Powerline jumps on the chance to screw up

As long as there’s a dogpile of screw-ups, Powerline thought they’d jump on, regarding the hoaxes about a change in position on global warming at the American Physical Society.

If a lot of people screw up, where’s the shame? Right?

Powerline said, contrary to the facts:

Most people do not realize that the U.N.’s IPCC report was a political document, not a scientific one. As such, it explicitly refused to consider any of the recent scientific work on carbon dioxide and the earth’s climate. That work seems to show rather definitively that human activity has little to do with climate change, which has occurred constantly for millions of years.

Anyone who still had illusions that Powerline thinks about anything before they post it, or that they have any controls on accuracy or care for the facts, has had that illusion shattered. Of course, Powerline is a political organ, with not a whiff of science about it.

Give a fool enough rope . . .

Other resources:

22 Responses to Powerline jumps on the chance to screw up

  1. […] ADDENDUM: I am discussing the above with Ed Darrell at his Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. […]


  2. […] an example of what can happen, look no further than this exchange with Ed Darrell at his Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. The topic is, what is the relevance of the fact that the NASA Planetary Atmospheres website […]


  3. denalisian says:

    I am so afraid of climate changes on earth. I hope something bad happens.
    Your blog is very nice in the meantime. If you want to do link exchange. Thanks


  4. omnologos says:

    Discussions with people holding a different view are obviously quite likely to help bring one’s reasoning forward (as long as there is no name-calling or other infantilism).

    For an example of what can happen, look no further than this exchange with Ed Darrell at his Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. The topic is, what is the relevance of the fact that the NASA Planetary Atmospheres website (PDS-A) doesn’t mention greenhouse gases.

    To which my answer has been:

    if the experts in the field don’t take it into consideration, I surely want to know why!!

    Ed has replied with an interesting suggestion:

    The site doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive resource for all studies of all atmospheres everywhere. It’s a site to get a line into work NASA has actually done.

    But if that’s true, it means that in all these years, NASA has seldom if ever looked at ways to investigate the same greenhouse effect that keeps Earth’s average temperature above freezing, and Venus with a surface temperature higher than an oven. And furthermore, there is a dearth of data in this most practical of planetary atmospheric fields!!


    Let’s try to figure out if Ed’s interpretation is right. In its About page, the PDS-A site says “As an additional service, the Atmospheres Node provides information on relevant planetary atmospheres topics for educational purposes”.

    There are links for Educators, including to the NASA Planetary Data System College Student Investigators (CSI) webpage that states

    The objective of this activity is to involve undergraduate students in research and development projects related to the holdings of NASA.s Planetary Data System (PDS). Through the PDS College Student Investigators activity, the PDS strives to prepare the next generation of PDS science investigators.

    A recent proposal is about investigating the role of dust in the thermodynamics of the Martian atmosphere. Neither there nor elsewhere there is any mention of greenhouse gases, a topic that evidently and mysteriously does not interest “next generation of PDS science investigators”.

    Going back to PDS-A, there are educational links also to “Broker Forums“. One of them is the web site for the “Sun-Earth Connection” at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, curiously linking to another website “Space Weather” containing a few unorthodox remarks on the Sun and Earth’s climate.

    Another link for the Broker Forums goes to NASA’s Solary System Educational website where (finally!) there is some serious content about the greenhouse effect (GH).

    And what does that refer to? Step forward ESA’s Venus Express, that lists among its scientific objectives the investigation of

    what is the role of the radiative balance and greenhouse effect in the past present and future evolution of the planet?


    Chapeau to Ed Darrel, then…for all intents and purposed, NASA has dedicated no mission to the study of the greenhouse effect. That’s why there is no mention of it in the PDS-A site, the Planetary Data System for Atmosphere: simply, there is no data to report. Because nobody ever looked for those.

    Is the current state of Climatology on this planet and everywhere else sad or what? If Goddard’s Director and climate worrier James Hansen is unable to gather funds for a terrestrial or planetary mission on the greenhouse effect; or worse, if even he is not interested enough to put one together: then how solid will the science of the climate ever be?

    ps Still, the PDS-A Encyclopedia could have had a page on the GH effect. Its equations albeit simplified, still are possible


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    The link’s fine — but I wouldn’t object if you wanted to post the whole thing here.

    If there are more than three links, it might go to spam, but I can rescue it from the spam file.


  6. omnologos says:

    Thank you for the discussion Ed. Looks like you may be right: PDS-A has no data because NASA has no data on the GH effect, from any of its probes.

    ESA’s Venus Express, on the other hand, has been designed (also) with that in mind.

    I have posted a detailed blog on the above at the Omniclimate blog. Netiquette would suggest to copy all my text here too, but given its length I don’t want to be misinterpreted as a spammer.

    Please let me know if you’re ok with that, and I’ll write a comment with the full contents of my latest blog. Otherwise we can just leave the link.


  7. […] which my answer has been: if the experts in the field don’t take it into consideration, I surely want to know […]


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    You’re missing the point. You criticize NASA for failing to mention the greenhouse effect.

    Why should they mention it on that site, or anywhere? The site doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive resource for all studies of all atmospheres everywhere. It’s a site to get a line into work NASA has actually done.

    Now, had you been advocating successfully for the past 30 years that NASA should have several billions annually to look at greenhouse effects, you’d have a moral foundation from which to complain.

    Facts are that NASA works on a shoestring. NASA’s been on a shoestring since the Reagan Years, starting no later than 1981. 27 years they’ve been doing the most important stuff they can fit in, with the technology they have.

    Were you to have evidence that they are hiding some information they have, that might be one thing. That doesn’t appear to be your claim.

    Why doesn’t NASA show the data you want? It appears the data don’t exist, or you’re not looking hard enough. Neither of those is a great mystery, and neither really deserves much of an answer in my view.

    Are you seriously looking for data, or are you mining for things to carp about? It appears the latter to me.


  9. […] I am discussing the above with Ed Darrell at his Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)AGW and… Luminiferous AetherFalsification of […]


  10. omnologos says:

    that should read

    “it’s not an issue regarding…not having had enough time to study it”


  11. omnologos says:

    Ed – please stay cool on the topic. You have built up two claims I have not made regarding the PDS-A website – about global warming in the solar system, and about “dogs that don’t bark at night” (a quote from a Shelock Holmes story, no less).

    My original blog reported the fact that in the PDS-A website the GH gases are “vaguely mentioned in few of the Abstracts but for some reason haven’t made it to the Education pages”.

    How do I know that?

    Not because of headlines, but because I googled “site:pds-atmospheres.nmsu.edu co2”, then substituted co2 with “greenhouse” and “ghg” and got in return only those Abstracts I then referred to. Therefore:

    (1) Your first point about not all of NASA having to care about climate change on Earth does not apply. My question concerns the GH effect per-se, in any planetary atmosphere, and as I wrote before it’s an effect seen on at least 2 planets and one moon, Earth aside.

    (2) Your second point about a research proposal on Venus (of 8 years ago, but timespans are very long in planetary physics) was already taken care of in my mention of a “few of the Abstracts”. None of that has surfaced into any other section of that site, yet.

    (3) Your third point suggests I should mine archival records to figure out the GH effect. I don’t think that’s the philosophy behind the PDS-A site having an educational area, for example. Besides, those are measurement data, independent from the effects that determined them.

    (4) Finally your fourth point. Please note that the first hypothesis of GH effect on Venus is decades old. It is a major, perhaps THE major pivotal point of all Cytherean atmospheric studies. Yet it is absent from the PDS-A website. Why? I do not know. Definitely it’s not an issue regarding But for sure, not enough planetary atmosphere physicists at NASA care about the GH effect enough to insert the shortest of mentions in the Encyclopedia or any other page of that website.

    A dog may have missed to bark there, but I do not know what kind of dog it was.

    Where is the significance? Well, if the experts in the field don’t take it into consideration, I surely want to know why!!


  12. Ed Darrell says:

    First off, that site pertains to planets other than Earth. It’s not intended to be a site for discussion of Earth’s climate change crisis. There’s no obligation for every publication of NASA to worry over climate change on Earth. There are other issues.

    Second, there is this research project on Venus’s atmosphere, that rather prominently features discussions of greenhouse effects on that planet: Evolution of the atmosphere and clouds of Venus

    Third, after looking at the missions this branch of NASA’s research covers, I’m not sure that greenhouse effects are not present. Your gripe seems to be that it’s not headlined; there are a limited number of missions this bunch works on, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to go beyond those missions — no Earth missions, for example, where the chief concern is at the moment. But have you checked out the entire site? Are you sure the issue isn’t discussed at all? I don’t have the technical expertise to look through all the data to make the judgment — are you sure the data are not listed? There are seven missions currently listed as active — on what basis do you say these missions don’t adequately discuss greenhouse effects? Did you check the archives? Aren’t those records from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter relevant to your questions?* Why didn’t you discuss them?

    Here are the missions:

    * GALILEO – NEWLY RELEASED ORBITER AND PROBE DATA – not yet official PDS products
    * MCS

    Fourth, I don’t think we can rationally expect every silence to be a case of the dog that didn’t bark in the night. For example, the Odyssey Mission was set up nearly two decades ago. It was directed at particular questions on Mars, none of which have any great relevance to global warming on Earth. You’re trying to say that NASA’s looking at other things, perhaps any other thing, means global warming is not a priority? Get real. This is research done on a limited budget, set years or decades in advance — it’s completely irrational to think these data sets should answer questions ripped from the headlines and hoaxlines of 2008.

    Your claim is that your failure to find the word “greenhouse” in a headline is somehow significant. It’s your claim — tell us how and why it’s significant. I think you’re barking in the night on this one, and you’re barking at a hoodoo.



    This data set provides a mission-long set of images at several far-UV and near-UV wavelengths associated with day and night airglow emissions and with reflected sunlight. All Venus phases are sampled, as are all levels of solar activity during 1978-1992.


  13. omnologos says:

    I am not referring to solar-system-wide warming here.

    What I would like to understand is simply this: if the GH effect is so important (it allows Earth’s average temperature to be above 0C) and so topical (no need to mention anything there) why of all places, the NASA planetary atmospheres website fails to consider it at all?

    Consider that the GH effect is happening on Earth, Venus, Mars, and even Titan


    Still, for some reason the planetary atmosphere scientists at that website do not care about the GH effect. That is a major hole in their education program to say the least…who knows why has that happened?


  14. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m still missing the significance. I’ll check, but it seems to me that the only planet, other than Earth which is not included in that data set, where we’ve got a serious greenhouse effect is Venus; does the site fail to mention that? What if it does?

    I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like NASA to cave in and claim that every planet in the solar system is warming, and so there’s nothing we can do about warming on Earth. I don’t think the data support that claim, and even were it true that every planet is warming, that does not relieve us from the moral obligation to prepare for warming here, and mitigate the effects if we can.


  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Apologies for the previous comment’s formatting. I wish I could correct it, changing the second blockquote into \blockquote, but I am not sure how I could do that,



  16. omnologos says:

    Apologies for the previous comment’s formatting. I wish I could correct it, changing the second blockquote into \blockquote, but I am not sure how I could do that,


  17. omnologos says:

    I am sorry Ed…I am not talking about a page. I am talking about an entire website that is dedicated to the study of planetary atmospheres in general. The Education section for example says the following:

    The Encyclopedia contains Standard Planetary Information, Formulae and Constants.

    The Broker/Forum listing contains NASA’s education and public outreach points of contact. The forums are organized by science themes while the broker/facilitators are regional in scope.

    The Welcome to the Planets page is an online collection of images from NASA’s planetary exploration program.

    The Planetary Photojournal is NASA’s online image search system designed to aid in finding particular planetary images.

    The PDS Education link describes the PDS role in undergraduate education.

    Now, even if the GH effect would apply only on one planet. why could they find no way to mention it, anywhere? Not in the Encyclopedia, not among the standard formulae, not regarding education and public outreach. Not even concerning undergraduate education. What, could they put not even a link to some other NASA website explaining the GH effect on any particular planet?

    Do the relevant undergraduates really complete their studies with no concept of the GH effect in planetary atmospheres?

    Whatever one thinks of the GH effect and of AGW, the above is quite odd indeed, and worth a mention. One has to wonder what is behind the omission.


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Pick your planet — greenhouse effect applies wherever the atmosphere is right for it, and that site’s not mentioning greenhouse effect on that particular page has no meaning whatsoever with regard to climate change on Earth. Uranus was a good example. It applies for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and even Pluto, whatever it is.


  19. mpb says:

    Go for it Ed. The other Spectator guys sound interesting, judging by their first lines.


  20. omnologos says:

    what’s up with uranus? There are other planets out there, you know…


  21. Ed Darrell says:

    Wow. Didn’t see that coming.


  22. Ghazala Khan says:

    Interview Request

    Hello Dear and Respected,
    I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

    We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address “ghazala.khi at gmail.com”, so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.


    Ghazala Khan
    The Pakistani Spectator


Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: