Co-Winner Best Science Blog

As most of you now know, Climate Audit has been declared co-winner of the 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog (together with Bad Astronomy.) This decision was made with the agreement of all parties.


Some of you have been understandably a little puzzled and seeking to interpret the matter. Here’s a bit of the background.

There was an incredible volume of voting for Best Science blog on Nov 8. Eventually both blogs surged to vote levels much higher than even high-trafffic political blogs such as Arianna Huffington and Michelle Malkin. You can see some interesting real time reports here.

On the afternoon of Nov 7, the situation was close, but quiet, with BA having a very small lead. At 3:44 pm blog time (4:44 pm EST), the vote was:

CA 6,349 BA 6,631

Voting on Nov 7 was plagued with difficulties as there seemed to be problems with the 2007 Weblogs Awards site and all parties had trouble getting through. These problems were resolved some time between the afternoon of Nov 7 and the morning of Nov 8 (closing day – 5pm closing). One reader reported at 7:23 am EST (6:23 am blog time):

CA leads 8602/8586!

An hour later at 8:16 am EST (7:16 am blog time) after another reader reported the following:

CA: 9232 BA: 8751 Pharyngula: 5353 JS: 3532

By 9:30 am EST (8:30 am blog time), CA had increased the lead to nearly 1000 votes:

CA 10208 ba 9264

Between then and 5 pm EST (closing), both blogs continued to amass votes at about 1300 votes per hour – at almost an identical rate. At 5:03 pm, a reader reported the standings at:

CA 20131; BA 18907.

Votes changed somewhat over the next few minutes, which people at the time thought might have been due to caching. So by 5:17 pm EST, the votes had changed a little to:

CA 20242 BA 18983

In a post published just after closing, I refer to votes at closing of

CA 20242 BA 18993

However matters didn’t end there. After the closing of the vote at 5 pm EST, Bad Astronomy continued to narrow the gap – organizers later advising us that someone had hacked into their system. The progress of post-closing votes was documented by a poster at the Weblogs forum here:

3:59 PM …18828….17294…1534
4:16 PM …19259….17798…1461
4:44 PM …19735….18575…1160
4:53 PM …19783….18755…1028
5:03 PM …20131….18907…1224
5:17 PM …20242….18983…1259
5:31 PM …20247….19060…1187
5:54 PM …20555….19144…1411
6:22 PM …20613….19175…1438
6:34 PM …20615….19181…1434
8:20 PM …20634….20681….-47

A poster at CA here showed some further details on the Bad Astronomy surge after 8 pm EST with a post at 8:19 pm EST (7:19 blog time):

Numbers just a bit ago: CA: 20,631 BA: 19,219
Just refreshed: CA: 20,632 BA: 20,673

The voting was finally shut off just after Bad Astronomy got into the lead.

I went out to play squash league (with dinner and beer) after the vote had closed and returned about 5 hours later to find Bad Astronomy in a slight lead. I thought that this was rather amusing: what would an American election be without hanging chads? The organizers were aware of the problem and had undertaken that the post-closing votes would not count; however, they thought that they would not be able to sort out the problems until this week.

My size-up was more or less as follows. The post-closing votes would be relatively easy to back out and there was little doubt that CA had a healthy lead of about 1200 votes at closing. The post-closing votes for both blogs strongly indicated the presence of bot votes for both blogs – something that had obviously crossed many people’s minds as the huge voting volumes accumulated through the day. The vote had obviously attracted interest, but how much interest? The pace of votes may also have seemed implausibly close (but the Best Technology blog also had a very close and hotly contested race.)

Given the bot activity in the post-closing vote, this was certainly an indication of bot activity pre-voting that would be sufficient to trigger an audit in any election where there was something on the line e.g. a congressional race. It seemed to me that it would be a formidable job for the organizers to try to determine bot activity pre-closing, that whatever determination that they made would simply lead to bad blood. The contest was supposed to be fun and to bring attention to blogs – something that the contest had succeeded in doing.

Accordingly, after midnight EST, I sent an email to Phil Plait suggesting that we agree to a draw, something that he was willing to do. We then agreed to jointly send a letter to the organizers (that I drafted at Phil’s suggestion) thanking them for organizing the competition, noting the spirit of the competition and suggesting that they declare a draw. The organizers agreed with this suggestion with alacrity – actually that doesn’t describe accurately enough how quickly they agreed. It wasn’t obvious what number should be picked for the vote total – I suggested that a round number of 20,000 each be chosen and that a note on the record state that the parties had agreed on the matter.

There’s an old saying in business: bulls sometimes win, bears sometimes win, but pigs never win (or hogs get slaughtered). Phil Plait said that he wanted the award to help promote an upcoming book: it’s no skin off my nose if a young guy like him gets a boost with his book and so the tie was a simple alternative. Everyone gets on with their business and the arduous audit procedure for something where there is no money involved is avoided.

My negotiations with Phil Plait were very cordial. The one thing that frustrated him about the result appeared to be that no one would ever know who “really” won. This is a state of affairs that’s probably more familiar to me than him. There are lots of things where it’s impossible to know what “really” happened. Because BA got more [bot] post-closing votes than CA, one could guess that they also got more bot pre-closing votes than CA, but it would really just be a guess.

If CA had been declared a winner based on 5 pm closing vote and the results of the vote were being used in something like an IPCC assessment report, then I’m sure that many people would have called for an audit of the results. But not of a temperature reconstruction. Just one of life’s many ironies.


  1. Bob Meyer
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s an old principle in electoral politics – “Keep counting the votes until the right person wins, then stop”.

    The state of Washington had an amazing election in 2004 where long after the polls closed one county kept finding new votes. The votes were found in bags next to voting machines, in closets, just about everywhere. And these magic votes kept appearing until the governor’s race was reversed. All in all, they ended up with over 3000 more votes in that county than there were signatures on voting registers. A normal election has less than 100 such abnormalities.

    That means that there were over 3000 more votes than there were people showing up at the polls, yet the WA courts found nothing amiss. The courts insisted that there must be proof of intent to sabotage an election, not merely evidence that the election’s results were obviously questionable.

    What happened in the science blog voting was in no way substantially different than any other very close election in the US.

  2. Larry
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Moral to the story: if the data is sufficiently compromised, it can’t be salvaged with statistics. Sometimes you have to get it right the first time.

  3. TonyN
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s good to see CA get more of the recognition that it deserves. Many congratulations, and I’m sure that you did the right thing over the tied result.

  4. Gary
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If CA had been declared a winner based on 5 pm closing vote and the results of the vote were being used in something like an IPCC assessment report, then I’m sure that many people would have called for an audit of the results. But not of a temperature reconstruction. Just one of life’s many ironies.

    Of course. In academia (much of the climate science world) the biggest battles are over the most trivial things. Steve, that was a gracious resolution to potentially weeks of pointless argument. I’ve read both CA and BA for two years and find BA to be less mature, more self-promoting, and always eager to show off. CA is by far the better Science blog, although somewhat less approachable for the average person because of the statistics and the lack of pictures of swirling galaxies. With the award more people will stop in to see what’s going on and perhaps stick around. For these newbies posting some more topic “reviews” would be helpful. Maybe some of the regulars could cover the things they know best.

  5. A Azure
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    And this why Steve and Climate Audit continues to win the hearts and minds:

    - destroyed your enemies by making them your friends.

    - straight up in dealing with others; no hidden agenda.
    - always strive for reconciliation.

    Well played and well done, Steve!

  6. Andy
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent compromise, Steve (and Phil).

    I haven’t graphed it, but it sure seems like those daily vote totals would result in a hockeystick. Like Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, this shape keeps popping up wherever you turn.

  7. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In the end, it’s unfortunate that this has turned into some kind of political battle, and that some people think it’s OK to cheat just to prove your point (this goes for both sides). In a way, it is symptomatic of the AGW debate.

    I’ve come to be used to the more or less cordial tone of the debate here, but Steve deserves all the credit for being able to achieve that. I remember times when the comments were much more acrimonious, and ad-homs were the rule. By forcing posters to remain on topic and by snipping and deleting the more offensive or plain stupid posts, he has gradually cleaned up the place. Many of the earlier trolls have now left, and in most of the threads, you wouldn’t dare posting if you don’t know anything technical.

    My recent adventure at Pharyngulla has shown me how things can go seriously wrong if the blog host doesn’t keep a lid on insults and ad-homs. PZ Myers himself wrote a deeply insulting post, telling all who want to debate AGW to f** off, and opened the floodgates. Wow!

    So cudos to Steve for the one and only BEST science blog.

  8. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Moral: being right is something different than getting right.

  9. Stanj
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Shouldn’t there be an asterix on the logo? Just joking.

    I think that was an ideal solution to a tricky situation – kudos to all parties concerned. And more crucial publicity of course for this great site.

    The only downside for me was that it induced me to pay a visit to Pharyngula and that’s an experience I will never ever want to repeat.

  10. Steven mosher
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats again.

    I spent a few minutes at Phil’s site and it gave me an idea for a cool product.
    If it works out I will let you all know. If not, I never made this post.

    Anthony has also given me a cool idea. Same rules apply.

  11. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to both of you for winning and behaving well.

  12. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    That “Best Science Blog” seal of approval should go into the partly cloudy skies in the the upper right hand corner of the home page, opposite Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre.

  13. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Maybe now you and Phil can go get that beer…

  14. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Accordingly, after midnight EST, I sent an email to Phil Plait suggesting that we agree to a draw,

    Steve, when you’re done with this science gig, will you please come and work for the US State Department?

  15. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    November 2003: McIntyre (who?) coauthors paper (garbage!) in E&E (rag!)
    November 2007: McIntyre voted best science blog on the Internet
    Congrats, Steve. I can’t wait to see what November 2011 brings.

  16. Richard deSousa
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Well done, Steve. I can just imagine the chagrin over at RealClimate.

  17. Miguel
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Felicidades, well done Steve

  18. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yes Steve’s cordiality is very impressive. I wanted to see if the favour was returned, if Bad Astronomy did actually congratulate Steve, but I couldnt find anything. I may not have looked good enough, but I stumbled on the following page which may be interesting for Steve. It’s where Phil Plait gives his view in the 1998/1934 warmest year episode.

  19. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And since I start telling what others should do, I might as well do it myself: congratulations!

  20. Bernie
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is heart warming to see Steve’s “graciousness” recognized, if not fully rewarded. Congratulations and I second the notion of Steve entering the diplomatic corp. I don’t actually care which one.

  21. TAC
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ross (#15),

    November 2003: McIntyre (who?) coauthors paper (garbage!) in E&E (rag!)
    November 2007: McIntyre voted best science blog on the Internet

    I had noticed the general pattern, but you deserve credit for publishing the result, making the data freely available, and correctly interpreting the true significance of this trend: Great things are on the way!

    Congrats to both you and Steve!

  22. harold
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Reply


  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One thing’s for sure: both the volume and interestingness of comments on this blog far outstrip the competition. So while I’m happy to make my share of praise, the liveliness of the blog depends on an active community – so thanks to readers and posters.

    And while we’re at it: please try to stick on threads. If you want to talk about something that’s not on a current thread, browse through old threads: for many topics, there’s a thread that could easily be revived. I’d prefer that you do this rather than going on Unthreaded. I know it’s faster on Unthreaded but everything on those threads is impossible to locate, while the named threads are assigned Categories and there’s a little bit of indexing.

  24. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Reply


  25. mccall
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Especially classy, in light of the direct appeal to the HuffingtonPost by BA’s owner. May all unfortunate but legal tactics* be settled so graciously.

    I do not consider the ’04 King County debacle in this same class.

  26. Lance
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 2:08 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Congratulations from a daily visitor, but infrequent poster. A well deserved honor.

    Keep’em honest!

  27. JimR
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats to both Steve and Phil on the win and on both showing they are a class act. Personally I’m a fan of both BadAstronomy and ClimateAudit. I met Phil online as he debunked some rather silly end of the world claims years ago. Both Steve and Phil try to inject some reality in often emotionally charged subjects. Phil probably has it a bit easier since he is often explaining basic astronomy to those who prefer pseudoscience while Steve has to dig to examine data and explain results.

    I do find a striking similarity between the pseudoscience loving people that Phil often corrects and the true believers that constantly attack Steve and Climate Audit. In both cases they “feel” they are correct while in reality they have little understanding of the subject and even getting them to hear that there are two sides can be difficult.

  28. Darwin
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say that I miss the Pielke’s two blogs, but there is no denying that Steve has done more to involve a wide variety of people in an examination of some key scientific issues relating to peer review, the sharing of data and the need for independent auditing of scientific results than any one on the web. His work may in the end have more influence than any other science blog. And to think it was all started to defend his integrity from personal attacks. Talk about some people getting something other than what they were after …

  29. Gerald Browning
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 4:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve M,

    Congratulations. If nothing else this should draw additional attention to
    your web site and hard work.


  30. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 4:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #27 I personnally find that, behind all the “pseudoscience” debunking, there is often an anwillingness to acknowledge flaws in the conduct of professional science itself. In other words, when things are bad at home, find an enemy and everyone will rally. So the scientists can say: “look at all this pseudoscience stuff, isn’t it awful? Good thing we, the professional scientists, are there! “. And then all the problems with poor peer review, fraud, etc. can be swept under the rug!

    Fraud, for example, is always talked about as the exception, the result of the odd rotten apple. Yet when I researched scientific fraud a couple of years ago, I was amazed at the number of cases I found. But if each case is treated as a single event, it prevents you from looking at it in a statistical way. So we have no statistics for fraud. It’s just seen as a bunch of exceptional events. Therefore, we don’t see it as a problem with the scientific institution itself. If we had statistics, we would see it as a problem, we would try to improve the system, and we would have a measurable quantity to look at.


  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 4:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t want to get involved in any discussions of the pseudo-sci issues that BA gets involved in, even by reference. I’ve deleted some posts and will delete any posts that wander into those topics. Anyone who feels compelled to discuss these topics, please do so at BA.

  32. Steve Huntwork
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #10 Steven Mosher, I do not know if this is what you are talking about, but if I did give you an idea on Bad Astronomy, then I hope it will stimulate some new scientific measurements.

    Take a look at this link and the High Dynamic Range Moon image.

    Anthony Watts go me thinking about how to perform these measurements, and this image showed me how to do it with minimal equipment costs.

  33. Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In the 20tieth century we saw many things destroyed and trashed: politics, ethics, philosophy, literature, architecture and the plastic arts. Now they’re trying to debase and trash Science too.

    Thanks Steve, the commenters and the team for fighting for the honor of Science. I get great encouragement reading this blog.

  34. Declan Odea
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A wonderful result. Congratulations Steve from another daily visitor.

  35. Harold Morris
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Steve!

    I was already aware of your gentlemanly behavior from your patient responses to my ignorant questions. Now I find that you are diplomatic in sharing honors also. This makes the honor all the more appropriate. Keep up the good work.

  36. tom
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 7:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Cheers! Great work Steve. I’ve been working in the field of meteorology for 20yrs
    and embrace your thesis which is simply to get some answers using the venerable
    scientific method. This is sorely lacking in much of climate science, especially
    proxy and temperature reconstructions. The reconstructionists’ handwaving is making
    me nauseous. I Look foreward to learning much more from your site. Thanks again.

  37. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 7:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 32. No steve that was not it. However, your stuff intriques me now that I look at it.

    If your Email is there I will drop you a line ( dont post it here) Otherwise Anthony Watts
    can give you my addy. or I can make it a puzzle.

    Very nice site.

    Anthony has a nice post on the Taurid display. Wish I were farther away from the city.

    Anyhow, drop me line

  38. Michael Strong
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What is most peculiar is how often it is alleged that this is an “anti-science” site by fans of competing sites.

    “Critics of science make a lot of mileage out of the manifest discrepancies between the private and public actions of scientists. The also fasten on examples of scientific behavior that obviously deviate from the norms – fraud, plagiarism, partisan disputes over priority, and so on. These are serious matters for concern, but they are not so widespread and prevalent that they completely corrupt the whole enterprise. Indeed, the fact that such episodes are still generally regarded as both deviant and scandalous is a tribute to the continuing moral authority of the ethos that they flout. This ethos is easy to debunk as a collective ‘false consciousness’ that conceals from scientists the true significance of their activities, but it sustains their morale in what can be a very discouraging calling.”

    from John Ziman, “Real Science: What it is, and what it Means”

    As a radical agnostic regarding the substance of many of the issues discussed here, one thing I am certain of is that this is a real science blog, by Ziman’s standards and by mine, and I am glad that it exists, and that it won. Despite an occasional, understandable excess of sarcasm or rhetoric, on balance Steve upholds the scientific ethos far better than do most scientific blogs, and thereby is contributing to maintain the moral authority of science, even if most of his substantive speculations turned out to be wrong in the end. Those individuals who, consciously or unconsciously, believe that rhetorical hyperbole on behalf of AGW alarm is more important than preserving the moral credibility of science are taking a risk that scares me more than do the risks of AGW as understood to date. Hansen might be right or he might be wrong, but his tone of dogmatic righteoussness will prove to be very damaging for NASA, for climatology, and for science if he turns out to be significantly off the mark.

    Steve regularly brings to light incidents that should be regarded as “deviant and scandalous,” by all friends of science, and most especially by those who are concerned that science ought to be a morally credible influence in policy discussions. In a world based on an ideal version of the scientific ethos, James Hansen would be Steve’s most supportive cheerleader, openly appreciative each time Steve discovers a new flaw in an argument, calculation, or data set, no matter how “tiny” or seemingly “insignificant” each individual discovery may seem.

    Ideally all of the competing science blogs, and their audiences, would have shared this perspective.

  39. tom
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 7:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    ‘James Hansen would be Steve’s most supportive cheerleader, openly appreciative each time Steve discovers a new flaw in an argument, calculation, or data set, no matter how “tiny” or seemingly “insignificant” each individual discovery may seem.’

    Perfectly stated!

  40. Buddenbrook
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Reply



    Bad Astronomy

    have their own wiki-pages. Interesting personalities. Even Pharyngula seems a sound fellow, although he doesn’t come across as one on climate science. A blind spot for many liberals I have found.

    About the popularity contest..

    Google hits give:

    Steve McIntyre + Stephen McIntyre 200k+ hits, mostly featuring our host

    PZ Myers 500k+ hits (one of the leading [snip] critics in the USA it seems)

    Phil Plait 161k hits

    Gavin Schmidt 53k hits

    Roger Pielke Sr and Roger A Pielke Sr around 80k hits

    James Hansen and Jim Hansen around 450k hits

    PZ Myers beats even Hansen, impressive.

  41. Steve Huntwork
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #37 Steven Mosher, and anyone else interested in directly measuring the Earth’s albeto.
    Send me an email at shunt1 (at)
    All others:
    If you do not have a telescope and can not take images of the Moon each month, please do not ask me any questions that are not directly related to this project.
    Anthony Watts got me thinking about this topic, so I blame him!

  42. Climate Tony
    Posted Nov 12, 2007 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

  43. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 2:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Just an old codger with a gammy knee, but at the start of the Poll I did write -

    Hope I’m not speaking out of place on Steve’s matters, but please nobody do a block vote fiddle that could be discovered and criticised afterwards. It’s so much more satisfying to have an honest race and an honest place.

    Blind Freddie (with experience) could have predicted that computer experts would try a fiddle, if only to be self-smug.

    The 20,000:20,000 tie is sportsmanship at its best. Thank you, Steve and Phil. My only reservation is that in the whole poll with its 30 categories, CA could well have been in the top 10. When I looked with about 8 hours before closure, best overall blog had the highest single vote but CA was not far behind in single vote. A 25,00:25,000 gentlenamly tie might have shown better the real interest that good Science has in an information-hungry community.

    Conversely, it might have shown that the polling software needs better protection, so that people can practise safe X.

    Here’s to 2008.

  44. Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 3:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Great gesture by you Steve – turning a potentially contentious situation into a win for everybody. If only Climate Science was that easy?

  45. henry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 7:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    With the increased traffic expected, I agree that there should be a “beginner” thread: one that lists the high points, with links to the appropriate threads.

    Also, just as we’re requesting the updates to the proxies, we shouls also be requesting (or creating) updates to the “iconic” charts and lists.

    The “which year was hottest” discussion has been started again on Tamino’s blog, but they’re still using an old reference period. My understanding is, at the close of each decade, the reference period changes. They’re showing the anomalies based on (if I’m not mistaken) a reference period ending in 1980 (could be 1990).

    It’s possible, that when the reference period is moved to end in 2000, the 9th or 10th “warmest” years will show close to zero (or possibly negative anomalies).

    As you’ve said several times, the reason data is delayed or omitted, it usually isn’t good news. Zero change or negative anomalies (based on averages ending in 2000), would not look good for them. That is something they wouldn’t want to show…

    Steve: For temperature graphics, the choice of reference period doesn’t matter. Save your powder for some other issue.

  46. yorick
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The problem with threads that “boil it all down” for the uninitiated is that it goes right back to trusting authority. The motto of this blog should be “Question Authority.”

  47. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 8:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Michael Strong says:
    What is most peculiar is how often it is alleged that this is an “anti-science” site by fans of competing sites….

    henry says:
    With the increased traffic expected, I agree that there should be a “beginner” thread:

    Steve McIntyre says:
    I don’t want to get involved in any discussions of the pseudo-sci issues that BA gets involved in..”

    I agree that there ought to be an introduction. Lots of people seem to come here and get the wrong idea. I think the point to stress is that all other science blogs TALK about science news; this one actually DOES science. That’s why it can be hard to understand and doesn’t do things like debunking ID. Instead, it has its own coreing data and SurfaceStations info….

  48. W Robichaud
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Steve! from another daily visitor.
    Leaning more everyday…thank you.

  49. bender
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #46 Really, really good point, yorick.

    It takes a long time to read this blog – and there is admittedly a lot of noise around the signal – but it is a worthwhile read. My advice for beginners is to take a whole weekend off and browse. Then watch the traffic for a few weeks before commenting.

  50. Larry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply


    Here’s to 2008.

    I’ll bet 50,000 quatloos that they don’t fix the security problems and this happens again in 2008.

  51. henry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve said:

    For temperature graphics, the choice of reference period doesn’t matter. Save your powder for some other issue.

    I’m sorry, but after 30+ years in the USAF (electronics repair and instructor), I’ve learned a few things:

    1. In order to make accurate measurements, zero (ground) matters. If I make daily voltage measurements, I want to see if there is a change in values BASED ON A GROUND REFERENCE. I can still see a trend, but they are based on current values. I wouldn’t use a 10 year old reference to see or track today’s values.

    2. I’ve leaned a little bit about crisis management. First rule is, be sure that what you have is an actual crisis. Again, accurate data is a must. Up-to-date regs are needed, along with accurate data. This goes along with your “update the proxies” and “archive the data”. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has told me about a problem, only to find I didn’t have all the info.

  52. Larry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    46, and to take that a step further, RC isn’t really structured as a blog to discuss, it’s a pedagogy site, where you go to receive wisdom. The ops impart their knowledge and wisdom, and the grasshoppers all say in unison “yes, I see, Master”. And if you ask Master an embarrassing question, the question disappears into the reverse time machine.

    They have been known on occasion to use Socratic dialog, but only in cases where the outcome is inevitable.

  53. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sorry, but after 30+ years in the USAF (electronics repair and instructor), I’ve learned a few things:

    I think his point is that for the graphics, all the reference period does is shift the curve, but the shape, and respective slopes, remain the same, so choice of reference period is merely aesthetic.


  54. Jim Edwards
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve M.

    FWIW, I think it would be better to put the “Best Science Blog” logo on the left side – under the tip jar, because:

    1) people read from left to right, and
    2) the right column may not be entirely visible w/o scrolling [depending upon the reader's browser settings].

    Putting it on the left side would probably maximize Goodwill / P.R. value.

  55. phil
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Steve. What is most interesting about your blog is that it is a tremendous learning experience. Sort of like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Keep up the good work!

  56. kim
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What I do, Phil, is poke a little hole in the side of the hose, and suck on it.

  57. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations! Keep in mind that as you get more exposure you will also have more crosshairs trained on you. So keep the math rigorous and the mind open.

    Patrick M.

  58. MarkW
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Patrick M.

    I’ve noticed a decided uptick in the troll count. Though fortunately, they rarely last long enough to post more than one or two blasts before returning to sites that don’t challenge their biases.

  59. phil
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Kim, good point. One problem, however, is that comments are buried in the avalanche. Steve, have you considered threading of the comments? Or would that involve too much overhead?

  60. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Steve, have you considered threading of the comments? Or would that involve too much overhead?

    I’ve assumed that WordPress doesn’t support that.

  61. Steve Moore
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats on the win, and belated b-day greetings.

    My twin sister and I turned 114 today, but as she doesn’t admit to being anything over 39, I’ve had to “take up the slack” to make the total correct.
    Graphing our ages gives a new meaning to the term “Divergence Problem”

  62. henry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mark T. says:

    I think his point is that for the graphics, all the reference period does is shift the curve, but the shape, and respective slopes, remain the same, so choice of reference period is merely aesthetic.


    One more time. I agree, that the “the shape, and respective slopes, remain the same”.

    But since the world’s press continues to keep score (“the top ten warmest” using anomalies based on the decade ending in ’80 or ’90), the choice of zero allows the aesthetic to carry the message. The Hadley Center, for example uses a shaded background, (deepening shades of blue below the line, and deepening shades of red above), to imply a crisis. The higher the amplitude of the line in the red, the worse the crisis.

    If that zero line goes up, the “aesthetic” shows a smaller rise above zero (implying less of a crisis).

    This was also, if I remember, one of the items pointed out in the AIT presentation: the red area didn’t match the center line.

  63. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From a media standpoint (and obviously subsequent public opinion), that is probably correct, but from a “scientist looking at the data” standpoint, it is immaterial, a difference is a difference whether at -20 or +20. Steve is likely looking at it from the viewpoint of the latter. I.e. in here, who cares? :)


  64. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 58

    Hey MarkW, I am not a troll. I think ClimateAudit is a great site, (I read it at least twice a day). It is the fact that this blog is more rigorous than others that makes it so valuable. I was just pointing out that with increased readership will come increased scruntiny. The AGW side will look for chinks in the armor. It is precisely the mindset that anyone who does not agree with Steve M., (which doesn’t describe me), is a troll that will cast a shadow of bias on ClimateAudit. Luckily, Steve doesn’t seem to have that attitude at all. He seems very open to ideas — a true scientist.

    So chill with the troll comments.
    Patrick M.

    Steve: I don’t claim to be infallible: audits recognize that people are human and make mistakes. If I make an error in a posting, I try to correct it promptly.

  65. henry
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Dr Thompsons Thermometer #2 (main article)

    The zero-period in MBH99 is 1902-1980, not 1961-1990. Perhaps Thompson only said that the data had been centered on 1961-90, but in fact, it was really left centered on 1902-1980. Here is a plot of MBH99 in 10-year averages centered on 1902-1980 and this looks like what is used. It’s a titch too “cold” – I’m not sure why.

    From a “scientist looking at the data standpoint”, calculating a zero period must be important (it DID change that center line…)

    This is why there is a standard to use the end of the latest decade as an ending point for the zero period.

  66. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yeah, Patrick, it appeared Mark was commenting back to your observation that exposure would be bringing people, so he made a comment on one of the side-effects of “being in the crosshairs”.

    Thats what I got out of it, talking to you not about you.

  67. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 13, 2007 at 7:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 58 & 67

    If I misread your post, MarkW, then I apologize. Thanks for clearing that up Sam.

    RE 65

    Hi Steve,

    I think you’ve got the right attitude. Follow the data to wherever it leads. Obviously, some of these other researchers prefer to lead the data to their preconceived conclusions. Either that or they’re just too lazy to do the statistical/mathematical leg work.

    I’ve got a brother who is a heavy hitter in mathematics. He’s also a big fan of RealClimate. I’m going to try and get him to read your site and see if that changes his mind about the Team. ;-)

    I’ll go back to lurking now.

    Patrick M.

  68. MA
    Posted Nov 14, 2007 at 11:26 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Some more or less stupid thoughts:

    Good that peace has been settled between the AGW Ganglanders and the Denying Bikers. Now’s only left to …settle science.

    Actually a bit Nelson Mandelaisque peacful attitude of dignity to suggest the co-winning. The world peace moves on somwhere at least. You should have had Gore’s peace-statuett?!

    But contests may not be the most important thing in the World (uh, am I kiddin’?!?) Would Einstein have scored top 10 before anyone knew who he was and what he wazup with?

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