NOAA’s Pillars of Climate

Obviously US federal spending is under a lot of pressure given budgetary problems. In the course of cutting curtailing federal spending, there will be great pressure to curtail even the most worthy programs, such as NOAA’s sponsorship of the display Pillars of Climate at the recent American Meteorological Society’s Applied Climatology and Climate Change Adaptation conference in Asheville. Other sponsors are the University of North Carolina, NOAA, ARC, ArtPLex Solutions and Monotour Productions. The Pillars of Climate is described as follows:

“Pillars of Climate” is an installation that investigates the issues of perception and dissemination of data in climate change. The sculpture invites the audience to go beyond ‘face value’ and inspect more closely the integration of humanity, nature and fossil fuels.

Pillars of Climate depicts four scientists, described in the accompanying legend as follows:

The four scientists depicted in the piece were chosen for their unique carreers [sic], which blend science, communication and activism in climate science. They represent the forward thinking that gives raw data meaning in everyday life.

The intersection of science, activism and now art is meant to highlight the recent shift towards making scientific data visible, accessible and meaningful to everyone.

The accompanying legend to the display is shown below:

The first Pillar of Climate was Vandana Shiva. According to Wikipedia, she is the author of the book Vedic Ecology, which draws upon India’s Vedic heritage, is a “figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement” and is presently “working on a 3 year project with the Government of Bhutan, at the invitation of the Prime Minister Jigme Thinley, advising the Government on how to achieve their objective of becoming an Organic Sovereign country (the first fully 100% organic country)”. Surely no Climate Audit reader will contest her qualification as a NOAA Pillar of Climate.

The second Pillar of Climate was Wangari Maathai from Kenya about whom Wikipedia says:

[she] founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1984, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005.

Again, I doubt that any Climate Audit reader will contest her qualification as a NOAA Pillar of Climate.

The third Pillar of Climate may be more controversial. R.K. Pachauri, author of the romance novel, Return to Almora. Wikipedia describes the novel as “reminiscences of a retired bureaucrat, once an engineering student, about his spiritual and sexual past”. While Pachauri’s qualification as a NOAA Pillar of Climate might have been argued about as late as December 2009, I think that the publication of Return to Almora resolved matters decisively in his favor and he is as worthy a Pillar of Climate as his fellow honorees, Shiva and Maathai.

The fourth and final NOAA Pillar of Climate is Michael Mann, described as follows:

He is best known as the lead author of a number of articles on paleoclimatology and one of the originators of a graph of temperature trends called the hockey stick graph because of its shape. The graph was highlighted in an IPCC report receiving both praise and critics, and has been the subject of a long-running controversy. Mann is also known as a founding member of the Real Climate blog, to which he and a number of other scientists contribute.

I realize that some readers may argue against Mann’s inclusion in this galaxy of Pillars. However, I urge such readers to think long and hard about the connections between the Mann hockey stick and Vedic ecology – a scandalously under-researched topic. Let’s hope that this display leads to renaissance of research in this area.

The juxtaposition of Mann with a Kenyan Pillar also reminds us of Mann’s deep and profound connection with Kenya, where Mann combated the transfer of resources from the Third World to Europe and the US – a transfer that is all too characteristic of the globalization decried by Pillar Vandana Shiva – by re-locating Spanish precipitation to Kenya in Mann et al 2008.

The testimonial to Pillar of Climate Mann also shamefully ignored his important contribution to the alter-globalization movement through his development of novel statistical methods that enabled the use of bristlecone tree ring chronologies and upside down Kortajarvi sediments to reconstruct world temperature – alter-globalization at its best.

While the testimonial to Mann properly recognizes Real Climate as a scientific authority of equivalent stature to Pillars of Climate Vandana and Maathai, the testimonial can only be regarded as a first step towards the recognition of RealClimate. NOAA should immediately commission Pillars of Climate II, a similar display recognizing the accomplishments of Gavin Schmidt, Rasmus Benestad, Eric Steig and the rest of the Real Climate gang.

Let’s all hope that reason prevails in Washington and this worthy program is preserved.

With this many Pillars, the next step surely must be the establishment of a Climate Parthenon, where the Pillars of Climate can be properly honored. (White marble, of course, for albedo.)


118 Comments

  1. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I notice the “Pillars” fon’t seem to support anything.

    Who says art doesn’t reflect reality ?

  2. John Norris
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Rather weakens your conference when you pay homage to the hockey stick. I guess they hadn’t got the memo yet.

  3. Mark F
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, your wit is at least twice as sharp today as that of, let’s say, Martha.

  4. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Maybe they meant to say “pliers” and just misspelled it…

    • RobWansbeck
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      … or maybe a word that starts with P and rhymes with hillocks?

  5. stan
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmmm. Fish in barrel meet shotgun.

  6. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I urge such readers to think long and hard about the connections between the Mann hockey stick and Vedic ecology – a scandalously under-researched topic. Let’s hope that this display leads to renaissance of research in this area.

    I feel I’ve already begun. Wikipedia goes out of its way to be helpful by declaring of Vedic science:

    Vedic science may refer to a number of disciplines: ancient and modern, scientific and unscientific, religious, metaphysical, Hindu, occultist, New Age, proto-scientific, or pseudoscientific found in or based on the Vedas.

    Which discipline to choose to shed the fullest light on our esteemed third and fourth pillars? I sense this is too important not to be crowdsourced.

  7. tomdesabla
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Geez, what an ego-fest. Not even “Pillars of Climate Science” – but “Pillars” of the very climate itself.

    And with all that ego, and all that money, they can’t even spell “career”?

    It’s like a variation on the old joke:

    Yeah, I’m a Pillar of climate, and boy, are my arms tired.

  8. Bernal
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I see a face! I see a face! If I squint just right it looks like…Spider Man! Well, with polka dots but, ahem…never mind.

    • Ken Finney
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

      No, not Spidey – it’s Red Skull!

  9. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Priceless!

  10. William Larson
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear SM: Your encomium to the Four Pillars of Climate is eminently praiseworthy in itself. I believe that your contribution will do much to insure the future funding of such essential governmental expenditures as the Four Pillars sculpture. However, I wish to point out an apparent erratum, most likely created by your amanuensis: “…the rest of the real climate gang.” “Gang” is obviously a stenographic mis-insertion, sounding crass. “Hierarchy” is more nearly the correct word. Please amend the text accordingly.

  11. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Who was the artist? Victor Vasarely? Roy Lichtenstein? or another knock-off type?

    I’ve been working on my own climatic-artistic homage to Al Gore, James Hansen, Phil Jones, and R. Pachauri at my abeqas site. Sadly no donors to fund a larger megasculpture quite yet.

  12. Dave L.
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What is its carbon footprint?

  13. Ale Gorney
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Taking a wild guess here but the artist commissioned this piece for at least six figures; minimum.

  14. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A masterpiece of mordant drollery. And every word rooted in objective truth.

    No one could have so achieved that combination but you, Steve, and no subject but Climate Science could have so richly deserved it.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      All the great artists subvert their patrons.

      I would not discount the possibility this sculptor is one of them.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        There is an area in the Louvre which is loosely dedicated to commissioned family portraits from the 17th century (I think), wherein moneyed families are painted in requested poses and settings

        After looking at one such portrait (squire and son on horse, wife and daughter standing, dog sniffing) for a few minutes, I noted to my wife: “Even the horse and dog are smirking”

  15. TerryMN
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    *waiting for Nick Stokes to tell us how this is saving the planet*

  16. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anyone else notice that the Pillars of Climate look suspiciously like an homage to the ex-World Trade Center? Rather contrary to the green message, that.

    And all those variegated dots — as a decorative motif don’t they subliminally recall Warwick Hughes map of the suspiciously — and yet so conveniently — hot Siberian climate record?

    And the four Pillars themselves — such low-hanging fruit (a double irony in this image).

    One is left to wonder just what the artist really intended. Stealth cynical hilarity? Maybe, Steve, the artist was counting on you to open the hidden box of goodies for us all to see.

  17. Bernie
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Al Gore called. Since he will not be appearing on Mt Rushmore, he wants to know why there is not a 5th Pillar reflecting his humble efforts.

    • Benzopf
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 9:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I think Gore may have to settle for fifth column instead.

  18. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pillars of salt, presumably. Looks to be quite a good clothes horse – with addition of some hooks and wire, of course. Hats off to the designer.

  19. Eric Anderson
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “They represent the forward thinking that gives raw data meaning in everyday life.”

    Say what?

  20. BarryW
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, we now know where congress can be cutting the budget without harming anything useful.

  21. Asadamerican Awaitingcongress Toactlikeadults
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Had to laugh out loud by the time I got to the end of this article! Good job Mr. McIntyre!

  22. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What happened to the good old days of conferences in Arusha and Tahiti and PR Challenges in Wengen and Trieste. As an American taxpayer, I feel like I’m getting off cheap.

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If you’re going to post on this thread, please refrain from comments that are merely angry. I think that there’s a useful place for satire, but angriness is mostly unpleasant.

    • observa
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 7:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Personally I don’t think Mr McKintyre should indulge himself here in censorship of those who want to come here and express their Vedic Anger at being mocked so effortlessly. It’s a bad look falling into the ways of Team Vedicism.

  24. Roberto
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As we know the dedication of these ladies and gentlemen to gentle education and equalizing subsidies, I eagerly await my free copy of Dr Pachauri’s lovely book.

  25. EllisM
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 9:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What would a memorial representative of Steve’s contributions to science look like? I wonder…

    • Paul_in_CT
      Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      A spotlight

      • EllisM
        Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 10:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

        But upon what would the spotlight be?

        • Paul_in_CT
          Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

          I can think of a lot of things to suggest, but nothing nice, so I’ll just leave that alone!

          Maybe a miner’s headlamp or flashlight illuminating a dark cave would be a better monument?

    • pesadia
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 4:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Shiva Vandana and Wangari Maatai
      Excellent choices in every way
      Whereas Dr P and Michael Mann
      Are two sore thumbs in this display.

  26. Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    NOAA should immediately commission Pillars of Climate II, a similar display recognizing the accomplishments of Gavin Schmidt, Rasmus Benestad, Eric Steig and the rest of the Real Climate gang.

    Hey!!! I think its time Canada chip in for such a worthwhile project!!! Jeez, and they want to raise the debt ceiling? This stuff, we just gotta have!!!! Just can’t figure out why the public seems so angry these days. Stupid, @^#@# imbecilic ….#$%@#@# moronic…q4@#%@!^@ 100% Organic country!?!?!?!? What the heck does that mean and why does anyone think it could possibly be a good thing?

  27. ausiedan
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Come on now Steve,
    It’s not April 1st.
    You can’t pull this trick on me.
    A very serious organisation like NOAA would never, never promote rubbish like this.
    Ops …… silly me.
    Apologies, they’ve just done it.
    Goodness, gracious me!

  28. John Vonderlin
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 10:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Since all the snarky or satirical comments and good jokes have been used in previous comments, let me be a contrarian and say I like the piece’s concept of an image of each “Pillar” being visible as you walk around the piece. Spelling and word usage would lead me to believe the artist is not a native English speaker, and apparently didn’t know one well enough to proofread their text. I do have three questions, though. Which male “Pillar” are we looking at? Why are there apparently no other pictures of this piece on the Internet, besides Steve’s? Wanting to do a reality check on my assumptions and satisfy my curiosity, I spent way too much time doing various image searches and even websearched the Conference without finding out anything. Can anybody help?

  29. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Need Samson to hold up those pillars. They are on thin (melting)ice.

  30. HaroldW
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “the next step surely must be the establishment of a Climate Parthenon…”

    or even better, a pantheon. The next exhibit should be “Gods of Climate.”

    • Ken Finney
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

      … or Gods of Warm

  31. Warrick
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nice carpet

  32. Tom C
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    These guys are not yet beyond parody as evidenced by Steve’s superb piece. But in another year or so the lunacy will have gone beyond even his abilities.

  33. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It is a sad day when the the hard science part of NASA at the Kennedy Space Center is being defunded while the science fiction part of NASA (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) marches on and on and….on.

  34. observa
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Should ‘unique carreers’ really be ‘unique carers’ or some sort of unique Vedic double entendre that escapes we lesser mortals just at present? I’m going to have to consult the oracle on instant coffee lees for a definitive answer on this-
    http://news.scotsman.com/environment/Coffee-lovers–urged-Give.5891229.jp
    Should be right up his alley by all accounts.

  35. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oy.

    The Climate Parthenon seems a bit rickety.
    Climate Parthenon

    Though, at least they can see clouds to imagine HS shapes in the sky.

  36. Ron Cram
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Truth is stranger than fiction. You just can’t make this stuff up… but you can mock it!

  37. Mark
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ok, that did evoke a smile. Nicely played Steve!
    snip

    • James Evans
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 4:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Mark,

      I pay less than two thousand pounds in tax each year. For a small charitable donation (payable to me, as trustee) I can tell you how it’s done. Alternatively, I have recently completed a major art installation. Were you to purchase such a worthy (and surprisingly expensive) piece, I feel almost certain that you could write-off huge swathes of lucre for tax purposes. My installation is titled “Are you pleased to see me, or is that a Pillar of Climate in your pocket?” It’s in the shape of an enormous pair of trousers.

  38. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Pillars of Climate” is an installation that investigates the issues of perception and dissemination of data in climate change.

    This wording clearly shows this to be part of the “spin” campaign that The Team and IPCC have mounted, to make it all about HOW you tell the public and pols, not WHAT you tell them.

    Shame on them.

  39. gernimo
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have counted them three times now and there are still only three pillars in the photo. There can only be three reasons for this:

    One, the fourth pillar is out of shot, presumably it is flawed in some way and in keeping with Team policy it isnhidden from the prying eyes of the Team’s carping critics;

    Two, the fourt pillar is being kept at the UEA because there are “IPR issues”;

    Three, someone at NASA GISS was tasked with counting them.

    • Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 2:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Three pillars, 4 scientists. Which scientist has been hid by the decline?

    • Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 3:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

      lol, there is one other possible explanation…….

      Dude!! The 4th pillar drowned in the storm.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 7:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Each pillar has 4 sides. Each pillar-side shows 1/3 of a scientist’s face. You probably have to walk around the pillars to pay proper homage to the Pillars.

      • Mark F
        Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

        We get to see a different side of each of them. If we wish.

  40. Pete
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 2:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    That’s the raw data, 4 is the adjusted value

  41. Caleb
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I like how you say, “If you’re going to post on this thread, please refrain from comments that are merely angry. I think that there’s a useful place for satire, but angriness is mostly unpleasant.”

    I have always had trouble keeping my temper, especially when confronted with anything that suggests fraud, dishonesty, or intentional falsehood. The only way I could stand “Climate Science” was to give certain individuals the benefit of the doubt, and to imagine their errors were not intentional. However I could only do that for so long before disbelief would set in, and I’d hit the roof.

    I’d like to thank you for this site, for, besides being an example of patient, long-suffering truthfulness, it has also taught me quite a lot about keeping my temper.

  42. JPeden
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 4:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The intersection of science, activism and now art is meant to highlight the recent shift towards making scientific data visible, accessible and meaningful to everyone.

    Sadly, by the looks of things there’s probably not enough left upstairs for LSD to do them much good, huh?

  43. TAC
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 4:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    LOL.

    Kudos to Steve for realizing the comic potential here.:-)

    Still, as a U.S. taxpayer, I am annoyed to see U.S. tax dollars funding comic material for a Canadian artist — isn’t that the job of the Canada Council for the Arts? ;-)

    A final question: When NOAA’s Budget Office receives news of a diminished budget for 2012, will they see the connection?

  44. pesadia
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Kudos to AL Gore who appears to have been involved in the release from jail of Wangari Maatai at one point in her incredible life.

  45. Marcus Kesseler
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    While growing up you’re repeatedly taught not to judge by appearances.

    Nevertheless, poor Mr Mann looks *exactly* like the kind of guy who would actually feel genuinely flattered by being included in such a group.

    Oscar Wilde had it right after all: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

    Marcus

  46. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Democracy Now! website has a recording and transcript of an interview with Vandana Shiva here:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/22/earth_day_special_vandana_shiva_and

    It’s a brief interview but it gives us rather a good insight into her mindset: “…this is a majority perspective. Most of the indigenous cultures of the world, most of the non-industrialized cultures of the world, most of the non-Western cultures of the world live in the consciousness that we are part of nature and the earth is a mother. We are fighting against dams on the Ganges. And it’s a very real discourse that the Ganges is a divine mother. She has her own standing. And the government cannot block her flow. She has a right to flow free.”

    So yes, we might say the same of climate data. It, too, is part of nature and has a right to flow free!

  47. macumazan
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 6:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Still unclear to me is the exact mode of jigging enjoyed by Jigme Thinley. Could someone please explain?

  48. profligatewaste
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 6:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Damn, that’s an ugly carpet.

  49. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 7:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One of the risks in academia is to place academics on pillars, putting them above and disconnected to the unwashed masses.

    Note how the sculptor cleverly avoids this impropriety by putting people on the _side_ of the pillars rather than on _top_ of them. Perhaps in subsequent efforts the honorees can be placed _under_ the pillars, or perhaps just in the pillar’s shadows.

    Just as long as the pillars aren’t placed on the shoulders of giants.

  50. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As someone who’s painted and drawn all their life, I’d have to say that this is a case of science imitating art. I paint people. When I finish a painting, it looks like them. I’ve ‘caught’ something about that person. Occasionally it doesn’t work but that’s what makes it a challenge. That’s the discipline.

    Art has moved away from depicting real things like people and the world we live in. Since nobody can work out what the “artist” meant by their latest work, it nearly always comes with a long name or a neat little card explaining it to us less artistically perceptive souls. Of course, with this decoupling from reality, people can quite successfully pass of daubings by a Chimpanzee as high art. That’s been done too.

    Post-normal science and its effect on science is exactly analogus except the chimps are a tad easier to spot.

    Pointman

  51. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think that “art” came from the siding of a Control Data building that was demolished in 1978.

  52. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If Mann gets a pillar for free flow of information, what does Steve get?

  53. Sean Peake
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann is placed on a pillar, taxpayors are placed in a pillory.

  54. Ian L. McQueen
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Pointman wrote:
    “Art has moved away from depicting real things like people and the world we live in. Since nobody can work out what the “artist” meant by their latest work, it nearly always comes with a long name or a neat little card explaining it to us less artistically perceptive souls.”

    Don’t forget “The Painted Word” by Tom Wolfe. A classic of its genre.

    IanM

  55. John Whitman
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    NOAA is becoming more in touch with its spiritual side, it seems, by advocating the temple-like semblance of this poorly executed piece.

    Are artists and scientists so different? No, there are incompetent artists just like their are incompetent scientists. Their juxtaposition in the ‘pillars, says a lot about the communications capability of NOAA. NOAA is accelerating in the direction of an increasing lack of public trust.

    John

  56. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    @Ed Caryl.

    Ed, I know you’re a regular contributor to Pierre’s site. I haven’t been able to open the home page for his place for the last two weeks. Is he having technical problems?

    Pointman

  57. LearDog
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think it ironic that the second Pillar of Climate – Wangari Maathai from Kenya – is the one actually working against the CO2 meme.

    HER cause is one of reforesting the trees on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro – that icon in Al Gores movie. Because SHE knows that it isn’t CO2, rather changes in Land Use that have had an impact on the snow cover….

  58. Bob Moss
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    These pillars bring to mind a poem about one that has been long leveled and well weathered:

    And on the pedestal these words appear —

    “My name is Ozymanndias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mcghty, and despair!”

    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

  59. Rob Z
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    snip – please stop this sort of angry statement.

  60. David Ball
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Are those Ivory Pillars?

  61. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps we have thus far under-considered NOAA’s selection of pillars and their connection with the Vedic art advocated by Pillar Vandana Shiva, in which the Shiva linga is essential. Pillar Pachauri’s novel is a sort of homage to the Shiva lingam as well.

    Perhaps this is the deep connection to the Hockey Stick that we’ve been searching for and which the artists have intuitively grasped – the Hockey Stick as Shiva lingam. No wonder the connection to Vedic art is so important.

    Other Shiva lingam images are here. One might even say that the “Hockey Stick” is an important motif in ancient art.

    • chris y
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “the Hockey Stick as Shiva lingam.”

      Steve, this is comedic gold! A true consilience has occurred.

    • Bebben
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Nice image… so this is what short-centering is all about?

  62. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, if I may be forgiven for saying so, this is a slightly whimsical thread for you but it does seem to confirm two purely subjective impressions I’ve always had of us folk of a skeptical persuasion. The first is we have a sense of humour or humour, dependent on which flavour of English you prefer, which the true believers appear to lack. I sometimes think they’ve had a comedy bypass operation from some of their pronoucements tbf but let’s not go there …

    The second one is we’re readers of books and dare I say it, the occasional one that’s got nothing to do with science! Why, there’s even some Shelley being quoted. Anyone want to contribute some Yeats “slouching to armageddon” to keep the warmists happy?

    Pointman

  63. galileonardo
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    snip – let’s stay with satire.

  64. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In antiquity, pillars or monoliths, were usually, dare I say, phallic symbols. This seems not much different. Certainly the monolithic label could apply.

  65. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Exoric India writes:

    The linga [Hockey Stick] is not just the organ of generation, but a sign of the progenitor and the essence of cosmic manhood manifested in the microcosm. By worshipping it we are not merely deifying a physical organ, but recognizing a form that is both eternal and universal.

    • stan
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps this is the artist’s way of saying that with ‘science’ like the hockey stick, we are all pucked.

  66. PJB
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pallors of Climate?

    Albedo-wise, a good thing.

    -snip

    • PJB
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Well, like most model “scenarios”, it made me pale when I saw it.

  67. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    again, I remind readers that I discourage references to current politics. NOAA has provided us with much low-hanging satirical fruit (so to speak). If you are unable to discuss Pillars of Climate without using terms like “left leaning” or “Obama”, you are in the wrong spot and your comments will be removed under editorial policy.

  68. James Evans
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I really enjoy this blog, and the comments on it. The only thing that I don’t like is the constant torrent of cringe-worthy OBN posts. (OBN – The Order of the Brown Nose – see Private Eye magazine.) Any chance the brown-nosing could be reined in a tad? Much obliged.

  69. Tom S
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reason 2122.34 that I’ll never become a member of the AMS unless my profession absolutely demands it. After 24yrs in the field I haven’t found it necessary yet.

  70. kuhnkat
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “The four scientists depicted in the piece were chosen for their unique carreers [sic], ”

    I think most of us thought they meant careers here. Upon closer investigation I believe they actually meant “car rears.”

    Some vehicles do have rather impressive rears that could contribute to the drivers overall status.

  71. miguel
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is a good case for a FOIA request to US Department of Commerce (that oversees NOAA): Who ordered the construction of the pillars? What’s the cost of it? On what ground were the materials on the pillars chosen?

    If you think four pieces of plastic wouldn’t cost too much, you will be surprised. (This is government, after all.) Moreover, if NOAA receive the request they will have to think twice before doing it again next time.

  72. Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Your name for this is somewhat misleading, given that the (rather silly) artwork was created by some UNCA students and (as far as I can tell) in no way sponsored or endorsed by NOAA. I did remark about how creepy it was having Mann’s mug gazing down at me while I was at the conference :-p

    The only real source I can find about the installation states:

    “Pillars of Climate” – award winning art inspired by climate change and produced by UNC Asheville MLA students Sean Aguirre Buckley and Katie Descieux.

    Generous contributions made this work possible. Thank you to the David and Marjorie McGuirk Fund, ArtPlex Solutions, ARC Imaging Technologies, Kiser Construction and Renovation, Asheville Area Arts Council, and Media Arts Project. Project manager: Gerard Voos.”

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=223188367722627&set=pu.165120020196129&type=1&theater

    • Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Its also worth pointing out that the pillars appeared at an American Meteorological Society (and American Association of State Climatologists) meeting, so complaints over the choice of featuring student artwork is better directed at them.

    • Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Looking into it a bit more, it looks like some folks at the NCDC “collaborated” with the student’s course study. So technically the time that a NOAA employee spent collaborating with their class might be considered a taxpayer cost, albeit a rather small one.

      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=223187894389341&set=a.223187834389347.58507.165120020196129&type=1&theater

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

      (as far as I can tell) in no way sponsored or endorsed by NOAA

      As I understand from my source, the NOAA logo was prominently displayed on the Pillars. Further, the NOAA logo is shown on the Facebook link to which you directed me.

      • Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 6:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

        A comment on this link seems to imply that it will soon be an exhibit at the NCDC.

        Sean Aguirre Buckley next stop: NOAA’s NCDC!


        Steve: it’s good news that NOAA is getting in touch with their Vedic selves.

        • Nick
          Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          Doesn’t seem to much NOAA budget in it,from the list of sponsors. In fact,no acknowledgement of NOAA support at all….

  73. chris y
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And the consilience continues-

    http://veda.wikidot.com/chakras

    “Chakras are energy centres which govern the subtle, psychosomatic aspects of our inner being.

    The chakras open up like flowers and pour out their qualities re-establishing our inner balance and restoring our health and form.

    Of the many chakras within the human body, seven have been identified as major. Chakras are first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts of knowledge.”

    snip

  74. Robert
    Posted Jul 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Best laugh I had all day! Jigme Thinley indeed! Thanks Steve

  75. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    I noticed that in your photo one portrait was made up of red dots and one was made up of blue dots. What were the colours on the other sides, and who was blowing hot and who was blowing cold?

  76. EW
    Posted Aug 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Pillars don’t go very well together with the carpet pattern.
    Redecoration and repainting is necessary to underscore their aesthetic quality and uniqueness.

  77. Posted Aug 4, 2011 at 3:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Isn’t there a kids game with wooden blocks that can be rotated to form pictures of people from the various images on the blocks.

    Imagine the different combinations you could achieve with these pillows . . . sorry, pillars.

    What would a Mann-Pachauri-Mann face look like?

    Could keep me occupied for seconds.

  78. David McGuirk
    Posted Feb 6, 2013 at 10:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, Will you please remove any reference to NOAA sponsoring this art work? My wife and I paid for it. NOAA had nothing to do with it. The David and Marjorie McGuirk Fund sponsored the art competition that resulted in the Pillars of Climate. Why do you insist on lying in your blog? Are you a very strange person? Do you hate private enterprise? What’s wrong with you, anyway?

    David McGuirk

    • Skiphil
      Posted Feb 6, 2013 at 11:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      David McGuirk,

      What a nasty and disingenuous rant. The NOAA logo appears on the “Pillars of Climate” Facebook page (linked below, h/t Zeke) — if in fact “NOAA had nothing to do with it” then it is the (mis)use of the NOAA logo that would be “lying” about sponsorship. A sponsorship is not only financial, since there can be a variety of “in-kind” and staff or non-monetary sponsorships (which often still cost money indirectly from a budget, hence it is still relevant to ask about federal costs associated with this so-called “art” as presented at the conference. IF you and your wife via your foundation were the sole financial supporters then the FB page is also lying about that, since it lists FIVE other sources of “generous contributions” below yours.

      Even if it turns out that NOAA did not lay out dollars to the contest or production of the “art” (sic) itself, it is entirely reasonable to see the NOAA logo on the page, plus the sentence which informs the viewer that the project aims to “showcase the collaboration between NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center….” and infer that NOAA is one “sponsor” of the project.

      Indeed, if ANY NOAA staff time or resources went to enabling or publicizing or displaying this “art” then NOAA can be reasonably described as a “sponsor”.

      IF you want to pretend it is wrong to attribute sponsorship to NOAA, there should have been an explicit statement to that effect on project materials. Use of the NOAA logo on project materials implies sponsorship of some sort. Indeed, most organizations, public and private, have strict approval requirements for where and how their logo and name may be used. An organization’s logo is legally protected, and it is not even legal to slap the NOAA logo on just any project one wants to present to the public. If NOAA is not in any way a sponsor of this project then it will be appropriate for US citizens and taxpayers (I am one) to complain formally about the misuse of NOAA’s logo for a purely private enterprise. I am so in favor of private enterprise that I detest people and organizations which misuse “public” facades for their own private activities. Did your project do this?

      Pillars of Climate

      “This Art work is to showcase the collaboration between NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center & UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts Climate Change and Society course study.”

      • Skiphil
        Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 1:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Interesting photos of Mann and his “Asheville Hockey Team” suggesting that the McGuirk art project was more of a personal propaganda activity in support of Mann and friends than any proper activity associated with NOAA. Perhaps NOAA will need to be pressured into renouncing any connection, did any public funds really support this nonsense in any way:

        Michael Mann’s “Asheville Hockey Team”

        • Skiphil
          Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

          We need to know whether any NOAA staff time, materials, or other support went to this supposedly private project. Let’s hope that “NOAA had nothing to do with it” because it seems that Marjorie McGuirk is currently employed by NOAA in “Climate Services” and in 2008-10 had been employed in Thomas Karl’s office as Special Advisor to the Director:

          [excerpts from LinkedIn public profile]:

          former Special Adviser to Tom Karl of NOAA

          Marjorie McGuirk
          Climate Services at NOAA
          Asheville, North Carolina (Asheville, North Carolina Area) Environmental Services

          Marjorie McGuirk’s Overview

          Current
          Climate Services- National Climatic Data Center at NOAA

          Past
          Executive Staff, Director’s Office at National Climatic Data Center NOAA
          National Partnership Liaison at National Climatic Data Center NOAA

          Marjorie McGuirk is a meteorologist and climate specialist with NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville, NC. There she works with business, industry, and professional associations in agriculture, architecture, energy, engineering, hydrology, landscaping, and transportation. In recent years she served as the Special Advisor to the Director, as Chief of Staff, and also as National Partnership Liaison with Regional Climate Centers and State Climate Offices (RCC & AASC)….

          Climate Services- National Climatic Data Center
          NOAA
          Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Government Administration industry
          2010 – Present (3 years) Asheville, North Carolina

          Executive Staff, Director’s Office
          National Climatic Data Center NOAA
          2008 – 2010 (2 years)

          Special Adviser to the Director Thomas R. Karl

          [emphasis added]

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

          You’ve been McGuirked!

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

          David should try posting the “Airmiles” insignia beside an ad for a product where the buyer will in fact receive air miles.
          No can do – you’ll get a letter telling you to take it down or else.

          David is out to sea, McGuirky as that may be.

      • Bob Koss
        Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 7:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Skiphil,

        +1

        • kim
          Posted Feb 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

          Heh, a beanball lined back in the pitcher’s face.
          =========

        • Skiphil
          Posted Feb 8, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

          Kim, as a baseball fan I greatly appreciate that analogy, even if real life hitters are reduced to diving out of the way if they can…. I’ve never gotten over what happened to Tony Conigliaro when I was a young pup….

    • thisisnotgoodtogo
      Posted Feb 8, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Marjorie Petty McGuirk These guys are insane. Press on Michael!
      July 21, 2012 at 2:48pm · Like · 3

    • thisisnotgoodtogo
      Posted Feb 8, 2013 at 11:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve, Will you please remove any reference to the pilars? What’s wrong with you, anyway?

  79. BKC
    Posted Feb 7, 2013 at 11:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “art” (sic)

    That is too funny. Nice job Skiphill.

  80. Beth Cooper
    Posted Feb 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Makes me think of Ozymandias,
    Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert ….’

  81. thisisnotgoodtogo
    Posted Feb 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Asheville was recently graced by Nobel winning Michael Mann’s presence. Notice from March 21 2012:

    “For more information on Mann’s talk, contact Michael Neelon, UNC Asheville assistant professor of Psychology, at 828.250.2359 or email mneelon@unca.edu.

    To learn more about UNC Asheville’s Climate Change and Society certificate program, visit its website.”

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] can’t improve on the description offered by Steve McIntyre on the most recent taxpayer funded %&#@^*! from NOAA: their sponsorship of the display Pillars [...]

  2. By HTML email – View All Latest Trends on Aug 2, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    [...] HTML email Aug 2nd, 2011 by Sitander. Tweet news and informations automotive,business,crime,health,life,politics,science,technology,travelautomotive,business,crime,health,life,politics,science,technology,travelSource by: Sitand The testimonial to Pillar of Climate Mann also shamefully ignored his important contribution to the alter-globalization movement through his development of novel statistical methods that enabled the use of bristlecone tree ring chronologies and upside down Kortajarvi sediments to reconstruct world temperature – alter-globalization at its best. More info [...]

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