22climate+change%22&ei=mqhdW9WYN4OPgAbilpTABw&start=990&sa=N&biw=1322&bih=790

Now you get this error message:-
“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 990 already displayed.”
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.
Now trying this:-
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22climate+change%22&ei=zK5dW87REZPWgQai8qyIDg&start=400&sa=N&filter=0&biw=1322&bih=790

You end up with less than 500 results.
Curiouser and curiouser cried Alice.

“No, it’s not. Google pays the cost of searching, and that is as much as they are willing to pay. But looking at #900 is not a good way to use Google. Much better to refine your search criteria.”
OK Nick; So why does Google claim to have found over 127,000,000 results (0.51 seconds)?
The point I am making here is that Google is a SORT engine and not a SEARCH engine.
For it to be a usefully functioning search engine the front end tools to apply Boolean logic filters need to be much better designed and certainly more user friendly. The current limit on positive and negative keywords and nested AND OR filters makes Google a very poor tool for proper internet research in my opinion. YMMV

Greg Cavanagh

So, if I’m reading this correctly. Google is finding all the pages but only displaying the ones it wants to show.

As stated in Kip’s last posting, if you’re looking for a specific page, it’ll not turn up in Google no matter how much you look, you’ve got to get the page title accurate before it’ll turn up. This appears to confirm that statement.

eyesonu

Alan & Philip,

You have brought a very valid and serious point. I have often tried to skip the first search offerings and go towards the ‘end of the line’. It’s not possible to reach sites that I know are available but just don’k know the correct web address.

Go back to research on a subject that you did several years ago prior to the subject matter now being more popular or controversial and you find you can no longer access the previous sites using search options.

“Now isn’t that interesting? Google will not allow you to dig deeper that the first 1000 search hits.”
No, it’s not. Google pays the cost of searching, and that is as much as they are willing to pay. But looking at #900 is not a good way to use Google. Much better to refine your search criteria.

Alan Tomalty

Refining your search criteria wont necessarily bring you any valid results if you are trying to find a specific site that is not just a site advertising a product.

Chris

You can put urls in your search strings.

John Endicott

Which only works when you already know the URL. If you are searching to find the URL of a site you know of but can’t remember the URL for, that won’t help you.

MarkW

If you know the url, then you don’t need the search engine in the first place.

Chris

“If you know the url, then you don’t need the search engine in the first place.”

Wrong, of course you do. Many web sites are thousands of pages deep, and do not have good internal search functions. Google is far better.

John Endicott

Yes, but again that assumes you already know the URL you are interested in. That’s not so good when you are trying to find the URL in the first place.

Paul Penrose

Phillip,
You are exactly correct. What we need is not to have Google filter for us, we need better tools from Google to allow us, the users, to filter for ourselves. A good start would be to allow us to limit search results by site category. I can imagine categories like News, Blogs, Government, Educational, Retail, etc. The default would be all of them selected, but allow the user to deselect the ones they don’t want. Then allow them to create custom filters that they can save. White and black lists by URL would be nice as well.

Philip Mulholland

What we need is not to have Google filter for us, we need better tools from Google to allow us, the users, to filter for ourselves.”
Spot on! Thanks Paul.

Roger Knights

“As typical search might return over 1 million pages and the search
engine has to decide how to rank them (there are 1 million factorial possibilities). There is no unbiased way to rank web-page.”

All it has to do is rank them by page views and by links to them. This measures popularity in an objective / unbiased way, by the numbers.

Marcus

If they ranked the pages by “hits” then WUWT would be numero uno ! 358,451,302 hits and counting !

Bryan A

The problem with that criteria is that bots can be utilized to drive up hits thereby increasing ranking and causing malicious or predatory web sites to rise to the top.
The way Google is doing it is definitely wrong and highly improper though

Percy Jackson

Roger
Firstly google cannot measure page-views since it has no way of knowing who visits
a page. And secondly who gets to decide whether popularity is the best way to rank
websites — that is your subjective view. Nor is counting links the best way since now days
many webpages are dynamically generated and so it is impossible to link to them. This is especially true if you are trying to buy something so the algorithm has to be smarter than that.

Duncan Smith

Percy, I agree with your point of view. Google’s mission is to make money while keeping the regulators off their backs. In the political witch-hunt, which is today’s politics, they are seen as doing something.
If WUWT was bringing in millions in ad revenue every month, Google might rank it higher. Maybe WUWT gets ranked lower because Google does not own WordPress, why give the competition unfettered access? Just two other possible explanations.

Jim Whelan

Percy, you are absolutely correct but, regarding the suggestion, “If you don’t like google’s algorithm then write your own program.”:
That’s easier said than done. The mechanisms Google uses have been built and refined over a couple of decades using thousands of developers. In addition, maintaining the databases used by the search engine requires hundreds of millions of dollars of computer storage, computing power and network bandwidth. that’s not something that a basement operation can effectively compete with.

You also suggest: “learn to use better and more precise search terms.” but thet often requires you know exactly the informastion youn are relying on a search engine to look for. Your example, ” Searching for ‘pro-life usa’,” only works if you already know you want “pro-life usa”.

Percy Jackson

Jim,
If you don’t know what you are searching for then neither will google. And then it is hard to
complain that you don’t get the answers or viewpoints that you would like.

Greg Cavanagh

That’s why it’s nice to read through the search pages. Not that I’ve ever got to 900 pages, but hey.

Usually I can get enough information out of the pages that do turn up to refine my searches better. For example, when I don’t know the name of a specific tool, device, or methodology. Finding historical people and the documents they’ve written is more challenging, but doable.

Philip Mulholland

“Finding historical people and the documents they’ve written is more challenging, but doable.”

Greg,
I recommend that you use Google Scholar for this type of research.
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=hh+lamb&btnG=

and just for fun here is what’s on the last page of a focused search for “HH Lamb”
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?start=990&q=%22hh+lamb%22&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

Greg Cavanagh

Not really any better.

I’m looking for an extract of a larger volume of work from “someone” who I know was a banker in Florence around 1270-1320 (approximately) who wrote eye-witness accounts of the events unfolding in Italy at that time.

I had the pdf, but my computer was stolen, and now I’m trying to find that document again. So far, no luck. Google Scholar wasn’t any help in this regard, but thanks for the reply.

paul courtney

Percy: And if tomorrow the Kochs buy Google, and use the same technology to push progressive info to the bottom, hard to complain about that, too?

Chris

The Koch’s can’t remotely afford to buy Google. 100B < 1T.

tom0mason

Ask Google if homeopathy works and the ranking of the answers tell you all you need to know about Google and their ideas.

I did, and among the top posts, some said yes and some said no. So?

Giles Bointon

A huge meta analysis done 2 or 3 years ago concluded that homeopathy produced no significant benefits. The NHS has now given guidance that homeopathy should no longer be available on an NHS prescription. So google should be top ending with that information . It would be great if we could do a meta analysis on AGW to show that it doesn’t exist.

“So google should be top ending with that information .”
When I search does homeopathy work it features an Australian Broadcasting Commission post
here. It’s headed “Can homeopathy ‘work’ even when there’s no evidence?”. And yes, the first para says
“Most recently it made headlines after Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council released a draft information paper on homeopathy which found there were “no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy was effective”.”

Tsk Tsk

Here’s one dearer to your heart: socialism (just socialism).

The top three results on my page are (in natural order for a native english speaker):

Relax, Boomers, Socialism Is Good Now (HuffPo)
Socialism Is No Longer a Dirty Word in the US–and that’s scary for some (Grauniad)
Blame Socialism for India’s post-independence ills (Grauniad)

Not a single mention of Venezuela on the first page. The first mention comes in the middle of the second.

Frederick Michael

Nick, few things in science are as thoroughly debunked as homeopathy. It contradicts the principle that chemicals are composed of individual molecules.

However, one could defend Google’s policy as simply, “They haven’t gotten around to this for homeopathy yet.”

They should have though. Their “ranking” of what to “fix” first is even more flawed than their “fix” to the rankings of websites.

The complaint here has been that Google suppresses stuff. Now you are complaining that they don’t.

I think they are simply trying to anticipate what people are looking for. A significant number would be looking for cases where homeopathy works (not me). Google tries to help.

honest liberty

and here we go again with status-quo apologetics. FFS Nick can you for once, just admit that there are such things as collusion and corruption?

You are so entrenched in your religion, so steadfast in your faith that you literally refuse to open yourself up to reality. Google has been doing this stuff for quite some time now and the evidence is overwhelming:

http://www.theeventchronicle.com/fake-news-agenda/confirmation-google-blacklisting-independent-media-websites/

https://www.mintpressnews.com/google-bullies-censors-mintpress-other-independent-media-over-abu-ghraib-photos/203754/

https://yournewswire.com/google-censors-independent-media/

https://www.wnd.com/2017/12/facebook-google-strangling-independent-media/#!

https://naturalnews.com/2017-04-05-google-youtube-unleashing-mass-demonetization-censorship-attack-on-alternative-media-to-bankrupt-independent-journalism.html

that took all of 30 seconds, and James Corbett of CorbettReport.com has done some great work as always:
https://www.corbettreport.com/just-be-evil-the-unauthorized-history-of-google/

Superchunk

To be precise, Homeopathy has been shown to be no better than placebo, however, that does not mean it is always ineffective since the placebo affect often provides significant benefit and if Homeopathy distracts the patient from an outright harmful treatment (a good case could be made that statins are in this category, and others can be found on THENNT.com) then it can in fact be beneficial. This is apparently why it was initially believed to work because by doing nothing it was better than the many harmful treatments of the time.

tom0mason

My Google search gave the first 9 results as positive for homeopathy and all of them having some sales pitch or link to a product within it. My point is marketing trumps truth and all ways has done. It’s just like advertising throughout history, Google is an advertising company so why expect truth from them?

brians356

“… and always has done” perhaps?

jim hogg

Nick, I admire your staying power. You must feel like Canute most of the time!

Wim Röst

I wander whether it is legal to restrict open access to information.

tom0mason

You can not ask such a question without consequences. 😉

D. J. Hawkins

It strikes me that Google isn’t so much restricting access, in the sense of locking it away, as it is refusing to help find everything. If someone introduces you to topic “A” and you know nothing about “A” (even the degree of controversy that may surround it), Google will tell you what it wants you to know about “A”. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to your public library and do a subject search in their card catalog for “A”. But then, you’ll only find out what the librarian/book purchase committee want you to know about “A”. It’s a puzzler, especially as Google is a business, not a public utility, and its objective is to make money.

Jeff Alberts

They’re a private company, they can give you whatever information they want. I would question whether they are operating legally under anti-trust statues.

Percy Jackson

Wim,
In the EU there is now a right to be forgotten so Google and other search
engines are not allowed to return particular results if someone objects. But
the original articles are still present on the web. So in the EU at least the
answer to your question is no only ‘yes’ but is actually “restricting open
access is compulsory”.

Wim Röst

Percy,
‘Restricting access to information on request of the person involved’ is quite a different thing as ‘Restricting acces to information without admission from the owner of the information’, or even: ‘against the will of the owner of the information’!

I repeat that in case of an overwhelming power of an organisation to restrict the chance that specific information is found – against the will of the provider of the information – such a restriction not only should be forbidden but even may be supposed to be forbidden.

Misuse of a dominant position simply is forbidden.

honest liberty

all who wander are not lost..

tom0mason

You may wish to look here where EM Smith finds alternatives to Google’s politically powered search routine.

I have a website uclimate.com that searches blogs for the recent articles. The technology for searching entire websites, whilst more complex, is not that difficult, but is pricey (it needs a dedicated server).

However, in theory there is no reason why it wouldn’t be possible to set up a specifically sceptic search engine – mainly to be able to better access the huge amount that has already been written on the many various sites.

Indeed, I’ve also set up variant for archaeology and am now starting a website for scottish political blogs (only because I have the technology and it just takes a few hours to create a new version on another subject and I no longer care to look at the so called “mainstream media” or what those like Google “recommend”)

As for Google – several years ago I searched for WUWT in their articles – and when I couldn’t find it, I decided to find exactly how far through the search it would be before I got to the WUWT article. It was buried at page 35. They have been intentionally burying WUWT for years.

whiten

In accordance to the “dedicated server” the Internet offers means of probable success through cloud services, against monopoly competition, like google or
YouTube .
Hard, but if the service package worth it, given time, it will have success in accordance to it’s value….and no much a monopoly Internet competitor service can do about it over time, unless relying on a trespass act against…

jaymam

It is easy to see when Google are cheating. Just do the same search using a variety of search engines.

It is quite apparent that some sites such as FactCheck and Snopes and Wikipedia are deliberately biased for some topics and must not be used as authoritative sources. The Washington Post publishes a huge article every week or so attacking President Trump in the forlorn hope that Trump will give up. CNN is now a hopeless case and is Fake News for sure. The BBC should have a complete change of management after their recent huge fines for their idiocy and lack of sacking the people responsible.
The funny thing is that those organisation probably think they are doing a good job. I hope they all collapse.

simple-touriste

Wikipedia is a web attractor because people lazily link to WP to explain stuff, even when the WP definition is unclear, incomplete, difficult to understand and there is a better one elsewhere…

Frederick Michael

There are exceptions. I have found Wikipedia to be an invaluable resource for high level mathematics. It seems that advanced subjects tend to naturally screen out problem people.

Tsk Tsk

Objectively verifiable topics with no political implications are generally reliable. Everything else…

Crispin in Waterloo

It is not immediately obvious that the search result changes if you use a different device: Nokia, Samsung, iPhone, BlackBerry and so on, then different models of Nokia and BlackBerry etc worth different amounts of money. I know a guy who researched this. Different phones, tablets and computers get different search results and different ads at different prices and have for at least ten years. There is a lot more manipulation going on than burying ‘politically’ unappreciated information.

Its is in effect an explication of the implicit post-modern view that the truth is what everybody thinks – or can be induced to think – it is.

Cf the Bandar Log: “We all say so, so it must be true”.

That it is desirable for there to be no dissent in the vox publica.

How far that serves the long term interests of even the elites who desire it, remains to be seen.

Control of the masses by manipulating beliefs was of course the function of the Roman Church.

The Enlightenment was about finding natural laws that allowed predictability in dealings with Nature.

Navigation was not possible with spherical geometry and a global earth. Whilst science never challenged the Church’s moral authority – up to Dawkins anyway – although many who desired to subvert the moral process – Marx in particular – did, science at least established itself as demonstrably not inconsistent with the proposition that there was a world beyond human imagination, and which existed in spite if it.

Truth, possibly unattainable, was demonstrably not simply what people thought it was.

IN this light we see Marxism and its descendants as really a desire to reinstate mediaeval vassalage in terms of ideas and moral beliefs.

Mutatis mutandis It is not necessary for Darwinian survival that people believe in nonsensical propositions, provided that they are harmless.

However when we see the attack on free debate – especially within science itself – we have to ask ‘how dangerous is a widespread belief in man made Climate Change?

Let’s suppose for an instant that the sceptics views are correct, that man made climate change is at best a second order effect on global temperatures, due to the massive negative feedback that exists within climate,.

What is the practical result of so many people believing, and being led to believe, otherwise?

1/. It is a perfect excuse for global authority to be devolved by the people to such organisations as the United Nations. Centralised global power vested in centralised global organisations it is argued, are necessary to deal with global problems.

2/. It is a reason to sell more unwanted product. Irrespective of actual quality, adding ‘eco’ to something and painting it green, sells it so long as there is a continuous drip feed of paranoia to keep ‘green’ issues at the forefront of public consciousness. This particularly is effective in urban populations (now >50% of humans live in cities and never experience Nature) who hark back to a romantic view of wilderness and indeed hunter gatherer moralities, as expressed by Marx and his descendants. Communism is broadly the state of hunter gatherers. In this context renewable energy, which can be shown to be almost completely ineffective at reducing industrial carbon dioxide emissions is sold at an inflated and profitable price.

What both of these amount to is the total disenfranchisement of the plebeian. Power and wealth are now accumulated by global organisations, and the citizen is stripped of his.

After all, in an age of mechanization, who needs the Morlocks?

But does any of this matter?

As per usual, the plebs have been duped and ripped off by the people purporting to be on their side. State religion, as now defined by the social justice morality of the New Liberal Left has been reinstated by decree, to tell people what to think and how to behave, and what to buy with what money the government allows them to keep.

Nothing new there, then. Government always tended towards a self justifying self serving protection racket and all that’s happened is it went global and left the national governments behind. Google is bigger than the US government as is Amazon…

Censorship, suppression of dissent, political imprisonment, witch hunts and inquisitions are all the norm in every age including our own. Ideas should not be multiplied beyond necessity. Occam’s law of social thought

What happened in the enlightenment was not really about great ideas winning hearts and minds, it was about science allowing some very accurate navigation and gunnery, that allowed global empires to be built by holding a cannon to the head of local and less technological societies. By rolling back the enlightenment we halt scientific progress, and the chance to win war games with the ‘less civilised’ as well as less ability to support a complex post-industrial technological urban infrastructure on which the lives of most of the plebs depend. And on which the modern Eloi – the Liberal Elites, also depend.

Is there in fact some law at work here, like Tainter’s ideas about the collapse of complex civilisations, in that those who seek and would win power are of necessity incompetent in the management of the structures they seek to control?

I believe it is so.

Indeed, my experience as an engineer is that products are getting worse and worse in quality, as increasingly their function is seen by those that produce them, as mere ways to move cash from the pockets of plebs into corporate bank accounts. They are as we used to say of Microsoft, ‘Designed to sell, not to work’. Design focusses on features that differentiate brands, not overall quality or functionality.

All this is happening because somehow the whole economic system based on massive debt, doesn’t actually need to add any real value. Its all just moving numbers in bank accounts.

Except that when it comes to physical things, like energy, food, housing, infrastructure of roads water supplies sewage systems housing and so on, quality really matters. But the ethos of sell any overpriced cr@p to the plebs’ is ingrained. We no longer know how to build for real utility and quality. Elon Musk?

Or should that be Eloi Musk?

We may say that there us a war between the plebs and the elites. That Marxism and its descendants have utterly failed to identify, because in the end Marx became another tool of the elites. No the real war is between those who might challenge the current elites who are practised in the art of propaganda, and psychology and what they call ‘marketing’, but not in anything real.

Marketing butters no parsnips. On the other side, the likes of Sundar Pichai & Zuckerberg should be careful of cosying up to them. The real power today lies with technology that underpins the Western lifestyle, No electricity = megadeath, for example.

And that is what scares the elite and has scared them ever since WWII when the age of the Boffin began.

That the Geek, might inherit the earth.

After all, he built it.

RicDre

“That it is desirable for there to be no dissent in the vox publica.”

I believe General William Tecumseh Sherman used the phrase ”Vox populi, vox humbug.” in reference to what he called the “the non-thinking herd” that read the newspapers of his day. This is also a good description of the people who unquestioningly accept what is published in today’s Main Stream Media.

Joe Crawford

Thanks Leo. This long retired engineer couldn’t agree with you more.

beng135

Thanks, as a fellow engineer, nice comments.

Jim Masterson

>>
Navigation was not possible with spherical geometry and a global earth.
<<

Huh?

Jim

Dr. Strangelove

It’s a misconception that non-Euclidean geometry began in the 19th century. Menelaus of Alexandria wrote a book on spherical trigonometry and its application to astronomy circa 100 AD

“The Enlightenment was about finding natural laws that allowed predictability in dealings with Nature.”

The scientific revolution by Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Pascal, Huygens, Newton, etc. began a century before the Enlightenment. Philosophy broke away from religion and science became fashionable among intellectuals in high society in the Enlightenment.

Kip,
You haven’t yet, in this series, shown an actual example of where Google unfairly downranks a climate minority view in a particular search list. And there have been a few showing that they don’t.

Your arithmetic on search numbers doesn’t prove much. It is easy to imagine that searches could decline while pageviews hold up. Returning viewers don’t need to search. But Google is not the only entity to change in recent months. So did WUWT, and that may have affected the ranking algorithm.

Phoenix44

Using “unfairly” shows you are not serious. Care to define that in any meaningful way that we can all agree?

As for “climate minority” what was your pet theory when it first started? A climate minority. So you would have been happy if that had been given as little visibility as possible because it was a minority view?

Try answering the point just for once in these debates – do you support self-appointed organisations deciding what is “true” and what is not?

“Care to define that in any meaningful way that we can all agree?”
I’m not the complainer here. I’m just describing the complaint. It’s up to Kip to show a case where Google is being unfair, and include his definition of unfair.

Reg Nelson

Google owns YouTube. YouTube has demonetized and banned channels with conservative or centrist views — basically any viewpoints that questions or criticizes the alt-left.

Chris

Reg, which centrist view channels have been banned?

” do you support self-appointed organisations deciding what is “true” and what is not”
Yes. Independent organisations can freely do that. I may not agree with them.

But what Google is doing here is to anticipate, as best it can, what searchers are looking for. As they should. And I think a big majority of Google’s users will agree with their decisions. That is sufficient justification.

Typically, Nick only sees what his world-view (or his handler) allows him to.

Clyde Spencer

Anthony,
It is interesting that you would suggest that he has a handler. It has been my experience that he has the characteristics of a good sophist lawyer whose intent is to win any way possible. While he floats like a bee, and stings like a butterfly, it is evident he works hard at finding anything to criticize, such as trotting out an obscure theory on proton donors, which only finds application in special cases, to justify the term “ocean acidification.” It is frustrating how obtuse he generally is. Yet, it makes sense if he is being paid to be obtuse instead of objective.

Tsk Tsk

I take it you oppose Net Neutrality as well. You do, right?

I actually don’t have a strong opinion on net neutrality. But there is a big difference. With searching, the supplier does have to make decisions on the order of presentation. There has to be a #1, #2 etc. With net neutrality, the idea is that the supplier makes no decision at all, but treats all traffic equally. That is possible with net traffic, but not with searching.

beng135

what Google is doing here is to anticipate, as best it can, what searchers are looking for. As they should.

Yuck, blah. That’s so sycophantic as to be nauseous.

Roger Knights

“But what Google is doing here is to anticipate, as best it can, what searchers are looking for. As they should. And I think a big majority of Google’s users will agree with their decisions. That is sufficient justification.”

1. But a big part of the Internet’s value is finding what one was NOT looking for, including oddball slants on things.

2. Given WUWT’s comparatively high visitation rate, it’s plausible that it IS what a majority, or a non-fringe minority (say 20%), of searchers are looking for.

3. It’s presumptuous to assume what a big majority is looking for. They may mostly be curious to see what all sides have to say on matters. They may be as suspicious of climate correctness as they are of political correctness.

I think Google, YouTube, and social media sites would be justified in flagging sites and threads that they are currently marginalizing in other ways. This would include both labeling them with “thumbs-down” (say) icons and with standardized explanatory sentences for the flags.

Doing this would be “up front” instead of sneaky (e.g., shadow-banning). It would avoid silencing minority voices. (Although some really nasty voices or dangerously incorrect opinions (e.g., medical) could justifiably be entirely banned.) This would seem like the logical and freedom-loving first step for these firms to take. What is currently being done skips over that step. This big leap is being made, I suspect, at the unpublicized behest of and threats by European regulators and politicians, who don’t have America’s respect for free speech, and a instead a respect for what “makes sense” to them. “Allen in ordnung!”

Incidentally, if the global warming trend fizzles or collapses, and we contrarians are proved correct, it will, or should, be a lesson to the censorious that they should be less sure about “which end is up” in disputed matters.

MCourtney

But what Google is doing here is to anticipate, as best it can, what searchers are looking for. As they should. And I think a big majority of Google’s users will agree with their decisions.

I agree that the majority will agree with their decisions. But that’s because they have not heard any reason to disagree with their decisions.
And Google are making sure that they never do.

Truth is not a popularity contest.

MarkW

It seems that Nick’s morality is defined by whether or not you can get paid for doing it.

Greg Cavanagh

I think it’s more rooted in “authority”.
He is beholden to any authority on any subject.

Lurker Pete

Search “climategate” #1 wiki #2 skepticalscience #18 on page 2 WUWT

same term on DuckDuckGo WUWT = #6. skepticalscience = #42

Yes, but #3 is David Archibald’s Lavoisier Group (maybe specific for Oz). #8 is the Telegraph:
“Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation …”
#11 is Mosher/Fuller Crutape Letters. #12 is “Climategate, Public Opinion, and the Loss of Trust”

The problem isn’t suppression of a minority view; it’s just that WUWT has a lot of competition in that field.

Lurker Pete

Is skepticalscience really winning the competition stakes against WUWT on page views/website statistics? If so, why is DuckDuckGo demoting skepticalscience to #42 in the same search?

update: same term on Mojeek #1WUWT #401 skepticalscience

“Is skepticalscience really winning the competition stakes against WUWT on page views/website statistics”
It isn’t a competition to find the worthiest site. It is Google’s attempt to answer the specific question, which single link is likely to meet the needs of the person who supplied that particular search string? They give, of course, multiple answers. As to the ranking, it would be influenced by site popularity, but also by things like how many times was “climategate” mentioned in that single link? How many people viewed, not pages in general, but that specific page?

RicDre

Mr. Stokes:

You said ” It is Google’s attempt to answer the specific question, which single link is likely to meet the needs of the person who supplied that particular search string? ”

But Google said “…We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content… “, so wouldn’t it be more correct to say that “It is Google’s attempt to answer the specific question by providing what Google has decided is the more authoritative pages with what Google has decided is high-quality content”?

“wouldn’t it be more correct to say that”
It would be correct to say that. This is the core function of search engines. To gather a list of links that Google thinks the user may be looking for, and present them in the order that will be helpful to most users. Google has to make that judgement (who else?). They keep people coming back by getting those decisions right.

RicDre

Mr. Stokes:

You said Google’s core function is “To gather a list of links that Google thinks the user may be looking for” but it appears to me based on the quote “…We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content…” that Google views their core function as gathering a list links that Google has decided the user should be looking for without any consideration for what the user may be looking for. Getting the decision “right” is unimportant to Google because they know that if they don’t show an important link, most people won’t even know it exists.

Red94ViperRT10

But what appears to be happening, WUWT and skepticalscience could give exactly the same answer to a question, but the WUWT article comes in much lower because it came from WUWT. And, really, Nick, I think Kip gave adequate proof just by showing the decline in search engine referrals.

Lurker Pete

since this whole discussion is regarding rankings, and we know WUWT is much more popular than SS based on rankings, WUWT also broke the original story… Q.E.D.

Roger Knights

“WUWT also broke the original story”

And I made the first comment on WUWT’s first thread on the story. (FWIW—nothing.)

MCourtney

That is the key point. WUWT broke the original story.
WUWT is the primary source.
but Google prefers biased secondary sources to the historical record.

“WUWT broke the original story.”
Actually, it didn’t. But anyway, the Google algorithm has no way of resolving that. It gets billions of unpredictable phrases to search for. It can only try to match each phrase to occurrences in actual pages, and then to rank by degree of occurrence and by some metadata about the pages.

philo

I tried my own search:
Google-10 results, 2 skeptical books on Amazon and 8 consensus pages including several from the guardian.
Bing- 9 results, 2 sceptic- Conservapedia, WUWT, one solo skeptic book, a couple guardians, and a couple wikipedias
Duckduckgo- a scad~50 results- everything from the Guardian to WUWT and everything in between.

That is definitely a NO vote for Google.
DDG by far gave the most accesible results with a broad spectrum of results.

Roger Knights

How did Bing do? Microsoft is spending $500 million a year IIRC to compete with Google, so it should put up a respectable showing.

David Smith

Nick, try typing “climate change sceptic” or “climate change skeptical” into Google and see what happens. Surely WUWT should be up near the top? No it’s not. Why not?
Cookie and his crowd at SkS are right up there, but not WUWT. Why?

Because John Cook named it “skeptical science”. It was a ploy to game the system from the get-go, becuase Mr. Cook really isn’t skeptical at all, he’s a proponent.

MCourtney

SKS is not sceptical.
And the “science” is a parody as well.

spalding craft

Anthony. Good answer. And as we all know, “gaming the system” is a mildly condemnatory phrase that’s in the eye of the beholder.

I certainly agree that wuwt has been marginalized by Google. But in this open world it hasn’t kept wuwt from becoming the top climate website. It’s even possible to argue that the dis by Google has helped wuwt in some ways – skeptics being contrarian sorts.

And let’s be honest – a minority view will never have equal respect, and in some way we should accept that fate and move on. And, if there’s a good idea somewhere, we can find it without much effort.

My own experience is that I’ve never had any difficulty finding a variety of views when using Google, although I would prefer that it was easier. But I’ll continue to spend my time arguing with consensus types and trying to learn more about the science. Wuwt is a good source, along with a few other websites.

Greg Cavanagh

I’m pretty sure SKS existed before WUWT. I remember way back a million years ago, I found SKS and would read through the articles just for interest. I’m sure I found it 10 years before I ever found WUWT.

It was probably well named back then, but as it relates to Climate Science it’s obviously not skeptical, or sensible. I read through his article on the Hide the Decline, and it was utter nonsense.

Roy Spencer

Having the searched word in the domain name (skepticalscience.com) certainly helps SERPS ranking, Anthony, but after experimenting with various search terms I am now convinced Kip is right: WUWT has been de-ranked by Google. It used to be site popularity (in terms of quality incoming links) and content that matched the search terms would get you highly ranked, that apparently is no longer the case for anything Google had marked as fake news.

Chris

Google use Page Rank, among other things, in determining how to list sites. In essence, it ranks sites by how often other sites refer to them. Say you search on the words “dishwasher reviews”. To keep it simple, consider 2 sites. One is Consumer Reports, the other is Appliance Reviews (I just made that up). Since both sites will have obviously have the words “dishwasher reviews” in them, Google needs to decide who to make #1 and who to make #2. It does it by looking at how many other sites reference Consumer Reports (for example, using a hyperlink) and how many reference Appliance Reviews. If Consumer Reports has a higher Page Rank than Appliance Review, they will be ranked #1 and Appliance Review #2.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

beng135

Exactly how naive can somebody be? Wikipedia? ROFLMAO. Take your Wikipedia “explanation” and then overtop it w/a simple & brutal anti-conservative bias that Google puts on searches. This much is plainly obvious.

Get your head out of your you-know-what.

Chris

Beng, get a clue, you really provide little to no depth in your answers. Classic drive by debating style. Page Rank has been known and written about for 15 years. Here is a more detailed overview on Page Rank. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/page-rank-algorithm-implementation/

Saying the words “plainly obvious” is what lazy people do when defending their position.

hunter

….eyes wide shut….

ozspeaksup

thansk for mojeek link;-)
and i always remove goo from everything i use
and do the same to any pcs etc i work on
slowly slowly we can win;-)

Kip,
“Try this “How do I change the default search engine in my browser?” in a Google search.”
I did. The top post, and a featured version above, were from Google documentation. The next five seemed quite neutral. Then a few more from Google documentation.

But it is quite possible that, with Google so popular and all, that most inquirers really are searching how to switch to Google. Then the listing is appropriate.

Ivor Ward

I believe that the censors are actually bringing on the Streisand effect. The more they claim to be the guardians of our news and information and the arbiters of the truth the more suspicious discerning readers become. That may well improve the spread of information that is searched for rather than restrict it. Sheeple will not be searching for much beyond Katy Perry and makeup tips for teens so their view of the truth will not be seriously impacted by anything Google does.

I use Startpage and DDG but they both use google, but, as I am aware of that I can dig more deeply.

Marcus

“Start Page” is the best option…IMHO…

Hey Kip,

Why not start an online petition right here on wattsup?

You will get lots of signatures in support.

Use change.org or another one if you prefer.

https://www.change.org/start-a-petition

Regards, Allan

A C Osborn

Let’s not kid ourselves.
This is not just google, it is also Twitter & Face Book, they are trying (and mostly succeeding) in controlling the narrative.
And it is not just about Climate, it is about anything anti Globallist, anti Democrat, anti Feminist, Anti Trans, Anti Muslim Activist, Anti Immigration and Pro Trump, Pro Brexit, Pro Russia.

This IS 1984 made real.

Don132

“Controlling the narrative”– yes, that’s it. And in many ways it’s 1984 made real, although people are too uncritical to realize this. We become thoughtless when we let others think for us and decide for us what “the story”– about anything– is. We seem to have forgotten that there are two sides to every story.

When they start teaching the doctrine of climate change in our schools– as they have– then we need those same students to find out what the other side says.

dunbrokin

I would dispute that!…there are 3 sides to every story: my side, your side and the truth! If you are human you have a bias.

Don132

Agree!

steve case

A C Osborn … 2:58 am

This is not just google, it is also Twitter & Face Book, they are trying (and mostly succeeding) in controlling the narrative. … it is about anything anti Globallist, anti Democrat, anti Feminist, Anti Trans, Anti Muslim Activist, Anti Immigration and Pro Trump, Pro Brexit, Pro Russia.

This IS 1984 made real.

What we are seeing is another manifestation of the differences between the left and right, arts and science, talkers and producers.

It will ever be thus.

The other side will always dominate the media, education, courts etc. We all know the illustrations: “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, “The Boy who Cried Wolf, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” etc.

Eisenhower’s farewell address laid out the issue of where the battle between the two sides would clash in the near future.

That future has arrived.

markl

+1 And it’s getting worse.

Phoenix44

The history of both thought and science shows that good drives out bad, and the more free and open discussion is, the more quickly it happens.

This is not only highly authoritarian but arrogantly patronising – you little people need our help knowing what is true. And how do new ideas gain traction? Every advance starts as a minority view.

But the irony is that all the people proposing this lunacy would refuse to accept that their economic beliefs are fake news and wholly debunked by the majority of economists. But of course left-wing economics and socialist thought can’t be banned can it?

Roger Knights

“The history of both thought and science shows that good drives out bad, …”

Here’s what Mencken said to the contrary:

“What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. This is the whole history of the intellect in brief.”

Mark - Helsinki

WUWT has never ever shown up in an organic search for me ever here in Finland unless I use WUWT or the full name of the site, and as always I get more results for sites attacking WUWT on the first page.

Google presents “Watts Up With That? is a blog promoting climate change denial that was created by Anthony Watts in 2006.” at the top of the page, a vandalized wiki, attacking WUWT, when I search for WUWT

I have noticed google in the past few years directs a massive amount of traffic toward Skeptical Science. Especially where graph plots and questions are concerned though I suspect Australian tax payers are unwittingly paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to google for that.

Youtube, I search for videos by exact title, and get other sources instead and have to go down through the list of less viewed videos with not even remotely similar titles to ind the video I am looking for.
Its not only google.

Lets be honest, Google Youtube facebook and Twitter are dominated by left leaning types and the political bias is built in to their algorithms as proven by the recent conservative shadow banning and outright lies about it from Twitter, because their own current and former staff admitted it on video, that it is not on paper, that the decisions to censor are made outside of official policy and enforced the same, outside of official policy.

There is the issue Kip. It is not official policy, it is unofficial policy, agreement of employees of left leaning politics, to censor via algorithm, without it ever being enshrined in official company policy. Its called Real politik.

Google’s search results on the topic of climate is so badly biased that I have long given up using it as a search engine, and advise others not to use it also. It is not official policy that slants the results, it is the personal bias of engineers who feel it is their mandate to deliver the “right” content, ie, content they agree with. To believe there is no political bias at google, post Damore.. is insane. Google are uber political and have structured their entire business hiring\recruiting practices on political lines in the past decade. Homogeneous political environment, that delivers these algorithms and low and behold, the slant is steeply in one direction

“Google presents “Watts Up With That?”
If I Google “Watts Up With That” with quotes (always use quotes, if that is what you mean) I get a result featuring WUWT prominently display-style at #1:
Update – I get the same without quotes.

comment image

Tom in Florida

That is exactly what I got. If I entered WUWT I get the same first two entries then it goes into specific items from WUWT. I have googled WUWT many times on my IPhone and this site always comes up first. My only question is when a person visits certain sites from the same IP many times, does that cause Google Search to “know” that is what I want and then proceed to give it to me based on my history of sites visited?

philo

What else would you expect. You asked for a specific website and got it. It doesn’t even take an algorithm to do that. When you put in less specific terms the results can be heavily biases.

Tom in Florida

Not necessarily. It depends on what a site uses as key words and phrases for SEO.
Searching the letters “WUWT” is not a specific website.

Red94ViperRT10

But if I already know the web address of the site I want to see, I don’t need a search engine. So once again, Nick, what’s your point?

I was responding to the comment which said:
“Google presents “Watts Up With That? is a blog promoting climate change denial that was created by Anthony Watts in 2006.” at the top of the page, a vandalized wiki, attacking WUWT, when I search for WUWT”

So I tried it to see what I got.

Mark - Helsinki

You did it on mobile? do it on a desktop, where most people view the internet from. I bet you have already seen it on desktop browser, and have seen the wiki scrape put up by google that I was talking about.

pathological?

steve case

Nick Stokes…
If I Google “Watts Up With That” …
29, 2018 3:27 am

If I Google [ Sea Level Rise ] I get:

Sea level rise – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise

Is sea level rising? – NOAA’s National Ocean Service
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sealevel.html

How much is sea level rising? – Skeptical Science
https://skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-intermediate.htm

Really Skeptical Science #3?
WattsUpWithThat doesn’t show on the first ten pages. I’m not saying that it should.

Dog Pile on that search doesn’t show Skeptical Science on the first ten pages or WattsUpWithThat.

Does Google have a bias? – – – Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?

Mark - Helsinki

SKS, someone is pumping in 100s of Ks of cash to have that site up there

hunter

Nick,
If someone is suspecting in their gut that the consensus is worth questioning and dimply types in climate skepticism, they will be deceitfully guided by google to sites that lie and say skeptics are deniers, are wrong to question the consensus, etc.
So stop the snnoying bs game, Nick.

Chris

Hunter – learn how page rank works before spouting off.

Mark - Helsinki

Gibberish Chris. Learn how algorithms work. Algorithms decide ranking based on content. That is the very topic here.

It’s not organic on many topics, when it should be.

beng135

Mark – Helsinki, describing Chris’ excrement as gibberish is being kind. Ret*rded is more accurate.

Chris

Mark – false. Read up on Page Rank before you spout off. It’s based on the quality of OTHER sites that link to the sites that are being ranked by Google.

No-op Beng, it’s good to hear from you. A waste of 10 seconds, but good to hear from you.

Actually, most of the algorithms are based on massive curated lists. There is an organic component, but the manual component always overrides.

Try googling ‘climate feedback’ and see what comes up. 182 million results and not one from wuwt on the first 5 pages (didn’t bother looking further). Qualifying the search with wuwt produced 17,500 results. while qualifying the search with climatefeedback.org, which produced the top 3 results. produced 16,100 results touching nearly every page on the site. Somebody understands how to rig search engines …

Worse yet, climatefeedback.org is nothing but a propaganda site claiming to be scientifically authoritative.

Tom in Florida

If this site does not use the search terms “climate feedback” why would you expect it to appear in such a search? Do any of us know what search terms are being used as SEO?

My point was that ‘climate feedback’ has been covered by many articles and has been discussed widely and deeply in many threads on this site, yet no content from WUWT was in any of the top pages of results.

Mark - Helsinki

Indeed folks, Google is burying this site. It’s intentional and it’s not “official policy”.

After what has happened James Damore at Google, it is clear that the company has a serious political slant. Also google execs have displayed serious actual science denial in the area of gender. Google are science deniers, not WUWT

Worse still, they employ racist hiring practices in my opinion

If you google climate feedback you get 182 million responses. If you google “climate feedback” (much better) you’ll get 111,000. But Google interprets this as a simple scientific query, and returns at top pages that seem like a simple factual explanation (apart from a few pages where climate feedback is the name of an organisation or some such).

It clearly understood it to be a search relative to how feedback applies to the climate as nearly all of the results on the first few pages were related to climate science and all were pro AGW positions. When I qualified it with wuwt, most of the results were either from the wuwt site or lame attempts somewhere else attempting to discredit an article or comment.

BTW, ‘climate feedback fubar’ and ‘climate science fubar’ all get you to the right wuwt page, quotes or not

If this doesn’t work for you, then they are shadow banning me which would be evil as well as disturbing.

Dave_G

If WUWT is ‘the’ worlds most prolific climate skeptic site then why doesn’t it even show when you Google “Global Warming Skeptic site”?
You’d think that it would be the top result?!! On the first page even? No, it’s on page 3….
All you get are the usual PRO-Global Warming sites with their ‘discussion on climate skepticism’…..

Chris

Read up on page rank, that is how Google does its ranking.

Mark - Helsinki

At the top result is the WUWT site, but on the right hand side of google it has a wiki excerpt that is an attack on WUWT calling it a “denier” site. The Wiki is nothing but vandalism of the wiki page and google takes that content and puts it on their own page.

it came up on your page too, and you decided to be disingenuous and pretend you didn’t notice it or pretend you didn’t know what I meant.

Mark - Helsinki

comment image

Nick, I am disappointed in you. Self delusion at its finest.

On the right hand side, Google puts up an attack on the site, which is just a vandalized wiki entry. Unless you agree with the wiki’s description of this site, do you?

To clarify, google scraped the content from the wiki and put it up on its page. Ergo the content is provided by google not Wikipedia. So.. google is attacking WUWT in this instance.

The first link is WUWT, the second is the wiki and the third is ATTP’s junk site. That’s the site, and two sites attacking this site in the first three links PLUS a nice big wiki scrape on the right hand side calling the site a denier site
comment image

There is no such thing as climate change denial, no such scientific theory as climate change either, and google would deem this wiki junk as an authoritative source?

As usual, proponents of a theory who have already made up their minds, twist your meaning in order to make an argument. Nick you did this, I said “top of the page”, not “top search result”. Is English your first language? Yes, so I can only assume you are being a bit of a sly dog

“On the right hand side, Google puts up an attack on the site”

There is a lot of confusion in this discussion. It starts as a claim that Google suppresses alternative viewpoints. But it often soon gets to indignation that Google posts links that are unwelcome (and presumably should be hidden). In this case, Google certainly makes it easy for readers to see the WUWT viewpoint. It also gives access to detractor sites.

Google always gives prominence to Wiki. Wiki is itself a well organised source of information. I very often click on the Wiki link as the most useful of the top offerings, as I am sure many do. Google helps the majority of users find the information they seek. I notice the locally praised mojeek alternative also shows the Wiki excerpts in a similar way. In fact a mojeek search for WUWT gives much harsher results than Google.

hunter

In how many other areas of public concern is the oligarchy deceitfully (mis)guiding people?
If they are willing to do it regarding the climate issue, how many others are they willing to do this to?

steve case

hunter at 11:18am
If they are willing to do it regarding the climate issue, how many others are they willing to do this to?

Every controversial topic there is.

Joe - the non climate scientist

The story of creation in Genesis is really just an early scientific theory of both evolution and the big bang theory. Considering the level of science knowledge that existed 2-3k bc , the theory of creation, is really a pretty reasonable theory. As with all theories, they are improved as time goes on and scientific knowledge is gained.

The story of creation should be respected as man’s early attempt to theorize how the world and animals and life got started – ie a scientific theory.

Joe - the non climate scientist

I should add that the anti-religious refuse to even consider that the story of creation is simply one of man’s early attempts of a scientific theory of creation of the universe and of life

bonbon

Einstein roundly cheered Lemaitre’s big bang (cosmic egg) exposition as the best creation story he had ever heard. Lemaitre a Jesuit priest, and all that.
At the time of Moses, he definitely threw a wrench in the consensus of the time – Gaia, Ishtar, Babylon. Mankind was to go forth, multiply, exert dominion, better than the population reduction of Enlil.
Trouble is today with AGW, Enlil is being resurrected, with a pagan CO2 ritual.

Clyde Spencer

Joe,
I would agree that it is an early attempt to explain how the world began. However, it is presented as dogma, and NOT a theory. Further, it doesn’t pass the scientific test of falsifiability and being subject to modification with empirical experiment. The scientific method came about long after the biblical explanation. Therefore, for it to be in any way “scientific” would be shear luck. Calling something “scientific” is not sufficient to make it so. It must meet specific criteria to be called “scientific” legitimately. Explaining something as being the work of divine activity is not commonly considered to be a scientific explanation, which is at is should be.

Joe - the non climate scientists

Clyde – “However, it is presented as dogma, and NOT a theory. Further, it doesn’t pass the scientific test of falsifiability and being subject to modification with empirical experiment. The scientific method came about long after the biblical explanation. ”

It did not become dogma until much later.

Clyde Spencer

Joe,
Are you suggesting that before the Old Testament was adopted by Christians, Jewish history was seen as peer-reviewed science?

What about my other points challenging the validity of calling Genesis science?

Joe - the non climate scientists

clyde – “Are you suggesting that before the Old Testament was adopted by Christians, Jewish history was seen as peer-reviewed science?”

Absolutely not trying to equate the old testament as peer reviewed science.

You are also trying to judge man’s early theory of the creation of the universe and the creation of life by the scientific standards of today vs the scientific standards and knowledge that existed circa 2k-3k BC.

A third point – it wasnt until much later that theory of creation in genesis became spiritual and dogma.

Joe - the non climate scientists

Kip – My apologies for getting somewhat off topic – I guess I was trying to equate Google’s downgrading concepts which they disagree, with evolution of scientific knowledge.
(granting I didnt do a good job of equating the analogy.)

spalding craft

I don’t think it’s necessary at all to apologize for changing the subject, and the way you define a scientific theory is a reasonable way to make sense of one of the most fascinating and hotly contested controversies in the history of Western thought.

Anyone looking for a primer on Science and Religion will find a good intro in one of the teaching company series. https://www.thegreatcourses.com/

bonbon

Is the Big Bang falsifiable, repeatable? Even observable? Is spontaneous symmetry breaking even rational? To top it all is probability a cause? Our greatest scientist, Einstein, was the only one who objected to this mummery at Solvay 1927 with “God does not play dice!”.

spalding craft

Genesis and the description of the creation is not an attempt to present a scientific theory. It’s simply a somewhat reverent attempt by a religious person to explain how the wonders of the physical world came about. The presentation of it has nothing to do with “dogma” either. It became dogma later, when churches tried to fend off scientific explanation and circle the wagons.

As a matter of fact the Catholic Church long ago reconciled science knowledge with religion – in every single instance. I speak of the Catholic Church as an institution. Not everyone in the Church, and certainly not in other churches, agrees.

Red94ViperRT10

In my opinion, Genesis and evolution are not mutually exclusive. Genesis gets specific on process only when describing the creation of Adam. So, I can say without hesitation, the Bible tells me God created the Heavens, the Earth, the creatures on it and People, AND HOW HE DID IT WAS ENTIRELY UP TO HIM! I’m curious what more we can find out about the process, but so far I see no exclusive conflicts.

Cliff Hilton

Joe – the non climate scientist

The story of Creation requires faith, not research. Faith and science do not co-exist.

And faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Joe - the non climate scientists

Cliff – “The story of Creation requires faith, not research. Faith and science do not co-exist.”

Initially the genesis story of creation was man’s attempt to explain the creation of the universe and the creation of life. It wasnt until much later that it became dogma and an article of faith –

Alan Tomalty

The big bang story requires faith as well. I don’t believe in either one of them.

RicDre

“The big bang story requires faith as well”

True. Of course the alternatives, “The Steady State Universe” or “The Multiverse” also require faith. If you go back far enough you always end up at “and how did that get there?”.

Clyde Spencer

One important difference is that the Big Bang is the result of observations of the universe with sophisticated instrumentation that was not available to whomever wrote Genesis. Additionally, mathematics, the language of science, was not available to those recording “early attempts of a scientific theory of creation of the universe…” Yet another reason to object to calling it science — it isn’t described in the language of science. Indeed, sophisticated mathematics (even a hint of it with parables) is nowhere to be found in any of the ancient scriptures.

bonbon

No, not so. The Big Bang is from a Jesuit priest Lamaitre (Cosmic Egg), that Einstein lauded as the greatest creation story he ever heard. He had serious doubts about Lamaitre’s physics.
And we know the universe did not spontaneously, unknowably, spring forth from maths.
Remember Planck’s famous talk where he said : so müssen wir hinter dieser Kraft einen bewußten intelligenten Geist annehmen.
This physicist revolutionized science when Bertrand Russell had declared only the decimals are left. I think Planck was way ahead of Lamaitre.
Einstein’s answer : I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details.

dodgy geezer

I suppose it’s worth pointing out that altering search engines and such like has NOTHING to do with changing people’s minds. People do not really change their minds. Nick Stokes – and, whenever he gets a point right, his detractors – are ample evidence of that. No fact will shift either side. In practice, if someone believes something and another person is trying to dissuade them, the first party will simply close their mind. That’s a very useful human skill, used for Jehovah’s Witnesses and double glazing salesmen…

What the activists ARE trying to do is close the Overton Window. https://www.mojeek.com/search?q=overton+window

So long as activists can claim that the ‘general view’ (as evidenced by the Wiki, search results, etc) is that Climate Change is a grave danger and requires major disruption of society, then they can get politicians to go ahead with that disruption, which is, of course, the agenda that they want to pursue. And so long as they can avoid the policies being seen as ‘extreme’, people will simply ignore the fact that they can have less power, less water and fewer consumer goods……

Red94ViperRT10

People have changed their minds. I did. My original position on Global Warming wasn’t alarmist, though. I felt like, so Man is warming the Earth with industrial activity, but we might as well get used to it, ’cause it took the entire industrial revolution (which I date all the way back to the improvements of the steam engine by James Watt that made it useful in 1763) to get us here, it would take just as long to unwind it, and I don’t think it CAN be unwound without killing off most of us in the process (which to Gang Green Goon Squad is a feature not a bug). I changed my mind, to decide the whole thing is more like covering fire to distract from a global take-over of the restriction on energy use, and making everybody equal by dragging down the most successful, by researching and actually FINDING answers on the internet. If I were to start the same journey today, at this point, I’m pretty sure I would never get there.

Joe Crawford

“In practice, if someone believes something and another person is trying to dissuade them, the first party will simply close their mind. “ I learned a long time ago that you cannot win a bar argument. Logic will never conquer belief. All you can do is provide anecdotal evidence that doesn’t fit their position.

Herbert Simon’s theory of Bounded Rationality, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978, taught me that most people develop their own philosophy of life (i.e., belief system) based on life experience. The only time they may change this is when too many of their own or other’s experiences fall outside of their current belief system and can no longer be rationalized. When the thought burden get too heavy they will eventually go through a paradigm shift and develop a new philosophy that encompasses more of their experiences.

Alasdair

An excellent 18 minutes plus!
Would it be possible to write and use your own algorithm which amends or overwrites that of the search engine? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an examples of gaming; but is from the perspective of the wesite owner. Searchers need the equivalent. It already exists in very simple form where you can choose to rate results in comments by oldest or newest; but, of course only if allowed.
I take it that Tag words get overwritten by these algorithms and are somewhat irrelevant here.
I think somewhere someone will make a lot of money solving this problem. Or purporting to do.

D. Cohen

Why do those using search engines only get to use one search algorithm? Why doesn’t google offer users the choice of using their new algorithm or the old one? Hey, why not offer the choice of putting the **least** visited websites first? The fundamental problem here is the desire to control what people read and see. Hello, free speech anyone?

One change in search engines that I would personally like would be a choice to exclude anything posted after a certain date. That way, when something new hits the news, you could find out what people and/or the authorities were saying about the issue or fact before it went viral and became politicized.

That is possible. Once you see the search results, there is a button “tools” below the search field at the right. If you click that you get two more ways to influence the results. Instead of “any time”, you can give a custom time range.

hunter

So your website might actually show up!

Johann Wundersamer

Kip, read it all.

The point is: support for winners.

Let’s win.

Roger Knights

“Kip, read it all. The point is: support for winners.”

Eh?

Johann Wundersamer

Roger, what’s eating you.

Johann Wundersamer

Roger, realize:

With preferring .gov Google tries to always be

on the winners side.

So why not fight TO BE

The Winners Side.

Joe - the non climate scientist

Transgender – is it a medical issue or is it a mental issue?

Articles pointing out that a mental issue cant be cured by surgical mutilation – will those articles be labeled fake news.

Are articles condemning repressed memory syndrome going to be labeled fake science (the psycho diagnosis de jure)

The transgender science promoted today is very similar to the fraudulent repressed memory syndrome of the late 80’s early 90’s

Monica

As a transgender person, a climate sceptic, a libertarian and an engineer; I feel that lumping the TG experience into the category of repressed memory syndrome shows a lack of research, understanding and empathy with/of the TG condition. Just because the science has not yet fully caught up with the lived experience of TG people does not mean that there is no scientific basis for such a condition. Not all “Hot Topical societal controversies” are deserving of knee jerk reactions.

Jeff Alberts

You, like most of the media, conflate transgender with transsexual. The former is behavior, the latter is physical.

Monica

It does rather depend on whose definition you are using….in the transgender community, transsexual is a rarely used term….and when it is, it is considered to be synonymous with TG….in my experience.

Roger Knights

To tweak a common expression, Google is your fiend.

Roger Knights

Google is most likely acting in response to pressure from mandarins in governments in Europe that don’t like the populist and contrarian voices that Google has empowered. It was probably hoping that by being accommodating, the EU would perhaps lower the fine it recently levied on the company.

Asp

i.e. Follow the money!!!

Marcus

“The Guardian piece is titled: “Google acts against fake news on search engine”

So who gets to decide what is “FAKE NEWS” ? President Trump or Hildabeast ?

OOh, she lost..AGAIN…. ooops !

Ed Reid

Searching for prominent skeptical climate scientists is also instructive.

https://www.therightinsight.org/Not-so-subtle-Influences-Search-Engine-Bias

John Garrett

Google IS evil.

Roger Knights

“Google IS evil.”

That was its slogan (“Don’t be evil”), which alluded to the denigrating epithet applied to Microsoft as “the evil empire.” But now Google has become The Oval Umpire—where “oval” means out-of-alignment, or biased. (A bit of a stretch, I admit.)

commieBob

Interesting thing:

I searched most viewed climate skeptic website on both Google and DuckDuckGo. WUWT is the first hit in both cases.

The banner at the top of WUWT states:

The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change

I tried most visited climate skeptic website and WUWT dropped to number three. The other pages around it changed so DDG wasn’t simply parroting Google.

I tried searching for surface stations. surfacestations.org was the first hit for both search engines. Google had several WUWT stories near the top of the results page. DDG did not.

The other thing to note is that I don’t have an “I” problem. Google and DDG both return hits to me based on my location. They may even return hits based on who they think I am based on my IP address. It would be interesting to see if others get the same results I did.

Bro. Steve

Here’s wishing for a competitor for Google that really is as good as Google.

Roger Knights

Bing is trying, but it is far behind and it is a very hard technical task.

My suggestion is to launch a class action against GOOG. Google search service is not the First Amendment speech:

“To determine whether an actor’s conduct possesses “sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment into play,” the Supreme Court has asked whether “[a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it.” Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 404 (1989)

Google provides search service, and says that it attempts to give the most useful and helpful results for each user. Users pay for this services by allowing Google to access their computers (cookies) and providing their private information. Services must be provided in good faith and advertised truthfully. Google is in breach of both requirements, and probably many other clauses of the Universal Commercial Code.

I see a huge class action lawsuit with hundreds of millions of victims and potential recovery in hundreds of billions dollars. Where are class action lawyers when they are needed?

Gerald Franke

Leo – Don’t you mean “Uniform Commercial Code”?

Yes.

dmacleo

I think one of the “drivers” here is the EU right to be forgotten rules. while google pretended to oppose it its funny how they had algorithms in place very fast to comply with this.
the same algorithms can easily, iirc, be used to change the weight of posted articles and search results.

JohnWho

Google’s stated mission:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

If they do not attempt to remove any bias from their search and presentation algorithms,

then their results are not “universally useful”.

bonbon

I heard a TED talk that said “all the world’s” info. That’s sure ambitious. They are going to be Gödel’d sooner than they think. The more they collect the further from reality they will be.

And the movie “Ex Machina” – anybody see it? The android had google’s database, mobile, and spontaneously, unknowably how, intelligent. Google refuses to admit Gödel’s devastating blow to Bertrand Russell’s logic program that Hilbert proposed. There must be a desperate irrational Rumpelstiltskin somewhere there.

pochas94

If you ask Google to make value judgments, expect the wrong answer. Otherwise, it’s excellent.

MarkW

We aren’t asking them to make value judgments. The problem is that they insist on doing so anyway.

yes, this is what I expected a long time ago. George Orwell’s 1984 is here.
What other search engines than Google can we use? Can you recommend a good one?

Alan Tomalty

On my other computer(which is also using WIN10) I cant use Google Chrome as a browser. I had 3 different techs at Trend Micro spend 10 hours trying to fix it and they all failed including deinstalling it and reinstalling it 2 times. They finally gave up and told me to complain to Google. Funny enough Chrome will work in safe mode and in administrator mode. So I use Firefox and other browsers on that computer but if you return a web page in Firefox and try to move it to your desktop instead of simply marking it as a bookmarked webpage, the Google search engine takes over and will create the desktop icon for that page but of course now that it is a saved website using Google Chrome, if you click on it it wont work because it is using Google Chrome to try to go to that site. The only things I can conclude from this is
1) My Google Chrome is permanently screwed up on that computer
2) Google has some financial tie in with Firefox that uses a Chrome toolbar feature.

john

OT but…

News from the synaptically challenged, Rube Goldberg energy guru’s in California (La).

In fact, a Rube Goldberg would be better as this will not work and be a loss during peak times. Windless heat waves etc…

https://www.sfgate.com/business/amp/3-billion-plan-would-turn-Hoover-Dam-into-giant-13112087.php

…Do these idiots know how much power is needed to pump 10’s of thousands of acre feet of water 800 (approx height of Hoover dam) or more feet uphill? Add that height to how far downstream (elevation drop) the intake pipes are and then the added losses produced by pipe length and bends?

Send these geniuses off to the rubber room!

john

Folks downstream are going to be a bit upset with this really bad idea.

HenryP

I think in general it is a good idea to use mills and solar to pump water to a higher level reservoir and get hydro power when needed. Whether it will work here I cannot say. Do people downstream need that water?

Clyde Spencer

HenryP,
You asked, “Do people downstream need that water?” Very much so! There are legal agreements on how much water Arizona and California can use. The water is so completely spoken for in the US that only a small brackish trickle makes it to Mexico and into the Gulf of California. The Mexicans aren’t happy about that. These plans for pumping will exacerbate what is already a bad situation.

HenryP

Ok . Bad idea for this location, then.

MarkW

It’s a good idea to use excess power to pump water uphill to later use for hydro power.
The problem is that there is already sufficient excess power. Relying on un-reliable wind and solar to pump that water uphill is just an exercise in futility.

RACookPE1978

john

…Do these idiots know how much power is needed to pump 10’s of thousands of acre feet of water 800 (approx height of Hoover dam) or more feet uphill? Add that height to how far downstream (elevation drop) the intake pipes are and then the added losses produced by pipe length and bends?

It’s even worse than that.

The water to be pumped back “uphill” must be sucked from huge collection pipes on the downhill side of the dam, right?
So, the water must flow UPHILL from the lower parts of the river (because, during the night, the water that was originally released from the dam the first time has to continue flowing downstream.) There is no “lake” “downhill” of the Hoover Dam – that water flows unrestricted to the lower Colorado then open sea behind the Baja peninsula.
So, how are these politicians going to get water to flow back uphill to the inlet of the suction pipes to be recycled through the generator turbines?

Now, upper lakes on the Colorado DO have “lakes” below their outlet pipes. Glenn Canyon, fore xample, discharges to the Colorado River, which then flow downhill several hundred more feet to the “top” of lake Meade behind the Hoover Dam.
So, you could, theoretically in a classroom, dig many huge excavations in the water behind the Hoover Dam at some elevation, build a series of huge pumps in those excavations to pump that water uphill several hundred river miles to the base of the Glenn Canyon Dam, change all of the pipes and turbines and generators in the Glenn Canyon Dam to be (the less efficient) reversible pump-turbines turbo-generator-motors, pump the original water in Lake Meade uphill to Glenn Canyon, pump it again uphill back across the Glenn Canyon dam, then re-run the water through the new Glenn Canyon turbo-pumps.

Try getting those changes through today’s enviro’s. Send money.

Reg Nelson

The Colorado river doesn’t make it to the ocean anymore. It ends several miles inland.

A pumped storage systems is the only practical super-battery. During off-peak times when grid electricity demand is low, water is pumped from a reservoir downstream of a hydro dam to the upstream reservoir, such that it can be used again to generate power.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

This is established technology, but it is rare to have a suitable site. For example, there are ZERO such sites in the Province of Alberta an area of 662,000 km2 – bigger than all of France, or [Germany + Italy] combined. {What WERE you idiots thinking when you started WW2?}

The problem is that most hydro dams only have a river downstream, and if you started pumping water from that river up-and-over-the-dam you would drain the river in minutes. You need a sizable lake downstream of the dam for pumped storage to be practical.

There IS a large lake downstream from Hoover Dam, called Lake Mohave, created by the Davis Dam. However, the pumping distance from Lake Mohave back to Hoover Dam is about 61km (38 miles). Costs and hydraulic losses would be huge. Sounds expensive and impractical at first glance.

Not Gonna Do It…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QHHGHve_N0

References:

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead
https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Hoover+Dam/@36.0141351,-114.7425482,15z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x80c95286ddd43a6f:0xb514b9cb7a1cb0ca!2sLake+Mead!3b1!8m2!3d36.1435231!4d-114.4144415!3m4!1s0x80c92b497f82a14b:0x89d59d0bd29de37!8m2!3d36.0160642!4d-114.7377321

Davis Dam and Lake Mohave
https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Davis+Dam,+AZ+86429,+USA/@35.1986411,-114.5765627,15z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x80c95286ddd43a6f:0xb514b9cb7a1cb0ca!2sLake+Mead!3b1!8m2!3d36.1435231!4d-114.4144415!3m4!1s0x80ce42e35bad9cab:0x7e5116affb3b58c7!8m2!3d35.1986232!4d-114.5678088

The distance between the two dams is ~94km (~58 miles).

The distance from the north end of Lake Mohave to the Hoover Dam is ~61 km (~38 miles).
__________________________________________________

HenryP

Fair comment.

beng135

Allan, good info. One possibility would be to raise the Mohave dam to raise the level of Lake Mohave (to back it up to the Hoover dam discharge), but from your distances involved, that wouldn’t be plausible. Another, closer dam would actually be needed.

Hi beng.

Shorelines are now well-established and raising the water level would cause enormous disruption.

“Not Gonna Do It… wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.”

spalding craft

Pump storage is a proven technology that has worked effectively on a smaller scale to provide a jolt of power when needed. There’s an installation in the South Carolina mountains above Lake Keowee. There are a few world-wide but they are pretty low-impact (environmentally) in nature.

The Hoover Dam idea bases its appeal on the green idea of a self-contained renewable power system. This is a California Idea, and one where cost analysis should determine whether its feasible. California politicians, along with a supporting population, seem to embrace such ideas regardless of costs.

I would think a large-scale, expensive project like this, with many environmental and human considerations, will be most difficult to pull off.

Rich Davis

The best thing to be done to combat bias is to encourage the use of competitive search engines that likewise have a known bias. Let them compete in the marketplace of ideas. Just as there are aggregator sites for news from varying perspectives (realclearpolitics.com for example), there could be sites that intentionally contrast the top results of different search engines with opposing biases.

Let’s be fair. Google has done immense good for the world up to now. It is now practical to learn the basics of almost any topic in a few minutes on a whim without traveling to a library or corresponding with an expert or paying any price beyond the modest use of time. And then we can use Google Translate to translate the information into a language that we don’t speak and communicate with someone on the other side of the world who we will never meet using Gmail. We can even make a virtual tour of many parts of the world using Google Maps Street View.

Any large and powerful organization is a target to be taken over by nefarious forces. Up to this point at least, nobody is obligated to use Google/Alphabet products, nor are we blocked from using competitors. If Google applies too heavy a hand, they will harm their brand and spawn competitors who satisfy customer demands. It is worthwhile also to try to engage with Google to get them to consider making changes to their products to give users more choices. Why not allow users to check the results of different algorithms? It’s not obvious to me that Google is sacrificing profitability to serve ideological ends. More likely they are reacting to political threats to their profitability by accommodating elite demands. No doubt they are sympathetic to the politics though.

Roger Knights

” If Google applies too heavy a hand, they will harm their brand and spawn competitors who satisfy customer demands.”

Or Google might somehow “tone down” its favoritism. Or Bing could do so. Google has now given it an opportunity to make a big gain in market share, if it advertises / positions itself as the freer alternative search engine. (Probably bigshots at MSFT are considering doing this.) But it would be brave of Bing to tweak the noses of the politically correct and powerful here and abroad.

MBeaty

A google search for “watts up with that” will return the proper site as the top result, but has some anomalies. The google box on the side of the search results contains a link to the site as well as some info pulled from Wikipedia. It also contains a thumbnail from the site. In the case of the “watts up with that” search the thumbnail is actually for “wotts up with that” and links to that site instead.

Ragnaar

“But what Google is doing here is to anticipate, as best it can, what searchers are looking for.” – Nick Stokes

So two different answers are that Google is attempting to shape society or make money. And a third answer is they are doing both. My vote is they are trying to make money. Once you do that, you can shape society. And when your emphasis is shaping society, you often fail and spend a lot of time looking for money to support your efforts.

I’ve defended Google not from Hansen but from commentators. I’ve also defended Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Utilities from renewables, and Capitalism.

Google like fossil fuels have led us. Led us to an improved world of more. If some are left by the side of the road, make a better product that sells itself as Google search does. To have problems with Google, can be considered consistent with having problems with other companies that also dominate their sector.

Here’s what Google does, using decades old marketing theory. Targets the middle of the bell curve. The best that can be done is niche resistance. They will be penalized for targeting the tails of the distribution. So, the right balance of moving to the people, or moving the people to you, needs to be struck. If Google moves from the people, that is their gift to you, if you see it.

If you want to help WUWT, get a Facebook account. Throw in some links to WUWT articles without going overboard.

Scott

Ironic that the antiestablishment radicals of the 70’s have become the pearl clutching neo-puritans of the current age.

hunter

Not really surprising, actually.
The super rich monopolists and oligarchs depend on reactionary positions to defend their positions.
And wealthy people in general frequently confuse their networth with their IQ.

n.n

Google’s search algorithm is biased to favor conforming sources.

Jim

Google simply wants to eliminate opposing views.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Even liberal cartoonist Gerry Trudeau has taken a swipe against Google here , with Z + Z bud company looking for a motto and adopting “Don’t be Google”.

(For some reason, that link fails to load directly, but I can get to it indirectly through here ).

(I found this using “Bing”) — better the evil empire you know that one you don’t.

Nigel Sherratt

Thanks, was about to remind people of that brilliant piece of satire myself. ‘Sounds ethical, but doesn’t overpromise!’

Rud Istvan

Nice essay, Kip. Very topical because of the also recently exposed twitter onservative shadow banning.
You posted some thoughts on what to do. A couple more, One is nothing other than alerting to topical bias awareness, sort of the wikipedia solution. Another is to start reading google results at page say 3 and work back. I do that a lot on scientific searches because am deliberately not looking for the ‘accepted’, rather the ‘odd’ under Kuhn’s paradigms model. The accumukation of odd eventually overturns themold paradigm in favor of a new one. Thatnismhow I reconceptualized Helmlotz double layer capacitance on activated carbon.
This stuff is sufficiently new that it will take a while to sort out. Interesting that Trump and climate skepticism has so clearly exposed the progressive bias problem in Silicon Valley. So bad Peter Thiel moved to LA.

Doug Proctor

In a free market, where economics underpins choice (people vote with their wallets), why has an alternative to Google not arisen? If “the people” don’t agree with censorship by Google, why can’t they go to a competitor?

We have an apparent paradox.

hunter

Oligolpolistic organizations work hard to suppress innovation and competition.

Rud Istvan

DP, in most markets there are diminishing marginal returns. In some (think Betamax v. VHS) there are increasing marginal returns. Google was/is such a case. So the alternatives, even if well funded like Microsoft’s Bing, don’t gain traction.

Roger Knights

“In a free market, where economics underpins choice (people vote with their wallets), why has an alternative to Google not arisen?”

It has, in the form of Bing, but Google has patents, and an immense lead in a hard and multi-pronged technical problem. I.e., there are thousands of little tweaks Google has made to polish its performance that add up to a clearly superior experience. Maybe Bing will close the gap in five years.

Reg Nelson

The people with the wallets are the advertisers, not consumers, like you and I. Google doesn’t make money off of organic search results. It makes money from selling advertisements for keyword searches. Google and YouTube (which it owns) dominate search, and therefore dominate online search ad revenue.

Google doesn’t care about the ranking of the term “Climate change” or “Climate science fraud”. It doesn’t make any money from them. So it can rank non-paid search however it likes, without it affecting their bottom line.

Clyde Spencer
Toto

If ideas were people … we have a vocabulary for this: discrimination, prejudice, ethnic cleansing, genocide, racism, and so on, not to mention burning the heretics and the inquisition. Insert Monty Python quote of your choice here.

Andy PAttullo

In the long run Google is hemorrhaging slowly from a large hole in thier collective foot which they carelessly created by discharging a rhetorical firearm in the downward direction. They wanted to be seen as cool, creative, “not evil”, but now it is clear to all they just pretended. What they really wanted was to be rich and nothing else mattered. When George Orwell wrote 1984 it was a warning about what happens when members of society don’t fight for their rights. Google mistook it for a blueprint to power and money.

RicDre

“They wanted to be seen as cool, creative, ‘not evil'”.

They’ve retracted the “Don’t be evil” motto so I guess that means being evil is now an acceptable practice at Google.

spalding craft

What hole in foot has Google inflicted?

In my view Google’s sin is to exercise all the various market-dominating tools available to them under capitalism, and then, after they’ve achieved a dominant position, to promote a bunch of progressive causes which celebrate values other than those that made them rich.

It’s like the Bill Gates/Warren Buffett syndrome. Huge wealth begets great power, and also, it would seem, great guilt. Capitalism celebrates and rewards hunger for power and wealth, things that most of us are ambivalent about.

Chris

Their stock is near its all time high. Their market cap is $900B. I see no signs of hemorrhaging.

paul courtney

Chris: You said it was $1T on July 29. Another week of $100B losses in 48hrs and the Kochs will be able to afford it. And you’ll have to answer the question, will you complain if the shoe moves to the other foot?

hunter

Google is simply acting as a proxy censorship enforcer for the consensus state. Google and thevrest of the reactionary oligarchy are doing this bit of dishonesty at the explicit cost of providing value to their shsreholders and the compant and its officers shoukd be investigated by the SEC and sued by shareholders.
Their suppression of searchrs and sikencing of honest discussions will ultimately backfire if it is not halted.

Gordon Pratt