One year

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my first post on this blog. It’s been an interesting year. I’ve learned a lot, about myself, about others, and about climate science. I’d really like to say that I’ve become more optimistic and less cynical, but I’d be lying if I did. I don’t know if this blog has has a positive impact, a negative impact, or not much impact at all – probably more of the latter than anything else, but it’s not really my place to judge. I decided a while ago that I would try and make it to a year and then have a bit of a break. This certainly isn’t the least stressful thing I’ve ever done. I don’t know how long a break I’ll take. Probably until the next thing fires me up and I decide I need to write something 🙂 A few weeks, though, I hope.

I also need to decide how best to proceed. I really wasn’t expecting anyone to take what I wrote all that seriously. These are just my views, and the blog was really more for my benefit, than for anyone else. I may also have said pretty much all I was wanting to say. I’ve written almost 350 posts. I’ve developed a few simple models. I’ve redone some studies to see whether I can replicate other people’s results. I’ve tried to focus on science, rather than policy, but haven’t always succeeded. I’m not sure what else I can say that won’t just be a repeat of what I’ve already said.

Sadly, it’s also fairly clear that serious dialogue between those who disagree strongly about climate science is virtually impossible. There are indeed some who are genuinely sceptical of some of the mainstream views and who are knowledgeable and informed. There are others, however, who confuse being dubious with being sceptical. I certainly can’t claim that I haven’t let my frustrations show in discussions with some people, but – in my defense – some haven’t tried particularly hard to not be frustrating. Given this, however, it’s not quite clear what role this blog will play. It’s certainly not really a site for those who disagree to have constructive dialogue. Maybe some who read but don’t comment learn something useful, but that may be just wishful thinking.

Another issue is my anonymity. I don’t really think that I can continue anonymously. When I started, I didn’t really think anything of it and didn’t really expect many to read what I write. Given that there are many more reading and commenting than I had expected, I think that if I do continue, I should probably de-anonymise. I’ve never had a particularly good reason for being anonymous. Just seemed easier and I thought it was better for people to simply judge the blog on the basis of what I wrote, rather than who I am (not that I am anyone really). I’ve also been leaking who I am to various people, so it would probably come out eventually anyway. I had wondered about having some kind of competition to see if anyone could guess – or already knew – who I was. My worry there, though, was that could then lead to various people getting all sorts of unpleasant emails if the guesses were wrong.

First thing first, though, and that’s a bit of a break. I’m off to a meeting tomorrow for a few days and then have some work to do on some of my own papers. I’ll may respond to comments if there are any, but don’t plan to write any posts, for a while anyway. I’ll also be thinking about whether to continue or not and – if I do – whether to de-anonymise or not. Anyway, that’s all I was going to say. If you have any thoughts, feel free to make them, but I reserve the right to simply ignore them for a while :-). I’ll leave you with some music – that may be apt – from my youth.

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65 Responses to One year

  1. OPatrick says:

    Words are not unnecessary and they do not do harm. Well, mostly not.

    Enjoy the break but please do come back.

  2. My wife liked the Depeche Mode video. For my part, I think you’ve earned a break and I think you have spotted, like I have, that sites like WUWT are so repetitive, to the point of boredom. You have entertained and informed me.

  3. Brigitte says:

    Yes, enjoy the break, but come back. As you can imagine, I did not always understand the intricacies of the climate science that were discussed here, and I know that you struggled with some of social science stuff that swapped over into this blog sometimes and into the comment stream. For me it was quite eye-opening though to find people discussing topics across these fields and disciplines. I learned a lot.

  4. Happy anniversary!!

    I hope you come back, have enjoyed the posts and discussions.

  5. Happy birthday Anders. While I selfishly hope you return, I understand your need for a break. When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

  6. AnOilMan says:

    Well that music dates you…

    I hope you return. I feel your site is having a positive effect. As evidence I offer up the fact that key proponents and opponents to climate science have been showing up here.

    Enjoy the summer. I hear it’s going to be a scorcher.

  7. verytallguy says:

    Good luck, whether you come back or not, anonymously or “out”.

  8. AnOilMan says:

    Somehow The Sound Of Silence also fits…

  9. Marlowe Johnson says:

    fwiw it’s worth Anders, I’ve really enjoyed your posts and find your open and gracious attitude to be a breath of fresh air. this blog is the closest to ‘dialogue’ that i’ve come across after many, many years of following climate blogs. don’t worry about convincing the skeptics that post here. your target audience should be the undecided lurkers not the delusional.

  10. Rachel says:

    I’m not going to “like” this post. Three weeks is too long! What am I going to do? 🙂

  11. Get dressed, then go downstairs?

  12. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Enjoy the break or retirement from blogging, if that is what it turns out to be. Like others, I very much hope this won’t be the case, but fully understand why you might have had enough of the mendacity, bile and bad faith. As usual, Dumb Scientist put it just so with his nod to Nietzche. Although I do not think that the preceding sentence in the original is ever likely to apply to you.

  13. BBD says:

    DS

    Spat out my coffee is a cliche, but I just lost some beer. Screen wipes.

    😉

  14. Rachel says:

    Oh, the embarrassment! I’ll never live this down will I?

  15. BBD says:

    Perhaps everyone can go over to Rachel’s blog and make a nuisance of themselves there, instead? I hear she’s a bit hair-trigger on the moderation front though.

  16. Rachel says:

    BBD,
    It’s easier to moderate someone else’s blog I’ve discovered but people are most welcome to make a nuisance on my blog. The other thing I was thinking is whether AndThen would be open to the possibility of allowing some guest posts in his absence?

  17. No need to live down an amusing story. Laughter is increasingly more precious to me than knowledge. Thanks. BBD, I agree with your assessment, which is why I truncated the quote.

  18. BBD says:

    DS

    Ha! Selective quotation!

  19. chrismc48 says:

    I read a lot of blogs about climate science, enjoy constructive debates and like to learn something. Yours is one of my favourites. Please come back after your break!

  20. Mike Fayette says:

    I’m a skeptic, but not a denier, and I feel the that more reasonable voices that there are out there (including yours) on BOTH sides of this issue, then the better off we all are. So – since you asked for feedback – I say that I would benefit if you soldier on.

    I don’t believe that CAGW is settled science and I cringe each time that you and others on this blog refer to the 97% consensus argument – but despite these “flaws” – I admit to not being perfect myself, and I hope to raise smart questions and listen carefully to smart answers, wherever I find them.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do……

  21. Foiled! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

  22. BBD says:

    DS

    When I get banned at Rachel’s, can I come and make a nuisance of myself at your blog?

  23. Rachel says:

    Oh BBD, I would never ban you!

  24. BBD says:

    Belt and braces, Rachel.

  25. BBD says:

    I notice DS hasn’t responded yet. He’s probably busy taking his blog offline.

  26. So you try to walk away from your blog addiction?
    If you make 200 entries in the second year I will be truly impressed!

    Have a good time.

  27. > I don’t know how long a break I’ll take.

    I say three days, i.e. the usual span between ClimateBall ™ episodes.

  28. Now I too feel the sting of lost beer. Et tu, BBD? Just try to top this nuisance.

  29. BBD says:

    DS

    Oh hell. That wasn’t meant to be a loaded remark. It was just the usual crap that I make up as I go along.

  30. No worries. I lost track of the snark my remarks are loaded with long ago. 😉

  31. BBD says:

    That old abyss thing.

    Looking back to the issue of selective quotation, I wouldn’t be surprised if this come back to haunt me:

    It was just the usual crap that I make up as I go along.

    🙂

  32. clivebest says:

    I think your posts and tweets have been well argued, polite and nearly always logical – so a very positive effort! The basic dilemma with climate science however is not the science but the politics. I am convinced about AGW but try to remain agnostic about policy because the future is a known unknown. The IPCC process started with the best of intentions but has snowballed into more of a political movement with anti-capitalist fringe groups coming along for the ride. None of this distracts from the science but tends to alienate those on the right because AGW has become a cause. Scientific tradition from Newton, Leibnitz and Faraday was always to explain the natural world leading to improved human development. Is it not time for the IPCC to rethink its strategy after 25 years and propose realistic global solutions ? Repeating the call for a cut in carbon emissions no longer makes sense without a realistic alternative.

    Keep going – it is appreciated !

  33. Clive, what is anti-capitalist about abolishing subsidies for fossil fuels or shifting the tax base from labour to carbon?

    AnOilMan, the sound of silence sure dates you. 🙂

  34. toby52 says:

    What is anti-capitalist about levelling the playing pitch between fossil fuels and their competitors?

    Especially as we know (if we accept the science) that fossil fuel has a massive negative externality that will have to be paid by future generations if we refuse to pay our share now.

    And Simon & Garfunkel still rock!

    BTW, let me say this blog has become somewhat of an oasis of reasonable discussion, one of a few, though it may not meet the high standard Anders set for it. Well done & thanks, Anders.

  35. AnOilMan says:

    Using deductive reasoning and an expert hand at google I’ve determined that the real identity of ATTP is [MOD: redacted] he’s a researcher at [MOD: redacted], and his field of study is [MOD: redacted]. His papers are quite interesting to read, especially [MOD: redacted].

  36. jsam says:

    Enjoy your break, however long that may be.

    My New Year’s resolution was “read the article, ignore the comments”. I hope you do better than I did.

    And for those who hate the 97% figure, you’ll hate http://www.jamespowell.org even more.

  37. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Well, there is this from you:

    It’s certainly not really a site for those who disagree to have constructive dialogue.

    But then again, there is also this from Marlowe:

    this blog is the closest to ‘dialogue’ that i’ve come across after many, many years of following climate blogs.

    The sad state of affairs is that I mostly agree with the first statement (there have been notable exceptions), and completely agree with the second.

    I certainly (think I) understand your frustrations with what has taken place at your blog, and I think that it is very worthwhile for bloggers to take a step back to gain perspective on whether the time they spend in blog comment exchanges is returning meaningful value and/or fulfilling their original intentions. It is unfortunate that more bloggers just seem to get caught up in the momentum without really taking stock of whether they’re achieving their goals (for example, I wonder if Judith really takes a step back to examine whether her blogging has furthered or undermined her stated goal of “building bridges,” or whether RPJr. ever stops to evaluate whether his blogging has furthered or undermined his stated goal of reducing the “politicization of science”).

    I encourage you to apply the same openness, to your inventory-taking of the value of continued blogging, as you apply to your exploration of the science of climate change.

    Despite the overlap here, with the typical climate battlefield skirmishes of same ol’ same ol’ where the same people repeat the same arguments in the same form over and over, there is still a unique quality, IMO, to your blog. Your blog will be missed as long as it remains inactive. But I do have to wonder if that’s because the situation is analogous to addicts being denied a drug of choice.

    I do hope, at least, you will post your thoughts and conclusions as you evaluate the benefits of continuing into a second year of blogging. I look forward to reading what you come up with.

  38. Eli Rabett says:

    A bit of unwanted advice. Keep the handle and don’t worry if some “out” you. The nym provides important space where you don’t feel the need to respond to every last bit of abuse, and to look at the world with fresh eyes. There are two other advantages. First it annoys the right people. Second, you can manipulate the nym in ways that amuse you and yours.

  39. jyyh says:

    the ‘anonyme’ nick allows for some more speculation which I’ve found hilarating, at least I may now remind people of the Skeptical Science hack everytime the issue of anonymity in blogs handling science comes about. i’m rather a boring person in real life, so this is one way to have some fun. also being anonymous may attract more readers (and commenters) to your blog, f.e. I’m prettty certain one reason D.Appell’s blog doesn’t attract as much comments as he might like is his strict policy against anonymity. How he believes any aspiring scientist would comment on his blog posts by their real names, in case they’d be wrong of some trivial issue, they could have a hard time later on in their careers, i guess,

  40. Thanks everyone. I’m about to head off to catch my train, so will be out of contact for a while.

    Rachel,
    If you want to post some guest posts, that would be fine. Maybe some of the regulars have something they might want to contribute 🙂

  41. Rachel says:

    Terrific! If anyone has anything they want to contribute, they can email it to me at rachelmmartin@gmail.com

  42. The only rule is that guest posts cannot be as whacky as those on WUWT 😉

  43. Rachel says:

    Damn! I guess that means I can’t post anything I’ve written 🙂

  44. You have obviously achieved something of interest on this blog. To continue for long you may need some rethinking on what you wish to serve. That may mean less frequent blogging with more work in preparing each post, or perhaps you’ll choose some other approach.

    While I haven’t been happy on everything what has been going on at Climate Etc, I do still think that it’s a site, where people with very different opinions can discuss without the need of either one to feel ridiculed. Some other commenters may try that, but they remain exceptions and therefore don’t cause the feeling. (Joshua and some others get a lot of reaction, but I think they don’t worry about that.) For anyone wishing to have open discussion it’s worthwhile to think what Judith Curry has done right, and where she has perhaps failed. I think that the site was better during it’s first year or two and has deteriorated then. One change is that several climate scientists contributed in the beginning, now the science is defended almost solely by others. Also the writings and public appearances of Judith Curry herself have gone in the wrong direction to my taste.

    I discussed in that length Climate Etc, because the thing that I really wish to see on the net is open discussion of points that involve genuinely outstanding issues (as opposed to fake controversies). Everyone who has spent an effort to learn about the issue and who is sincere (not obviously trolling) should be allowed to participate without getting ridiculed. There are too few sites that achieve that. This site is better than most, but could be even better. The number of people participating in the discussion is important in that, and only the quality of original posts is likely to keep that number and the spread of views high enough in the long run.

  45. “While I haven’t been happy on everything what has been going on at Climate Etc, I do still think that it’s a site, where people with very different opinions can discuss without the need of either one to feel ridiculed.”

    Do you mean the same Climate Etc. that I read? The one that is overrun by the fans of WUWT and Co. and where heaps of vitriol are poured over people defending main stream science? The one where almost no moderation takes place?

    The blog I know is so horrible, that I have written to Judith Curry whether she could arrange for some her more reasonable followers or students to do the moderation. I understand that she is too busy to moderate a her blog herself well with so many comments. The one I know is so horrible that I think 10 times before posting a comment. And I am not sure whether I ever got a qualified response.

  46. Sou says:

    Enjoy your break and come back soon.

  47. Victor,
    There may be several reasons for seeing the site differently.

    I was commenting mainly on the overall feeling of reaction towards other participants in the discussion. The word overall is essential, because individual comments may deviate from that, but to a person who has followed the site more it should be quite clear that such comments are not the verdict of the whole community. In that the site differs essentially from many sites, where the people with different opinions get strongly the message that they are not welcome. How could real discussion be maintained if part of opinions are driven out like that, and I do mean sincere opinions presented in good faith by reasonable and well behaved people.

    The number of people who attack main stream science is large, but science cannot be insulted.

    The worst part of the site is the extent of attacks on both IPCC as an organization and a small number of prominent individual scientists. On both of these counts Judith Curry has a personal role that I don’t like at all. I’m sure she feels that she has been mistreated from the other side, but that does not justify many of her comments to me.

    A really major problem with the site is the amount of total crap. That makes the threads very long, typically at least ten times longer than their meaningful content. Most of that crap is so obvious that skipping the messages is easy, but even so they do hide effectively the more substantial comments.

    Perhaps what I find good is just the protection provided by the large and nonuniform crowd. In that even the occasional insults disappear in the noise.

  48. Jim Hunt says:

    I have very recent experience of being outed as a “cowardly cross dresser” by Watts himself, no less! Based on that experience I feel sure I could come up with a blog post about the Whackos at WUWT. Would anybody be interested in reading it though?!

    This seems like a great place to hang out, so from my perspective it’s a great shame you’re departing. Enjoy the break Anders, but I hope you return refreshed and renewed in the not too distant future.

  49. You could combine your post with caerbannog666 being “outed” as this man.

    I like such posts, it shows the care with which WUWT posts are written in a way that can be checked by people without a science background.

  50. Jim Hunt says:

    Thanks for the tip Victor. It seems CB666 and I have more in common than just fancying frilly frocks. I’m into open source software also, so I think I’ll give his a whirl and see what happens. Here’s my own most recent dip into open data, as personally recommended by Anthony Watts!

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2014/04/new-arctic-sea-ice-resources/

    Given your positive feedback, I guess I’ll email Rachel also.

  51. AnOilMan says:

    Frequently people who are concerned about Climate Change are labeled as young misguided miscreants.

    I’m seeing a lot of mid 40’s technical professionals. Could everyone just call out their age out of curiosity. I’m 46.

    idunno: That song also dates you… I have an extensive music collection for Joy Division and New Order.

  52. Snow White says:

    Since you’re curious AOM, and I’m already outed, I’m more than happy to reveal that I’m a “surrealist programmer” just the far side of 60. Nonetheless I still go surfing, but prefer Cream and Led Zep to the Beach Boys. Miles Davis is better than all three put together, needless to say!

  53. Rachel says:

    I’m 38 and I love Miles Davis too!

  54. BBD says:

    AOM

    48, retired former business owner. Very ecletic musical tastes including Joy Division and NO (I was born in Macclesfield and went to the same school as Ian Curtis, so this is more or less obligate) and, of course Miles Davis. And much more besides.

  55. My age and background are openly available at my site. Concerning music I listen presently mainly classical music, but my record collection contains also some Jazz (Miles Davis again, Charlie Mingus etc). as well as Woodie Guthrie and other similar folk.

  56. Pingback: Another Week of Global Warming News, April 13, 2014 [A Few Things Ill Considered] | Gaia Gazette

  57. Jim Hunt says:

    Having forsaken my pretty white dress once again, I proudly present the strangely prescient King Crimson, live from Hyde Park in 1969:

    Cat’s foot iron claw
    Neuro-surgeons scream for more
    At paranoia’s poison door.
    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Blood rack barbed wire
    Polititians’ funeral pyre
    Innocents raped with napalm fire
    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Death seed blind man’s greed
    Poets’ starving children bleed
    Nothing he’s got he really needs
    Twenty first century schizoid man

    Better lyrics than Miles ever mustered!

  58. Andy Skuce says:

    An Oil Man, since you ask, I’m a (recently ex-) oil man myself and 59.

    I confess to being a (Grateful) Dead head, which dates me as much as a being Simon and Garfunkel fan.

    ATTP, take a break, please come back and for heaven’s sake don’t try to write a post every damned day.

  59. Jim Hunt says:

    Hopefully still at least vaguely on topic, I thought I’d mention that the so called “Real Science” blog has been badmouthing Al Gore recently. I’m afraid I couldn’t let that slight on Al’s predictive abilities go unchallenged. Steve Goddard evidently didn’t care for my suggestion that he “is fond of poetic license”, so my alter ego is “now spam” there:

    I was labelled “a spammer” under my real name a long time ago:

    http://econnexus.org/how-to-upset-a-global-warming-sceptic/

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