Alex Trbek: Your Double Jeopardy category today is Iowa. Connect each quotation to Iowa. (Info Note: Jeopardy is long-running quiz show hosted by Alex Trbek.)

For $400, please connect the following quotation to Iowa:

You’re all doomed to perdition. You’re all goin’ to the painful, stinkin’, scaldin’, everlastin’ tortures of a fiery hell, created by God for sinners, unless, unless, unless you repent.

For $800, please connect the following quotation to Iowa:

Mephistopheles would carry off shrieking not only the robber barons, but, unfortunately and permanently, all life on the planet.

Contestants, no editorializing on religion is permitted. Please don’t use Google. Anyone can look up anything on Google, so what does that prove.


  1. jeez
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    For 400:

    Who is Harold Hill?

    For 800:

    Who is James Hansen?

  2. jeez
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    Ok, now I Googled. I got one right.

  3. James Erlandson
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Elmer Gantry.

  4. Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Did anyone ask if “all life on the planet” include cockroaches, blue-green algea and dandelions?

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    #3. Yes, contestants, the first quotation is by Elmer Gantry, a fictitious fire-and-brimstone evangelist. Sinclair Lewis, the author of Elmer Gantry, worked for a newspaper in Waterloo, Iowa and a 1908 editorial is said to show that the “seeds for Elmer Gantry had already been sown”.

    While the $400 quotation is from a fictitious sleazy evangelist, the second quotation comes from one of the pre-eminent U.S. science conventions – from the Bjerknes lecture at the 2008 AGU by James Hansen, whose hometown was in Iowa. I must say that the rhetoric is more than a bit provincial for a science conference.

  6. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    People who supply my gasoline are robber barons? How quaint. Off with their heads!

  7. jeez
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Number three didn’t phrase his answer as a question.

  8. Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Dang. I only got one right. Do I get partial credit for thinking both quotations were corny?

  9. Doug
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    The Hansen talk is very interesting. Thanks for the link. He makes a very good case that we have seen warming recently, and has some interesting things on ocean temperatures. His case for a tipping point is not so strong, and needs to be questioned.

    Placing cute photos of little blonde children throughout the talk is, to me, rather unprofessional.

    • EW
      Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

      Re: Doug (#9),

      So, little blonde children? How unusual. I would rather expect cute little brown children from tropical islands threatened by immediate drowning from ocean rise or no less cute white polar bears clinging desperately to the last piece of Arctic ice.

  10. Tom Gray
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    In he, ‘Faustain” speech, Hansen claims that he has “nailed” CO2 sensitivity using paleo data. He predicts disaster of biblical proportions. Monckton performed a similar analysis using modern data and claims only a modest increase in global temperature.

    Monckton claimed that because of this use of data, all feedbacks would be included. RealClimate discounted this claim although since they then claimed that Monckton had not taken feedbacks into account, their review is difficult to understand.

    So, do we believe Hansen’s claim of nailing this parameter given, among otehr things, his use of highly dubious paleo data. Or do we believe Monckton?

  11. MrCPhysics
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Got that the first one is from Elmer Gantry (I think). I knew the second one was Hansen, but not how he was connected to Iowa.

    They’re similar in meaning, but less so in tone.

    Roy Spencer has a new, fairly comprehensive paper on climate feedbacks on his site with the numbers coming entirely from satellite temperatures. It seems pretty clear and comprehensive, and is much closer to Monckton than to Hansen.


  12. Joe Crawford
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Tom Grey: “So, do we believe Hansen’s claim of nailing this parameter given, among other things, his use of highly dubious paleo data. Or do we believe Monckton?”

    I would suggest that we don’t “believe” either one of them.


    “We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand” – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

  13. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    Re #9 and 10, the kids are identified as Hansen’s own grandchildren. His point is that we should save the planet for the sake of our grandchildren — he even includes “intergenerational justice” in his subtitle. This is not climate science, but in Hansen’s defense, I think it’s a reasonable motivational angle for a popularized talk.

    Mephistopheles, on the other hand, …

    • EW
      Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#14),
      I don’t think that either grandchildren or Mephistopheles are valid arguments in AGW debate. In the same line of “grandchildren reasoning”, one could ask if it is reasonable to spend tax money (which most of indebted countries do not really have) for expensive alternative energy sources declared as free (wind, sun…you know) or tax the industry to death with CO2 cap-and-trade schemes. This may damage the future of our grandchildren as well. But enough of politics…

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#14),

      This is not climate science, but in Hansen’s defense, I think it’s a reasonable motivational angle for a popularized talk.

      I put it in the same category as the 1964 presidential campaign ad featuring a little girl picking flowers in the field with a mushroom cloud in the background.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    #14. I dunno. I thought that Hansen was acting more like a doting grandfather by showing family pictures. In my opinion, “intergenerational” justice was merely a pretext; he wanted to show his family photos, intergenerational justice could easily have been illustrated in generic terms without family photos. I say this being a doting grandfather myself, who’s very close to his grandchildren, and therefore in a pretty good position to judge.

  15. John Norris
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    Regarding the alarming Lake Mead picture that Hansen used, I plotted Lake Mead elevation and content with data from here:

    The Las Vegas Sun has a decent chart here:

    It doesn’t look like any global warming proxy or temp data you see from Hansen. Yes the lake is down, but it was down in 1954 and 1964 as well. Wasn’t it supposed to be significantly cooler then? Perhaps there are some other lake level ‘forcings’?

    • Hal
      Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

      Re: John Norris (#18),

      In 1966 Glen Canyon Dam was completed. It took 17 years to fill Lake Powell. Note that the peaks in lake Mead got smoothed out.

      Leak Mead’s level is heavily controlled by the release of water at Glen Canyon dam. If water level is used a s a proxy (or as in Hansen’s case as an example) the levels of Mead and Powell must be combined, taking into account the varying differences in area (i.e. water volume, not level is the key) These two RESERVOIRS are not watertanks.

      There is data for daily inflow/outflow for both of these storage lakes, if someone wanted to be scientific about it, an accurate volume data set could be created (it’s probably available). But what does it men?

      I give up

      • John Norris
        Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

        Re: Hal (#19), I guess it means that NASA’s omnipresent climate scientist likes to use alarming photos without apparent scientific relevance; as well as using alarming references to Mephistopheles.

  16. Hal
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Typo: What does it mean

  17. Norm
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Funny how the second link shows a ‘normal’ level of 1220 ft; but it appears to have only reached ‘normal’ once in over 70 years. This graph, with the bottom 1100 ft removed distorts the effect and makes the + and – values look much more extreme, if one looked at the ‘average’ they show (1175 ft) than the current level of 1117 ft the lake is down less than 5%. WOW! They do the same with the map, some of the ‘normal’ land covered under ‘normal’ conditions has probably never seen water from Lake Meade. The headline is misleading too, it says down 103 from normal, but the lake has never been ‘normal’ except one time in 1983. The lake is down 58 ft from average, but could this not have to do with increased demand from California as well?

    • Bill Jamison
      Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: Norm (#21),

      The elevation data for Lake Mead is based on sea level where the base level, or the elevation of the river, is 708ft. Hoover Dam is 726ft high but the water never reaches the top of the dam since the spillways are much lower. When full the depth of the lake at the dam is about 510ft. Although the current depth is 20% lower than that (~109ft), the lake is only at 48% capacity since the surface area increases dramatically has the lake level rises due to the terrain. To your point, the lake is current only 11% lower than it’s average level.

  18. jim w
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    I can resit anything but temptation
    “Iowa Iowa That’s where the tall corn grows”
    I’m from Nebraska origionally. You can’t get the Nebraska out of the boy.

  19. Harry Eagar
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    One thing about us doting grandpas: We are all old enough to remember the climate a long time ago, when we were boys. It hasn’t changed. Not where I grew up. I dunno about the 1440s but I do know about the 1940s.

    The slogan should be: THINK OF THE GRANDPARENTS!

  20. Joseph
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Re: #14, 15, 17
    This use of phrases like “intergenerational equity” and “intergenerational justice” are nothing more than a pathetic attempt to elicit a knee-jerk acceptance of the precautionary principle-based AGW hypothesis. This is not science. snip

    Re: #18
    Could one of those “other lake level forcings” have been the need to produce hydro-electric power?

  21. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    And I had wrongly thought that Mephistopheles was a different genus of mosquito. Anopheles freeborni is the most prevalent of the malaria mosquito vectors in N. America, maybe including Iowa. It’s amazing how CA enlightens.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

      Re: Geoff Sherrington (#26), In certain places in the summer, it would be very easy to conclude that Anopholes was indeed Mephistopheles.

  22. ChrisJ
    Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

    It seems there is also a very large amount of “intergenerational spending”. -chris

  23. dougW
    Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    there once was a man from Iowa – who exclaimed, where on earth shall i stow her – of his sister, he spoke – who was felled, by an oak – which abound on the plains of Iowa…..dunno, but that might have been written Joe-Bob Hansen…ol’Jim’s brother i think, curious family…maybe too much ethanol in their cereal.


  24. Jacob
    Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Hansen does genuinely believe CO2 endangers the globe. Why doesn’t he speak up for nuclear power – the only available alternative to coal?
    Why don’t Hansen and Al Gore use their promotional powers for nukes?
    This silence makes you wonder about their motives.

  25. curious
    Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    re: Jacob at 40
    Hansen does support nuclear power – check the info. on his Columbia edu site Nov 21, 2008:

  26. Garacka
    Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    WHO IS Elmer Gantry? I win!

  27. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #12 and Spencer’s new paper: an excellent read. I’d like to ask Steve if he would consider opening a thread on it here at CA, as I have a couple of questions I would want to ask about it, but don’t want to be OT here.


  28. Jacob
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Re: curious #31:
    Hansen doesn’t support nuclear power. In his words:
    “I have always been agnostic on nuclear power” and: “I can’t seem to agree fully with either the anti-nukes or Blees [pro nukes]… Some of the anti-nukes are friends, concerned about climate change, and clearly good people.”
    You see: Hansen is “good people”, the rest – bad people.
    Hansen’s position is: phase out coal within 10 years. Unconditionally. If there isn’t enough electricity for our needs – live without it.

  29. curious
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    re: Jacob at 36
    Thanks Jacob – but the trip report you reference predates the Nov. item I highlighted. I’ll not cut and paste from it as it needs to be read – my interpretation is that James Hansen is now strongly positive on nuclear as an energy source and he supports RandD to develop improved technology. I saw earlier comments from him where he stated he had yet to form an opinion on nuclear and that he would investiate further. It appears he has done that investigation and formed his opinion. Your original post at 30 suggested he is silent on nuclear and queried the motivation for this silence – hence I pointed out the Nov 21, 2008 item where he discusses it.

  30. Jacob
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Seems Hansen’s positions are ashifting faster than we can keep track of.

  31. JAN
    Posted Jan 3, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Re: Garacka (#34)
    Indeed. And
    WHO is James Hansen?
    You lose

  32. Mike Davis
    Posted Jan 3, 2009 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Regarding Lake Mead: BLM makes the deciision about the lake level. After the overflow trouble in the 80’s the BLM decided to mantain a lower average level. Also down stream commitments do account for release.

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