The Smartphone Wars: Tracking userbase growth

I’ve put together a tool to visualize the smartphone market-share data comScore makes available in its monthly press releases. Readers can download both the tool and the raw data in order to check my work. And the first new visualization is quite interesting:

This was derived in the obvious way; I simply multiplied the market-share percentages by comScore’s number for total smartphone users. The result provides a different perspective from the market-share visualization I posted yesterday. It is, I think, quite revealing.

We can see that Android is on a qualitatively different growth path than any of the other smartphone platforms. It’s not just that the slope is different, it’s that Android’s growth curve looks less perturbed by short-timescale events. This is probably a consequence of the breadth of the Android product range – market success or failure is a summation of more product bets, which will tend to average. I’m left wondering what happened in May 2010 when the slope increased.

Apple is the other platform that’s actually growing users. I think, bearing in mind that ComScore reports three-month running averages, that we can actually see the effects of the iPhone 4 and 4V here; there are small slope increases at about the right places in June 2010 and February 2011. Still, there’s not a lot of hope in this graph for anyone who wants to think Apple will catch up to Android.

I think this visualization increases the mystery around Apple’s market share trend being essentially flat for 18 months, because Apple has gained something like 5 million users in that time. I can’t believe it’s just a fantastic numerological coincidence of market conditions, but I don’t know what it means.

My has RIM been having a bumpy ride. This visualization makes its situation look less dire than I previously thought; evidently, RIM has been gaining users just a little faster than it’s been losing share. Still, the trend for them since September 2010 hasn’t been good. The visualization also shows how Android and Apple have been sucking the oxygen out of RIM’s atmosphere, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Microsoft’s decline is clearer here than in the market-share plot. What a helpless, screwed-up mess they look like these days! Looks like Linux is doing them in after all, except in smaller cases than we expected and with ARM chips.

Interestingly, Palm is in the position I thought six months ago RIM might occupy – declining share but a very stable userbase. Perhaps I’ve underestimated their survival odds.

407 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: Tracking userbase growth

  1. vusialization => visualization

    ESR says: Typos will be the death o’ me…

  2. “I think this visualization increases the mystery around Apple’s market share trend being essentially flat for 18 months, because Apple has gained something like 5 million users in that time.”

    How is this a mystery? Without looking at the raw data, just squinting at your chart, I have (Apple/Total) equal to (10M/38M) for Dec09, and (18M/71M) for Mar11. In other words, slightly over 25% share at both points in time. They’re gaining users, but only in proportion to those gained by the market as a whole.

  3. RIM obviously still has a pretty healthy user base, but going from #1 to #3 in about 5 months sure gives the perception that they’re crashing. And sometimes perception is all the market cares about.

  4. How is this a mystery? Without looking at the raw data, just squinting at your chart, I have (Apple/Total) equal to (10M/38M) for Dec09, and (18M/71M) for Mar11. In other words, slightly over 25% share at both points in time. They’re gaining users, but only in proportion to those gained by the market as a whole.

    The mystery is why Apple has been gaining users in lockstep with the growth in the market, giving it flat market-share numbers. Everyone else has noticeable trends in market share; Apple is just more or less flat.

  5. “I think this visualization increases the mystery around Apple’s market share trend being essentially flat for 18 months, because Apple has gained something like 5 million users in that time.”

    It really is not a mystery when you realize that the market for smartphones is growing fast.

    A static market share of a rapidly growing pie adds up to a lot more sales.

    I also think this graph gives the lie to any notion of disruption. Apple is going great.

    I too am surprised that RIM seems to be at least holding their own. MS and Palm are are going nowhere.

  6. @Jess:

    We’ve been discussing on this blog before the question of why Apple is growing at exactly the rate of the market. Which is what Eric means by “this visualization increases the mystery around Apple’s market share trend being essentially flat” — this visualization shows exactly how flat it has remained throughout the entire time period.

    For your to say “They’re gaining users, but only in proportion to those gained by the market as a whole.” is a restatement of the mystery under discussion, not an explanation.

    It is, in fact curious that Android is growing at twice the rate of Apple and accelerating, and everybody else is losing share like crazy, and Apple is growing at exactly the rate of the market. Almost as if they’ve set their heart on maintaining some specific percentage.

    Of course, the explanation could be something simultaneously more mundane and more interestingly fundamental, like the rate of increase of shipments that Apple can sustain is the exact same rate as the overall market.

  7. @Darrencardinal

    I also think this graph gives the lie to any notion of disruption. Apple is going great.

    Yes and no. I think at best it suggests that Android isn’t the only reason why Apple isn’t going to take >50% market share. Maybe they don’t want to, maybe they’re “supply constrained”. Heck maybe they want to grow slow and steady just because thats the easiest result to spin into “OMG MOST PHONES SOLD EVAR!”.

    @Patrick

    Of course, the explanation could be something simultaneously more mundane and more interestingly fundamental, like the rate of increase of shipments that Apple can sustain is the exact same rate as the overall market.

    Which if they had set their heart on maintaining a specific percentage would be the best way of capping that percentage.

  8. The steep decline in RIM devices was during the quarter when AT&T was pulling out all the stops to lock everybody into iPhone contracts before Verizon got the iPhone.

    Considering that AT&T never really pushed Android very hard last year, it makes sense that most of the internal conversions to iPhone would have been from RIM.

    But, hindsight being 20/20, here’s a good prediction for ya:

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/30/technology/Blackberry_Verizon_iPhone/

  9. RIM obviously still has a pretty healthy user base, but going from #1 to #3 in about 5 months sure gives the perception that they’re crashing. And sometimes perception is all the market cares about.

    Right. Certainly on this blog there’s no question that RIM as a separate developer mindshare is dead. Considering the idea of dropping their shorts and accepting Android as the lord and saviour is going to be about as repellant to them as it was for Nokia, it seems their vague direction is to attempt to co-opt the Android dev mindshare while maintaining their own kernel to try to argue for markets that a one size fits all kernel isn’t trusted in… and you know i’m thinking of the same business customers that made RIM the manufacturer they are today.

    The comment was made that their user base will defect to iOS/Android long before they make it, and it’s a fair possibility but I don’t think they had much of a choice given the corporate culture and their product skills. And if they were going to do something that would cost them users in the short term, better now than later. (And porting a set of open source libraries to your own kernel isn’t the worst solution in the world)

  10. Sorry all I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the conversation here to realize that ESR was really saying, “it is STILL mysterious that Apple has maintained a stable share of this market!”

    So let me rephrase, and ask “why is it mysterious that Apple has maintained a stable share of this market?” This is not the first time in history that a product line has maintained a stable share in a consumer electronics market, over some period of time.

    If the answer is something about how their share expressed as a fraction in simplest form has a square denominator, then nevermind. I don’t need any numerology today.

  11. JonB Says:
    > Which if they had set their heart on maintaining a specific percentage would be the best way of capping that percentage.

    What exactly would be the rationale for wanting to cap their market share percentage?

  12. What exactly would be the rationale for wanting to cap their market share percentage?

    The prestige of being rare?
    Because it’s easier to spin slow, controlled growth into “OMG MOST PHONES SOLD EVER”?
    To control support costs?

    MikeE’s theory(which i believe was the first to float this idea on A&D) went thusly:-

    Two popular theories going around about Apple are that a) they want to milk a niche for profit, not fight for share, and; b) Once Apple’s share drops far enough, their market will collapse due to network effects et al.

    Suppose Apple believes both those ideas? We’d then expect them to milk their user base to the extent possible while maintaining a certain minimum share. Maybe all the 3GS refurbs, Verizon availability, etc. were profit-reducing tactical maneuvers aimed specifically at keeping iPhone at a 25% share target they think is critical to maintaining platform viability?

    The reality is we can’t say that they definitely have their heart set on a 25% market share but the fact that they’ve been within about 2-3% of 25% since Dec 2009 is suspicious. Assuming they are we can then only guess at their motivation. But I could see all of the above being plausible.

  13. >So let me rephrase, and ask “why is it mysterious that Apple has maintained a stable share of this market?” This is not the first time in history that a product line has maintained a stable share in a consumer electronics market, over some period of time.

    Yes, but I don’t know of any cases of that in markets with superlinear network-value effects. There’s a fundamental difference between things like car stereos and things like computers; in things like computers, where everybody else that has one increases the option value of your device, you get strong winner-take-all effects and market share tends to be unstable both upward and downward.

  14. Personally, I don’t think that Apple is striving for a particular percentage, and I think this is a meaningless coincidence.

    I do believe (and have mentioned several times over the course of many months) that Apple can’t compete down in the dirt with Android, because they can’t tolerate the margin, but that they do have a need to keep a certain market share to keep network effects in place. I’m not sure Eric believes they will be able to maintain enough share to keep the network effects in place, but I’ll let him address that.

    Now, why do I think this is a meaningless coincidence? Two reasons:

    1) Comscore measures share of installed base. At the end of the day, this will approximately equal share of sales, but not while the market is moving. So it’s sort of an artificial number for Apple to try to hit in any case.

    2) Comscore considers RIM (and Symbian) phones to be “smartphones.” Which they are, but c’mon — they’re a previous generation, not at all in the same league — they’re practically dumbphones by now.

    The fact that a few die-hards are going to hang on to their RIM, Symbian, or MS phones is no different than the fact that a few die-hards will carry voice-only dumbphones. It’s just a small percentage of users who have settled on a different part of the curve, either purposely, or because the true smartphones haven’t come down to their price point yet.

    So, I think “the smartphone market” as measured by Comscore is probably an artificial construct, and the fact that Apple has maintained some constant percentage of that artificial construct is probably meaningless.

  15. You haven’t noted that Google just announced the afterburners. There is a “designed for iPxx” hardware program for Apple that is very restrictive and Apple will steal anything with mass appeal. Then there’s Google ADK that lets you get $50 of USB and Arduino hardware and attach an android device to almost any hardware – servos, sensors, analog.
    Dead Drops http://gizmodo.com/?_escaped_fragment_=5677377/theres-a-usb-stick-in-my-brick-wall#!5677377/theres-a-usb-stick-in-my-brick-wall can become live drops. Hook up your android phone and…

    The share is the size of the ecosystem. Closed ecosystems die eventually, quickly or slowly. The larger the ecosystem, the more the network effects, so more devices (media players, tablets, phones, netbooks), more apps, and more HARDWARE mean a larger, stronger ecosystem.

  16. >I do believe (and have mentioned several times over the course of many months) that Apple can’t compete down in the dirt with Android, because they can’t tolerate the margin, but that they do have a need to keep a certain market share to keep network effects in place

    I agree. That’s why the pressure on them is going to get much, much worse in 3Q when large numbers of dirt-cheap SoC devices hit the streets.

    >I’m not sure Eric believes they will be able to maintain enough share to keep the network effects in place, but I’ll let him address that.

    It’s tough to call. I think the most likely outcome is collapse to about 10% market share; Apple has shown that it can run a niche business in that range. I think it could easily get worse for them, though. Magic 8-ball is uncertain.

    >Comscore considers RIM (and Symbian) phones to be “smartphones.”

    No. Symbian is not listed in their smartphone stats.

    And I think it is more than reasonable to include RIM. It has a browser and can run apps, what more do you want?

  17. The big thing I get from the graph is the market is expanding – and that expansion is mostly Android. A little bit with Apple. Apple has its stores and is available at Radio Shack, but you have to walk past the big displays with lots of Android Phones from all the carriers to find the iPhone. There are also lots of carrier specific stores – same thing – there is a Verizon iPhone and I think iPad2, but there are Android devices of every shape, size, and price point all over, and what do the salesman get the better commission on? And what doesn’t need an accessory to play on a screen via HDMI? Or carry a spare battery.

    Think grocery shelves. There are big and acrimonious fights over who gets how much shelf space. The iPhone is merely a single rack in a prominent place. Android owns most of the real-estate, but there are spots for RIM and Palm, much like the 3rd tier brand soft-drinks.

    Those that want an iPhone can find it, just as those who want blackberries.

    But Android is like coke and pepsi products combined.

  18. I’m left wondering what happened in May 2010 when the slope increased.

    Basically, high-end Android devices started coming out for every carrier worldwide. Before this time, the 3 biggest Android devices were the G1 (arguably, a very geeky device of pretty non-sexy design), Motorola Milestone/Droid (more refined, more powerful, but still a bit pokey), and the Nexus One (great phone, originally released T-Mobile only)

    In March, the AT&T/Canada/European version Nexus One came out, followed by all the iterations with the same internals by HTC for other carriers (Droid Incredible on Verizon in late April, EVO on Sprint in June) as well as competitive devices from other manufacturers (Motorola Droid X and Samsung Galaxy S). Basically, there were a wave of phones starting in Q2 that really packed the hardware that Android needed to provide a decent user experience, combined with really nice industrial design. And it hasn’t stopped since.

    The second half of this year is going to see releases of at least a dozen dual-core phones at >= 1.2ghz with 1GB of RAM and GPU’s that are competitive with desktop GPU’s from 2005. That’s a long way from the crappy 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM 7201A that dominated early Android phones.

    The more exciting thing that’s actually going to drive more worldwide Android adoption, however, is the low-end phones. Basically, the cheap phones are all coming with at least Nexus One-like internals, albeit with crappier screens. I’d bet real money that by the end of this year, you’ll be able to buy an Android >= performance of the Nexus One for less than $200 unsubsidized. I’d be willing to bet at least one cheap Taiwanese manufacturer will make one that will hit the $150 mark.

  19. The network effects for Apple will be provided by the iPod touch and iPad and whatever followon devices (I’m not sure where apple-TV-2 fits in). Were it not for a sub $200 iPod touch and the iPad, the iPhone and the iOS ecosystem might already be in serious decline. The iPhone is too expensive or limiting as a device to support the app store, and although it functions as an iPod, that requires iTunes (one of the most horrid windows and macintosh programs ever written).

    The iPhone is an iPod touch with cell-phone hardware added. That by itself isn’t compelling once the hype is removed, but the apps and the rest run on all the iOS devices.

    Also true of Android (Archos, B&N Nook, Xoom, the disposable chinese tablets), but the critical difference is that the Android phones DRIVE the ecosystem instead of just being a passenger. People buy Android as a phone. People buy iOS mainly for the other device functions, and if they happen to need or prefer to have the phone functionality and can afford the cost, buy the iPhone.

    They can’t make the iPhone smaller – the battery isn’t replaceable and iOS will drain it (and for a cell phone, that part has to be on all the time). If you make it half the size, you reduce the battery life by more than half. Non-app devices can be optimized, but not if you want to watch youtube. Android has the same difficulty, but you can play more games with the components and create various trade-offs.

  20. 1) Comscore measures share of installed base. At the end of the day, this will approximately equal share of sales, but not while the market is moving. So it’s sort of an artificial number for Apple to try to hit in any case.

    Even assuming Apple were striving for a particular percentage of something or other i wouldn’t suggest it’s “our comscore market share should be 25%”. If anything it would be based on many different numbers. The reality is they would be striving for a particular X where X has an effect of keeping the comscore market share value at a constant number.

    2) Comscore considers RIM (and Symbian) phones to be “smartphones.” Which they are, but c’mon — they’re a previous generation, not at all in the same league — they’re practically dumbphones by now.

    I disagree. While there’s certainly generational differences between RIM’s OS, Symbian, Android and iOS, saying “it’s not a smartphone because it’s not a current generation smartphone OS” seems counter-productive. To me “Pocket PC 2000″ is just as much a “smartphone OS” as Android. Just because it’s a terminally crappy smartphone OS doesn’t stop it from being a smartphone OS. If anything the fact that the OS is interesting at all is probably the best differentiator between a smart phone and a feature phone. Certainly the wikipedia definition highlights that for feature phones, “Newer feature phones can often run applications based on Java ME or BREW. However, the feature phone has less advanced programming APIs and is unable to run native software specific to a smartphone platform”.

    I’ll agree the line is a bit blurry but attempting to draw the line by excluding RIM and Symbian seems like a trap. If you could remove the phone components and still have a plausible device… i figure it’s probably a smartphone.

  21. P.S. by “Pocket PC 2000″ I of course meant “Pocket PC 2002″ which was the very first version of the windows CE range of systems to support phones.

  22. @esr:

    > No. Symbian is not listed in their smartphone stats.

    That’s just because there really aren’t any in the US. Compare and contrast (again by comscore):

    http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/9/European_Smartphone_Market_Grows_41_Percent_in_Past_Year

    > And I think it is more than reasonable to include RIM. It has a browser and can run apps, what more do you want?

    A lot of feature phones have browsers and can run apps (e.g. BREW). I really view it as more of a continuum than a bright line, and (except for the nice touch of the SD card), AFAIK even the newest Blackberries run at 600 MHz, have 256M flash (one of them has double that) and 256M RAM.

    So, even if you include the newish blackberries in the smartphone category (which I could support), imagine you’re a comscore representative calling up somebody: “do you have a smartphone? yes. What kind? Blackberry. ‘Kthnxbye”

    That conversation could easily happen with lots of people carrying really old blackberries today that really won’t do anything that people expect of today’s smartphones…

    @JonB:

    > To me “Pocket PC 2002? is just as much a “smartphone OS” as Android.

    OK.

    > I’ll agree the line is a bit blurry but attempting to draw the line by excluding RIM and Symbian seems like a trap.

    I’m really not trying to draw an artificial line. But there is a continuum, as you admit, and comscore and others draw a line and put things that run BREW or Pocket PC 2000 on the other side of that line from Android and iOS. On the one hand, I think that newer RIM phones probably are on the smartphone side of the line but not all the older ones.

    On the other hand, you might be able to make a case that all the phones that RIM sells right now are on the smartphone (I don’t know for sure, because I don’t know their product mix). And that would be awesome for them, because they are selling a lot — up 30% YOY from Q1 2010.

    On the other other hand, at least one developer poll, by a cross-smartphone development toolkit vendor, shows that RIM interest is below Microsoft interest at this point in time:

    http://www.appcelerator.com/company/survey-results/mobile-developer-report-april-2011/

    So, I’m not sure exactly where RIM fits in the scheme of things. Maybe it does belong in the same category as iOS and Android, but maybe it’s half a category lower, somewhat above Symbian and BREW…

  23. @JonB:

    > Note that that appears to only only be for their US figures

    It’s not that they don’t think Symbians are smartphones in the US — it’s because there aren’t any to speak of in the US.

  24. It’s not that they don’t think Symbians are smartphones in the US — it’s because there aren’t any to speak of in the US.

    Yeah i was going to add a comment about “probably being related to low numbers of symbian handsets in the US” but opted instead for the “provide data and leave the speculation on why to elsewhere” approach.

  25. “It’s tough to call. I think the most likely outcome is collapse to about 10% market share; Apple has shown that it can run a niche business in that range.”

    Gosh I’m confused now. What dynamic constraints would act in concert to hold them at 10%, but would not obtain at 25%? How much do we have to wave our hands before we start flying?

    Network effects? These govern why (seemingly) everyone is on facebook but not myspace. They account at least in part for Microsoft’s long dominance. They explain why there was a relatively short period during which many people in the USA bought a desktop computer for the first time. Network effects might explain why smartphones as a category seem to have taken off recently, although it’s conceivable that this is because it’s increasingly difficult to find a dumbphone available for purchase. (If this phenomenon is also a “network effect”, then the phrase seems to have lost any distinct meaning.)

    Network effects don’t seem so important for analyzing the relative performance of similarly-capable similarly-marketed basically-interoperable products within the smartphone category. All smartphones connect to the same carrier networks, and are increasingly easy to switch among those networks. An app that runs on Android is also available on iPhone. The good guys already won.

    Hehehe, I just realized that these arguments could probably be taken by some as further proof that something mysterious is going on here. Whoops.

  26. >That’s just because there really aren’t any [Symbians] in the US.

    Whatever the reason is, it does mean that comScore’s U.S. statistics aren’t distorted by them.

  27. Today marks a discontinuity in the graph.

    Android is about to take off like a rocket.

    Because google’s devious, masterful plan for Android defragmentation has finally been revealed.

    The announcement of limited, expensive, Amazon-class, youtube movie rentals on Android seemed like a “why bother” to everybody except its intended target — Netflix. Netflix is under the misapprehension that google is serious about pay-per-view video, when Google’s real goal is simply to try to get Netflix to man up and do the right thing for Android.

    The strategy worked, too, and only a day after the annoucement at Google I/O. To try to stay ahead of the google juggernaut, Netflix has finally rolled out Netflix for Android.

    It doesn’t work on everything yet, but it doesn’t have to. Every phone vendor on the planet will be bending over backwards to jump through whatever hoops Netflix puts in front of them, starting tomorrow.

  28. @esr:

    > Whatever the reason is, it does mean that comScore’s U.S. statistics aren’t distorted by them.

    Yeah. Did you notice that in my original post, I put Symbian in parentheses?

  29. > The strategy worked, too, and only a day after the annoucement at Google I/O. To try to stay ahead of the
    > google juggernaut, Netflix has finally rolled out Netflix for Android.

    Darn you Patrick, I was just about to mention that too, haha! Already installed it on my EVO…

  30. The iPad has been selling as fast as Apple can make them; they still sell out immediately as they come into the Apple Stores, still have a “1-2 week” delay online. So here’s a theory: Apple was content to have X% of the smartphone market so they devoted enough effort to maintain that share but allocated whatever resources they had left after that- engineering effort, management focus, marketing budget, manufacturing cost – to iPad. Maybe it was a gamble, maybe it was a prudent diversification strategy, but Apple works best when it focuses on one thing at a time, and for the last year or two iPhone hasn’t been that one thing. Nor has Mac. These are mature products with solid market share, but iPad is the Big Deal.

    Apple’s OS is still ahead of Android. Specifically, Apple has ~38 million iOS users, while there are ~24 million Android users. There’s no question that the Google brigade is coming up fast and no question that it seems likely to eventually pull ahead of Apple, but it’s not there quite yet.

    Come to think of it, *is* Android use growing as fast as iOS? I think it is, but it’d be good to include that line in the chart so we can see when they might cross. Maybe rename your “Apple” line “iPhone” and add a new “Apple” line for iOS generally.

  31. If YouTube movie rentals are targeting Netflix, does that mean Google Music is targeting Amazon? That might be a better explanation than the labels for why the Google Music bits at I/O were underwhelming. If Google Music has already accomplished its main goal, then how much more are they going to invest in it?

  32. esr:

    Take (d/dt) of all 5 curves. What it would show you is that the android curve is getting steeper. It’s perhaps right at the knee of an exponential growth. Apple’s d/dt seems flat to me. It’s worth putting the d/dt curve.

    It is also worth to normalize the data to the “total” userbase of smartphones as a function of time.

    ie plotting [(d/dt)/Users(t)] vs. time. That would plot the rate of change in a platform normalized to the rate of change of users vs. time.

  33. @uma
    d/dt (t)
    ————- vs. time
    TotUsers (t)

    That is marketshare in sales?

    The message I take home from the graph is:
    1 Users of RIM and Palm stick to their phones (even when replacing), and MS loses customers.

    2 Apple remains at 25% because they have a 25% share in new sales

    3 Android gets the remaining 75% in new sales

    Mystery: How is Apple able to keep their marketshare stable at 25%?

    By design? That is, they manipulate price and availability to cream off the top 25% of the market for maximum profit?

    Market segmentation? Apple grows in an existing market at a fixed rate while Android creates a new market to grow into?

  34. @Winter:

    > That is marketshare in sales?

    I don’t know much about marketing terminology. I think it is probably more like rate of change in marketshare vs. time

  35. @uma
    “I think it is probably more like rate of change in marketshare vs. time”

    I see. The problem with that is that it would always be a small number. If you sell 1 million units this month, that might be 50% of all units sold. Big number. But on an installed base of 25M this is only 0.04.

    If you want interesting numbers, fit an exponential growth curve through the installed base numbers and determine the yearly growth rate. Even a small difference in growth rate will tell you who will “win” and how fast.

  36. >If you want interesting numbers, fit an exponential growth curve through the installed base numbers and determine the yearly growth rate. Even a small difference in growth rate will tell you who will “win” and how fast.

    I think this would be torturing the data too much. Android’s growth curve might be exponential, but Apple’s certainly is not. Still, if you want to try this my script and my baseline data are available for modification; see the link in the OP.

  37. >Apple’s OS is still ahead of Android. Specifically, Apple has ~38 million iOS users, while there are ~24 million Android users

    This comparison is meaningless, because a large fraction of iOS devices don’t create significant network effects for Apple. The article you quote acknowledges this: “What’s interesting is that there’s not much of a halo effect for Apple, with only 4 million (10 percent) users accessing the platform via more than one device.”

    The right numbers to compare are iOS smartphones vs. Android smartphones, or possibly iOS smartphones and tablets vs. Android smartphones and tablets. Apple marketing will, no doubt, increase its efforts to confuse this issue as those valid comparisons continue looking worse for it.

  38. >Take (d/dt) of all 5 curves. What it would show you is that the android curve is getting steeper.

    I have tried this. The resulting plot is very noisy and doesn’t look right. If you want to see it, download my comscore tools and try comscore-report -d.

    It may be that I have a bug in my data-reduction code, or (at least as likely) it’s badly screwed up because of the absence of the March 2010 numbers, which mean two columns of deltas are unavailable.

    I have the March numbers in an OLE2 document that comScore sent me. Nothing on my Linux box can read it and there are no Windows machines in my house, but my wife will bring home her work laptop tonight. That will enable me to fill in the missing numbers and try again.

  39. @esr
    “It may be that I have a bug in my data-reduction code, or (at least as likely) it’s badly screwed up because of the absence of the March 2010 numbers, which mean two columns of deltas are unavailable. ”

    No. Differentiation amplifies noise (d/dt(A*sin(w*t)) = w*A*cos(w*t)

    Exponential growth calcualtions.
    Growth curves (t in months from 1):
    Google 2.36*1.17^t R^2 = 0.98
    RIM 18.56*1.01^t R^2 = 0.31
    Apple 9.75*1.04^t R^2 = 0.98
    MS 7.25*0.98^t R^2 = 0.94
    Palm 2.57*0.99^t R^2 = 0.39
    Smartphones 39.3 * 1.04^t R^2 = 0.99

    So, averaged over the whole period, the smartphone market grows 4%/month, Android 17%/month, Apple 4%/month, RIM 1% over the whole period, but declines at the end. MS loses 2%/month and Palm 1%/month.

    Raw data (just dump them into a spreadsheet):

    O/S Month Google RIM Apple MS Palm Smartphones
    Dec2009 1 5.2 41.6 25.3 18 6.1 39.4
    Jan2010 2 7.1 43 25.1 15.7 5.7 42.7
    Feb2010 3 9 42.1 25.4 15.1 5.4 45.4
    Mar2010 4 - - - - - -
    Apr2010 5 12 41.1 25.1 14 4.9 48.1
    May2010 6 13 41.7 24.4 13.2 4.8 49.1
    Jun2010 7 14.9 40.1 24.3 12.8 4.7 49.9
    Jul2010 8 17 39.3 23.8 11.8 4.9 53.4
    Aug2010 9 19.6 37.6 24.2 10.8 4.6 55.7
    Sep2010 10 21.4 37.3 24.3 9.9 4.2 58.7
    Oct2010 11 23.5 35.8 24.6 9.7 3.9 60.7
    Nov2010 12 26 33.5 25 9 3.9 61.5
    Dec2010 13 28.7 31.6 25 8.4 3.7 63.2
    Jan2011 14 31.2 30.4 24.7 8 3.2 65.8
    Feb2011 15 33 28.9 25.2 7.7 2.8 69.5
    Mar2011 16 34.7 27.1 25.5 7.5 2.8 72.5

  40. >Raw data (just dump them into a spreadsheet):

    Let’s redo this fit after I get my hands on the March 2010 numbers tonight.

  41. Winter + esr:

    > No. Differentiation amplifies noise (d/dt(A*sin(w*t)) = w*A*cos(w*t)

    That is true. However, esr’s data is not noisy. What is noisy, is the curve fitting he used (none). If you join every two consecutive points by a straight line (which is what esr did) it will result in sudden jumps (spikes) in the d/dt curve since the slope between consecutive points makes sudden jumps.

    The way to work around that is to do a smooth curve fitting first (e.g. splines) then differentiate. That will give a much more accurate measure of the rate of change and eliminate the sudden changes in slope which translate into the noise esr is seeing.

  42. @esr
    “Let’s redo this fit after I get my hands on the March 2010 numbers tonight.”

    More data == better. However, I dropped missing data.

    However, I think any fit should not be extrapolated. When I look at the logarithmic plots, it seems Android growth might be leveling off a bit. Curiously, Android’s slowdown is mirrored in *all* the other brands. That suggests that the growth of the smartphone market is autonomous and people simply select phones from the models presented in their price range.

    In other words, Android’s growth is purely driven by the number of models avialable in the relevant price brackets.

  43. @uma
    “That will give a much more accurate measure of the rate of change and eliminate the sudden changes in slope which translate into the noise esr is seeing.”

    That is called noise filtering. You can get the level of noise you want. But it leads to a time lag (dT * dF = 1).

  44. >This comparison is meaningless, because a large fraction of iOS devices don’t create significant network effects for Apple.
    >The article you quote acknowledges this: “What’s interesting is that there’s not much of a halo effect for Apple, with only 4
    >million (10 percent) users accessing the platform via more than one device.”

    Wait what? My understanding of network effects is that as each of my neighbors buys and owns a particular product, the benefit of buying that same device for myself increases.

    What you quote from the article on the other hand talks about “halo effects” where buy the purchase of one product by one individual encourages the purchase of more products by that same individual. When originally coined (or at least when it originally dropped into common usage) it was talking about the purchase of an iPod leading the consumer to consider and purchase a mac.

    These two concepts while linked, are not the same thing. As long as the iOS for iPad and the iOS for iPhone remain in rough parity, then yes, each device should increase the network effects of iOS in general. Maybe not equally, but an increase none the less

  45. “Interestingly, Palm is in the position I thought six months ago RIM might occupy – declining share but a very stable userbase. Perhaps I’ve underestimated their survival odds.”

    As a recent Palm user that has fled to Android, mostly due to the failure of HP to deliver long-promised software updates to WebOS, I’d wait before updating those odds.

    They’re essentially screwing their existing Pre userbase by reneging on the promise Palm made that all devices could be updated to WebOS 2.0. They even have a little serial number checker at http://ws.palm.com/WebOsChecker/serialnumberinitial.htm to show how screwed you are. Pre plus or better is required.

    So, as they’re trashing the goodwill of their customer base, I think there’s going to be a lot more Android converts once more of them hit their 2-year contract/phone update points (as I did about a month ago). I’d expect to see another major dip next quarter as the early Palm adopters flee.

  46. @Winter

    > That is called noise filtering. You can get the level of noise you want. But it leads to a time lag (dT * dF = 1).

    Not if you use splines, it doesn’t.

    If you data your data in excel that might be difficult. Excel by definition has a granularity at the row level.

    This type of fitting is best done with a tool like Matlab or GNU Octave or Mathematica (if you prefer functional programming like myself). And you set the granularity of the interpolation at a much a finer level than the sampling rate (which in this case is quarterly).

    You will end up with no lag, no artifacts of any sort and a pristine rate of change curve. If you normalize that curve to the total smartphone users you will get a precise measure of who is conquering the market and at what rate. You will also get a precise measure of who is moving from what platform, and the alternate platform they are jumping into.

  47. >My understanding of network effects is that as each of my neighbors buys and owns a particular product, the benefit of buying that same device for myself increases.

    Correct. iPhones have superlinear network effects, and the aggregate of iPhones and iPads do too (common app store). The flim-flam is in lumping these with iPods and iTouches, which – as the article observes – do not have positive network pull that reaches over into smartphones and tablets.

    You are also right that what you call the halo effect is theoretically separable from network effects, but in this market there is strong reason to expect that the former is largely driven by the latter.

  48. >That suggests that the growth of the smartphone market is autonomous and people simply select phones from the models presented in their price range.

    That is what I would expect to be true on a-priori grounds.

  49. @uma
    “Not if you use splines, it doesn’t. ”

    Indeed, then your filtering is non-causal (you know the future). But “perfect” noise filtering assumes you actually know what the noise is at every time. Which is kind of what you wanted to learn in the first place.

    The more you manipulate the data (filtering) the more you put in what you want to see. It is mostly not worth the effort. If you want to get these sales/installed base proportions, it is better to collect sales and installed base data.

    Btw, the dT*dF=1 limit is a fundamental one from Fourier analysis. You have either time or frequency resolution, not both.

  50. @esr
    “That is what I would expect to be true on a-priori grounds.”

    My conclusions tend to have a high Duhh factor. ;-)

    Fighting Job’s reality distortion field with Duhh.

  51. @Winter:

    > The more you manipulate the data (filtering) the more you put in what you want to see. It is mostly not worth the effort. If you want to get these sales/installed base proportions, it is better to collect sales and installed base data.

    You are not manipulating any data here. You are merely interpolating at a much finer granular level than the sampling rate of the data.

    > Btw, the dT*dF=1 limit is a fundamental one from Fourier analysis. You have either time or frequency resolution, not both.

    Sure. But you are not applying any sort of transfer function or filtering function. You are only doing two steps a) interpolation at a fine granular rate to join the different points on esr’s plot by a smooth curve (e.g. by cubic splines method) b) differentiation.

  52. @uma
    “by a smooth curve”

    Smoothing is just another word for noise filtering. You had noise, now you don’t.

    It doesn’t matter, noise filtering is a valid technique, but it *always* removes information (that is the whole point). That is, it distorts. You simply hope it is information you do not care for.

    In this case, the data is not worth the effort. You can get better results by downloading sales/activation data and divide them by the total market shares above. But if you find it important, just do it and tell us the results.

  53. @tz ” Apple has its stores and is available at Radio Shack, but you have to walk past the big displays with lots of Android Phones from all the carriers to find the iPhone. There are also lots of carrier specific stores – same thing – there is a Verizon iPhone and I think iPad2, but there are Android devices of every shape, size, and price point all over, and what do the salesman get the better commission on? And what doesn’t need an accessory to play on a screen via HDMI? Or carry a spare battery.”

    You should google “psychology of choice” or perhaps “paradox of choice”. It’s well known that too much choice can lead to fewer conversions. People become overwhelmed and confused.

    In the scenarios you give, there will be at least some people what will be overwhelmed by choice and go with the “safe” or “familiar” choice – the iPhone.

    I wonder how many sales people selling phones get commission. Best Buy doesn’t pay. Big retailers (Target) typically don’t. I don’t know about Verizon, AT&T stores. But generally people get a percentage of sales on commissions, so not sure if you have a point here or not.

    BTW, I would guess if someone did a survey of phone users few use spare batteries. Apple used the extra space needed for a replaceable battery to make the built in battery larger (thus helping out 100% of users at the expense of a very low percentage that would use a spare battery). And you can buy cases that have a battery backup for the iPhone anyway.

  54. @esr:

    “>Apple’s OS is still ahead of Android. Specifically, Apple has ~38 million iOS users, while there are ~24 million Android users

    This comparison is meaningless, because a large fraction of iOS devices don’t create significant network effects for Apple. The article you quote acknowledges this: “What’s interesting is that there’s not much of a halo effect for Apple, with only 4 million (10 percent) users accessing the platform via more than one device.””

    You mean network effects to the same person? Uhm ok… well very few are going to access iOS via both an iPhone and an iPod touch since they are so similar. So that leaves people owning an iPad and an either and iPhone or iPod touch. The iPad has been out for a little over 1 year, so 10% seems pretty good to me. Anyone have any numbers of smartphone breakdown for iPad owners? I’ve seen these #s, but can’t find them.

    Seems overly dismissive to say the comparison is meaningless. I will grant you that iPod touch users mean less than iPhone. The reason is I would guess iPod Touch users use their device less overall and more for music than iPhone users. But we don’t really know how much less. You round significance to 0. I would guess 0.5. But we really don’t have any data for how iPod touches are being used that I know of.

  55. @PapayaSF:

    Regarding the Netflix app for Android mentioned above, it seems to support only five models out of 300+. That sure looks like platform fragmentation to me.

    Do you know exactly what Netflix is looking for in the way of hardware or software support from Android? Do you even know if their app tries to work in any case, or if it just looks for specific model numbers that it knows it works on? If you don’t know these things, how can you tell how fragmented it is from Netflix’s perspective from that data?

    In any case, I would have thought my thesis was pretty obvious from this comment:

    It doesn’t work on everything yet, but it doesn’t have to. Every phone vendor on the planet will be bending over backwards to jump through whatever hoops Netflix puts in front of them, starting tomorrow.

    But since you didn’t understand what I was saying there, I’ll spell it out: to the extent that the Android market is, in fact, so fragmented that it causes problems for Netflix, that will be fixed. Very shortly. Because in three months you won’t be able to sell an Android phone that won’t talk to netflix, and in 6 months you won’t even be able to give them away.

  56. Non-netflix phones will sell just fine this side of the Atlantic. Do they support LoveFilm? That’s the important question here.

  57. PapayaSF,

    That’s the price that Android pays for making DRM an afterthought.

    Rule #1 if you want to be a player in the media game (and this holds for everyone from platform vendors to legislators): PROTECT THE DATA PATH. Make it as close to impossible as you can for end users to do things that were not authorized by rightsholders. Yes, it’s theoretically impossible, but by God, man, you’ve got to try!

  58. >iPhones have superlinear network effects, and the aggregate of iPhones and iPads do too (common app store). The flim-flam is in lumping
    >these with iPods and iTouches, which – as the article observes – do not have positive network pull that reaches over into smartphones and tablets.

    I still don’t see this, and I know we’ve been in disagreement about this before. What is the functional difference between a wi-fi only iPad vs an iPod touch that means that the iPad adds to the network effects, but an iPod touch doesn’t? I agree with you that other iPods do not add to this, but I still don’t understand why you’re writing off the effect of an iPod touch, especially since as pointed out by phil, there’s a fairly good argument to be made that iPod touch owners are not iPhone owners.

  59. @ Winter:

    > Smoothing is just another word for noise filtering. You had noise, now you don’t.

    This is only true if the result of the interpolation (or what you call filtering) does not pass through all the points point for point. If the interpolation uses a technique which will pass through Eric’s points point for point, without altering the value of any single point then there is “no” loss of information whatsoever. Based on my understanding of cubic splines, it does exactly this. It is a technique where the curve always passes through the sampling points. It does not achieve to do a best fit because best fit does not necessarily result in the curve passing through the sampling points. Cubic splines here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_splines

    Note: I understand all the limits of fourier etc. They are only applicable if there is a loss of information and if the resulting best fit curve does not pass through ESR’s data point for point.

  60. @Richard:

    > Non-netflix phones will sell just fine this side of the Atlantic. Do they support LoveFilm? That’s the important question here.

    Yes, I’ll admit to having a bit of a provincial outlook here. But, for the most part it works, just because the province is so darn big…

    @Jeff Read:

    > That’s the price that Android pays for making DRM an afterthought.

    Yes. A slight delay. Seems to have been well worth it, in the sense that google’s execution to date on Android has been stellar, and it’s hard to imagine that an earlier focus on DRM would have budged the needle that much.

    BTW, netflix is apparently going to be available on the chromebooks as well:

    http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/netflix-for-chromebooks-recognized-on-netflix-website-20110512/

    All of a sudden, the idea of a chromebook starts to look intriguing (at the right pricepoint) to a geek like me. Could be the standard thin client of the future. Keep data and compute-bound applications on servers in the closet and/or work and/or the cloud.

    Apparently, you can VNC:

    http://groups.google.com/group/cr-48-test-pilots/browse_thread/thread/221ca57b0925fb1d

    and VPN is kinda, sorta here, and some companies have already been evaulating them for awhile:

    From a business perspective, the one big feature that’s still missing is built-in VPN support. Many VPN solutions have Web-based logins — and I successfully tested CBS Interactive’s SSL VPN client on Google’s CR-48 Chrome notebook — but a standard VPN option will need to integrated to simplify the user experience. Google has promised that VPN will be added, and the feature has already started showing up in the Chrome OS dev channel.

    A number of companies have already publicly admitted that their IT departments are running major trials of Chromebooks, including the City of Orlando, Logitech, Jason’s Deli, American Airlines, Ruby Tuesday, National Geographic, and others.

    In an official statement, Jason’s Deli said, “The Google Chrome notebooks are almost effortless to manage. Staging, imaging, updating, and repairing software problems are almost non-existent issues at this point. Replacement is as simple as handing out a new device with no IT involvement necessary.”

  61. @uma:

    Note: I understand all the limits of fourier etc. They are only applicable if there is a loss of information and if the resulting best fit curve does not pass through ESR’s data point for point.

    You still have the issue of what happens after and before the data set. You don’t know the curves at that point. You can assume (with probably pretty good accuracy), but still, if you have to tweak the curve at the beginning or end, that will perturb all the other curves in between.

    So you’ll be close, but not necessarily spot-on.

  62. >Rule #1 if you want to be a player in the media game (and this holds for everyone from platform vendors to legislators): PROTECT THE DATA PATH. Make it as close to impossible as you can for end users to do things that were not authorized by rightsholders. Yes, it’s theoretically impossible, but by God, man, you’ve got to try!

    No. Rule #1 is: lie through your teeth and pretend you can control the data path.

  63. >What is the functional difference between a wi-fi only iPad vs an iPod touch that means that the iPad adds to the network effects, but an iPod touch doesn’t?

    I did some resarch and found I was operating under a misapprehension. Never having used one myself, I didn’t know iPad touches had access to the app store. That changes the category they belong in for thinking about network effects.

  64. @Patrick Maupin:

    > You still have the issue of what happens after and before the data set. You don’t know the curves at that point. You can assume (with probably pretty good accuracy), but still, if you have to tweak the curve at the beginning or end, that will perturb all the other curves in between.

    That is exactly the reason why I suggested to Eric to do rate change curve. The problem in Eric’s graph is that he joined every two consecutive points with a straight line (ie first order polynomial). If they were joined with splines (higher order polynomials), the curve would have still passed through every single point but it would have been a smooth curve. If you differentiate that curve you get the rate of change of every platform. And that can pretty much tell you what will happen in the near future. In the distant future your prediction based on rate of change becomes less and less accurate.

    > So you’ll be close, but not necessarily spot-on.
    If your goal is to predict the near future the prediction is not “spot on” but it will be close. Very close.

  65. >A slight delay. Seems to have been well worth it, in the sense that google’s execution to date on Android has been stellar, and it’s hard to imagine that an earlier focus on DRM would have budged the needle that much.

    I said on 7 April that Android could figure it didn’t have to give an inch on DRM because the studios would come running for a deal on Google’s terms as its market share kept rising. This seems to be exactly what has occurred.

  66. >If they were joined with splines (higher order polynomials), the curve would have still passed through every single point but it would have been a smooth curve.

    Yes, but it would be a curve with no relationship to reality. I wouldn’t trust it, because I have no reason to believe that the implied function is polynomial. Doing a spline fit would thus be pure numerology, data voodoo that could produce useful results only by unlikely accident.

    If I had a generative model of the forces producing the userbase counts, and that model predicted that the function driving userbase counts is of polynomial form, then I would be justified in spline-fitting to get the unknown coefficients. Similarly, if I believed for some a-priori reason that the function I’m looking at were a sum of periodic oscillations, then (and only then) would Fourier analysis be an appropriate tool.

    In reality I haven’t got more than the faintest clue about the form of the driver functions behind these statistics. My ignorance requires caution and conservatism about what reduction methods I use. Not being a fraud or an anthropogenic-global-warming alarmist (but I repeat myself) I’ll stick to methods that don’t amount to torturing the data until it tells me what I want to hear.

  67. >”If they were joined with splines (higher order polynomials), the curve would have still passed through every single point but it would have been a smooth curve.”

    @esr: “Yes, but it would be a curve with no relationship to reality. I wouldn’t trust it, because I have no reason to believe that the implied function is polynomial. Doing a spline fit would thus be pure numerology, data voodoo that could produce useful results only by unlikely accident.”

    I agree. I think that a regression run linearly and then logarithmically would make more sense; the truth is probably somewhere between these, and for the near term (one quarter out) it’s likely to be closer to the linear extrapolation.

    I make my living doing market research, and I would *never* use a spline fit, nor have I ever seen a fellow researcher with whom I’ve worked do that.

  68. I realized what has been bothering me about this discussion. I don’t know what Android phones are like but I can’t imagine they all have as common a user experience as iPhones do. So why are all the different Androids being compared to the similar iPhones? Isn’t that like comparing the population growth of all mammals other than horses to the population growth of horses and saying, “Well, pretty soon there won’t be any horses! The other mammals are a larger proportion of all animals than horses now!” And of course Androids aren’t entirely “all other mammals but horses”. They are just the fastest-growing segment. So why should Apple be compared to Android?

  69. > I don’t know what Android phones are like

    Different roms can have different skins, but they all have the same basic UI paradigms. A pseudo-dock at the bottom, an app drawer, widgets on the home screens, a pull-down notification drawer. The vast majority have the four main buttons (Home, Menu, Back, Search), some have a trackball, some have physical keyboards.

    They all run the same apps (with notable caveats).

  70. >I think that a regression run linearly and then logarithmically would make more sense; the truth is probably somewhere between these, and for the near term (one quarter out) it’s likely to be closer to the linear extrapolation.

    I concur. I might be able to beat a linear regression out of gnuplot; we’ll see. What I’d really like to do is linear regression with least-squares weights falling with -t, but that would require more custom code than I think is justified for this purpose.

  71. >So why are all the different Androids being compared to the similar iPhones?

    Because the different Androids are similar enough, whether you’re modeling Android Market network effects or consumer perception.

  72. @esr:

    I did some resarch and found I was operating under a misapprehension. Never having used one myself, I didn’t know iPad touches had access to the app store. That changes the category they belong in for thinking about network effects.

    Possibly. I find it interesting that the same people who, 3 months ago were claiming that things like the nook and the smaller Samsung tablet weren’t in the iPad class at all and thus were irrelevant, are now claiming (after the comscore OS report shows that iOS only beats Android when you factor in iPods) that something even smaller than the small Android tablets is the most important tablet in the world for calculating OS market share.

    @Cathy:

    I make my living doing market research, and I would *never* use a spline fit, nor have I ever seen a fellow researcher with whom I’ve worked do that.

    That’s probably because you’re real researchers and not “the marketing department.” In my extensive experience, most members of “the marketing department” can extrapolate a hockey-stick curve from a single data point.

  73. esr:

    > Yes, but it would be a curve with no relationship to reality. I wouldn’t trust it, because I have no reason to believe that the implied function is polynomial. Doing a spline fit would thus be pure numerology, data voodoo that could produce useful results only by unlikely accident.

    Absent real sample points add’l sample points it is anybody’s guess what happens between two sample points. I agree 100%. This objection I would buy but not Fourier.

    I wouldn’t call it voodoo though. Splines are pretty good at connecting real data in a smooth way that is very likely much more representative of the real world than than abrupt changing first order polynomials. This is based on the the “assumption” that the market movements are much more likely to happen in smooth gradual changes rather than in abrupt step functions.

  74. >In my extensive experience, most members of “the marketing department” can extrapolate a hockey-stick curve from a single data point.

    Yes, I understand the University of East Anglia has courses in that.

    I should stop with the AGW jokes. They’re too easy.

  75. @Patrick Maupin “Possibly. I find it interesting that the same people who, 3 months ago were claiming that things like the nook and the smaller Samsung tablet weren’t in the iPad class at all and thus were irrelevant, are now claiming (after the comscore OS report shows that iOS only beats Android when you factor in iPods) that something even smaller than the small Android tablets is the most important tablet in the world for calculating OS market share.”

    Who said you can’t include a Samsung because it has smaller screen? That’s absurd.

    You could argue against the Nook because of it’s closed app store (which no one will bother to publish to). But I say include all of them.

  76. @ Cathy:

    > I make my living doing market research, and I would *never* use a spline fit, nor have I ever seen a fellow researcher with whom I’ve worked do that.

    No pun intended here, but market research data is notorious for being not reliable. I have seen enough Gartner reports in my life that were so utterly rubbish to make me question the methodologies they use. Splines are not as arbitrary as you may think and in fact make up a far better fit if your data points (measurements) are highly reliable and precise. Add to that the fact that polynomials are practically used to model just about everything in this world that is irreducible to a closed form model.

    In the absence of models, and assuming the data points themselves are accurate, I would personally bet on splines vs. any curve fitting any time of the day. What curve fitting would do is throw away your reliable data points away and instead replace them by whatever points fit the minimization algorithm – > hardly a good tradeoff.

  77. @PapayaSF:

    Actually the Netflix situation is pretty much the worst-case situation Patrick outlined. We know for a fact that the Netflix app is looking for specific models and only tries to run on them. When you fake out the check, it turns out it works on a LOT more devices (including the NOOK Color and most Gingerbread builds whether they are official, leaked or CyanogenMod). See:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/ha5oh/root_how_to_edit_your_buildprop_to_make_netflix/

    We haven’t learned much (if anything) about Android fragmentation from the Netflix app, we’ve just learned plenty about Netflix’s incompetence and/or laziness with respect to Android development. This is the equivalent of Netflix saying their streaming app works on 3 Dell laptops and 2 HP desktops because that’s what they had lying around the office instead of saying it needs this version of DirectX and that third-party library.

    Why am I being that harsh? Let’s look at the facts. We know they’ve had a feature-complete version of their Android app for *at least* two months (it leaked from an LG Revolution ROM in March). Netflix’s launch blog post also states that they expect to qualify “a large majority of Android phones” in the coming months. Translation: they know their app works more broadly, they just didn’t bother to start aggressively qualifying devices until Google’s movie rentals pushed them into it.

  78. @phil:

    Who said you can’t include a Samsung because it has smaller screen? That’s absurd.

    Well, like most absurdities, it pretty much starts at the top and filters down from there. And I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s the same people saying this who also lump all iOS activations together.

    But then, I’ve thought Steve Jobs was absurd for a while now.

    You could argue against the Nook because of it’s closed app store (which no one will bother to publish to). But I say include all of them.

    I don’t know if nobody will publish to it. They’ve already sold millions of the things. In any case, speculation is that they’re rolling out a new one — possibly a cheaper e-Ink one:

    http://www.newsfactor.com/news/Barnes—Noble-Plans-a-New-E-Reader/story.xhtml?story_id=0110010EC4KR

  79. Speaking of lower-cost phones, I was at Fry’s today, and AT&T has recently updated their prepaid line with an LG Android, the Thrive. For $180, you get at 1500mAh battery, 3.2MP camera, and a 3.2″ 320×480 display. It has a 600MHz processor and a 2GB SD card and wireless-G.

    Phonescoop doesn’t have any reviews of it yet, but some googling shows it’s a variant of the Optimus one.

    Of course the haters are bashing on AT&T for the pricing including and especially the data plan pricing, but this IS AT&T we’re talking about–my point in mentioning this is that the prices ARE coming down.

  80. >Translation: they know their app works more broadly, they just didn’t bother to start aggressively qualifying devices until Google’s movie rentals pushed them into it.

    Yes. There’s no reason to assume that Netflix’s planners couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall as clearly as I could. For all their complaints about insufficient DRM, they had to know at least six months ago that they couldn’t leave the money from Android sales on the table even if it meant their streaming protocol eventually getting cracked and the studios raising hell about it.

    Looks like they did exactly what you’d expect given that conflict of motivations – tasked some in-house devs to do an Android app, then didn’t give it enough attention or resources to get more than a half-assed job of testing done, then got caught with their pants down when they had to respond to the Google/Amazon deal. It is ever thus. Somewhere, some programmers are cursing over this premature release in the certain knowledge that it is they – not their vacillating, panic-prone managers – who will be pressured into working crazy hours to clean up this mess.

    And then, of course, we’ll get the inevitable comic sequel when some Linux geek cracks the DRM on the app protocol. Because, of course, the Netflix people who feared releasing on an open-source platform were absolutely correct that this was doom inevitable. Pass the popcorn…

  81. > then didn’t give it enough attention or resources to get more than a half-assed job of testing done

    No joke about the half-assed job. It was obviously written by iOS devs who pulled the short stick; the app doesn’t use the Android buttons at ALL, and the UI looks slapped-together and performs just awful. The video streams nice tho.

  82. @Patrick Maupin
    “Well, like most absurdities, it pretty much starts at the top and filters down from there. And I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s the same people saying this who also lump all iOS activations together.”

    Whether a 7 inch form factor is a good idea or not is a different matter. I was referring to *counting* them. Jobs is just doing his sales/marketing spin.

    Seems like the measure to whether it should be counted could get foggy. What happens when Android starts getting put on all your TVs, Blu-ray players, car stereos, refrigerator?

    I would say something like “if you can develop/install apps and surf the web on it – it counts.”

  83. I wrote “Pass the popcorn…”

    Perhaps they’ll call the movie version Honey, I Shrunk The Business Model!.

  84. >I would say something like “if you can develop/install apps and surf the web on it – it counts.”

    I agree. Patrick is right, though, to point out that Apple marketers and fans have been changing their story on this in a dishonest way.

  85. esr:

    What do you think of the prospects of SonyEriccson ?

    They have pretty sleek designs (e.g. Xperia). And in so far as ergonomics go I might put them a notch or two ahead of Taiwanese. They also have some $10B revenue, albeit with meager profits.

    With the downfall of nokia, perhaps another SonyEriccson rise ?

  86. >I didn’t know iPad touches had access to the app store.

    Not just that, but with a headset you can make skype calls over wifi from one, so it’s an app platform *and* (sort of) a phone.

    It seems to me what matters to network effects is things like the size of the market a developer can reasonably reach on the App Store and the chance that your friend can put up a rival high score on your favorite game. In which case, the size of the iOS market is roughly iPhone plus iPod Touch plus iPad, and Android equivalently includes both phones and any “tablets”( of whatever size) that share a common development/distribution environment.

    As for story-changing, “Apple marketers and fans” are large; they contain multitudes. Besides, it’s not like the underlying facts have stood still…

  87. As for story-changing, “Apple marketers and fans” are large; they contain multitudes.

    Sure, but I quoted directly from the head Apple marketer and fan. I’m sure I could find similar sentiments posted by a few even on this blog if I cared enough to look. The meme is out there.

    Besides, it’s not like the underlying facts have stood still…

    Jobs said 7 inch tablets were non-starters on Oct 18th — that the manufacturers needed to put sandpaper in the box so users could sand their fingers down to quarter-size.

    On that same day, he compared total iOS activations to Google activations:

    http://blog.chron.com/techblog/2010/10/steve-jobs-savages-his-competition-but-why/

  88. >Jobs said 7 inch tablets were non-starters on Oct 18th — that the manufacturers needed to put sandpaper in the box so
    >users could sand their fingers down to quarter-size.

    But he didn’t say that they didn’t count in comparisons, which was the assertion you were trying to demonstrate.

  89. > But he didn’t say that they didn’t count in comparisons

    No, but other people have said that in the past.

    > which was the assertion you were trying to demonstrate.

    You’re right that Jobs himself didn’t say exactly this, but I still think it’s disingenuous of him to say that anything that’s not a smartphone that’s smaller than 10 inches is trash, while being very adamant about counting his (much larger pile of) trash when comparing installed OS base.

    If you read what he says carefully, and think about it and digest it and believe it, there can really be no network effect crossover between smartphones and tablets, never mind between smartphones, tablets, and PMPs, because what it takes to make a great app is so different on the different platforms.

    And if network effects at that level don’t matter, if all that really matters is OS installed base, then Jobs ought to be trying to count the millions of B&N Nooks, the millions of Chinese Android knock-off tablets and tens of millions of Chinese knock-off cellphones that can’t get activated for Google services, as well. But that might not look so good for his comparison, either…

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20019982-260.html

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/19/jobs_onseven_inch_ipads/

  90. @Cathy: “I make my living doing market research, and I would *never* use a spline fit, nor have I ever seen a fellow researcher with whom I’ve worked do that.”

    @Patrick: “That’s probably because you’re real researchers and not ‘the marketing department.’ In my extensive experience, most members of ‘the marketing department’ can extrapolate a hockey-stick curve from a single data point.”

    One reason that it’s so much fun being a market researcher is that I get to “speak truth to power,” so to speak. It’s my job to avoid drinking the Kool-Aid, and to tell the marketing department when they’re full of nonsense. There aren’t many roles in the modern corporation whose job it is to be the Devil’s Advocate, but I have one of them.

    @uma: “No pun intended here, but market research data is notorious for being not reliable. I have seen enough Gartner reports in my life that were so utterly rubbish to make me question the methodologies they use. ”

    I know what you mean. I am what’s called a “client-side” market researcher. In other words, I work for the company that would be a customer of Gartner et al, and decides whether or not to pay them $$$ for their report. Mostly, I manage and execute custom research, but it’s designed to get at the truth, even when it’s not what our marketing department wants to hear. I’m paid to figure out the truth, not to spin it. But I’m always working with people who are spinning it as furiously as they can. :-)

  91. I got the March 2010 numbers from comScore; they’re available for download from my website. There are no surprises in them, so I won’t post new plots unless I come up with a visualization of a new and interesting kind or get April 2011 numbers.

  92. @uma
    If your splines go exactly through all the data points, the differential, d/dt, will still contain all the noise. So there is no point in using splines. There is simply no avoiding to make choices. If you want to differentiate data, you will have to cope with amplified noise. So either live with it or filter it out by removing information. There seems to be a common misconception that you can improve data by “transforming” them. However, these transformations are there for the eyes of humans only. They do not “improve” the data.

    For any type of statistics there are only two approaches:
    1) Fit the data to a model and get the best estimates of the model parameters (eg, exponential growth rates)
    2) Explicitly remove noise and other unwanted data (eg, my sensor was out of service for half the measuring period).
    Anything else that just make data “look better” should be avoided.

    @esr
    AGW: You stand in a very long tradition of Americans dismissing science. From “smoking/asbestos does not cause cancer”, to “DDT is not concentrating in the food chain” and “thalidomide is safe” all the way back to tetraethyl lead. In every case, it was American “skeptics” who proved the alarm was all a conspiracy of scientists.

  93. And then, of course, we’ll get the inevitable comic sequel when some Linux geek cracks the DRM on the app protocol. Because, of course, the Netflix people who feared releasing on an open-source platform were absolutely correct that this was doom inevitable. Pass the popcorn…

    It’s not impossible to crack the DRM on a non-open source platform; it’s just a lot easier to to do so when you have the source for all the libraries and the large and very diverse number of debugging tools available on Linux. Frankly, I’m surprised that the Netflix DRM hasn’t been cracked yet.

  94. >Why didn’t you graph Nokia in you chart ?

    They sell only vanishingly small numbers of phones in the U.S., so comScore doesn’t give statistics for them.

  95. @Morgan:

    It’s not impossible to crack the DRM on a non-open source platform; it’s just a lot easier to to do so when you have the source for all the libraries and the large and very diverse number of debugging tools available on Linux.

    Another area where Linux and open source make things a lot easier than Windows is lightweight virtualization.

    If you can virtualize the environment around the DRM system correctly enough, then you can fool it into thinking everything is fine. For example, if I have a netflix account, and I want to run netflix on Linux, and I’m not particularly interested in “stealing” the stream, then, depending on how Netflix did their DRM, it might be easy enough to virtualize an Android environment running under desktop Linux well enough to satisfy Netflix’s code. No crack necessary, per se; just let the DRM go on thinking it’s doing its job just fine.

  96. @Winter:

    A filter is some kind of black box that the takes some data sample set (as its input) and produces some other (different) data set as its output. If the dataset pre and post black box is exactly the same -> then there is no no filter. Anyways, let’s agree to disagree on this. This debate may come down to definitions and semantics and we may all be saying the same thing at the end of the day.

    Regarding global warming:

    The next 30 years are predicted to be 30 “cold” years by numerous scientists from what I read. Astronomers have kept data points on sun spots since the 17th century. The correlation between sun spots and earth temperature is impeccable. The sun is far more of a bigger player in climate than man made activities. That doesn’t mean we humans are not destroying the environment around us or upsetting the delicate balance of nature. We are. But to claim that we know “for sure” what our activities are leading to is simply wrong. A healthy scientific mind is always a skeptic mind and its always a mind that questions orthodoxies.

    I have been through countless situations in my career where being “off” by tiny bits in our models produces totally bogus results. I also know first hand how academia requires people to “conform”. The quest for truth and progress is in many ways a struggle against conformity.

  97. > [Nokia sells] only vanishingly small numbers of phones in the U.S., so comScore doesn’t give statistics for them.

    By late 2007, Symbian smartphones were down below 5% in the US:

    http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/12/14/canalys-symbian-apple-iphone-already-leads-windows-mobile-in-us-market-share-q3-2007/

    In March of 2008, Nokia officials explained once again how they were going to conquer the US market:

    http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/04/ctia_symbian_fa.html

    By late 2009, their plans to do so became clear. They even had distribution with AT&T. I remember lusting after the costly N900, but I don’t remember the X6 at all:

    http://venturebeat.com/2009/10/29/nokia-will-invade-u-s-market-will-launch-new-phone-with-att/

    By March of last year, Nokia’s total US market share was 6%. The article doesn’t say, but I believe the bulk of that was dumbphones. I don’t think they ever topped 3% smartphone share after some time in 2009:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nokias-latest-us-bet-symbian-3-2010-07-22

    A year later, we have a report from Nielsen that 0% of the US market desires Symbian for their next phone (and 6% desired Windows — hmmm, could the explanation for the NoWin debacle be that simple?), recent acquirers of Symbian phones were at 1% of the market (probably rounded up from 0.5000000%), and installed base of Symbian phones was 2% (probably rounded up from 1.50000000%):

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/u-s-smartphone-market-whos-the-most-wanted/

    And, of course, overshadowed by the big news that iPhone 4V (according to pundits) and cheap iPhone 3 (according to me) depressed Android’s US consumer sales market share by 2% last quarter (still, btw, less than Eric’s 3% “moving the needle”), is the really big news that smartphones accounted for 54 percent of all phone sales to U.S. consumers last quarter.

    So Nokia’s unlikely to make up its faltering US market share by selling really cheap dumb phones, because those are rapidly going the way of the do-do.

  98. @uma:

    > If the dataset pre and post black box is exactly the same -> then there is no no filter.

    Or a wideband bandpass filter? :-)

  99. @uma
    A filter removes information (as in “filtration”). But that is irrelevant. You cannot improve data, just remove unwanted components. Everything else is cosmetics.

    AGW: Any criticism that attacks scientists is an attack on science itself. If you disagree with a theory then the answer is “show me the data”. Present the data that prove your “opponent” wrong. They have lots of data, where are yours? Anyhow, my point is that the history of “conspiracies” is not with the “skeptics”.

  100. Apparently, google is getting better at developing different business models. First, we had the partnering with hardware companies to do Android. Now we have partnering with hardware companies and stealth beta-testing for Chrome, and they’re getting the attention of the people who write the checks:

    http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/05/microsoft-chromebooks/

    “They were thrilled,” Jason Deli’s CIO Kevin Verde said. “With very little training, we handed out the devices. In the last month we had 70 help desk tickets for [Windows] laptop and almost zero for Chromebooks.”

    Verde even equipped his CEO with one, after his laptop died, with caveats that it might be limited. It’s now the CEO’s main machine.

    And through Citrix, Google has an answer for companies that need to let their employees have access to Windows-only apps. Citrix, which already has 100 million enterprise users, debuted a new version of its Receiver app that lets users “run” a program like Photoshop. In reality, the program is running on a virtual PC in the cloud, and you are accessing that through a web browser. Verde said “Close to 90 percent of our employees can do all they need to do with Citrix.”

  101. Winter Says:
    > If you disagree with a theory then the answer is “show me the data”.

    When this thing was at its height during the stolen emails thing, I remember reading either Mann or Jones quoted as saying something to the effect of “I won’t release my data because I don’t want to give someone easy access to hack away at twenty years of my work.” I vaguely remember it was in an Australian newspaper.

    Is this a figment of my imagination or does someone have an actual citation for this statement?

  102. >AGW: Any criticism that attacks scientists is an attack on science itself.

    When the ‘scientists’ are frauds and liars, criticizing them is pro-science. And reality has the final word.

  103. Current plots from my data analysis are now available with the March 2010 numbers. I’ve included a new visualization of change in userbase per month.

    Unlike some `scientists` I could name, I fully disclose my raw data, my data sources, and my code for peer review. It’s all available for download from the results page.

  104. >Is this a figment of my imagination or does someone have an actual citation for this statement?

    You don’t have the exact wording right, but Jones did say something almost exactly like this.

  105. Good stuff!

    One comment regarding the comment about the Verizon phone providing a bump in the slope but not enough to catch Android – No surprise.

    Another comment regarding May 2010 – isn’t that shortly after Samsung entered the US market with the Galaxy S series?

  106. @esr
    “When the ‘scientists’ are frauds and liars, criticizing them is pro-science. And reality has the final word.”

    Fraud is a crime. You ridicule researchers and claim they are criminals. All the thousands of atmospheric scientists involved. But I see no proof at all.

    What I do see is the very same FUD I saw when it was claimed smoking is safe, and asbestos too. If you say all atmospheric scientists are frauds, you are saying science does not work. I would not bet my money on that.

  107. >All the thousands of atmospheric scientists involved.

    To be fair, most of them are caught up in an error cascade and are not guilty of anything worse than naivete and gullibility. But there is a hard core of outright frauds.

  108. When the ‘scientists’ are frauds and liars, criticizing them is pro-science. And reality has the final word.

    Read the Wikipedia article on Climategate. Virtually all of the “incriminating” statements made by CRU researchers were taken vastly out of context. That whole passel of emails was cherrypicked by whoever hacked the servers to make the CRU look bad. This was coupled with the drumbeating from the usual suspects — the American right and the fossil fuel industries — to create a classic manufactroversy. there is nothing here. The CRU was exonerated of any wrongdoing by every single independent investigation that took place in the wake of the incident.

    There is mountains of evidence in support of AGW from an enormous cross-section of scientific disciplines. In order for AGW to be a hoax, virtually everyone in the scientific community would have to be in on it, and it would make the purported moon landing hoax look like a freshman panty raid in terms of conspiracy scale.

    In short, Eric, you’ve been so compromised by motivated reasoning on this issue that there’s no reason for anyone to take your words on it seriously.

    When this thing was at its height during the stolen emails thing, I remember reading either Mann or Jones quoted as saying something to the effect of “I won’t release my data because I don’t want to give someone easy access to hack away at twenty years of my work.” I vaguely remember it was in an Australian newspaper.

    Lack of transparency is bad, but this attitude is understandable, given the propensity for the right, backed by coal and oil dollars, to cherrypick data and take it wildly out of context.

  109. >There is mountains of evidence in support of AGW from an enormous cross-section of scientific disciplines.

    Phil Jones himself admitted that there has been “no statistically significant global warming in fifteen years”. Reality has the final say. There isn’t any there there. It’s a fantasy, like the canals on Mars.

  110. The “mystery” of Apple’s unit growth being pegged to market growth is illuminated, I think, when you consider (1) the quickly approaching zero-sum game and (2) profitability rather than just unit metrics like market share and user base to analyze platform “health.”

    If there is an inevitable tipping point toward monopoly dominance, there is an almost equally inevitable phase of duopoly market conditions (rather than the 3 to 5 healthy, competing platforms some hope for) for some interval. Even if Android market dominance comes so abruptly that it’s not feasible to compete at the platform level, Apple wants to make even more profit on its decline as the most successful distributors of the dominant platform. (Apple can kill off Sony Ericcson, Motorola, and LG while Android kills RIMM and Nokia (with WP7) with Apple’s help; Samsung will then drag HTC down in the commodity battle… ZTE will leapfrog them in time, etc… as we have seen with PCs.

    The revenue/profit numbers look far different than platform unit numbers.

  111. @esr:

    > Phil Jones himself admitted that there has been “no statistically significant global warming in fifteen years”.

    People find out something new, change their minds, get confused at a higher level, and then the process repeats. That’s the scientific method in action. As Winter points out, sometimes it’s stalled by politics, but that’s just part of the process of the gradual lurch towards understanding. Speaking of which, a few weeks ago, Koch’s go-to guy Richard Muller got some preliminary results that seems to support global warming, so Phil Jones is not the only one who might be in transition:

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/04/qa-with-richard-muller-a-physicist.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/04/01/01climatewire-experts-heat-up-over-berkeley-lab-scientists-q-490.html
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/04/local/la-me-climate-berkeley-20110404
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/mar/31/scienceofclimatechange-climate-change-scepticism

    > There isn’t any there there. It’s a fantasy, like the canals on Mars.

    It’s a complicated system, and it will be very hard to tease out the impact of our actions on it. More importantly, it will be even harder to calculate the correct course of action.

    But the public’s attention seems to have shifted away from global warming. This may be a good thing, in that it may give all the scientists who aren’t part of the grand conspiracy some time to figure things out without the spotlight.

  112. Jeff Read Says:
    > Lack of transparency is bad,

    No Jeff, lack of transparency is not bad, lack of transparency is the opposite of science. The very essence of science is to say “this isn’t just my opinion — look at the data.” Hiding the data means they are saying “this is my opinion, trust me.” Any serious scientist reading such a comment should laugh him to scorn.

    A great scientist says, “Here is my data and my conclusions, please community, rip it to shreds so that we can all get more knowledgeable together.”

    If anyone has it, I’d love to find the original comment and a citation.

  113. Jeff Read Says:
    > Read the Wikipedia article on Climategate.

    Wikipedia has its uses. But on a controversial topic like AGW/Climategate they will always take the progressive (aka totalitarian) side. On controversial issues they are little better than a tabloid.

    You’ll need a much better source than that to convince those of us who haven’t drunk the kool-aid.

  114. esr Says:
    > Current plots from my data analysis are now available with the March 2010 numbers. I’ve included a new visualization of change in userbase per month.
    http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/

    I think that page needs some work. The graphs look correct but the tabular data all appear to be the same thing (marketshare %) rather than as indicated in the titles.

  115. > Wikipedia has its uses. But on a controversial topic like AGW/Climategate they will always take the progressive (aka totalitarian) side. On controversial issues they are little better than a tabloid.

    Amen. Why is it that every institution, be it Wikipedia, or the schools and universities, or the newspaper, always seem to be controlled by the left? It is amazing how well the Gramscian takeover has worked.

    I’ll tell you where I really noticed this: Mad Magazine. I used to read it in my youth, issues from the 60′s and 70′s, and loved it. I read a recent issue, and it had become so predictably lame, so left wing on every issue. It seemed a shell of it’s former self. And not at all funny, not like it used to be.

    I have an extension of the idea of the Gramscian takeover, call it Cardinal’s corollary: any institution that suffers a Gramscian takeover…. will be ruined. Standards will fail, quality will suffer, and soon it will be unrecognizable compared to what it used to be.

    I think this is a big part of why the NY Times (and other papers) are dying.

    Thank god for the internet, where a Gramscian takeover is impossible.

  116. >I think that page needs some work. The graphs look correct but the tabular data all appear to be the same thing (marketshare %) rather than as indicated in the titles.

    Aaargh. You were right – an error in my generation script. Fixed now.

  117. Why is it that every institution, be it Wikipedia, or the schools and universities, or the newspaper, always seem to be controlled by the left?

    Rupert Murdoch is a leftie?

  118. @ Jessica Boxer
    > A great scientist says, “Here is my data and my conclusions, please community, rip it to shreds so that we can all get more knowledgeable together.”

    Yes. And in climate science, the results of that process are summarised in IPCC’s reports.

    But that will never be enough to convince people like Eric and his fellow travellers who continue to believe (without evidence, but because it suits their world view) there is some sort of evil conspiracy at work.

  119. esr Says:
    > Fixed now.

    Yes, looks much better. But shouldn’t the last table ‘Change in U.S. smartphone userbase per month by platform’ actually be labelled ‘Change in U.S. smartphone *marketshare* per month by platform’? That’s what the data seems to be representing. IMHO, the former would be more useful/interesting.

  120. >Rupert Murdoch is a leftie?

    One of the reasons conservatives have been relatively unsuccessful at resisting the Gramscian long march is that when they figure out it’s going on they have a tendency to flip into a right-paranoid frothing-at-the-mouth mode and see it everywhere, even where it isn’t. This discredits them so thoroughly that the fact that they’re actually onto a real, insidious, and dangerous phenomenon gets lost.

    In fact, conservatives are so inept at propaganda that they often succeed in discrediting themselves even when they’ve identified the target accurately. Like the commenter who was on here a few weeks back ranting about how the gun-control monument is run by an inner circle of hard-lefties with a totalitarian, anti-American agenda – he’s correct, but being correct doesn’t help in this case; it’s not a diagnosis most Americans are not able to hear without writing the speaker off as a loon. I advised him that the best way to effectively oppose these people is to ignore the truth that they are evil and argue in public only that they are tragically mistaken.

    Libertarians sometimes accept this advice when I give it, being on average a good deal brighter than conservatives. Conservatives…well, when I think about the extent to which I’m forced by circumstances to rely on them to defend liberty I come near getting an ulcer.

  121. >But shouldn’t the last table ‘Change in U.S. smartphone userbase per month by platform’ actually be labelled ‘Change in U.S. smartphone *marketshare* per month by platform’?

    No. Those are in millions of users, not percents of market-share. I’ll fix the labeling.

  122. does someone have an actual citation for this statement?

    Jessica: The quote you seek is “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it? There is IPR to consider.
    – Phil Jones, in reply to a 2004 data request by Hans von Storch.

    Jeff Read: Much of what one needs to know about the wikipedia page on Climategate is evident from the title of the page – it ought to be called “Climategate” but instead it’s “Climatic Research Unit email controversy” which itself was a hard-fought compromise improvement over the original title, “Climatic Research Unit email hacking incident”. The page is, as those titles suggests, focused primarily on how horrible it was that these emails were “hacked” and not so much on what might have been learned from them. As is often the case on controversial subjects, the discussion page tends to be more informative than the main page.

    Winter: The trouble is that AGW is much more a religious than a scientific position. And skepticism actually has a pretty decent record when it comes to debunking the predictions of millennialist death cults. The right response to the claim “human activity is warming the planet!!!!” is *not* “OMG WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP IT????”, it is: “Yes, and?” The IPCC’s *own* data and predictions say this isn’t a real problem. It’s a ridiculous luxury to fret and wring our hands over a change that is expected to make it somewhat easier to feed the planet for much of the next century and madness to extrapolate current trends much beyond that and waste real resources now to fight speculative future threats. If we don’t hamstring ourselves, our great-great-great grandkids should be vastly richer and more capable than we are and correspondingly more able to deal with most threats. The surest way to make them suffer more in the future it to make ourselves poorer now.

    esr: to get back on topic (yeah, right!); have you seen this? A couple of good graphics in there based on phone (not smartphone) share. If you divide by manufacturer instead of OS, only Apple and HTC are growing.

  123. >esr: to get back on topic (yeah, right!); have you seen this? A couple of good graphics in there based on phone (not smartphone) share. If you divide by manufacturer instead of OS, only Apple and HTC are growing.

    That’s a good analysis. See my earlier comments about HTC being the single company that has done best out of the Android boom.

  124. esr Says:
    > No. Those are in millions of users, not percents of market-share. I’ll fix the labeling.

    Sorry if I’m being dense or blind or something, but taking the last 5 items from the Apple row in each table:

    U.S. smartphone market share by platform
    25.0 25.0 24.7 25.2 25.5

    U.S. smartphone userbase by platform
    15.38 15.80 16.25 17.51 18.49

    Change in U.S. smartphone userbase per month by platform
    0.40 0.00 -0.30 0.50 0.30

    The deltas in the last table sure look like they came from the 1st table rather than the 2nd. (i.e. The Apple userbase is steadily growing, so how can there be a negative number in the last table?)

  125. A couple of good graphics in there based on phone (not smartphone) share. If you divide by manufacturer instead of OS, only Apple and HTC are growing.

    Easily explained.

    Apple and HTC have no feature phone market share to shed whereas every other player does. Also they’re ranking on Revenue, and not all margins are created equal.

  126. >The deltas in the last table sure look like they came from the 1st table rather than the 2nd. (i.e. The Apple userbase is steadily growing, so how can there be a negative number in the last table?)

    You’re right. There is some problem in my code, I don’t know what it is yet. I’ll remove that report until I can diagnose it.

  127. @Glen Raphael:

    > If you divide by manufacturer instead of OS, only Apple and HTC are growing..

    Careful. For a start, that article is about revenue. Revenue = units * (cost + margin) and Apple, as we all know, is doing exceptionally well there, because they charge premium-goods type margin on really good revenue. But that doesn’t directly affect the network effects we care about. Unit growth is all-important.

    @JonB:

    > Apple and HTC have no feature phone market share to shed…

    You beat me to this observation. I will also note, though, that Samsung is actually managing the transition from featurephone to smartphone quite well, and if you split out Samsung’s smartphone growth, it’s closer to HTC than anything else IIRC. (Compare and contrast Samsung with Nokia, for example.)

  128. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > Samsung is actually managing the transition from featurephone to smartphone quite well,

    Samsung seems to be gaining a pretty good rep on the Android fan sites for being fairly friendly to the OSS ethos. Also doesn’t hurt that they’re the manufacturer of the Nexus S. IMHO, they’re the company to watch among the big names in this space.

  129. “The trouble is that AGW is much more a religious than a scientific position. And skepticism actually has a pretty decent record when it comes to debunking the predictions of millennialist death cults.”

    Isn’t it basically “crystal ball” science?

    To my admittedly uneducated mind, it looks like they are making predictions they have no business making, in a situation where you cannot reasonably disentangle the manifold variables which may be responsible for the purported increase in temperatures.

    Since those predictions, by their very nature, are inextricably precedent to draconian political action (“we must…do…something…now! This is huuuuuge!”), it is very difficult to classify global warming science as just another example of science “doing its thing”, such as when it clearly demonstrates cause and effect.

  130. “Libertarians sometimes accept this advice when I give it, being on average a good deal brighter than conservatives. Conservatives…well, when I think about the extent to which I’m forced by circumstances to rely on them to defend liberty I come near getting an ulcer.”

    I’ve come to a conclusion that both conservatives and libertarians are fatally stupid. They’re just fatally stupid in different ways.

    Conservatives’ biggest problem, to me, isn’t that they are bad at propaganda. They might be, certainly getting hung up on silliness like Birtherism, e.g. is counterproductive, but it isn’t their greatest flaw as far as I’m concerned. It’s that they tend to be pretty bad at strategic thinking of any kind and so are unable to sustain any kind of reverse Gramscian March. They are bad at conceiving grand strategies of “conservatism”, for obvious reasons. Maybe a few people like Gingrich even understand this is what is required now, but the rest seem to have little clue.

    Libertarians are no better; the mainstream libertarian agenda and philosophy (open borders, economics uber alles) is simply highly unserious stuff. Liberty isn’t going to increase as the US is flooded with uneducated below-average-IQ third worlders who as technology advances will become excess baggage. They will simply become a Democrat constituency who will vote away the Libertarians’ freedom for bennies.

    I’m extremely sick of pretty much both these types. It’s stupidity all around.

  131. @JB:
    > It’s stupidity all around.

    Just wondering … can anyone name any major voting bloc in the US for which this statement isn’t true?

  132. Glen Raphael Says:
    “– Phil Jones, in reply to a 2004 data request by Hans von Storch.

    Glen, I believe that was Warwick Hughes making the request, not Hans von Storch.

  133. No Jeff, lack of transparency is not bad, lack of transparency is the opposite of science.

    It follows then, that you believe closed research labs carry out some kind of anti-science. That closed research labs have done and continue to do good science adequately refutes your claim.

    Hiding the data means they are saying “this is my opinion, trust me.”

    You suggest that science doesn’t involve trust and opinion, which is untrue. In fact, withholding information is amongst the myriad of tools used by scientists all the time.

    Since some people will no doubt categorise me erroneously due to this post, I will make it clear that the above comments are not made in support of AGW.

  134. “Careful. For a start, that article is about revenue. Revenue = units * (cost + margin) and Apple, as we all know, is doing exceptionally well there, because they charge premium-goods type margin on really good revenue. But that doesn’t directly affect the network effects we care about. Unit growth is all-important.”

    Completely wrong. Which platform’s users purchase more apps creating a higher degree of platform lock-in? Which platform has a robust ecosystem of third party peripherals and accessories? Which platform produces greater revenues for app developers creating a more robust app ecosystem? Which platform has synergies across hardware form factors? Synergies across media software, stores, and content? Moreover, revenue is only irrelevant to Google, but if its OEMs begin to fall off (and we are already seeing this at a far accelerated rate than we ever saw in the PC world), it’s difficult to describe the platform as a healthy, vibrant opportunity. Motorola and LG owners may not be worrying about getting updates within a year; they may be worrying if there is a company to call for support at all.

  135. Roger Phillips Says:
    > It follows then, that you believe closed research labs carry out some kind of anti-science. That closed research labs have done and continue to do good science adequately refutes your claim.

    If they want to do closed research, invent some new transistor, patent it, and get filthy rich, then more power to them. Science for the win!

    If they want to do closed research, conspire with crooked politicians to destroy the economies and liberties of the entire developed world, all to fulfill their statist wet dreams, that’s not science it’s just a malicious lie.

    It is left as an exercise to the reader to figure out in which category is found AGW/CC.

  136. If you disagree with a theory then the answer is “show me the data”.

    Yeah, but see, that’s the first problem. The CRU has no data. They deleted it years ago. They’ve got a bunch of adjusted numbers, sure—with no way to verify any of them for correspondence to reality. Since the data adjustments can’t be reviewed, the adjusted data is absolutely worthless, and so are any and all conclusions drawn from that data. With no data, the CRU doesn’t have the ability to do any science. And it turns out the NASA data was just as compromised.

    That’s the problem, not various claims of fraud or actionable misconduct. It’s that we don’t have any pre-satellite global temperature record. Since we don’t, we cannot, in fact, say that any given year is warmer or colder than any year prior to 1980. Every claim made in the IPCC report that is based on pre-1980 temperatures, either directly or as calibration for proxies, is as reliable as a claim made on the basis of numbers pulled from /dev/random/

    Now, things will be different in the future, because the people at BEST are actually putting together a usable surface instrumental temperature record. After they’re done, and after a few years of review of the data and adjustment methods, we’ll actually know the relative temperatures of the years 2008, 1978, 1948, and 1918, at which point we’ll actually have some business making hypotheses as to why 1978 was (warmer than|colder than|the same as) 2008.

  137. >Samsung seems to be gaining a pretty good rep on the Android fan sites for being fairly friendly to the OSS ethos.

    I think they’re earning this rep fairly. I’d put them second after HTC on my preferred-vendor list at this point.

  138. I advised him that the best way to effectively oppose these people is to ignore the truth that they are evil and argue in public only that they are tragically mistaken.

    As Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney entitled their anti-AGW film, the Left is Not Evil, Just Wrong. They realize that trying to argue evil intent is a losing battle.

    The Left always portrays themselves as “caring” about the plight of ethnic minorities, womyn, gays, Animals and Other Living Things, The Environment (without ever really defining just what that means). In contrast, they paint their opponents without exception as evil or criminally insane, “haters”, “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, etc. Their campaigns are based on Hope and Change; Peace, Love, and Understanding: heavy on the Vision of the Annointed, but when it comes to details, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it“.

    It’s very tempting to try to fight them on terms of who has the purest of intentions, because it works so well for them. When the policies of the Left fail, they always blame the failures on some scapegoat or other. They never accept that their Good Intentions led them to bad policies. And their voting base, even when shown that the policies are bad, still somehow disregard this fact, and continue to vote for those good-intentioned people.

    Decades ago, I sketched out on a bit of scratch paper for my eldest brother’s Lefty wife a primitive version of what eventually became Macroeconomics for the “Compassionate”: I started with the axes of Price and Quantity, laid out how the Laws of Supply and Demand interact to find an equilibrium, how government-enforced controls on prices can create shortages and surpluses, and that a minimum- or prevailing-wage law that had any effect on wages would also create surplus labor, aka unemployment. My sister in law turned to my brother and plead for him to find any tiny crack in my reasoning, and he could not. I had demonstrated that a policy pursued by their favored candidates led to unintended negative consequences, but they continued to support those candidates and policies. It didn’t stick, though. Once they got back inside their cozy academic bubble, they got plenty of validation of their worldview. They continue to think themselves superior to their conservative and libertarian relatives because they Care and we don’t.

    My late father taught me that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I’ve taken that to heart in developing my own philosophy of decision making, and I’ve come up with this response to the Best Intentions crowd: When it has been demonstrated that the actual effects of the choice you advocate are destructive of your stated intention in making that choice, you no longer get any credit for your “good intentions”. We can, after all, only choose our (in)actions, not the effects of those actions.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences assures that a decision-making process that focuses on intentions and downplays consequences inexorably leads to those bad unintended consequences, precisely because the decision makers fail to correctly assess the risks of potential consequences other than their intended goal. We need to get people to understand that the meta-choice that privileges intentions over consequences is actually choosing evil outcomes, stated intentions be damned.

  139. Careful. Your rhetorical questions don’t make the case you think they do.

    >Which platform’s users purchase more apps creating a higher degree of platform lock-in?

    Apple now, Android in about three months on present trends.

    >Which platform has a robust ecosystem of third party peripherals and accessories?

    Android, especially now that Google’s shipping the Open Accessory Kit. But there was a much larger range of third-party peripherals and accessories available already thanks to the fact that there about 130 Android devices as opposed to (counting generously) 6 or 8 iOS ones.

    >Which platform has synergies across hardware form factors?

    Apple still wins this one, but it doesn’t matter much because, as was recently pointed out here, the non-iPhone iOS devices are showing little or no evidence of adding up to a positive externality for the iPhone. (Actually, this rather surprises me – I think you should have scored on this one and don’t get why it ain’t so.)

    >Synergies across media software, stores, and content?

    It’s very sad for you that you couldn’t have asked this a few days before the Google Music, Amazon and Netflix announcements. Now it’s looking pretty much like a wash, with the trends in Android’s favor due to faster userbase growth.

  140. Android is a tacit admission by Google that they were wrong.

    Google-as-systems-software (Android) is asymmetric to Google-as-cloud-software (Chrome OS) and contradicts the value proposition that Google enables value in the web not in accessing the web.

    Android appears to be a nod in the direction that systems software still matters.

  141. If they want to do closed research, conspire with crooked politicians to destroy the economies and liberties of the entire developed world, all to fulfill their statist wet dreams, that’s not science it’s just a malicious lie.

    I wouldn’t parade your conspiratorial delusions with such great pride if I were you.

    When the policies of the Left fail, they always blame the failures on some scapegoat or other.

    Firstly, this is demonstrably untrue as an absolute statement. The appropriately hedged statement is true of Righists too. It’s tragic that you spend so much effort rationalising your ideology.

  142. @Tim F:

    esr already answered most of your questions; now I’ll respond to your statements:

    Moreover, revenue is only irrelevant to Google

    That’s a significant mischaracterization. Revenue is extremely important to google. Their primary method of acquiring the revenue is different than the other OS players.

    But if its OEMs begin to fall off (and we are already seeing this at a far accelerated rate than we ever saw in the PC world), it’s difficult to describe the platform as a healthy, vibrant opportunity.

    The only dying cellphone makers are the ones that are not Apple and are not ramping into Android quickly enough to staunch the bleeding from their other lines going down the toilet. (Yes, this includes makers like Nokia and RIM that are not ramping into Android at all.) Right now, the overall smartphone market is growing so quickly that even the marginal players are selling a lot of handsets.

    OEM churn in the PC world did not hurt Microsoft. As long as there are healthy OEMs within the ecosystem (and Samsung, HTC, and ZTE certainly qualify) Android will not be hurt, either.

    Motorola and LG owners may not be worrying about getting updates within a year; they may be worrying if there is a company to call for support at all.

    There are several answers to this: (1) That’s what cyanogenmod is for; (2) HTC and Samsung smartphones last quarter exceeded Apple’s without adding in any other OEMs; (3) Microsoft never got blamed by consumers for the failures of any OEMs, and neither will Google; (4) New smartphones are exceedingly cheap by US cool gadget standards, and getting cheaper, so if you have an unsupported one, just switch to a new one; (5) the tide of Android is actually helping to lift several boats — Motorola, for example, is doing much better than expected.

  143. Firstly, this is demonstrably untrue as an absolute statement.

    Then why don’t you demonstrate its untruth. Give me one example of a Leftist policy failure that no one blamed on some scapegoat. Just one.

    BTW, I’m not a “Righist [sic]” I’m not even a Rightist, at least in the sense of the Left-Right one-dimensional spectrum. I’m an anti-idiotarian libertarian, which means I disagree with a lot of what the “Right” stands for too (as well as the idiotarian libertarians). But to a Leftist, all opponents are lumped together as “right wingers”.

  144. @The Monster:

    > Give me one example of a $(IDEALOGY)ist policy failure that no one blamed on some scapegoat. Just one.

    GTFY (generalized that for you)

  145. Then why don’t you demonstrate its untruth. Give me one example of a Leftist policy failure that no one blamed on some scapegoat. Just one.

    You’re confused. I suggest you take a deep breath and rethink what you just said. You said that Leftists always scapegoat policy failures. The negative of that statement would be that there exists a Leftist who has not sought a scapegoat for some policy failure (which is obviously true). Either through confusion or malice you then suggest that I give an example of a policy failure that no Leftist has scapegoated. I suggest undertaking a remedial course in logic before attempting conversation with adults.

    BTW, I’m not a “Righist [sic]” I’m not even a Rightist, at least in the sense of the Left-Right one-dimensional spectrum.

    That’s interesting. Why are you telling me this?

    I’m an anti-idiotarian libertarian, which means I disagree with a lot of what the “Right” stands for too (as well as the idiotarian libertarians). But to a Leftist, all opponents are lumped together as “right wingers”.

    I can only assume you think I was accusing you of being a Rightist. That was not my intention, but your feeble (and false) implication that I’m a Leftist is amusing.

  146. Apple can kill off Sony Ericcson, Motorola, and LG while Android kills RIMM and Nokia (with WP7) with Apple’s help; Samsung will then drag HTC down in the commodity battle… ZTE will leapfrog them in time, etc… as we have seen with PCs.

    I don’t think the PC example shows what you think it shows. In terms of what you’re talking about…

    * There’s room in the single digits/low doubles for niche players if they play their cards right. (c.f. Apple)
    * _Once you remove software compatibility from the equation_ multiple entities can compete in the same space without consuming all. (c.f. Intel / AMD )

    The thing i think we won’t see is a drag down knock out fight between Samsung and HTC because the stakes aren’t as high between them. If Apple wins, HTC loses… that much is true(simplistically, leave aside definitions of “winning” that involve settling into a high margin niche position). If HTC (Android) “wins”, Samsung gets to come along for the ride. The winner isn’t required to “take all”.

    Note i’m not suggesting an oligopoly is inevitable, it’s more likely that HTC, Samsung, Motorola and ZTE will leapfrog feature list additions.

  147. By popular demand, the visualizations page now includes change in marketshare per month.

  148. >Note i’m not suggesting an oligopoly is inevitable, it’s more likely that HTC, Samsung, Motorola and ZTE will leapfrog feature list additions.

    I think HTC and Samsung are both off to an extremely strong start and can continue making money in bucketfulls further down the price curve, even given that they’re going to be facing strong low-end competition from the likes of Huawei and ZTE.

    Motorola seems a bit iffier to me. They got off to a good start with the Droid line but their execution has been a mixed bag since. They horribly overpriced the Xoom, the Atrix seems like a promising technology demo more than an actual product, and they’ve pissed off a lot of potential allies with attempts to lock out device rooting.

    I don’t have any feel for what LG is doing or how their product mix will play three months from now.

  149. > I don’t have any feel for what LG is doing or how their product mix will play three months from now.

    Unlike Motorola, LG hasn’t (yet?) decided that handsets are so unprofitable they need to be spun out into a separate suicide company. LG corporate was profitable last quarter, and they claim that they expect new handsets to make mobile profitable.

    http://www.talkandroid.com/38788-lgs-profit-recovery-on-track-will-continue-gains-with-optimus-black-and-optimus-3d/

  150. Roger Phillips Says:
    >> If they want to do closed research, conspire with crooked politicians to destroy the economies and liberties of the entire developed world, all to fulfill their statist wet dreams, that’s not science it’s just a malicious lie.

    > I wouldn’t parade your conspiratorial delusions with such great pride if I were you.

    Why don’t you show, with facts, which part of my (rather generously understated) explanation is a “conspiratorial delusion”. The Climategate emails readily illustrate my case, for those who hadn’t already figured it out beforehand.

  151. > The Climategate emails readily illustrate my case, for those who hadn’t already figured it out beforehand.

    Really? It seems to me that the people crowing about the “Climategate emails” almost invariably:
    (a) haven’t read the emails (other than the snippets published on contrarian blogs with neon “Lookie here! Fraud!” headlines); and
    (b) had already made up their minds before they’d even heard of CRU or “Cimategate”.

    This suggests that your “case”, whatever that is, might not really stack up as you might want.

    The frustrating thing about this discussion (as opposed to the rather more interesting on-topic discussion regarding smartphone marketshare measures) is that it simply does not matter how many times contrarians are pointed to the actual climate science to read, rather than

  152. [post interruptus - my apologies] … rather than the lurid and baseless allegations of fraud and unprofessional conduct.

    They are not interested in the actual science, only soundbites that confirm their existing views.

    It’s a shame, really, because the result is a debased parody of debate, where “warmists” shout at “denialists” and vice versa.

  153. Another area where Linux and open source make things a lot easier than Windows is lightweight virtualization.

    This is probably why we haven’t seen it cracked, actually. Lightweight virtualization technology is almost too good.

  154. Tom Says:
    > (a) haven’t read the emails (other than the snippets published on contrarian blogs with neon “Lookie here! Fraud!” headlines); and
    So you are saying they’re exactly like those who scream “There’s nothing to see! We have to save the planet!”

    But more to the point. It only takes one email to prove their motivations and methods (tho there are many), whereas every email would have to be clean to indicate they were only engaged in “actual climate science”.

    > (b) had already made up their minds before they’d even heard of CRU or “Cimategate”.

    This is true. To those of us who aren’t activists, it was obvious for quite some time what was going on. Having such as additional proof was nice tho.

    > it simply does not matter how many times contrarians are pointed to the actual climate science to read, rather than

    You’re suggesting that there exists somewhere actual unbiased, untainted climate science that unequivocally supports the alarmist save-the-planet position? Really? Where?

    > They are not interested in the actual science, only soundbites that confirm their existing views.

    And this differs from the activists exactly how?

  155. You’re confused. I suggest you take a deep breath and rethink what you just said. You said that Leftists always scapegoat policy failures. The negative of that statement would be that there exists a Leftist who has not sought a scapegoat for some policy failure (which is obviously true).

    On the contrary, it’s you who are confused, unless you know damned well you’re making a straw man out of my original statement, the better to shoot it down. Here it is:

    When the policies of the Left fail, they always blame the failures on some scapegoat or other.

    When we use a collective noun phrase or the pronoun “they”/”them” with such antecedent, as the subject of a verb in active voice (or as the object of a preposition such as “by” in the passive) without any qualifier such as “all (of)”, “each”, etc., we do not necessarily mean that every single member of the group thereby identified personally performed the action in question:

    When SEAL Team Six reached bin Laden’s bedroom, they shot him twice.

    No one would interpret this sentence to indicate that each of the 25 members of the assault team fired two shots into bin Laden, leaving him with 50 bullet wounds. The latest narrative says that two different members of the team each shot him once, making the total of two.

    When Manchester United had fallen behind Blackburn Rovers 0-1, risking their shot at an unprecedented 19th Premier League title, they recovered to make a penalty shot make a 1-1 tie, which they held to clinch the title.

    Clearly, it is not possible for all 11 active members of the team, including the goalkeeper, as well as the bench players (not to mention the off-field staff who nevertheless are part of “Manchester United”) to make a penalty shot. A penalty shot, like the gunshots in the previous example, is done by one person (each), in this case Wayne Rooney.

    In order for my statement to be true, every time a Leftist policy fails, some person of the Left must attempt to explain away the failure by blaming a scapegoat. It is not necessary for every Leftist to parrot the exact same talking points naming the same scapegoat, although it often seems as though they’re doing just that.

    So, in order for my statement to be false, there must exist at least one historical example of a Leftist policy failure for which no person of the Left attempted to explain away the failure by blaming a scapegoat.

    I can only assume you think I was accusing you of being a Rightist. That was not my intention, but your feeble (and false) implication that I’m a Leftist is amusing.

    In the original Bad News Bears, the coach famously taught his players that when you ASS|U|ME, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Well, you didn’t really make an ass out of ME by confessing that you are unable to avoid making that assumption….

    I have not implied that you are a Leftist, nor inferred that you “accuse” me of being a Rightist. That you think labeling someone a “Rightist” is an “accusation” suggests that you are of a vehemently-opposing orientation. If you’re not a “Rightist”, and you’re not a Leftist, that leaves libertarian, moderate, and authoritarian, each of which comes in a variety of flavors of attitude toward issues not directly impinging upon individual liberty. I’m curious: Where do you fit on the chart?

    I mentioned that I’m not a “Rightist” in an effort to explain that this very notion of a “political spectrum” as a one-dimensional quantity is fatally flawed. In addition to the two dimensions of the Diamond Chart, there is at least a third I can identify (if you’ve seen older versions of the Quiz, there’s a strong hint to what it is), and I’m strongly persuaded to add a fourth. (Sadly, most people aren’t able to visualize a tesseract.) By your “nyah, nyah, Rightists do it too!” comment, you seemed to indicate that you thought there were but two political orientations, with perhaps a bit of no-man’s land between them.

    Furthermore, even if you were correct in your assertion that “Rightists” also scapegoated every failure of their policies, (and by your standards it seems that every single “Rightist” must engage in the scapegoating for your statement to be true) it wouldn’t invalidate the truth of my statement, which said nothing about any political orientation save the Left.

    Again, you said my original statement was “demonstrably untrue”, yet you have failed to demonstrate its untruth.

  156. they’ve pissed off a lot of potential allies with attempts to lock out device rooting.

    Locking out device rooting must be doing something right for them, because HTC has followed suit. Company polict is that all new HTC phones are to have signed bootloaders.

    My guess? The only ally that really matters to a cellphone vendor is the carrier. Hackers are a niche market, but carriers can make or break whether a cellphone actually goes to market. And they love non-rootable firmware.

  157. Apple’s market strategy may be self limiting. One of the reasons people buy an iPhone is its appeal as a kind of status symbol, and the feeling of belonging to an exclusive club. As they become more commonplace they loose that distinction.

  158. @Jeff Read:

    Indeed, that market strategy probably greatly accelerated sales. I doubt it will work very well for Apple in the smartphone market, however.

    As for the carriers and their like of non-rootable firmware, I think that there is no so such thing as truly non-rootable firmware. You can always make a bootloader that will fool the nrestrictions system.

  159. esr:

    >Apple now, Android in about three months on present trends.

    I’d be happy to look at any data that shows Android app revenue per user or even app revenue per platform catching up to iOS, but I haven’t seen it. Downloads, app store catalog size — yes. Even when it catches up at the platform level, it’s not as robust because it’ll be divided across a much larger userbase. But, please, I’m always happy to look at more data.

    And, again, my point isn’t that iOS has an insurmountable lead, but that network effects aren’t exclusively determined by unit numbers and that Apple has a strong position to outlast a zero-sum battle against a monopoly.

    >Android, especially now that Google’s shipping the Open Accessory Kit. But there was a much larger range of third-party peripherals and accessories available already thanks to the fact that there about 130 Android devices as opposed to (counting generously) 6 or 8 iOS ones.

    That sounds very unconvincing. Apple already has an accessory SDK. I’d argue that the third parties supporting 6 or 8 devices is far more robust and healthy than 130; how many of those 130 devices can you actually have your choice of any peripheral or accessory, including 10 other comparable accessories? 30? 10? None? How profitable are those accessories for the third parties or attractive to consumers?

    >Apple still wins this one, but it doesn’t matter much because, as was recently pointed out here, the non-iPhone iOS devices are showing little or no evidence of adding up to a positive externality for the iPhone. (Actually, this rather surprises me – I think you should have scored on this one and don’t get why it ain’t so.)

    It’s your assertion that there is no positive externality from the entire iOS family beyond the iPhone. I don’t agree, nor do I think you’ve provided sufficient evidence to claim so.

    >It’s very sad for you that you couldn’t have asked this a few days before the Google Music, Amazon and Netflix announcements. Now it’s looking pretty much like a wash, with the trends in Android’s favor due to faster userbase growth.

    They announced the same thing (actually they were more ambitious announcements) last year and/or they should have been there anyway a year ago. To claim that Google has remotely gained on, never mind equaled, Apple in the media markets is either absurd or overly optimistic.

    Patrick Maupin:

    >That’s a significant mischaracterization. Revenue is extremely important to google. Their primary method of acquiring the revenue is different than the other OS players.

    It is, of course, hyperbole. Google’s view of revenue (or the accretion of positive network effects) is so long term that actual revenue derived directly from Android will likely remain significantly less than its own leading hardware vendors for the foreseeable future. The point is: Google’s partners actually do have to show revenue AND profits now.

    >Right now, the overall smartphone market is growing so quickly that even the marginal players are selling a lot of handsets.

    No, the problem right now is that they are selling lots of handsets and not making any profit, or even losing money.

    >OEM churn in the PC world did not hurt Microsoft. As long as there are healthy OEMs within the ecosystem (and Samsung, HTC, and ZTE certainly qualify) Android will not be hurt, either.

    I’m not suggesting it hurt Microsoft’s monopoly position; I am absolutely saying it hurt the ecosystem. Crappy hardware hurts software. Crappy software hurts hardware. Ask Microsoft if it’s happy that Dell has languished while the Mac has succeeded despite it’s minority position.

    > (1) That’s what cyanogenmod is for

    The geek/hacker fallback. I can hack iOS too. The point is: Android phones are sometimes being abandoned the day they are released (again hyperbole), but more importantly, I wouldn’t give Motorola Mobility or Sony Ericcson two years of being going concerns. I wouldn’t give LG 3-4 years of still producing cellphones.

    > (2) HTC and Samsung smartphones last quarter exceeded Apple’s without adding in any other OEMs;

    And? Nokia and RIMM added together exceed HTC and Samsung? What’s the point? The fact remains that of the top 8 Android vendors, 4 are in serious risk of going out of business soon, and 2 make cheap crap, and 2 are doing well.

    > (3) Microsoft never got blamed by consumers for the failures of any OEMs, and neither will Google;

    Of course, Microsoft was blamed; everyone hates Microsoft. Monopolies don’t fade easily. But Google is already getting blamed, already facing antitrust concerns (at least in the networked search and ad markets), has partners that are making less money than Microsoft partners ever did, and Google themselves is making paltry revenues directly from the Android comparison in comparison to what Microsoft achieved for a decade and a half. The mobile tech cycle is moving 3-5 times faster than the PC revolution (if not much faster).

    > (5) the tide of Android is actually helping to lift several boats — Motorola, for example, is doing much better than expected.

    If Motorola is your prime example of a “lifted boat,” I’d be very, very worried to be an Android partner. The only boats I see being lifted are HTC and Samsung’s. And, even then, Samsung’s boat is actually being lifted more as an Apple component supplier than it is aa an Android partner (Samsung’s direct mobile revenues aren’t much different from what they were before Android existed).

    JonB:

    >I don’t think the PC example shows what you think it shows. In terms of what you’re talking about…

    * There’s room in the single digits/low doubles for niche players if they play their cards right. (c.f. Apple)
    * _Once you remove software compatibility from the equation_ multiple entities can compete in the same space without consuming all. (c.f. Intel / AMD )

    This is more or less what I am saying… unsure what you think you’re adding to my observations. But, more importantly: (1) rather than seeing this play out on a 15-20 year cycle, I think we are seeing it play out on a 5-8 year cycle (3-5 years to reach zero-sum, 3-5 years for the partners to cannabalize each other) and (2) Apple is in a far, far stronger position than they were during the PC cycle, and Android partners are in a far weaker position than Microsoft during the PC revolution.

    >The thing i think we won’t see is a drag down knock out fight between Samsung and HTC because the stakes aren’t as high between them. If Apple wins, HTC loses… that much is true(simplistically, leave aside definitions of “winning” that involve settling into a high margin niche position). If HTC (Android) “wins”, Samsung gets to come along for the ride. The winner isn’t required to “take all”.

    Of course, it’s not winner take all. Dell is still around, even ThinkPads are still made by Lenova. But clearly partner competition largely drags all of the partners down with maybe one or two temporary kings of the hill. HTC and Samsung, of course, will eventually have to compete head to head. We are already starting to see it. This is like suggesting that Compaq, HP, and Dell never competed because they were all doing well enough — no, the most direct competition actually occurs with the most similar competitors. And HTC and Samsung will both definitely have to worry about the rapid rise of the cheap, high volume commoditizers like Huawei and ZTE.

  160. @Jeff Read:

    To expand a bit on what Morgan said, no other vendor has iTunes, and Apple jealously guards device access to iTunes.

    Once iTunes became the necessary baseline for acquiring and storing your cool music, then it was merely a matter of which particular iPod you had. That’s why you can now get them in colors…

    The question is, what kind of network effects can Apple exploit on smartphones and/or tablets? iTunes doesn’t seem to be a must-have smartphone app — people who absolutely need to have tunes on their smartphones are figuring out how to load them anyway, and the upscale customers that Apple chases hardest can afford the pricey dataplan that allows them to stream Pandora anywhere with their smartphone. Plus it turns out that a lot of people don’t mind carrying two gadgets around, and sometimes do it deliberately for redundancy or extra battery life. I even found a poll (self-selecting, unfortunately) that indicates that (unlike the flip camera) portable media players have not been fully displaced by the smartphone, and may not be for a long time, if ever.

    Finally, there are rumors that Apple themselves think the smartphone screens need to get bigger, which will only make the smartphone a bit more unwieldy as personal music device.

  161. @Tim F:

    I’d be happy to look at any data that shows Android app revenue per user or even app revenue per platform catching up to iOS, but I haven’t seen it. Downloads, app store catalog size — yes.

    You seem to be coming at this partly from an app-developer viewpoint. Yes, there will be more money in Apple apps for awhile. But app development is not like it was back in the DOS vs. Lisa days. Any really successful iOS app will be ported or cloned to Android within months.

    So if you look at it from a consumer viewpoint, any consumer who doesn’t need or want to be on the bleeding edge will get the cool stuff from Android, just a few months later.

    And, again, my point isn’t that iOS has an insurmountable lead, but that network effects aren’t exclusively determined by unit numbers and that Apple has a strong position to outlast a zero-sum battle against a monopoly.

    You are right that Apple is seductive to software developers, but Android is too big for them to ignore, and is likely to remain so. For hardware vendors, it’s a completely different story. Apple wants to relegate them to add-on status, and tax them heavily for the “privilege”.

    That sounds very unconvincing. Apple already has an accessory SDK.

    That’s not the same at all. Apple sues you if you don’t give them 25% of your revenue from your accessory.

    I’d argue that the third parties supporting 6 or 8 devices is far more robust and healthy than 130;

    Well, the market will definitely decide what is healthy for it.

    The point is: Google’s partners actually do have to show revenue AND profits now.

    And google is slowly learning that. And adapting to it. My view of Honeycomb being closed is that it was driven by hardware schedules rather than software schedules. So google hasn’t tired of the game yet.

    No, the problem right now is that they are selling lots of handsets and not making any profit, or even losing money.

    The unhealthy vendors are in a disruptive cycle. Yet the ones selling Android are seeing significant upside from doing so. Whether that will translate into profitability or not is uncertain, but, for example, Motorola Mobility’s stock had a huge uptick when they announced they lost less than expected.

    Crappy hardware hurts software. Crappy software hurts hardware.

    Interestingly, open source provides a large part of the solution here. The ability for the community to help with triage on stubborn bugs. And with all the information dispersal modes the internet currently supports, one would suspect that most people buying crappy smartphone hardware these days know exactly what they are getting, and are prepared to deal with it.

    HTC and Samsung smartphones last quarter exceeded Apple’s without adding in any other OEMs;

    And? Nokia and RIMM added together exceed HTC and Samsung? What’s the point?

    Aw, c’mon. You say the ecosystem is completely damaged, but these top two vendors are doing fine, and then you compare them to two other vendors who each have separate ecosystems that are shrinking at double-digit rates. You say a few reasonable things, but then you engage in the hyperbole about google’s revenue and say crap like this that begs for nobody to take you seriously.

    The fact remains that of the top 8 Android vendors, 4 are in serious risk of going out of business soon, and 2 make cheap crap, and 2 are doing well.

    Actually you mean that 4 are doing well, and two of them are doing it by making cheap crap. For claiming to understand about markets, you sure show a lack of understanding about markets. Also, the probability of all 4 of the struggling vendors going out of business soon is really remote, and “making cheap crap” still helps the entire ecosystem, despite your protestations to the contrary.

    Microsoft never got blamed by consumers for the failures of any OEMs

    Of course, Microsoft was blamed;

    Legitimately for lots of stuff. But for OEMs going out of business? Show me.

    If Motorola is your prime example of a “lifted boat,”

    Of course Motorola is a lifted boat. You seem to be completely discounting the fact that it previously had holes drilled in the hull and then was filled with mud and concrete and left adrift over the Marianas trench.

    Where would Motorola be without Android? Certainly not generating 3 billion a quarter with only a 1% of revenue posted loss. Especially in the quarter where Verizon finally got the iPhone. I can’t find the figures now, but over the last couple of years Verizon has been by far Motorola’s major customer. Motorola’s Android offerings are now starting to ramp up internationally, at the same point in time that Android is ramping up internationally. Time will tell, but I don’t think Motorola is as bad off as you seem to think, and neither does the stock market.

    rather than seeing this play out on a 15-20 year cycle, I think we are seeing it play out on a 5-8 year cycle (3-5 years to reach zero-sum, 3-5 years for the partners to cannabalize each other)

    No, the revolution will be much shorter than that.

    Android partners are in a far weaker position than Microsoft during the PC revolution.

    That’s a bad comparison. You need to compare Android partners to OEMs. Name-brand, whitebox, whatever. Same kind of ecosystem.

    But clearly partner competition largely drags all of the partners down with maybe one or two temporary kings of the hill.

    How is “partner” competition any different than regular competition?

    HTC and Samsung, of course, will eventually have to compete head to head. We are already starting to see it. This is like suggesting that Compaq, HP, and Dell never competed because they were all doing well enough — no, the most direct competition actually occurs with the most similar competitors. And HTC and Samsung will both definitely have to worry about the rapid rise of the cheap, high volume commoditizers like Huawei and ZTE.

    And this is why Microsoft won. And why Android will win. Apple, in their own little world, hasn’t needed to, and hasn’t, competed on price down in the mud.

  162. @Morgan:

    As for the carriers and their like of non-rootable firmware, I think that there is no so such thing as truly non-rootable firmware. You can always make a bootloader that will fool the nrestrictions system.

    Unlike DRM, I think that non-rootable firmware is theoretically possible. Practically? Not so much, maybe.

  163. >My guess? The only ally that really matters to a cellphone vendor is the carrier.

    I’m not sure this is still true – smartphones are increasingly directly marketed to consumers. Supposing it’s true now, it’s not a priority that will outlast the oncoming collapse of the contract system.

    If it’s true that HTC will be boot-locking all its phones in the future, they must really lust to have their lunch eaten by Samsung. Sad.

  164. @ Michael Hipp
    You’re suggesting that there exists somewhere actual unbiased, untainted climate science that unequivocally supports the alarmist save-the-planet position?

    As I said in my earlier comment, this is a little pointless because nothing will convince you otherwise, but could start with reading the IPCC’s summaries for policy-makers.

    (Another source of climate science presented in an accessible manner and published by actual climate scientists is realclimate.org – although I say this with full knowledge that you won’t be convinced by anything there, either. You have already made up your mind.)

  165. >start with reading the IPCC’s summaries for policy-makers.

    Right, these would be the summaries that claimed the Himalayan icepack was melting with devastating consequences for Indian agriculture. All based on a phone conversation about some anecdotal evidence from hikers.

    As a source of sound science, the IPCC summaries rank somewhere below the collected works of Trofim Lysenko.

  166. > But app development is not like it was back in the DOS vs. Lisa days. Any really successful iOS app will be ported or cloned to Android within months.

    Netflix just arrived 1 year after the iOS version for FIVE supported devices.

    > You are right that Apple is seductive to software developers, but Android is too big for them to ignore, and is likely to remain so.

    I see plenty of examples of developers willing to wait out Android.

    > That’s not the same at all. Apple sues you if you don’t give them 25% of your revenue from your accessory.

    Of course, it’s not, but licensing has never been the issue that OSS advocates want to make it seem. Billions have been made making accessories for nearly decade with iOS devices and the iPod before it. The biggest advantage that the ADK has is using usb. But, again, these differences are irrelevant: claiming that Android magically caught up to Apple in the accessories/peripheral market with the mere announcement of a development kit is thin at best.

    > And google is slowly learning that. And adapting to it. My view of Honeycomb being closed is that it was driven by hardware schedules rather than software schedules. So google hasn’t tired of the game yet.

    And the Xoom may very well prove to be Motorola’s Kiss Off in a quarter or two.

    > The unhealthy vendors are in a disruptive cycle. Yet the ones selling Android are seeing significant upside from doing so. Whether that will translate into profitability or not is uncertain, but, for example, Motorola Mobility’s stock had a huge uptick when they announced they lost less than expected.

    No they aren’t. Samsung is making the same revenue as when they were making largely feature phones. SE, LG, and Motorola aren’t any better off than they were two years ago. Motorola is where they were in March — down 30% since the highs of the spin-off/offering, with no sign that they aren’t going to continue to decline in value.

    > Interestingly, open source provides a large part of the solution here. The ability for the community to help with triage on stubborn bugs. And with all the information dispersal modes the internet currently supports, one would suspect that most people buying crappy smartphone hardware these days know exactly what they are getting, and are prepared to deal with it.

    A geek’s point of view (compliment intended). The market does not reflect this at large.

    > Aw, c’mon. You say the ecosystem is completely damaged, but these top two vendors are doing fine, and then you compare them to two other vendors who each have separate ecosystems that are shrinking at double-digit rates. You say a few reasonable things, but then you engage in the hyperbole about google’s revenue and say crap like this that begs for nobody to take you seriously.

    I was merely pointing out the absurdity of combining the only two successful Android to arrive at a sum that just beats out Apple individually. Since you’ve agreed with me in part almost the entire way through my post; I’m having trouble seeing what is ludicrous here.

    > Actually you mean that 4 are doing well, and two of them are doing it by making cheap crap. For claiming to understand about markets, you sure show a lack of understanding about markets. Also, the probability of all 4 of the struggling vendors going out of business soon is really remote, and “making cheap crap” still helps the entire ecosystem, despite your protestations to the contrary.

    You are making it too black and white: of course, Huawei and ZTE providing cheap crap has positives, mostly short-term. They certainly aren’t positive (when we reach the zero-sum point) for other Android vendors at the top. Long-term commoditization has a number of disadvantages. Again, I personally put the odds of 4 mobile companies existing as independent companies in 2-3 years at about 2%. Feel free to disagree. I would even wager that these 4 companies disappear before any of the struggling independent platforms disappear.

    > Of course Motorola is a lifted boat. You seem to be completely discounting the fact that it previously had holes drilled in the hull and then was filled with mud and concrete and left adrift over the Marianas trench.

    Nope. I don’t see Motorola’s position advanced at all. It is in exactly the same position it has been for years: able to get close to break-even every few generations on the success of a single product success or flailing with continued quarterly losses.

    > Time will tell, but I don’t think Motorola is as bad off as you seem to think, and neither does the stock market.

    Motorola’s valued based on the hope that it could keep repeating the success of the Android and on the possibility of a takeover once spun-off from Moto proper: it is only going down for the foreseeable future — likely 50% or more in the next year.

    > No, the revolution will be much shorter than that.

    Okay. And? My argument is that the speed with which Google achieves monopoly status, bottom-feeder OEMs are erased from existence, and high-volume commodizers leapfrog the mid-tier and high-end successes plays to Apple’s advantage. If we are going to see the Wangs, Digitals, Compaqs, and Gateways (Moto, SE, LG, et al) die off and the HPs and Dells (HTC and Samsung) fall into mediocrity in the mobile world far faster, how does that invalidate my argument?

    > How is “partner” competition any different than regular competition?

    It isn’t. Which is why Apple remains in the strongest position while being outside the Android ecosystem.

    > And this is why Microsoft won. And why Android will win. Apple, in their own little world, hasn’t needed to, and hasn’t, competed on price down in the mud.

    Well, by agreeing with me, you are disagreeing with JonB. Moreover, what you say leads me to believe Apple one. Especially if the entire two decades of PC market developments are going to occur in less than 5 years.

  167. Apparently Motorola and SonyEricsson are both apparently starting to support unlocked bootloaders.

    Here’s another article that indicates that HTC might be swimming against the tide in this issue:

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/HTC-Sensation-Comes-with-Locked-Bootloader-200347.shtml

    I think the market is in transition. As Eric points out, smartphones are increasingly marketed directly to consumers, but we’re not completely there yet — a lot of the higher end phones are still typically financed by the carrier through contract. As this practice fades, there are two reasons that I know of for the the phone companies to lock down the handset: third party money for installed crapware, and fear of the customer bricking the device and trying to return it under warranty, or even just reimaging the device and returning it to the retailer to restock. But I think the market and better fail-safe bootloaders and reimaging programs will sort out these problems.

    I don’t know all the details, but with software-defined-radio there may be pieces of the hardware that rogue software could break besides just rendering the device unbootable. Perhaps you can set the gain on the RF power amp too high and heat up some silicon until it stops working. In addition, the FCC might get involved if it is too easy to take the radio out of spec with bad firmware.

    I imagine that the bootloader is protected by keys burned into on-chip OTP (one-time-programmable) memory (e.g. from kilopass). Depending on how they designed the first level boot-loader (depending on whether it hides access to the keys before loading the image), it may be that the vendor could create a program that would zap the keys, allowing the phone to be unlocked.

    There are a few possibilities here: assuming that there is a unique serial number in the OTP as well as the signing key, the phone vendor could charge you to unlock the phone, a la Intel. Alternatively, the vendor could let you download and run the unlock program with the understanding that it voids the warranty. Or the vendor could insurethat the software defined radio code image is signed, but not care about the UI image — this gets easier once the chip vendors have several CPUs on the SOC.

  168. A few corrections for clarity:

    “Motorola’s valued based on the hope that it could keep repeating the success of the Android…” Should be Droid. Motorola can’t be happy that Google/Verizon moved on from that or that they were saddled with the first Honeycomb experiment.

    “> How is “partner” competition any different than regular competition?

    It isn’t. Which is why Apple remains in the strongest position while being outside the Android ecosystem.”

    I should note that it is generally similar which is why Apple is stronger than Nokia, RIMM, HTC, and Samsung individual, but it is also fundamentally different: you have to compete with other platforms and those competitors on the same platform (and largely the only way to do so on the same platform is price — device quality, software customization, and service can differentiate but usually fade or can only be achieved short term because of the lack of control of the platform and internal competition).

    “Moreover, what you say leads me to believe Apple one.” Should be “won” obviously. Apple makes more profit than both any one OEM and the platform provider itself; even with a minority market share, it is at no risk of disappearing as a viable platform.

  169. @ esr
    >As a source of sound science, the IPCC summaries rank somewhere below the collected works of Trofim Lysenko.

    And as I said, nothing will convince you otherwise.

    (For those playing along at home, it’s worth pointing out that the IPCC is not a “source” of science at all, but an international body charged with the task of aggregating and summarizing the current state of published climate science.)

  170. @Tim F:

    But app development is not like it was back in the DOS vs. Lisa days. Any really successful iOS app will be ported or cloned to Android within months.

    Netflix just arrived 1 year after the iOS version for FIVE supported devices.

    Netflix is not an app — it’s a service. And its initial Android port was released 2 days after google made it clear that movies would happen on Android.

    I see plenty of examples of developers willing to wait out Android.

    Cite?

    That’s not the same at all. Apple sues you if you don’t give them 25% of your revenue from your accessory.

    Of course, it’s not, but licensing has never been the issue that OSS advocates want to make it seem. Billions have been made making accessories for nearly decade with iOS devices and the iPod before it. The biggest advantage that the ADK has is using usb. But, again, these differences are irrelevant: claiming that Android magically caught up to Apple in the accessories/peripheral market with the mere announcement of a development kit is thin at best.

    If licensing weren’t a huge issue, Android would have been a non-starter. And nobody claimed that Android caught up to Apple with the announcement, just that it’s obvious (to some of us) that Android will catch up, due to the standardized hardware interface. If you don’t think that hardware manufacturers that currently pay 25% to Apple for each device sold will leap to support a royalty-free Android interface, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Yet the ones selling Android are seeing significant upside from doing so.

    No they aren’t. Samsung is making the same revenue as when they were making largely feature phones. SE, LG, and Motorola aren’t any better off than they were two years ago. Motorola is where they were in March — down 30% since the highs of the spin-off/offering, with no sign that they aren’t going to continue to decline in value.

    You’re ignoring the reality that, sans Android, they would all be in the Nokia bucket.

    one would suspect that most people buying crappy smartphone hardware these days know exactly what they are getting,

    The market does not reflect this at large.

    Actually, I think it does (or will). Android seems to be resonating with consumers, and there are plenty of enthusiasts who do lots of research, and they all have plenty of friends who rely on them.

    I was merely pointing out the absurdity of combining the only two successful Android to arrive at a sum that just beats out Apple individually.

    What absurdity? We’re comparing a platform with one vendor to a more recently popular platform with a potentially infinite number of vendors. You’re claiming that networks on the first will always outweigh network effects on the second, and I say that the second platform will win. As evidence, I show that you don’t need the potentially infinite long tail — two vendors (which are both growing smartphone share quite handily) together already surpass the single vendor.

    Since you’ve agreed with me in part almost the entire way through my post; I’m having trouble seeing what is ludicrous here.

    Since not everything you say is completely stupid, then nothing you say must be at all stupid? Sorry, I’m too stupid to follow that argument.

    You are making it too black and white: of course, Huawei and ZTE providing cheap crap has positives, mostly short-term.

    Ummm, you claim it’s all negative, and when I say that the net effect is positive I’m the one who’s viewing the world in black and white?

    They certainly aren’t positive (when we reach the zero-sum point) for other Android vendors at the top.

    If you get to a zero-sum point, the mere fact that you got there is positive for the other Android vendors. They can compete on hardware and leave software to Google.

    Long-term commoditization has a number of disadvantages.

    Yes, it’s hugely painful for the vendors, and mostly good for the consumers.

    Nope. I don’t see Motorola’s position advanced at all.

    Living another few quarters is always better than not.

    If we are going to see the Wangs, Digitals, Compaqs, and Gateways (Moto, SE, LG, et al) die off and the HPs and Dells (HTC and Samsung) fall into mediocrity in the mobile world far faster, how does that invalidate my argument?

    Which argument? I said that you have to be careful about counting revenue because that doesn’t directly relate to network effects, then you said I was “completely wrong” and said a bunch of claptrap including how google doesn’t care about revenue, and then when Eric and I pointed that out, you said some things that are somewhat reasonable and some more things that aren’t. I still assert that you have to be careful about counting revenue because that doesn’t directly relate to network effects.

    And this is why Microsoft won. And why Android will win. Apple, in their own little world, hasn’t needed to, and hasn’t, competed on price down in the mud.

    Well, by agreeing with me, you are disagreeing with JonB. Moreover, what you say leads me to believe Apple one. Especially if the entire two decades of PC market developments are going to occur in less than 5 years.

    You’re not at all following our definition of winning in the smartphone wars (which has been consistent ever since Eric started blogging about it over a year ago). It’s not about profit. It’s about what the average guy carries around in his pocket for a smartphone. And Apple is losing.

  171. Just noticed this week and a half old report by canalys:

    http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011051.pdf

    We’ve discussed the apparent stall in google activations, and reasons for that here. If canalys is right, either there are a lot of non-google-services Android devices being shipped, or a lot of upgrades being shipped, or Google might be sandbagging their activation numbers. 35.7 million units shipped, almost 400K for every day in the quarter, says that Android is now beating Apple just as heavily overseas as it is domestically.

    Also, Asia Pacific finally became the largest smartphone market. Apparently Nokia is still doing OK there — it’s still number 1 in 28 countries, including mainland China.

    While we’re discussing the relative size of different ecosystems:

    Samsung also shipped nearly 3.5 million bada operating system-based smart phones,
    outperforming total shipments of Windows Phone devices by more than a million units.

    Ouch!

    The report also claims that:

    The US remained the largest country for smart phone shipments, with Apple substantially
    extending its lead, achieving a share of 31% and growth of over 150% year on year. Volumes were

    Hmm, that doesn’t seem to match what Nielsen said, unless Apple was really sucking during Q4 2010.

    Speaking of Apple, this quarter may be where it is revealed how many clothes the emperor is wearing. Apparently no new 4G/LTE products imminent. There’s an interesting rumor that iPhone 5 is delayed due to low chip yields, and that to keep the excitement coming, Apple might roll out a minor iPhone 4 refresh that includes Sprint and T-Mobile:

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385407,00.asp

  172. >And as I said, nothing will convince you otherwise.

    I could accuse you of being religiously fixated, too, but the accusation proves nothing.

    Reality has the final say. And the reality is that, in Phil Jone’s own words, there has been no statistically significant global warming in fifteen years.

  173. > Cite?

    Your somehow willing and able to erase the year “delay” of Netflix; why should I bother listing the innumerable examples when you’ll dismiss them?

    > If licensing weren’t a huge issue, Android would have been a non-starter.

    No, there is no causation there. Android could fill the void of non-iPhone devices because Symbian, WM, BlackBerry, and every other option sucked.

    > And nobody claimed that Android caught up to Apple with the announcement, just that it’s obvious (to some of us) that Android will catch up, due to the standardized hardware interface.

    Sure seems like Eric is saying so. Otherwise, you’re not really responding to a point if your gist is: you’re right but someday maybe not.

    > If you don’t think that hardware manufacturers that currently pay 25% to Apple for each device sold will leap to support a royalty-free Android interface, you haven’t been paying attention.

    I am paying attention, and your argument seems to be: I assert it will be so therefore it is so.

    > You’re ignoring the reality that, sans Android, they would all be in the Nokia bucket.

    Nope. Whatever they were doing before is irrelevant because they aren’t doing any better (excepting HTC).

  174. > Actually, I think it does (or will). Android seems to be resonating with consumers, and there are plenty of enthusiasts who do lots of research, and they all have plenty of friends who rely on them.

    Amazing how you selectively edited out OSS argument. “Interestingly, open source provides a large part of the solution here. The ability for the community to help with triage on stubborn bugs. And with all the information dispersal modes the internet currently supports, one would suspect that most people buying crappy smartphone hardware these days know exactly what they are getting, and are prepared to deal with it.” I have no problem with the assertion that the majority of consumers will buy the cheapest option available; I still see zero evidence that loading your own custom ROM is remotely on the mainstream user’s radar.

    > Ummm, you claim it’s all negative, and when I say that the net effect is positive I’m the one who’s viewing the world in black and white?

    You just quoted a statement of mine that says there are positives and then say I said it was all negative: does not compute.

    > Living another few quarters is always better than not.

    And you still can’t show a single performance improvement in Motorola directly as a result of Android; they are the same poorly performing company.

    > I still assert that you have to be careful about counting revenue because that doesn’t directly relate to network effects.

    And you haven’t demonstrated any truth to that supposition in the least. In fact, you have conceded a number of my points are reasonable.

    > You’re not at all following our definition of winning in the smartphone wars (which has been consistent ever since Eric started blogging about it over a year ago). It’s not about profit. It’s about what the average guy carries around in his pocket for a smartphone. And Apple is losing.

    Why should I follow “Eric’s definition,” particularly when its wrong? Because he’s Eric? Please. Even so, I wouldn’t call 1 out of 4 smartphones in America for the last year and a half losing — even if I did accept that line of argument. If “winning the smartphone wars” means “having monopoly dominance of mobile OS platforms” or simply “majority market share of platform”, why not just say so rather than conflating it with “winning.”

  175. Your somehow willing and able to erase the year “delay” of Netflix; why should I bother listing the innumerable examples when you’ll dismiss them?

    I think netflix is a special case for self-evident reasons. It has been discussed numerous times on this blog before. If that’s all you got, you got nothing. Even if you have something, it’s only stretching out my “several months” into a year, for an app or two.

    Android could fill the void of non-iPhone devices because Symbian, WM, BlackBerry, and every other option sucked.

    Palm OS apparently isn’t too bad. But if you think that Android being free (as in beer) wasn’t a selling point, you’re really not paying attention.

    Sure seems like Eric is saying so. Otherwise, you’re not really responding to a point if your gist is: you’re right but someday maybe not.

    Android’s actually ahead on the weird hardware front. The hardware’s already built into the phone — different weird hardware in different phones. Want a phone with a built-in solar charger? No problem. What the Google I/O announcement does is make it easier for android to get ahead on the add-on weird hardware front. Which it was going to do anyway. It’s not someday “maybe not”; it’s within a few months, available Android add-ons will be better, cheaper, and of more variety than the Apple kind.

    I am paying attention, and your argument seems to be: I assert it will be so therefore it is so.

    No, my argument is that 25% taken off the top is a significant cost to bear, and the volume market will punish Apple (in terms of units, if not profit) for that tax. But don’t take my word for it; wait a few months and see.

    You’re ignoring the reality that, sans Android, they would all be in the Nokia bucket.

    Nope. Whatever they were doing before is irrelevant because they aren’t doing any better (excepting HTC).

    Any better than Nokia? You’re kidding, right?

    Actually, I think it does (or will). Android seems to be resonating with consumers, and there are plenty of enthusiasts who do lots of research, and they all have plenty of friends who rely on them.

    Amazing how you selectively edited out OSS argument. “Interestingly, open source provides a large part of the solution here. The ability for the community to help with triage on stubborn bugs. And with all the information dispersal modes the internet currently supports, one would suspect that most people buying crappy smartphone hardware these days know exactly what they are getting, and are prepared to deal with it.” I have no problem with the assertion that the majority of consumers will buy the cheapest option available; I still see zero evidence that loading your own custom ROM is remotely on the mainstream user’s radar.

    Amazing how you can twist an argument. When outside people find serious bugs, they will be incorporated in the mainstream releases pretty quickly. The market will decide between those vendors who are keeping up and those who aren’t. Part of the way the market will do that is the thought leaders who have a lot of influence on others.

    OSS can help Android even for people who don’t load custom ROMs. For you to see contradictions here indicates a (possibly willful) complete lack of imagination on your part.

    You just quoted a statement of mine that says there are positives and then say I said it was all negative: does not compute.

    You said the positives were mostly short-term, and then They certainly aren’t positive (when we reach the zero-sum point) for other Android vendors at the top. I completely disagree with that, for reasons that I’ve explained that you don’t seem to want to understand.

    I still assert that you have to be careful about counting revenue because that doesn’t directly relate to network effects.

    And you haven’t demonstrated any truth to that supposition in the least.

    Start with Apple’s profit vs marketshare in PCs. Then look at Android’s quick rise to surpass Apple in just a few quarters. This happened because of network effects, despite the fact that Apple is sucking most of the profit out of the market. The truth is self-evident, if you’re willing to look.

    In fact, you have conceded a number of my points are reasonable.

    You keep repeating this like you’re the messiah. On the odd occasion you have spoken truth, I will acknowledge it. But half of that has been slipping around to my side of the argument, countered with claiming that I am slipping around to your side of the argument. You have posted nothing new that I agreed with; you can find instances of me saying the same thing over the course of months on this very blog. So you’re not the brilliant genius you think you are. The facts you muster don’t support the claims you think they do.

    Why should I follow “Eric’s definition,” particularly when its wrong?

    So, if he’s not interested in the same metric as you, he’s wrong? There are lots of other sites to go hang out at if you want to brag about Apple’s profit. That’s not what we’ve been discussing here.

    Even so, I wouldn’t call 1 out of 4 smartphones in America for the last year and a half losing — even if I did accept that line of argument.

    Well, if, as you assert “Symbian, WM, BlackBerry, and every other option sucked,” then Apple has fairly rapidly gone from 100% of the non-sucky smartphones to 42% of the non-sucky smartphones. Looks like losing to me.

    If “winning the smartphone wars” means “having monopoly dominance of mobile OS platforms” or simply “majority market share of platform”, why not just say so rather than conflating it with “winning.”

    It has been said. You weren’t paying attention. People use shorthand words all the time. Get over it.

  176. >Reality has the final say. And the reality is that, in Phil Jone’s own words, there has been no statistically significant global warming in fifteen years.

    Phil Jones’s actual own words, in response to the question: “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?”

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    Of course, as you said, reality has the final say. If you asked the same question today, then you would get a 95% significant positive trend for the period 1995–2010.

  177. >If you asked the same question today, then you would get a 95% significant positive trend for the period 1995–2010.

    [citation needed]

    It’s going to be a particularly difficult claim to sustain given the GAT crash of 2008.

  178. @ esr
    As pointed out by pete, the text of Jones’ actual words (rather than those you incorrectly attribute to him) gives a different picture to the one you wish to paint.

    Again, our collective capacity for reasonable discussion about climate science is sadly diminished by this sort of cheap soundbite-mining.

    It might be interesting for you to read some of Jones’ other (actual) words in their context at this link also: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

  179. No one would interpret this sentence to indicate that each of the 25 members of the assault team fired two shots into bin Laden, leaving him with 50 bullet wounds. The latest narrative says that two different members of the team each shot him once, making the total of two.

    You’re very confused, and making things worse for yourself. If I was to say that Seal Team 6 always shoots bin Ladens (modifying the plurality is just one of the ways in which your argument is broken), then all it would take is one member of ST6 not shooting a bin Laden in the appropriate context to refute the statement. The fact that everyone on the team doesn’t shoot him during a particular raid is a result of the fact that he becomes a dead bin Laden after being shot and is not in the domain of discourse of the original statement.

  180. >As pointed out by pete, the text of Jones’ actual words (rather than those you incorrectly attribute to him) gives a different picture to the one you wish to paint.

    I’m sure, if you dance fast enough, you can come up with reasons I should ignore the CRU’s destruction of their primary datasets, too. And the bogus melting-Himalayan-icepack claims. And the inconvenient fact that the recent solar minimum coincided with a GAT crash that wiped out about 150 years of supposed global-warming signal. And the fact that the rate at which the options are rising just dropped so far below the long-term postglacial rebound trend that researchers has to pull an bugger factor (excuse me, “correction”) out of their asses to keep it on the politically-correct curve. But then, modifying inconvenient data is such a hallowed tradition in your camp that I should probably consider it a sacred tribal observance.

  181. > I’m sure, if you dance fast enough, you can come up with reasons I should ignore the CRU’s destruction of their primary datasets, too.  And the bogus melting-Himalayan-icepack claims. And the inconvenient fact that the recent solar minimum coincided with a GAT crash that wiped out about 150 years of supposed global-warming signal. And the fact that the rate at which the options are rising just dropped so far below the long-term postglacial rebound trend that researchers has to pull an bugger factor (excuse me, “correction”) out of their asses to keep it on the politically-correct curve.

    Actually I’m not suggesting you should ignore anything. What I am suggesting is that you might look at the actual published science rather than inventing quotes and recycling contrarian memes and conspiracy theories.

    Unless of course you’re not actually interested in the science, but only in promulgating a political view.

  182. > [citation needed]

    HadCRUT data

    R code to calculate the trend:


    X <- read.table("http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3vgl.txt", fill=TRUE)

    s <- !is.na(X[,14])

    year <- X[s, 1]
    temp <- X[s, 14]

    a = 1995 & year <= 2010))

    print(summary(a))

    > I’m sure, if you dance fast enough, you can come up with reasons I should ignore the CRU’s destruction of their primary datasets, too.

    If you still have questions, you might want to make a new post so the smartphone conversation doesn’t get derailed.

    The CRU didn’t destroy primary datasets. I think you’re referring to the time they got rid of copies of other people’s primary data, because the data were hardcopy and they didn’t have the storage space.

  183. You’re very confused, and making things worse for yourself. If I was to say that Seal Team 6 always shoots bin Ladens (modifying the plurality is just one of the ways in which your argument is broken), then all it would take is one member of ST6 not shooting a bin Laden in the appropriate context to refute the statement.

    That’s absurd. So long as some member of ST6 shoots a bin Laden every time there’s a bin Laden to be shot, that statement would be true. But since Omar bin Laden still breathes, your statement is wrong.

    Let’s try my other analogous statement with your modification:

    Every time Manchester United has fallen behind Blackburn Rovers 0-1, they always make a penalty kick to tie up the game.
    Even though I’ve changed the wording to make it “always”, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m talking about one player making that shot. To disprove this statement requires a single Man U-Blackburn game in which Blackburn took a 1-0 lead and Man U didn’t follow a penalty goal. No one would think that the “every” and “always” somehow modified the character of penalty kicks such that every single member of Man U would get to take and make a penalty kick every time they fall 0-1 to Blackburn.

    When it comes to “every” and “all” -type sentences, I’m a bit of a stickler. There is a common construction “All X are not Y”, which many people seem to believe is synonymous with “Not all X are Y”, but to me means something entirely different. Because so many people will say things like “All that glitters is not gold”, it has become impossible to actually say that every member of group X is outside of group Y without additional clarifying verbiage.

    This actually ties into our little sideshow:

    Why should I follow “Eric’s definition,” particularly when its [sic] wrong?

    A definition can’t be “wrong”, unless it’s internally contradictory. (I rant about people calling the / character “backslash” because \ already has that name; I don’t get too upset about them calling it “forward slash” because no ambiguity ensues.) But communication only occurs when each party understands what the other is saying. So if you insist on using a different definition of a word/phrase, you are in effect using a different word/phrase that happens to be spelled the same way. We normally disambiguate by context: The word “season” might include Spring or Salt, depending on that context. Here, the context is the ongoing conversation of blog posts entitled “The Smartphone Wars:*”.

    I recall an episode of ER in which a Hispanic woman was prescribed a pill to take “once a day”. Why should she follow the English definition of “once”, particularly when it’s wrong to use that definition in Spanish? Well, because taking 11x the prescribed dose of a drug can kill you, that’s why. [Like many of the plot devices on that show, there appears to be some evidence of it happening in reality.]

    If I ask a German with a cooler filled with bottles of beer if I may have one, and he says “nein”, I can’t take nine beers from him and defend myself in court by saying he told me I could have nine beers, even though the words are the same when spoken.

    If we are using a phrase to mean X, and someone uses the same phrase to mean Y, nothing anyone can say about Y has any relevance to X simply because different people use that same phrase to mean two different things in different contexts. That doesn’t mean that either definition is “wrong”; it just means that they aren’t the same thing. In fact, those who argue that arbitrarily naming X and Y the same somehow lends any weight to a statement about Y are either stupid or dishonest. Sadly, I’ve seen it happen enough to think it needs a name: “Epistemological Shell Game”. They use labels as shells to hide the true meanings being switched around by their sophistry, and they hope the rubes aren’t smart enough to keep up.

    So, Roger doesn’t get to define the words and phrases I use, and insist that I must have meant something other than what I have demonstrated is a reasonable interpretation of the use of group nouns (and even if it isn’t the most common interpretation, it’s what I meant when I said what I said). And Tim F. doesn’t get to say that what we mean by “winning the smartphone wars” isn’t happening just because he defines that phrase differently.

  184. >HadCRUT data

    You lost me right there. Those datasets are badly corrupted in any number of ways. Making a ‘scientific’ argument from them is about as convincing as divining from the entrails of a sheep.

  185. >Unless of course you’re not actually interested in the science, but only in promulgating a political view.

    Fool, I’ve been interested in the science since years before a gang of frauds decided to turn it into a political hobbyhorse – I was reading bristlecone-pine studies seriously in the 1970s back when the bugaboo of the day was global cooling and I was a naive centrist Democrat. I’ve read a lot of the published science and that’s exactly how I know that we’re living through the second coming of Lysenkoism.

  186. >You lost me right there. Those datasets are badly corrupted in any number of ways. Making a ‘scientific’ argument from them is about as convincing as divining from the entrails of a sheep.

    Panchreston. If the data disagrees with you preconceptions, it must be fraudulent. This allows you to ignore any data that’s inconvenient to your case.

    I chose HadCRUT because that’s what Phil Jones’s BBC interview was based on. But if you’d prefer NASA’s open source GISTEMP:

    X <- read.fwf("http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt",
    widths=c(4, 6, rep(5, 11), 7, 4, 7, 5, 5, 5, 6),
    skip=8, comment.char="Y", nrows=137)

    s <- !is.na(X[,1])
    year <- X[s,1]
    temp <- X[s,14]/10

    ss = 1995 & year <= 2010)
    a <- lm(temp ~ year, subset=ss)

    print(summary(a))

    Output:

    Call:
    lm(formula = temp ~ year, subset = ss)

    Residuals:
    Min 1Q Median 3Q Max
    -1.36382 -0.42147 0.09919 0.30029 1.53176

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) -334.71029 89.83329 -3.726 0.00226 **
    year 0.16956 0.04486 3.780 0.00203 **
    ---
    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

    Residual standard error: 0.8272 on 14 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-squared: 0.5051, Adjusted R-squared: 0.4697
    F-statistic: 14.29 on 1 and 14 DF, p-value: 0.002031

  187. Minus, fingers crossed, mangling by HTML:

    X <- read.fwf("http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt", widths=c(4, 6, rep(5, 11), 7, 4, 7, 5, 5, 5, 6), skip=8, comment.char="Y", nrows=137)

    s <- !is.na(X[,1])
    year <- X[s,1]
    temp <- X[s,14]/10

    ss <- (1995 <= year & year <= 2010)
    a <- lm(temp ~ year, subset=ss)

    print(summary(a))

  188. >I chose HadCRUT because that’s what Phil Jones’s BBC interview was based on. But if you’d prefer NASA’s open source GISTEMP:

    GISTEMP? Hah. Hansen’s been caught fucking with that data. I might trust the JMA numbers more – at least I don’t know that they’ve been screwed with. But in general my confidence in ground-station figures is very low even when I don’t suspect fraud, due to known severe siting problems and heat buildup due to development around them. The numbers I watch are the satellite measurements.

  189. >GISTEMP? Hah. Hansen’s been caught fucking with that data.

    No he hasn’t. Even if he had, it’s open source, so the problem would have been fixed.

  190. >But in general my confidence in ground-station figures is very low even when I don’t suspect fraud, due to known severe siting problems and heat buildup due to development around them. The numbers I watch are the satellite measurements.

    ENSO affects the lower tropospheric temperature data much more than the surface temperature data, so it’s a bit pointless trying to extract a climate signal without correcting for that.

    This post at Open Mind compares HadCRUT, Gistemp, NCDC surface temps, and (satellite) LT temps from RSS and UAH. They all agree pretty well.

  191. >ENSO affects the lower tropospheric temperature data much more than the surface temperature data, so it’s a bit pointless trying to extract a climate signal without correcting for that.

    I’ve become extremely cynical about such “corrections” – even when the source isn’t an outright fraud like Hansen or Jones they generally seem to amount to injection of someone’s model-driven bias. The recent artificial “correction” of ocean temperatures by 0.3C (upward, it’s always upward) is a case in point.

  192. >I’ve become extremely cynical about such “corrections” – even when the source isn’t an outright fraud like Hansen or Jones they generally seem to amount to injection of someone’s model-driven bias.

    If you want to use “uncorrected”[*] LT temps, you need about 5 years more data to deal with the extra noise.

    Here’s code to look at the UAH satellite data from 1990–2010:

    R code:

    X <- read.table("http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.4", skip=6, nrows=384)

    s <- seq(12, 384, 12)
    year <- X[s,1]
    temp <- X[s,8]

    ss = 1990 & year <= 2010)
    a <- lm(temp ~ year, subset=ss)

    print(summary(a))
    plot(year[ss], temp[ss], type='l', lwd=3)
    abline(a, col='red', lwd=3)

    Output:

    Call:
    lm(formula = temp ~ year, subset = ss)

    Residuals:
    Min 1Q Median 3Q Max
    -0.25718 -0.06091 -0.02932 0.09139 0.39638

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) -37.646355 10.623803 -3.544 0.00217 **
    year 0.018856 0.005312 3.550 0.00214 **
    ---
    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

    Residual standard error: 0.1474 on 19 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-squared: 0.3987, Adjusted R-squared: 0.3671
    F-statistic: 12.6 on 1 and 19 DF, p-value: 0.002139

    [*] It’s a bit ridiculous to call satellite temps “uncorrected”. The processes to convert MSU readings into temperatures are much more complicated than the processes used to remove inhomogeneities from weather station data.

  193. Unmangled:

    R code:

    X <- read.table("http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.4", skip=6, nrows=384)

    s <- seq(12, 384, 12)
    year <- X[s,1]
    temp <- X[s,8]

    ss <- (1990 <= year & year <= 2010)
    a <- lm(temp ~ year, subset=ss)

    print(summary(a))
    plot(year[ss], temp[ss], type='l', lwd=3)
    abline(a, col='red', lwd=3)

  194. For those playing along at home, it’s worth pointing out that the IPCC is not a “source” of science at all

    That might be worth pointing out if it were true, but it’s not. The IPCC lead authors not only favor citing *their own works* (and those of their friends), but they go beyond that – they’ve been known go out and publish papers *specifically* so that those papers can appear in the IPCC reports, trying to *time* the publications (and tweak the submission deadlines) so they can “get the last word” in ongoing disputes. (The climategate emails confirmed this, though it got a lot less press than did, say, the trick to hide the decline, because it’s harder to explain) Writing articles (and reviewing them!) with an eye towards shoring up particular positions means the IPCC isn’t merely summarizing the consensus, they are in places manufacturing it.

    It reminds me of nothing quite so much as the way Steve Jobs used to convince (some of) the world that Macs are generally better than PCs. Suppose you’re The Steve and there’s a Macworld Expo coming up. Apple will time their product releases so there’s something new just out. So when you give your speech, you can usually point out that Macs are better now at *something*. Floating point ops, or integer ops or graphics throughput or what-have you. Point out the one way Macs are better at this exact instant in time, ignoring that this is a transient status – you’ll only have that particular lead for 6 months – and ignoring that there are several other ways even now that macs are worse.

    Now somebody who sees all the Apple Keynotes is likely to have the general impression that macs are generally all-around better, because (a) the speech was carefully timed, and (b) the claims made were carefully selected. One year, macs were faster, the next year they did better graphics, the next year they had better battery life…in sum, they’re always better than the competition. Steve will always be able to find a way to claim macs are great based on the latest available data, and *he won’t be lying* – he’s just being a little selective.

    The IPCC similarly has enough leeway that it can *always* plausibly say “things are now worse than we thought, based on the latest scientific evidence!” whether or not it’s true in general, because they get to choose both what “things” to pay attention to and feature in the SPM *and* what counts as evidence of “what we thought” about them earlier. So they do.

  195. So having been unable to follow the discussions over the weekend, I see you have all been hard at work proving my thesis:
    Climate sceptics consider science a failed proposition: They claim scientists are frauds and the scientific method does not work

    Note that I did not express a position about AGW, I just pointed out a believe about science expressed in this blog.

    All of your arguments come down to:
    The community of atmospheric scientist is a network of organized crime intended to defraud humanity

    Even those who say that “most” scientists are simply on an “error cascade” are saying the scientific method does not work. If science does not work with thousands of scientists working under constant public scrutiny, it can never work.

    Btw, I notice that this is exactly the same position creationists take against biologists and evolution theory (with the obvious implications for the rest of science).

    No discussion about the effects of carbon burning on future climate can lead to a result if you claim the people on the other side are criminals lying about every fact. Which is why no religious conflict can be solved by discussing facts.

    I would like to make clear that I still have not said whether or not AGW happens or not. My personal acceptance of the facts and conclusions of this case have no relevance to accusing scientists to be part of a criminal organization.

  196. Even those who say that “most” scientists are simply on an “error cascade” are saying the scientific method does not work. If science does not work with thousands of scientists working under constant public scrutiny, it can never work.

    This is not true. What is being said is not that the scientific method does not work, it is that the scientific method is not being followed. If you’re skewing your results because you are actively trying to defraud the rest of the world into following your political views, you’re not following the scientific method. I am uncertain about the number of people, if any, who are actually doing this, but it should go without saying that if they exist they’re not being good scientists. Crucially, however, if you’re fudging your results because you don’t want to be too far out of accepted norms, you’re also not following the scientific method. And this sort of fudging is made much easier by the general tenor of the debate–it’s easy to conflate “believes in AGW” with “is a serious scientist”, and many, many AGWers are trying to perpetuate that identification, and if your results tend to cast doubt on AGW you’ll immediately be accused of politicization regardless of what you’ve done. It’s not the scientific method that has a problem–it’s human psychology, and therefore the scientific establishment.

  197. @Tom Dickinson-Hunt
    “This is not true. What is being said is not that the scientific method does not work, it is that the scientific method is not being followed. If you’re skewing your results because you are actively trying to defraud the rest of the world into following your political views, you’re not following the scientific method. ”

    It is not necessary to prove my point again.

    But to explain again, the “scientific method” does not work if scientists in a large scientific community are unable to apply it. If a large community of scientists cannot purge fraudulent data, lies, and biased analysis, then the method simply does not work. And you write that atmostpheric scientist are “trying to defraud the rest of the world”. If science cannot prevent this defrauding on such a scale, you are claiming science does not work.

    And it is not just the Atmostpheric sciences. The general results are supported by many other scientific fields (paleontology, ecology, ocean sciences, planetary sciences, geology etc.) If these fields cannot spot the fraud, then how can you say science works?

    @Tom Dickinson-Hunt
    “I am uncertain about the number of people, if any, who are actually doing this, but it should go without saying that if they exist they’re not being good scientists.”

    This is a troubling statement. You claim you do not know who did what fraud. But something must have been done wrong, somewhere, by someone. That sounds a lot like the accusations of SCO against Linux.

  198. This is a troubling statement. You claim you do not know who did what fraud. But something must have been done wrong, somewhere, by someone. That sounds a lot like the accusations of SCO against Linux.

    What I mean to say here is, if there are people who are deliberately publishing research that they know to be false, those people aren’t following the scientific method. This should be really obvious.

    But to explain again, the “scientific method” does not work if scientists in a large scientific community are unable to apply it. If a large community of scientists cannot purge fraudulent data, lies, and biased analysis, then the method simply does not work. And you write that atmostpheric scientist are “trying to defraud the rest of the world”. If science cannot prevent this defrauding on such a scale, you are claiming science does not work.

    The scientific method is an abstraction. You get useful truth out of a series of steps in proportion with the degree to which those steps approximate the scientific method. The inability of people to follow methods sufficiently close to the scientific method to get useful truth in a certain situation does not mean that the scientific method itself is invalid.

    By way of analogy: There is a large group of people who are building airplanes. However, they’re building them with the airfoils oriented wrongly, so the planes cannot actually fly. I’m over here somewhere pointing out that hey, those planes aren’t flying. You’re saying that my pointing this out is equivalent to saying that the entire manufacturing system used to build the airplanes is useless and we need to start from scratch. You’re then saying that this argument proves that the planes are, in fact, flying.

    This is obviously a simplified and exaggerated case. The point I’m making is that if people aren’t following the scientific method, and hence are getting results that are untrue, that doesn’t mean that the scientific method isn’t a good way of getting true results.

    Also, please do try to get my name right.

  199. Sorry about the misspelling of your name.

    Tom Dickson-Hunt
    “I’m over here somewhere pointing out that hey, those planes aren’t flying. You’re saying that my pointing this out is equivalent to saying that the entire manufacturing system used to build the airplanes is useless and we need to start from scratch. You’re then saying that this argument proves that the planes are, in fact, flying. ”

    I cannot see any parallel with my statements. Science claims it can weed out falsehoods and police fraud. If it can do so only in unimportant cases, why bother. Science claims to have done so in AGW. If you still say that AGW is one big fraud or deception, while all of science keeps supporting it, then we can only conclude that either you are wrong or science does not work and is unable to discover fraud and deception.

    If people do not follow the “scientific method”, they should have been banned from research. Funding organizations in all countries should have refused funding. Journals should have discovered their fraud and refused their papers. Reviewers should have seen the fraud and rejected the papers. Other fields should have found discrepancies between atmospheric science and their fields, and blown the whistle. So if all these (hundreds of) thousands of scientists are unable to discover such a global fraud, the scientific method cannot be considered to work.

    If you claim AGW is one single big fraud perpetuated by thousands of researchers of decades, then you say science does not work.

    And it is NOT a small isolated field. The methods and data of the climate panels are supported by every branch of science that looked at them. The results of these studies have been published in the top journals, including general journals like Nature and Science, with all the meticulous review they could muster. Not a few times, but thousands of scientific articles over a stretch of thee decades (I read my first paper in the early 1980′s).

    So if AGW is a complete fraud, all of the natural sciences are accomplices. Then the only conclusion can be that science does not work.

  200. >So if AGW is a complete fraud, all of the natural sciences are accomplices. Then the only conclusion can be that science does not work.

    It works…eventually. But we know from historical examples of error cascades that blatant errors like an incorrect mass of the electron or miscount of the human chromosome number can persist for a surprisingly long time against observational evidence if there are enough social reasons for scientists to believe them.

  201. @esr
    “It works…eventually. But we know from historical examples of error cascades that blatant errors”

    Against the scrutiny of thousands of scientists and a well funded opposition of the industry and powerful politics? The examples you pose were rather inconsequential. And no criminal fraud by a large part of the community was ever implied.

    If deliberate fraud against the whole of the natural sciences can be perpetrated over decades, right in the face of powerful and well funded opposition, then what is the worth of Science? Because that is what the “skeptics” claim.

  202. Here is the latest IPCC synthesis report, people can judge for themselves:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf

    This report represents a summary of hundreds of independent researchers from many countries and many fields. 52 pages of dense scientific argument, all pointing to the same conclusion. Climate change is real, and it is caused by human activity. You cannot read this report (and the thousands of scientific papers it references) and come to any other conclusion.

    PS: Concerning the famous “Himalayan icepack” melting prediction Eric mentions, the IPCC in true “science is not infallible” style, admitted making a mistake. That does not invalidate the rest of these data, it just demonstrates the self correcting ability of science.
    http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/ipcc-admits-/himalayan/-blunder/383237/

  203. @ esr
    > an outright fraud like Hansen or Jones

    You keep screaming “fraud!” but you still haven’t provided any evidence that might support your claims.

  204. If people do not follow the “scientific method”, they should have been banned from research.

    And who would do the banning?

  205. @The Monster
    “And who would do the banning?”

    So you do not trust the scientific community and consider them unable to police itself?

    Another commenter who supports my thesis!

  206. @winter

    @esr
    AGW: You stand in a very long tradition of Americans dismissing science. From “smoking/asbestos does not cause cancer”, to “DDT is not concentrating in the food chain” and “thalidomide is safe” all the way back to tetraethyl lead. In every case, it was American “skeptics” who proved the alarm was all a conspiracy of scientists.

    You took what I think was a flippant remark from ESR and turned it into what has to be one of the largest thread derails i’ve ever seen on this blog by biting so hard that your teeth had to be hurting. In a different forum, i’d suggest that perhaps you had been trolled.

  207. @JonB
    “You took what I think was a flippant remark from ESR and turned it into what has to be one of the largest thread derails i’ve ever seen on this blog by biting so hard that your teeth had to be hurting.”

    ESR made a derogative remark against scientists. I feel like I am part of the larger community involved (science). I posted a response that pointed out that that insult was part of a very long tradition in the USA. I would have left it at that. And I refrained from entering into any specifics of the debate itself (AGW).

    Now, if I write you dismiss science and attack scientists as criminals, and then you go into great lengths dismissing science and attacking scientists as criminal frauds, I am sorry. That was not my intention. On the other hand, people specifically commented on my remarks, trying to point out where I went wrong. I consider it impolite and rude not to respond to their comments.

    And I am much more interested in the original topic than in yet another wild goose hunt for misinterpreted details and bad temper of researchers.

  208. >ESR made a derogative remark against scientists.

    Some so-called ‘scientists’. And I’ll do it again any time such ‘scientists’ betray science.

  209. @esr
    “Some so-called ‘scientists’. And I’ll do it again any time such ‘scientists’ betray science.”

    That was my point, indeed.

  210. So you do not trust the scientific community and consider them unable to police itself?

    No, I’m trying to figure out what the hell you’re talking about. If I’m understanding this correctly, you’re saying that there is a group of people called “the scientific community”, who have some mechanism for expelling members for violating their standards, and can thereby “ban” someone from doing research. You haven’t explained exactly how this works; is there some kind of Board of Governors of the Scientific Community, with funny robes and stuff?

    Can an excommunicated heretic scientist go form his own new Scientific Community?
    Could this one of those deals like when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated each other?

    Another commenter who supports my thesis!

    It seems to me that anything anyone says is somehow support of your thesis. What most of us think as the scientific method working, albeit rather slower than we might like, you somehow read as evidence that we don’t have any faith in the method at all.

    Was there a Scientific Community in the former Soviet Union?

  211. @The Monster
    “Was there a Scientific Community in the former Soviet Union?”

    I am not sure what the relevance of this question is. But there was a scientific community. It did not work very well, as they were not allowed to work independently and were often censored.

    The “scientific method” involves, among a lot of other things, open discussions and peer review. That is, when decisions on funding or publication are taken, they are done by peers. If any outside agents meddle with the decisions, the science is considered corrupted. Another pillar of science is that all discussions, disputes, and reviews are based on the publications and never targeted at the persons.

    Science is human, and humans are imperfect. So this ideal is not always reached.

    @The Monster
    “is there some kind of Board of Governors of the Scientific Community, with funny robes and stuff?”

    I will assume you are serious and really do not know. The answer is no, and it is not a formal decision. But if you are ever found to fabricate data, your career as a scientist is truly over, forever. The same if you are caught lying in a publication. Your peers will remember that your word cannot be trusted.

    @The Monster
    “If I’m understanding this correctly, you’re saying that there is a group of people called “the scientific community”, who have some mechanism for expelling members for violating their standards, and can thereby “ban” someone from doing research. ”

    This is rather simplified, but is mostly correct. A few examples are “cold fusion” and the opposition against “AIDS is caused by a virus, HIV”. In both cases a valid scientific discussion deteriorated and some groups/individuals refused to be subject to peer review and engage in a learned discussion. They founded their own “scientific communities”. As a result, these people were unable to receive funds for research and papers with their views are not accepted in scientific journals. Btw, “the scientific community” is simply the sum of all active scientists. For instance, everyone who ever publishes will be asked to take part in peer review.

    @The Monster
    “Can an excommunicated heretic scientist go form his own new Scientific Community?
    Could this one of those deals like when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated each other?”

    Can I fork OpenBSD or Emacs? Will they take my patches if I do?

    This “excommunication” is simply other scientists refusing to engage with you. If someone claims AIDS is not caused by a viral infection, and has no new evidence to support this extraordinary claim, then anyone who is working in that particular field will simply ignore him. He can be a brilliant theoretical physicist, and publish there, but nothing he writes about AIDS will be published in a peer reviewed journal. (Btw, this happens with Roger Penrose, who can publish a lot about mathematics and theoretical physics, but will not get his views about consciousness published in cognitive journals).

    As funding agencies (and industry) tend to rely on scientific advice for awarding funds, being “excommunicated” generally means no funding. But Fleischmann, Pons, and Duesberg found people to fund them. The result were wasted funds and a lot of South Africans now dying of AIDS.

    @The Monster
    “It seems to me that anything anyone says is somehow support of your thesis. What most of us think as the scientific method working, albeit rather slower than we might like, you somehow read as evidence that we don’t have any faith in the method at all.”

    If you call scientists criminals, and assume the work of three decades and thousands of papers published under the utmost scrutiny is all based on fraud and deception, then you have no faith in the method. Saying “in the end reality will prevail” is not the same as “Science will bring us closer to the truth”. If science can only work if we can get rid of the current crop of scientists, then science cannot work at all.

  212. 52 pages of dense scientific argument, all pointing to the same conclusion. Climate change is real, and it is caused by human activity.

    Nobody denies that the climate changes and nobody denies that “human activity” affects the climate to some degree. But statements like “Climate change is real” or “I believe in AGW” are sufficiently vague as to pull in lots of *implications*. Some of those implications are at least arguably false, and yes, it *was* scientists in related disciplines who noticed it. Science works, and the dispute over AGW is an example of it working. Science-by-committee works much less well, as was perhaps best described in Michael Crichton’s aliens cause global warming essay.

    The statement “Climate change is real” is about as informative as the statement “God is real.” So why insist on it? Because if you elaborated to the degree of making specific testable sub-claims, somebody might reasonably disagree with some of them, and then you wouldn’t have a “consensus”.

  213. >That was my point, indeed.

    First you accused me of being part of an American tradition of ignoring science; now you claim my anger at ‘scientists’ who commit fraud and abuse the public trust in them is your point. I think you are being dishonest.

  214. me>“Was there a Scientific Community in the former Soviet Union?”

    Winter>I am not sure what the relevance of this question is. But there was a scientific community. It did not work very well, as they were not allowed to work independently and were often censored.

    Some of us have come to the conclusion that much of the scientific community has become overly dependent on government funding, is therefore no longer very independent, and findings at variance with the policies of the government are often suppressed so as not to threaten that funding.

    Furthermore, whenever the portion of the scientific community that is not dependent on government funding comes up with other findings, you conveniently declare them to be paid shills of industries that don’t want to be forced to stop making Gaia cry.

    If science can only work if we can get rid of the current crop of scientists, then science cannot work at all.

    Hey, YOU are the one saying that bad scientists need to be gotten rid of (“banned from research”). The rest of us are just asking that they fully disclose their raw data, and all of the manipulations they do on that data (including the source code of all programs used). That way, other scientists can determine if their work is valid by replicating it.

    It’s interesting that you give Fleischmann and Pons as an example of researchers who refused to subject themselves to review. That is precisely what the Hockey Team has done. They have refused to show how they got to their conclusions.

  215. We don’t want anything to happen to those “scientists” who refuse to disclose other than that politicians stop considering them “expert witnesses” when they debate laws. They should get the same consideration as a jury gives to a witness who claims they know the accused is guilty, but won’t explain how they came to that conclusion, which is to say “none”.

    Oh, yeah.

    We also get to point at them, call them names, and laugh uproariously.

  216. Furthermore, whenever the portion of the scientific community that is not dependent on government funding comes up with other findings, you conveniently declare them to be paid shills of industries that don’t want to be forced to stop making Gaia cry.

    Because if you follow the money, that’s exactly what you discover them to be the vast majority of the time.

  217. People who do not actually follow the scientific method, and who play “hide the data” and “hide the methodology” are not scientists. That’s the bottom line.

    As for the IPCC report, why would it have any credibility after the myriad of examples of writing the substantive sections to match already published “summary” sections, playing games with publication dating cutoff rules, revelations of extortionate pressures on professional journals, and the many times that its representatives have flat-out misrepresented the referenced scientific papers?

  218. As for the accusations of being “paid shills”, we’ve seen instances of that accusation falsely made, e.g., by Gavin Schmidt of NASA, and yet the accuser is not deemed less credible. Couple that with the inference of Holocaust Denial in the name calling of skeptics by AGW adherents, what it is in fact, is the way that the AGW crowd avoids having to deal with criticism in an honest and open way.

    Again, not the behavior of scientists.

  219. It seems there has been some questionable behavior on the pro-AGW side, but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth, that definitely raises some red flags as well.

    Furthermore, whenever the portion of the scientific community that is not dependent on government funding comes up with other findings, you conveniently declare them to be paid shills of industries that don’t want to be forced to stop making Gaia cry.

    Personally, I don’t have the time or inclination to follow up all the AGW debate and sort it out. However, I am mildly curious what you guys think of Richard Muller. I posted about this upstream in this article, and saw no followup. His group is being paid by Koch and others to do science. He hasn’t gotten very far yet, and apparently agrees that there has been questionable behavior on the pro-AGW side, but my understanding is that his preliminary data supports some of the pro-AGW findings. Oh, BTW, he claims he’s going to release all data and source code.

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3240#comment-306803

  220. but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth,

    That’s known as “ad hominem”, for those of you who don’t have a copy of the game program.

    See also: “Nigger lover”.

  221. @esr
    “First you accused me of being part of an American tradition of ignoring science; now you claim my anger at ‘scientists’ who commit fraud and abuse the public trust in them is your point. I think you are being dishonest.”

    Short answers can be confusing.

    Your anger is expressed by accusing large parts of a field of fraud and deception. That is part of this tradition going back at least to the creationists of the 1920s. You are obviously not writing about the odd researcher fabricating data. You are talking about complete University departments (East Anglia?).

    So I see this remark as part of what I addressed at the start. I do not want to extend or change the meaning of that original comment of mine.

  222. @The Monster
    “Some of us have come to the conclusion that much of the scientific community has become overly dependent on government funding, is therefore no longer very independent, and findings at variance with the policies of the government are often suppressed so as not to threaten that funding.”

    So you conclude these scientists are corrupt? So that reasearch cannot be trusted? And how was AGW research in line with USA policy?

    @The Monster
    “Furthermore, whenever the portion of the scientific community that is not dependent on government funding comes up with other findings, you conveniently declare them to be paid shills of industries that don’t want to be forced to stop making Gaia cry.”

    Where did the IPCC said such?

    @The Monster
    “It’s interesting that you give Fleischmann and Pons as an example of researchers who refused to subject themselves to review. That is precisely what the Hockey Team has done. They have refused to show how they got to their conclusions.”

    Fleishman and Pons have never been able to deliver any reproducable results. And I will not discuss the specifics of AGW.

    @The Monster
    “Hey, YOU are the one saying that bad scientists need to be gotten rid of (“banned from research”).”

    Nope, those who cannot be bothered to convince their peers are left alone to look after themselves. FOSS projects also ignore patches of those who do not want to convince others of their merrit. In science, those who fabricate data should be shunned.

  223. @The Monster
    “We don’t want anything to happen to those “scientists” who refuse to disclose other than that politicians stop considering them “expert witnesses” when they debate laws.”

    I consider the use of scientists for propaganda unwanted. Laws and regulations should be formulated based on solid considerations and understanding of fact. Not by putting experts on stage. However, there is little I can do against the failings of USA politics or courts.

  224. So you conclude these scientists are corrupt? So that reasearch cannot be trusted?

    I conclude that their research cannot be reproduced. Their research can be trusted under the right circumstance. Coincidentally, the Russian maxim is nearly poetic:

    ???????, ?? ????????
    doveryai, no proveryai
    (Trust, but verify.)

    Corollary: If the research cannot be verified, it must not be trusted.

  225. @Glen Raphael
    “Nobody denies that the climate changes and nobody denies that “human activity” affects the climate to some degree”

    Really? Have you read the Wall Street Journal recently? I just read an interesting article on Slate … here it is:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2293607/

    “Only 48 percent of Americans believe that global warming is at least in part “a result of human activities,” according to a 2010 Gallup poll, down from 60 percent in 2007 and 2008. ”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147242/Worldwide-Blame-Climate-Change-Falls-Humans.aspx

    @Glen Raphael
    “…statements like “Climate change is real” or “I believe in AGW” are sufficiently vague as to pull in lots of *implications*.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more, which is why I included a link to the latest IPCC report. 52 pages packed with data summaries, and enough literature references to keep one busy for a year reading the primary sources.

    @Glen Raphael
    “The statement “Climate change is real” is about as informative as the statement “God is real.” So why insist on it? ”

    ?? I don’t understand you on this point. Climate change has empirical evidence for its existence, and god doesn’t. The statement “Climate change is real” is informative because even in the face of this empirical evidence, a lot of people do not accept it as being true.

  226. Some commenters seem to get lost in the labyrinth of pro- and anti-AGW arguments. It seems that there are even people (not on this blog) that confuse ozon-depletion with global warming.

    If all the AGW debate is too obtuse and opaque, read
    Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by David JC MacKay
    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    He tries to put up all the basic facts related to energy use. At the very least the idea behind the AGW science is made clear. You obviously can reject AGW as fierce or even fiecer after reading it. But at least you have the numbers to fight right at hand.

    You can start from:
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c1/page_5.shtml

    And at the end from:
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_240.shtml

    Have fun!

  227. The Monster
    “Corollary: If the research cannot be verified, it must not be trusted.”

    I could not agree more.

  228. @Glen Raphael
    “Nobody denies that the climate changes and nobody denies that “human activity” affects the climate to some degree”

    I would be glad if this would be true. I have not yet seen any indication that you are right.

    I much rather would be fighting over remedies than over facts.

    @esr
    “As a source of sound science, the IPCC summaries rank somewhere below the collected works of Trofim Lysenko.”

    Now you are comparing the scientists working for the IPCC with a very cruel man. Is that really how you want to describe the IPCC? Or are you indeed only refering to his fairy tales about genetics? Then I think this comparison will not help in this discussion (you do not deserve that headline).

  229. @The Monster:

    but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth,

    That’s known as “ad hominem”, for those of you who don’t have a copy of the game program.

    Excuse me? A lot of people here are tarring every single person who either isn’t sure, or thinks there might possibly be something to global warming, with the brush that they are either complicit or stupid. Now I make two statements that seems quite supportable to me (see, for example, who Koch funds), and the one that you agree with, you silently ignore, but the one you disagree with gets you all hot and bothered. I haven’t by any means claimed that every single person who thinks AGW is a crock is funded by these people, just that it appears (which it does) that some are.

    Look, it’s pretty obvious that you’re frustrated with what you perceive to be the lack of understanding shown by some. But are you really blind to the actual fact (not the perception) that it is convenient for those who do rape and pillage Gaiea to have people disbelieve global warming, and that they are putting money into the battle, and given the history of tobacco and asbestos and other environmental issues it seems quite likely that they would put money into the battle no matter which way the correct science goes?

    But good job at ignoring my question about Muller and focusing on my reasons for being suspicious of some of the louder advocates on both sides. Bonus points for bringing in the “N” word, as well.

  230. @Winter:

    Yes, those who fabricate data should be shunned. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.

    I think there’s a little bit of a terminological confusion here. When I say “scientific method”, I do not refer to anything involving open discussion and peer review; I refer to a process that you can follow while locked in a box if needs be, which basically consists of finding a hypothesis and testing it by experiment (and, of course, actually changing your beliefs about that hypothesis based on the results of the experiment, which is the hard part). It is this method which I have absolutely no doubt in. I do doubt the efficacy/trustworthiness of the process which involves publishing something in a journal, getting people to peer review it, et cetera, because I have seen evidence that seems to point to the current implementation of this process as regards climate science being politically tainted.

  231. @JPL: Paving a parking lot is “human activity”. Cutting down a forest to raise crops is “human activity”. Both of those affect the local climate and hence, to some degree, the global climate. So one can establish that “human activity affects the climate” without even mentioning CO2. Whether the net effect is large enough to “matter” or larger than “natural variation” or even is “a bad thing” are entirely different questions, so naturally you’ll get different percentages depending on how you word the question and which implications your audience thinks are packed into the vague terms. The term “global warming” (used in that gallop poll) implies (a) that it’s bad, (b) that it’s warming “globally”, as in everywhere. Since (a) is debatable and (b) is unlikely, if you ask people if “global warming exists”, you might get low numbers. “Climate change” on the other hand, exists by definition: the climate is always changing, and always doing so in response to *everything*. So you might get higher numbers for that.

    “Human activity affects the climate” is true, but then so is “bovine activity affects the climate”. Heck, you could even plausibly argue that “canine activity affects the climate.” Which is why these broad percentage-who-believe surveys are meaningless; the terms are too fluid.

    Climate change has empirical evidence for its existence, and god doesn’t.

    Nope. There exist definitions of “God” such that god exists. (For instance, Spinoza’s idea of god, in which god is the universe). The claim “X is real” is only a sensible thing to argue about when the two sides agree on what X *means*. Which isn’t the case here; “climate change”, like “god”, is too vaguely defined a thing to make an “X is real” argument more than a platitude, an applause line, an announcement of group affiliation.

  232. @Patrick Maupin
    “it seems quite likely that they would put money into the battle no matter which way the correct science goes?”

    I accept someone like Bjørn Lomborg who (I understand) receives money from industry and engages in a real debate about the economics of global warming. I think all kinds of unkind things about him (unsubstanciated, I am sure), but he improves our understanding.

    But if people hire Burson-Marsteller to do the Public Relations, I suspect the intend is to reduce understanding.

    So, financing by the coal industry is not bad in itself. But doing so stealthedly like the tobacco industry did, that is reprehensible.

  233. @Tom Dickson-Hunt
    “I refer to a process that you can follow while locked in a box if needs be, which basically consists of finding a hypothesis and testing it by experiment (and, of course, actually changing your beliefs about that hypothesis based on the results of the experiment, which is the hard part).”

    Your interpretation is based on early philosophy of science which never quite got around the idea of how to approach the question of Truth. You forgot the part that Science is a social enterprise. The book to read is Karl Popper “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper).

    If you do science on your own, it is not science. Sad but true.

  234. @Glen Raphael
    “There exist definitions of “God” such that god exists.”

    Yes, but they are not empirical or use a definition of god that does not overlap with those of religious people. And Spinoza was an atheist who used some roundabout ways of saying so without getting killed.

    @Glen Raphael
    ““climate change”, like “god”, is too vaguely defined a thing to make an “X is real” argument more than a platitude,”

    That is why Climate Change is just an abreviation for a host of changes in Climate caused by changes in atmospheric composition. The things predicted by the IPCC are very well defined and empirically testable. Sadly, if we wait until they have been tested, we might very much regrett the wait.

  235. If you do science on your own, it is not science. Sad but true.

    I’m going to have to call BS on that. I skimmed the section on philosophy of science in the Wikipedia article, found no reference to “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”, nor anything that suggested that science had to be a social endeavor to be valid. Science is not necessarily a social enterprise. It is entirely possible, with no prior knowledge, to deduce the basic (heliocentric) shape of the solar system from givens available to the naked eye, hypothesize a law of universal gravitation, and test it sufficiently to put a high probability on its truth, all on your own without any social endeavors whatsoever. If a person did this, would it not be considered science? What do you mean by “the question of Truth” that is, apparently, not sufficiently approached by non-social models of science?

  236. @Winter

    I doubt you intend it (I suspect due to a language difference), but every post you’ve been making has come across with a highly-insulting air of strong condescension. You’re undermining yourself heavily by doing so.

    *continues munching on popcorn and watching the show*

  237. Winter> I much rather would be fighting over remedies than over facts.

    Interesting. Is it self-evident that AGW (positing) is something that must be remedied?

  238. “But are you really blind to the actual fact (not the perception) that it is convenient for those who do rape and pillage Gaiea to have people disbelieve global warming, and that they are putting money into the battle, and given the history of tobacco and asbestos and other environmental issues it seems quite likely that they would put money into the battle no matter which way the correct science goes?”

    But are they actually doing so? The funding of skeptics is less than you might imagine, and drastically less than the money being poured into research to support the theory of AGW. I’d like total numbers of funding rather than simply those of Exxon, but if other major oil companies follow the same spending patterns as in the link below, they are doing far more to advance AGW and surrounding research than hinder it. If you can find funding for skeptics at anywhere near the levels of funding provided to pro-AGW groups, I will be impressed.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/03/the-climate-industry-wall-of-money/

    As for the incentives that would perpetuate faulty science on such a large scale, take your pick. On the level of individual scientists, off the top of my head, there is error cascade, pressure from scientific organizations, a desire for funding, and even basic human fears and desires. On the level of scientific organizations, there is funding, the chance to become important in the eyes of the public, the chance to influence policy, and the desire not to compromise the theory that has brought them these things. On the level of policy makers, there is the desire to take more control in the name of the climate, the desire to appropriate more funds for selected groups and “green” initiatives, the chance to earn public support as being for the environment, and the chance to support ulterior motives with a media-friendly story. On the level of big business and banking, look no further than the favor shown by governments around the world towards “green” initiatives and the large amounts of money moved through carbon trading. There is money to be had, and when it comes to choosing between funding an underrepresented group of skeptics to take on one of the most fiercely-defended theories of our time or lucratively siding with a group involving governments, scientists, and the media, which way do you think most businesses will go? Only those that cannot profit from the change will pour their Gaea-killing cash into the pockets of skeptics. For those able to take advantage of AGW, their money will go to the believers.

  239. But good job at ignoring my question about Muller and focusing on my reasons for being suspicious of some of the louder advocates on both sides. Bonus points for bringing in the “N” word, as well.

    If you bring to the table an “argument” based on who is “in bed with” $EvilPeople, I will stop to point out your fallacious reasoning, ignoring any other arguments you may or may not make, because the fact you’ve stopped to ad hominem in the first place suggests you don’t have anything else.

    For what it’s worth, I do this with people on “my side” when I think they’re putting their thumbs on the scales, and catch hell for being an $EvilPeople.apologist, which is the logical equivalent of “Nigger Lover”. I use that potent phrase precisely because it IS a reminder of an ugly Kafkatrap:
    Racist: “We know that niggers rape white women; they cain’t help theyself. It’s just the way they is. And besides, no one has a word of defense for Cletus here.”
    Defender: “I don’t think Cletus is guilty.”
    Racist: “But you don’t count — you’re just a nigger lover. So we might as well hang you too while we’re at it.”

  240. > I’m going to have to call BS on that. I skimmed the section on philosophy of science in the Wikipedia article, found no reference to [... ] anything that suggested that science had to be a social endeavor to be valid. Science is not necessarily a social enterprise

    wikipedia’s definition of “scientific method” indicates that ” another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method ; emphasis added.

    So although you can do some work on your own, at some point you’ll have to publish it and have it reviewed. That’s why you can’t really do science completely “on your own”.

  241. >So although you can do some work on your own, at some point you’ll have to publish it and have it reviewed. That’s why you can’t really do science completely “on your own”.

    Anyone can do science on their own, in the sense of forming predictive theory by experimental check. The social part comes when you try to add your discovery to the body of knowledge accepted by other scientists. At that point, peer review is required.

  242. >Anyone can do science on their own, in the sense of forming predictive theory by experimental check. The social part comes when you try to add your discovery to the body of knowledge accepted by other scientists. At that point, peer review is required.

    I agree ; just clarifying Winter’s one-liner

    although, having your discovery accepted into the body of knowledge is non unimportant. It’s how the body of knowledge grows, and allows others to build on it, in stead of having to reinvent gravity, or so.
    Then again, reinventing gravity sometimes isn’t such a bad idea either.

  243. On science as a social activity.

    I was following Popper in this. You can do a lot on your own, but that is in general nor called science. And you can be right while on your own and wrong in company, that was not the point.

    And I might sound “arrogant” but my feeling is better described as “helpless”. I am not used to try to explain the “inner” workings of research. And, no, I have never been involved in anything even remotely connected tto AGW.

  244. @The Monster:

    If you bring to the table an “argument” based on who is “in bed with” $EvilPeople,

    I didn’t bring an “argument” to the table. I was merely pointing out that I consider some of the most vocal proponents of both positions to be suspect, and why. I live in Texas, and I know for a fact what lengths the Creationists will go to to get their political agendas taken care of, and if they are on the anti-AGW side (which most of them seem to be), then I can rightly assume that they are spending big bucks to forward their position. Likewise, the leaked emails, even if cherry-picked, don’t do some on the pro-AGW side any good.

    I will stop to point out your fallacious reasoning, ignoring any other arguments you may or may not make, because the fact you’ve stopped to ad hominem in the first place suggests you don’t have anything else.

    I don’t have “anything.” Never mind “anything else.” I have questions. I see a microcosm of the real world here. A bunch of people arguing about whose “expert” is tainted by this or that. I found a guy (Richard Muller) who it appears might be doing real science, in the public eye, who I don’t think has been discussed here before, and asked if anybody here had looked at what he was doing. And all I hear so far, besides your attack on me like I’m suddenly demon-spawn, is crickets chirping.

    For what it’s worth, I do this with people on “my side” when I think they’re putting their thumbs on the scales,

    I call bullshit on this. For a start, you didn’t quote my whole statement: “It seems there has been some questionable behavior on the pro-AGW side, but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

    You’re not jumping up and down screaming that I’m tarring all the pro-AGW side people with the same brush, but you are jumping up and down screaming that I’m tarring all the anti-AGW side people with the same brush. Your own thumb is definitely on the scale here, never mind taking other people’s off the scale, and all I’ve done is explained that I see people acting badly on both sides (which you’re not helping, actually), and I’ve seen this one guy who apparently has done some good work before, and might be working to get to the bottom of this, and was wondering if anybody had looked at what he has to say.

    But good job explaining how principled you are about still ignoring my question about Richard Muller.

  245. @Aptronym:

    Certainly the Koch brothers have funded both anti-AGW science and PR. How much? Nobody knows. Greenpeace has what is most assuredly a wildly high estimate of $55 million, but that includes donations to organizations that do stuff besides anti-AGW PR.

    They funded Richard Muller based on his previous statements, but may be regretting that at this point. It will be interesting to see if he gets further funding to study ocean temperatures or not.

  246. I know for a fact what lengths the Creationists will go to to get their political agendas taken care of, and if they are on the anti-AGW side (which most of them seem to be), then I can rightly assume that they are spending big bucks to forward their position.

    So you start with what you claim is personal knowledge of what Creationists do, allude to some unsubstantiated correlation between holding Creationist position and opposing AGW, then ASS|U|ME that these Creationists are heavily spending to fight AGW, leaving unstated that those funds will come with ideological strings attached. If you don’t like calling it “Nigger Lover” logic, that kind of guilt by association is at least McCarthyist.

    Unlike the East Anglia CRU case, in which we have specific emails outlining the “tricks” the Hockey Team used to hide the Decline, you have absolutely nothing to substantiate the charge that AGW Denier Creationists have influenced any scientists’ findings. On the contrary, TTBOMK every published article opposing AGW has scrupulously laid out all its raw data sources, and every bit of how the conclusions are drawn from them.

    And you berate me for failing to treat the two situations equally?

    And all I hear so far, besides your attack on me like I’m suddenly demon-spawn,

    I didn’t attack you. I pointed out that you made an ad hominem “argument”, and you’ve doubled down on the guilt by association.

    But good job explaining how principled you are about still ignoring my question about Richard Muller.

    Last I knew, BEST wasn’t finished going through all the data yet, so the jury is still out on Muller. But I like the fact that he takes Anthony Watts’ work on the quality of surface temperature measurement seriously. Most people who publish pro-AGW work won’t even mention Watts at all.

    But I am under no obligation to answer every question you ask in order to object to your use of ad hominem. That I fail to mention something simply means I don’t feel like discussing it. You can keep talking about how people “ignore” your question all day long, and it won’t make any difference to me.

  247. >Certainly the Koch brothers have funded both anti-AGW science and PR. How much? Nobody knows. Greenpeace has what is most assuredly a wildly high estimate of $55 million, but that includes donations to organizations that do stuff besides anti-AGW PR.

    It is worth noting that the Koch brothers are not conservatives and don’t exhibit typical conservative fixations in their funding. They’ve also poured money into left-leaning organizations like the ACLU to support free speech, anti-Patriot-Act activism, various drug-decriminalization initiatives, and that’s just the stuff I remember off the top of my head.

  248. On science as a social activity.

    I was following Popper in this. You can do a lot on your own, but that is in general nor called science. And you can be right while on your own and wrong in company, that was not the point.

    All right. To clarify:

    The individual, logical endeavor implied by testing hypotheses via experiment is not in question. If there are frauds in either camp, then by definition they aren’t following that process, so the AGW debate is immaterial to whether or not that process works. As far as I can tell it unquestionably works, but that determination is separate from any thoughts about AGW.

    The collective process of peer review, open research, et cetera is generally sound. However, I have suspicions that it has been politically tainted in the context of AGW–not the process itself, but the specific institutions. Thus the contention that the quantity of peer-reviewed science on either side is not strong evidence. And yes, it’s true that this process is supposed to weed out frauds, and in this case it’s been corrupted. Saying that is not the same thing as saying that the process can never work.

  249. Speaking of Muller… if BEST means it when they say this:

    Replicable
    We intend to provide an open platform for further analysis by publishing our complete data and software code. We hope to have an initial data release available on this website in the first half of 2011.

    then that puts them head and shoulders above the Hockey Team.

  250. @esr:

    It is worth noting that the Koch brothers are not conservatives and don’t exhibit typical conservative fixations in their funding. They’ve also poured money into left-leaning organizations like the ACLU to support free speech, anti-Patriot-Act activism, various drug-decriminalization initiatives, and that’s just the stuff I remember off the top of my head.

    It’s definitely hard to pigeonhole the Koch brothers, and a lot of what they do is quite rational. Here’s an interesting interview:

    http://www.archaeology.org/online/interviews/koch/

    I do think they greatly overreached with their recent SLAPP suit, which may or may not mean the parody hit too close to home, and they do spend a fairly large chunk on politics, usually with a pro-big-business slant:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/us/22koch.html

    Unfortunately, due to the current political landscape, the pro-big-business people and the religious nuts are pretty well intertwined on the Republican side, and neither one represents libertarian interests all that well.

    @The Monster:

    So you start with what you claim is personal knowledge of what Creationists do, allude to some unsubstantiated correlation between holding Creationist position and opposing AGW,

    (1) I do have personal knowledge of what some Creationists do; (2) there are a lot of very public persons who have both Creationist and anti-AGW agendas (see, e.g. Palin and Limbaugh) who are all on the Republican/tea party side

    > the ASSUME that these Creationists are heavily spending to fight AGW,

    No assumption necessary. People like Howard Ahmanson and friends heavily fund organizations like the Discovery Institute and the George C. Marshall Institute.

    > Unlike the East Anglia CRU case, in which we have specific emails outlining the “tricks” the Hockey Team used to hide the Decline,

    It would be untruthful for you to assert that no scientists not involved in the shenanigans believe in AGW, so to the extent that I made an ad hominem argument, I certainly did it equally.

    > I didn’t attack you. I pointed out that you made an ad hominem “argument”, and you’ve doubled down on the guilt by association.

    It’s not an “argument” to say that I’ve seen people behaving badly on both sides. Frankly, it makes it extremely hard to dig down and find the truth, and I find that really annoying, and your own behaviour, with your laser-like focus on where you think your ox is being gored and your “nigger lover” response is not at all helpful in this regard.

    > Speaking of Muller… if BEST means it when they say this:

    Thank you. That was my thought exactly, which is why I brought it up.

  251. It is worth noting that the Koch brothers are not conservatives and don’t exhibit typical conservative fixations in their funding. They’ve also poured money into left-leaning organizations like the ACLU to support free speech, anti-Patriot-Act activism, various drug-decriminalization initiatives, and that’s just the stuff I remember off the top of my head.

    But they are oilmen, and when scientific findings emerge that threaten their business, they put money into PR efforts to undermine and discredit that science in the eyes of an unsophisticated public. Just like Big Tobacco did with the smoking-cancer link.

  252. there are a lot of very public persons who have both Creationist and anti-AGW agendas (see, e.g. Palin and Limbaugh) who are all on the Republican/tea party side

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard either of them express a Creationist PoV. Palin’s father’s a retired science teacher with an impressive collection of fossils, who I’m quite sure has taught her about carbon-dating them to millenia ago, not 4004 BC. Limbaugh says lots of things in jest, so he might well have said things on BOTH sides.

    and your “nigger lover” response is not at all helpful in this regard.

    I think it’s quite helpful. Precisely the same “logic” is used in each case. Those who defend the unpopular are accused of supporting the crimes of which the unpopular stand accused. Let’s apply it to your quote above:

    Racist: “There are a lot of people who are both black and have committed rape.”
    Defender: “Um… that doesn’t really tell us anything about whether Cletus raped Mary Jane Snowhite. There are also a lot of white people who have committed rape, but no one uses that as ‘evidence’ to accuse you of –”
    Racist: [Smacks Defender in the head with rifle butt] “Shut up, nigger-lover!”

    Yep, I’m some kind of Oil Lover or something. Warmer Lover? Denier Lover?

  253. The ad hominem demonization of the skeptic movement … that’s a great way to show a scientific process. The Koch stuff has rapidly become the Left’s version of the Illuminati/Rosecrucians/Knights Templar all in a pair. Claiming their involvement in some conspiracy is no more credible than using Bishop Ussher’s dating. And the idea that government funded research is “untainted” is pretty much a laughable assertion after the performances of Mann, Bradley, Hughes / CRU et al.

    The idea that Palin or Limbaugh discredit the skeptic side is indeed nothing but ad hominem.

  254. >Palin’s father’s a retired science teacher with an impressive collection of fossils, who I’m quite sure has taught her about carbon-dating them to millenia ago, not 4004 BC.

    That’s correct. I investigated in 2008, and the notion that Palin is a creationist is a mainstream-media myth founded on a single “teach the controversy” statement in a 2006 interview.

  255. @esr:

    > a single “teach the controversy”

    No, Palin’s an opportunist who smelled opportunity, and, at least in the state where I live, “teach the controversy” is a codeword for “elect me, and I’ll help make sure that creationism gets taught in the science class.”

    @The Monster:

    >> and your “nigger lover” response is not at all helpful in this regard.

    >> I think it’s quite helpful. Precisely the same “logic” is used in each case.

    In the instant, me pointing out that some people on each side of the debate seem to have agendas, and that I found somebody in the middle who might seem to be credible, and that I pointed this person out before without a response, and would somebody take a look-see and tell me what they think… No, it’s most emphatically not helpful. Especially since you studiously ignore the fact that if what I did commit was an ad hominem attack, I did it in an equal opportunity fashion.

    I think it’s quite helpful. Precisely the same “logic” is used in each case. Those who defend the unpopular are accused of supporting the crimes of which the unpopular stand accused.

    I didn’t personally accuse you, or even most people who believe or disbelieve in AGW, of anything. But you sure protest a lot.

  256. @SPQR:

    And the idea that government funded research is “untainted” is pretty much a laughable assertion after the performances of Mann, Bradley, Hughes / CRU et al.

    The idea that Palin or Limbaugh discredit the skeptic side is indeed nothing but ad hominem.

    First of all, I’m not trying to discredit any side, just pointing out that there are elements that have behaved badly on both sides and it makes it harder to figure out what is right. But your painting of all government funded research as tainted certainly does qualify as, not only an ad hominem attack, but a completely unsupportable/unsupported ad hominem attack. I don’t know anything about climate science, but I do know about other areas and I can certainly find untainted government-backed research…

  257. especially since you studiously ignore the fact that if what I did commit was an ad hominem attack, I did it in an equal opportunity fashion.

    So it’s OK to call black men rapists, so long as you also call white men rapists? And all this time I thought Mike Nifong was an asshole. He was just trying to even up the opportunity to get railroaded for rape!

    I didn’t personally accuse you, or even most people who believe or disbelieve in AGW, of anything. But you sure protest a lot.

    I never said you personally accused me. But you did paint that guilt-by-association portrait with a pretty broad brushroller. You sure seem to have covered all of the scientists who disagree with AGW. Since I defend those scientists, that’s what makes me personally a Warmer Lover.

  258. So it’s OK to call black men rapists, so long as you also call white men rapists? And all this time I thought Mike Nifong was an asshole. He was just trying to even up the opportunity to get railroaded for rape!

    What I said was “It seems there has been some questionable behavior on the pro-AGW side, but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

    And I stand by that statement. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t made it, because it got in the way of my real question, but the fact that the whole debate is severely politicized is not merely the fault of the AGW crowd, and it makes it hard to sift through and find unbiased information. This is one of those issues where too many really loud people have significant agendas. It is more of ad hominem observation than an ad hominem argument, and was definitely not designed to be an ad hominem attack. And if you read my first post on the issue, and then re-read my second in toto, and calm down, you might be able to see that I am seeking, not dictating.

    Although you claim you go out of your way to take thumbs off scales, you didn’t take exception to the first part until after I repeatedly brought it to your attention, but you took significant exception to the second part, even though I have showed that there are some people who fund both Creationism and anti-AGW.

    But I can’t even point out that inconsistency to you without being compared to somebody who abused a powerful position and attempted to railroad some prosecutions for mere political gain. Is Nifong the new Hitler? If so, congratulations — this discussion is over.

    I never said you personally accused me. But you did paint that guilt-by-association portrait with a pretty broad brushroller.

    Sorry. I will narrow the roller. You’re loud, way too sensitive, and you protest too much.

    You sure seem to have covered all of the scientists who disagree with AGW.

    Where? WTF have you been smoking? Does your knee jerk up so hard and fast that it hits your glass chin and knocks you senseless?

  259. Patrick,

    Monster has got your goat. For all his loudness, sensitivity and protesting, you are matching him.

    Winter,

    It’s interesting that you mention HIV-denialism and creationism.

    All the behaviors you decry and say prove your point have been matched by the pro-HIV crowd (including scientists) against the anti-HIV scientists. For that matter all the same behaviors have been matched by the pro-AGW crowd (including scientists) against the anti-AGW scientists. Including the charges of fraud. Where is your outrage against the pro-HIV and pro-AGW crowd?

    As far as creationism goes, the reaction of non-creationist scientists to creationism has been screwing up the science for a long, long time. Specifically, non-creationist scientists were horribly prejudiced against catastrophes and anything that put a start date on the universe. Specifically they were prejudiced against the Big Bang theory.

    Yours,
    Tom

  260. @Tom DeGisi:

    Monster has got your goat. For all his loudness, sensitivity and protesting, you are matching him.

    I should have left off the insults at the end of that last post. But he seems bound and determined to be insulted by me on behalf of others; thought it was best to just get it over with and do it directly, to give him a retrospective excuse to accuse me of the attempted kafka-trapping and malicious prosecution.

    Specifically, non-creationist scientists were horribly prejudiced against catastrophes and anything that put a start date on the universe.

    Who are you thinking of? Fred Hoyle might be a counterexample — a creationist (or perhaps early intelligent designer) who advanced a steady state theory.

  261. Patrick,

    Hoyle rejected the Big Bang because it implied a creator. He later abandoned his atheism in response to what he saw.

    “He found the idea that the universe had a beginning to be philosophically troubling, as many argued that a beginning implies a cause, and thus a creator (see Kalam cosmological argument).[7] Instead, Hoyle, along with Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi (with whom he had worked on radar in World War II), argued for the universe as being in a “steady state”. The theory tried to explain how the universe could be eternal and essentially unchanging while still having the galaxies we observe moving away from each other. The theory hinged on the creation of matter between galaxies over time, so that even though galaxies get further apart, new ones that develop between them fill the space they leave. The resulting universe is in a “steady state” in the same manner that a flowing river is – the individual water molecules are moving away but the overall river remains the same.”

    The other issue was catastrophism vs. uniformitarianism. Too strong a commitment to uniformitarianism made it harder to embrace punctuated equilibrium and the Luis Alvarez impact event hypothesis. Why did scientists so vehemently reject catastrophism? Because they wanted to reject the flood in Genesis.

    Me, I would prefer that scientists follow the evidence and not let theology influence their science either way. Scientists usually don’t understand theology well enough to combine the two. Similarly, theologians usually don’t understand science well enough to combine the two. It is a rare polymath who can do so.

    Yours,
    Tom

  262. Sorry. I will narrow the roller. You’re loud, way too sensitive, and you protest too much.

    I plead guilty to loud. “‘Nigger lover’ logic” is definitely loud. When I feel it’s necessary to make a point, I’ll be loud.

    Sensitive? Let’s just say that I often see connections that others don’t see, or see and think are inconsequential. At the same time, there are things others think are a really big deal that I don’t care a whit about.

    Whether I protest too much is quite subjective. If you think I’m overly sensitive about something, you’ll think I’m protesting it too much.

    Although you claim you go out of your way to take thumbs off scales, you didn’t take exception to the first part until after I repeatedly brought it to your attention,

    I never did “take exception”. Whether I bother to bitch about something else is irrelevant. I can’t possibly complain about every bit of illogic I see. There are only 24 hours in a day. Your ad hominem caught my eye, and I called you on it. You chose to defend it by saying you do it to both sides, which doesn’t make it less of an ad hominem.

    If you don’t believe that I will fight people on “my side”, ask ESR how often I’ve argued against his position on something or other. Since he’s an anarchist and I’m a libertarian, we actually disagree more often than most folks would think.

    Go ask Ed Morrissey how often I’ve told him he’s full of crap about something. I bet he’s lost count by now. Heck, I even defended Rep. Anthony Weiner when Ed bagged on him for saying health care wasn’t a “commodity”, when Ed thought of a definition by which it was. If it’s a dirty debate tactic when the Left does it, then it is when one of “my side” does it too. Even though Rep. Weiner has been a real bastard on some other issues. It still doesn’t make that sophistry right.

    I defended Mitt Romney against the charge that he’s somehow hypocritical for having supported a MA health care reform bill (commonly called “RomneyCare”) even though he opposes doing something very similar at the national level (“ObamaCare”). I’m not really a Romney supporter, and I think even RomneyCare was the wrong thing to do, but I recognize that there is nothing hypocritical about doing things at the state level that would be unconstitutional at the national level. It’s called “Federalism”, and I consider it a great protection against a tyrannical centralized government.

  263. Regarding Muller/BEST, I don’t see that there’s much to say about it. Seems like he’s doing something useful, something CRU somehow wasn’t able to manage despite being infinitely better funded, something that ought to be done. I hope politicians and reporters stop bugging him so he can finish the work, reach some conclusions and publish them in the literature. Whereupon, once that happens, we should have some conclusions where you don’t have to take it on faith that he’s right because the data is available. If the conclusions he eventually reaches turn out to be similar to those reached by CRU/GISS that would be nice. It would suggest that our view of the world’s recent temperature hasn’t been drastically harmed by the general incompetence of our official recordkeepers. If the conclusions differ in some significant way from CRU/GISS, that would be good to know too.

    The results don’t have much impact on the larger pro/anti-AGW debate in any case. That’s mostly a media misconception. The surfacestations project was well worth doing because flaws in thermometer siting *might* have mattered to the outcome, whether or not it actually did. Any way you slice it, CRU still gets points off for having been unable to show their work and for randomly making up false excuses when they got caught out.

  264. @Tom DeGisi
    “As far as creationism goes, the reaction of non-creationist scientists to creationism has been screwing up the science for a long, long time. Specifically, non-creationist scientists were horribly prejudiced against catastrophes and anything that put a start date on the universe. Specifically they were prejudiced against the Big Bang theory.”

    Biologists could not care less about the Big Bang theory. It is less than irrelevant to their work. Scientists (there are no creationist scientists) actually only care about creationists because they screw up education in biology and physics. You simply cannot make sense of biology if you cannot explain evolution.

    There is (actually, was) a prejudice against catastrophes. Not because of the flood, which is irrelevant, but because people tended to insert a catastrophe whenever they were lost for clues. That was less than helpful. So nowadays, you need to have at least some credible evidence before people will consider some catastrophe as a cause.

    And contrary to media coverage, biologists completely and utterly ignore religion or creationism in their work. That must be the ultimate insult to the creationists. And if you are obnoxious, you will be treated as such. Which might explain why some people get such a rough ride.

  265. Winter,

    > Biologists could not care less about the Big Bang theory. It is less than irrelevant to their work.

    Nonsense. You have felt compelled to sadly jump up and down to defend “science” from the ignorant hordes, when it was just AGW. You think biologists don’t care about the Big Bang? People pick their tribes. Biologists are in the scientist tribe. They will behave certain ways and care about certain things based on tribal shibboleths.

    How do I know?

    Science, baby, science.

    Yours,
    Tom

  266. What I said was “It seems there has been some questionable behavior on the pro-AGW side, but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

    And I stand by that statement.

    Well, you shouldn’t. It was a stupid statement. Nobody objects to the first half because it’s objectively true; people do object to the second half because it’s flat-out ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous that it’s hard to imagine you’re not just trolling. Maybe the best way to get the point across is to flip the polarity. “in bed with” seems to translate to “gets some funding from” and the stuff about Creationism and gays seems to be based on a caricature – you haven’t actually found any specific person claiming to “want gays to disappear off the face of the earth” at all, just people you think you might be able to demonize as such. So this is a guilt-by-association argument that goes *at least* two levels deep. You’re trying to imply the people we actually listen to – say, Stephen McIntyre – are guilty because *some* people who agree with them on climate receive *some* of their funding from people who in turn agree with *some* people who like creationism and what the heck, maybe dislike gays too (although there’s no evidence of that last one and in the specific case of the Koch Brothers it’s downright unlikely). And even after all that mudslinging, you still can’t find anybody specific doing anything specific wrong, so you settle for saying it “raises red flags”. And then you throw in a “to the extent that” to make the whole mess deniable. Ugh.

    But what the heck, your method of “reasoning” seems like fun, let’s try it! Here’s the background info we need to build our case: CRU employs many of the key IPCC-affiliated scientists who are mired in controversy, including Phil Jones. CRU gets substantial funding from British Petroleum, Shell, and other energy companies. British Petroleum’s oil rig spilled lots of oil in the gulf last year. Therefore by your logic I can say this:

    “Some skeptics have made a few careless mistakes, but to the extent that some on the pro-AGW side seem to be in bed with the same people who want to completely destroy the gulf ecology, killing thousands of migratory birds and gentle dolphins and wiping out fisheries for years to come in pursuit of filthy lucre, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

    Or we could follow many many other chains to produce the same effect. Let’s try another: Gore relied on the MBH hockey stick TWICE, (once mislabeled as “Dr. Thompson’s Thermometer”) to make his case that the science is settled in An Inconvenient Truth. Gore supports Mann and relies upon Mann’s findings; Gore has also made millions off his environmental and political connections to “green energy”. Thus:

    “Consensus scientists make some good points…but to the extent that some on the pro-AGW side seem to be in bed with the same people who stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars trading carbon credits even while the poor suffer and starve in Bangladesh, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

    How’s that?

  267. > Well, you shouldn’t. It was a stupid statement.

    He’s right, Patrick. You should walk that back. I bet you (unlike Gingrich, for example) can walk it back gracefully.

    Yours,
    Tom

  268. @esr

    >Fool, I’ve been interested in the science since years before a gang of frauds decided to turn it into a political hobbyhorse – I was reading bristlecone-pine studies seriously in the 1970s back when the bugaboo of the day was global cooling and I was a naive centrist Democrat. I’ve read a lot of the published science and that’s exactly how I know that we’re living through the second coming of Lysenkoism.

    So what you mean is that you were “interested in the science” until you decided you disagreed with it. And now you are promulgating a political view based on that disagreement.

    Clarification noted, but I can’t see why any of that makes me a “fool”.

  269. And do note that if you disagree with the second part of my phrases (the part where I connect the people you like to those who want to club baby seals) but don’t disagree with the first part (the part where I graciously admit the possibility of a few mild faults on my side), that apparently makes you a hypocrite. Gotta object to both equally. :-)

    Wait, wait, I’ve got another one! The IPCC received funding from the Bush administration, which also killed thousands of people and made no apology for obtaining confessions by torture. So:

    “Yeah, skeptics can be a little confrontational…but to the extent that some on the pro-AGW side seem to be in bed with the same people who want to kill thousands of civilians and torture dozens of innocents based on the flimsiest of pretexts, that definitely raises some red flags as well.”

  270. @Tom DeGisi:
    “You think biologists don’t care about the Big Bang?”

    Most biologists know as much about physics as the rest of the public. And whether the Universe started with a Big Bang or not is completely irrelevant to their work. So they only care about it in private. Biologists I know do not care at all about it, most do not even know the difference with the Steady State Model.

    Creationist truely overestimate their own influence on science. They are only considered a nuisance. More like those who deny the moon landings are a nuisance to astronauts, or faith healers to medical science. And they are considered just as sane.

    Pick any year of Nature, Science, or Cell and scan the article (not the comments). You will be hard pressed to find a single reference to religion that is not involved with religious interference on education. Not a single one.

  271. > Creationist truely overestimate their own influence on science.

    It isn’t scientists reacting to creationists. It’s scientists not wanting to sound like creationists to other scientists. Again, it’s tribal signaling behavior.

    How do I know?

    Science, baby, still science.

    Yours,
    Tom

  272. @Tom DeGisi
    “It’s scientists not wanting to sound like creationists to other scientists. Again, it’s tribal signaling behavior.”

    You have looked into the hearts and minds of the biologists, and they are all creationists?

    Back to my original comment. Creationism is the original poster child of US movements who criminalize scientists and are dismissing science. Going strong almost for a century now. Have they contributed anything to our understanding? Only that you can fool many of the people all of the time. It just takes dedication and funds.

  273. Tom DeGisi> It’s scientists not wanting to sound like creationists to other scientists. Again, it’s tribal signaling behavior.

    Winter> You have looked into the hearts and minds of the biologists, and they are all creationists?

    DAMN, that’s a heck of a non-sequitur, and a Kafkatrap to boot!

    Just because you don’t want people to think you’re a member of some set does not mean you really are a member of that set.

    Do you want to sound like a mass murderer?
    Do you want to sound like a crack addict?
    Have you stopped beating your wife?

  274. @The Monster
    “Just because you don’t want people to think you’re a member of some set does not mean you really are a member of that set. ”

    Indeed. But everything else he writes about biologists is so beyond the bounds of real life that I wonder.

    But going back to the Creationists. Creationists really do believe that biologists (and all other scientists) “know” the Bible is right and that biologists fill their days with fabricating false data to harm religion. Because, if they didn’t know they were wrong, why else whould biologist lie about their work?

    It must be incomprehensible to them that biologists actually never think about creationists. Just like MDs and medical researchers only think about faith healers when they are forced to. Once in a while a biologist bumps into some creationist and remembers that there are obnoxious fools everywhere. And then caries on with what she was doing.

  275. @Glen Raphael:

    “in bed with” seems to translate to “gets some funding from”

    Exactly. Howard Ahmanson has funded a lot of creationism and anti AGW “science.” Note that I did not at all make the claim that all AGW science is in this category, merely that when I go out on the wider web and search for things like global warming hoaxes, I wind up at sites that I know engage in pseudo-science, and this raises some red flags for me. There is no guilt by association, but there is a more careful evaluation required when you know that some of the people pushing the studies hard have this sort of agenda.

    you haven’t actually found any specific person claiming to “want gays to disappear off the face of the earth” at all, just people you
    think you might be able to demonize as such.

    That’s not true.

    http://reason.com/archives/1998/11/01/invitation-to-a-stoning

    It does appear that Howard Ahmanson did later distance himself from Rushdooney, but if I looked I could probably still find current-day links between this sort of thinking and the Discovery Institute. I don’t intend to dive into this any further right now. Those guys give me the heebie-jeebies, which is the very reason why somebody who is saying exactly the same thing as them needs to make his case extremely carefully in order to hold my attention.

    I suppose you could split a hair and say that they don’t want to stone all gays, just practicing ones.

    @Tom DeGisi:

    > Well, you shouldn’t. It was a stupid statement.

    Provocative, yes, obviously. But, my starting point is: I don’t know, and I spent some time looking, and I see a lot of conflicting data, and I see bad behavior from some of the most influential people (in terms of sheer numbers of followers) on both sides of the debate. I still find it very interesting that when I point this out (admittedly in a provocative manner) on this blog, all the bad behavior on one side is acknowledged, but nobody bothers to ask where I saw bad behavior on the other side — best case, they factually point out that not every anti-AGW person is in this tainted group (again, without pointing out the obvious, that not every AGW-believer is in the other tainted group) in an even-more-provocative fashion, and worst case, they effectively accuse me of lying.

    I have no reason to suspect that people here are being duplicitous or not being careful, but I do know that people with money are influencing both the science and the PR on both sides of this debate. Nonetheless, as esr has pointed out multiple times, even if I were just trolling (which I most assuredly did not intend), the kind of responses I am seeing here are really not at all helpful to the cause espoused by the responders.

  276. One could make a stronger reverse case here too. Consider: the Koch Brothers are funders of the ACLU and Cato (demonized as “Gay-to” by the same sort of nutjobs you’re talking about). Therefore you could say that: “non-AGW researchers are in bed with those who support gay rights”, which “raises red flags” for some. Or heck, maybe it “raises green flags” instead.

    At least then you wouldn’t have to rely on a connection chain that includes the step “if I looked, I could probably find a connection.” In my example the connection is actually there and hasn’t been denounced or “distanced from”. It’s just *massively irrelevant* to the question of what constitutes good science.

    If your information sources have been focused on finding these “connections” rather than looking at the science, you need to find better information sources. I usually recommend Climateaudit.org – try the “Favorite Posts” list in the left sidebar.

  277. At least then you wouldn’t have to rely on a connection chain that includes the step “if I looked, I could probably find a connection.” In my example the connection is actually there and hasn’t been denounced or “distanced from”. It’s just *massively irrelevant* to the question of what constitutes good science.

    Eric’s stance on this, FWIW, is that you can claim associations in cases where there are common doctrines.

  278. Patrick,

    Walk it back. Glen is in the process of embarrassing you the way you once embarassed me.

    > I still find it very interesting that when I point this out (admittedly in a provocative manner) on this blog, all the bad behavior on one side is acknowledged, but nobody bothers to ask where I saw bad behavior on the other side

    Actually I pointed out that the bad behavoir was on both sides, thus:

    > All the behaviors you decry and say prove your point have been matched by the pro-HIV crowd (including scientists) against the anti-HIV scientists. For that matter all the same behaviors have been matched by the pro-AGW crowd (including scientists) against the anti-AGW scientists. Including the charges of fraud. Where is your outrage against the pro-HIV and pro-AGW crowd?

    Am I nobody?

    Yours,
    Tom

  279. @Glen:

    > Consider: the Koch Brothers are funders of the ACLU and Cato (demonized as “Gay-to” by the same sort of nutjobs you’re talking about).

    First, you claim I can’t find a common funding source, then when I point out that I already showed a common funding source, you claim it doesn’t matter that there is one. But your counterexample doesn’t negate my premise that when I find a whacko who funds X and Y, then when he seems to be one of the major source of funding for people promulgating Z, I need to look at Z carefully. (And there are more whackos funding X and Z, though maybe not Y, besides this one.)

    > At least then you wouldn’t have to rely on a connection chain that includes the step “if I looked, I could probably find a connection.”

    I already showed a connection. One guy funded people who want to stone gays, people who want to teach creationism, and people who disseminate anti-AGW PR. It appears that the funder backed off from funding the guy who wanted to stone gays at some point. I was being honest in saying this, but you are being disingenuous in twisting my words now. The connection already existed but I’m not sure why it was terminated. Nonetheless I feel confident I could find a similar current one if I cared to.

    @Tom:

    No you’re not nobody, but I thought you were talking to Winter at that point on that issue — two related but separate conversations going. And re-reading it, it still seems separate. Nobody disagreed with me about the bad behavior of the pro-AGW crowd, but (as I said) nobody bothers to ask where I saw bad behavior on the anti-AGW side, and people keep going out of their way to point out some sort of logical fallacy here.

    I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that when I see people like Howard Ahmanson supporting a cause, it makes me suspicious, just as I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that when I see supposed scientists doctoring data it makes me angry. Anybody who thinks that association determines guilt is wrong, but anybody who thinks that association doesn’t or even shouldn’t have any bearing on how closely you need to examine things before you are confident you have discovered the truth is going against history, human nature, and evolution.

  280. > And re-reading it, it still seems separate.

    It was separate. It was also germane to your point, even though separate.

    The pro-AGW people are engaging in bad behavior, and so are the antis, including our esteemed host. Winter’s complaint against esr is partially correct, in that esr is painting with too broad a brush and tarring good people who really are trying to do good science. I think some are failing, not because of their work habits, but because they are trying to make a hopelessly inexact sciences like paleoclimatology do more work than the available data will ever bear, until we can actually look back in time. This is not an entirely bad thing. Working hard to pull information out of difficult data is something we should want scientists to try so hard at that they fail. The key is is to realize the failure.

    Others are failing because they really, really want to be world saving prophets alot more than they want to do reproducable science. Absolute ambition also corrupts absolutely. Winter’s problem is that his complaint is equally applicable to both sides of three disputes mentioned: AGW, HIV and creationism. I keep failing to explain myself well enough on creationism (although I lost a big comment which really would have helped).

    For example, centuries ago, scientists had to fight against the Flood as a way to explain various geological observations. They properly won, but it left a legacy of uniformism and repugnance for catastrophe. Later, Darwin developed a uniformistic biological theory to explain the origin of the species. Again, he was combating the notion of a sudden miraculous event. And again uniformism was strengthened. Those historical exegencies shape science today, sometimes to its detrement. This is all covered by Popper. The tribal signalling and appeals to authority which compromise objectivity for the controversies of AGW and HIV are duplicated with regard to creationism, even if a given biologist never even thinks of creationists. The biologist still has to fight tribal signalling and appeals to authority arising from the (long) history of the fight against creationism, even when it is only a secondary, tertiary or even more distant effect.

    This does not often cause problems with most biology these days, however, there is a another current controversy which echoes back to creationism among exobiologists. It starts with the geocentric and heliocentric theories. The first put the earth at the center. Then the solar sytem. Then we found the sun was a small star on the edge of a huge galaxy. Then the galaxy was discovered to be pretty typical. Each time the importance of man was reduced. Theologically this was always a blow to the importance of the Man – God relationship. The natural trend for scientists to embrace was that, just like the sun did not seem to be important, being one star among billions, that the earth would not be important, being one planet among billions, and that both life and intelligent life would be common too.

    But lately it’s beginning to look to some exobiologists that the earth is unique and intelligent life is rare indeed.

    All sorts of irritating creationists pop out of the woodwork at this point, including ones like me and Teilhard de Chardin, who think that evolution was the mechanism of creation.

    > I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that when I see people like Howard Ahmanson supporting a cause, it makes me suspicious

    OK. I see your Howard Ahmanson and raise you a Noam Chompsky. The problem with your suspicions is that they are vacuous and teach us nothing. Controversies attract kooks. Your vacuous point should embarrass you. Neither I, nor anyone reading what you wrote will learn one single useful thing, except that even the great Patrick Maupin can spend a great deal of time saying nothing of value. Learning from real associations is useful. Learning from false associations that don’t exist? Vacuous.

    Yours,
    Tom

  281. >Winter’s complaint against esr is partially correct, in that esr is painting with too broad a brush and tarring good people who really are trying to do good science.

    I have been careful to note that I think most of the scientists pushing AGW are relatively innocent victims of an error cascade – that is, “good people who really are trying to do good science”. I wrote about this, in particular, in my posts on error cascades and naming and shaming the fraudsters.

  282. > I have been careful to note that I think most of the scientists pushing AGW are relatively innocent victims of an error cascade – that is, “good people who really are trying to do good science”.

    You are absolutely correct. I apologize for completely mischaracterizing what you said.

    Yours,
    Tom

  283. To be even more clear, upon further reflection and in order to correct my own mistakes, I don’t think you have behaved badly, esr, in the way Winter dislikes. Some attempted scientists who are AGW proponents have behaved fraudulently, just as you said. I think it is because they are stupid, ambitious and driven to believe that “Only We Can Save the World And A Little Fudging On The Means Appears To Be Necessary Due To The Duplicity Of Our Adversaries”. Again, a lot of it is tribal signaling and circling the wagons, not Desire To Do Evil (Bwahahaha), but you can’t tell the difference in the end result.

    And of course, to reiterate what Patrick was correct about: Yes, some anti-AGW people have distorted facts and engaged in the same sorts of bad behavior as the the fraudsters. I don’t know of any who I would call scientists, but that is because there no big anti-AGW scandal like Climategate has come to my attention. I would be very interested to know if it had.

    Yours,
    Tom

  284. > I see your Howard Ahmanson and raise you a Noam Chomsky.

    If I, a priori, believe something, and then find that Noam Chomsky believes the same thing, it will certainly make me examine my position more carefully, simply because of his track record. I’m not ashamed to say that either.

    > The problem with your suspicions is that they are vacuous and teach us nothing.

    Maybe not you. I’ve learned a lot from this exchange, but probably not the lesson you think I should.

    > Controversies attract kooks.

    True. And on both sides. But peripheral to the point. A lot of people here go out of the way to explain how the money flows on the pro-AGW side, and claim it influences the debate.

    When a kook is rich enough to pump that sort of money in, and does pump that sort of money in, and you can see it flow, is it really bad form to take note of that and wonder if that also influences the debate?

    Neither I, nor anyone reading what you wrote will learn one single useful thing,

    Here was my main comment. Richard Muller had never been discussed before on this blog, so I doubt it’s true that nobody learned “anything”. Later, when there was a lot of going back and forth about who had the paid shills and which evidence was tainted (a conversation I had never taken part in), I brought him up again in this comment, making the point that (a) from an outsider’s point of view it is difficult to discern what is going on by simply typing “global warming” into a web browser because there are bad actors on both sides, and (b) it appears this guy is trying to do something about it.

    I did get a few responses about Muller, but most were on the way I explained that I see bad actors on both sides, which I just tossed off about 2 hours after I should have gone to bed. As I said later, I shouldn’t have worded it that way, because in retrospect it is quite inflammatory, but I really didn’t mean it that way at the time. Nonetheless, I was referring to links (that you seem to think are ephemeral) but that a lot of other people do and will see. The response here to that post was quite illuminating. Even now, you’re simply discounting links that are present, rather than explaining why they don’t matter. That won’t help too much in the wider debate.

    except that even the great Patrick Maupin can spend a great deal of time saying nothing of value.

    I never said I was great. I don’t even claim that what I said was really of that much value. But something that you could have learned from this, if you thought about it, is that attacking someone for what he perceives, rather than asking where the perceptions come from and then carefully analyzing that and explaining why the perceptions are immaterial, is not a great way to advance an argument. I have strong feelings on the whole Ahmanson thing because whenever my next door neighbors don’t pay attention, really bad kooks wind up on the Texas textbook selection committee. Perhaps you haven’t paid enough attention to this either, because Texas is so big that whenever that happens, it’s bad for school textbooks all over the entire country.

    Learning from real associations is useful. Learning from false associations that don’t exist? Vacuous.

    Which false associations? Ahmanson and Rushdooney? Ahmanson and the Discovery Institute? Ahmanson and the George C. Marshall Institute? Exxon and the George C. Marshall Institute? Either of those institutes and half a dozen people who publish heavily on the topic of AGW? The Discovery Institute and Creationism? Ahmanson and the Council for National Policy?

  285. > I never said I was great.

    But you are, because you almost never make mistakes this big on this blog. This is a first.

    > Which false associations?

    Ahmanson and esr. Ahmanson and I. Ahmanson and Steve McIntyre. Ahmanson and Roger Pielke, Jr. Ahmanson and Greg Pollowitz. Ahmanson and the Koch brothers. Ahmanson and Palin. Ahmanson and all those people whom you smeared by claiming that his association with anti-AGW beliefs meant anything more that vacuous coincidence.

    > But something that you could have learned from this, if you thought about it, is that attacking someone for what he perceives, rather than asking where the perceptions come from and then carefully analyzing that and explaining why the perceptions are immaterial, is not a great way to advance an argument.

    Interesting. Since I started out pretty calmly in my criticism of you, why didn’t you spend the slightest amount of effort about asking where my perceptions come from and then carefully analyzing that and explaining why my perceptions are immaterial?

    In fact, where have you done this for Glen? Monster?

    Nevertheless it is a FANTASTIC lesson. Glad you mentioned it. I’m never very persuasive except maybe to undecided people in any case, so you are certainly right. Patient questions and answers are always more effective.

    Yours,
    Tom

  286. >But you are, because you almost never make mistakes this big on this blog. This is a first.

    I was going to stay out of this, but Tom has finally put the case with enough respect that I can concur. No, Patrick, you have not been up to your usual standard in this exchange. You’ve had a few good points, but you have not been exhibiting the meticulous and correct reasoning that Tom and I have both come to expect from you. And you have been rather unfair to Monster. Tom is trying to point this out in as gentle a way as possible. Please take heed.

  287. Patrick,

    And now that you mention it, yes, Ahmanson and the stultifying layers of obtruse and interfering bureaucracy at the local, state and federal level are excellent reasons for everyone to embrace school choice, not just parents! Students, scientists, pastors, athiests but especially long suffering bureaucratically oppressed teachers should all be big fans.

    Ahmanson may be one of your hot buttons. School choice is one of mine.

    I can understand why teacher’s unions and teachers with tenure and state pension plans might think differently though. That is why we need school choice options which properly allay teacher fear. It isn’t right to unnessecarily scare people.

    As regards the current American fiscal tar pit, apparently we need people to be scared to death just so people who don’t know how to walk back fiscally irresponsible comments like Newt will nevertheless TRY MUCH HARDER.

    OK. Another irrelevant hot button heard from.

    Yours,
    Tom

  288. >Ahmanson may be one of your hot buttons.

    I’d never heard of this clown before, but creationists in general are one of mine. Self-stupefied toxic idiots, the lot of them. Which is a dead horse I wouldn’t flog, except when otherwise rational people have fallen so far off their game that they think there’s any kind of alliance between the likes of Ahmanson and me.

  289. Hmmm. None of the creationists I know are self-stupefied, toxic or idiots. Rather the opposite. I suppose we travel in different circles, then.

    But I would certainly find it odd if you were allied with Ahmanson for any reason.

    Yours,
    Tom

  290. @Tom DeGisi:

    But you are, because you almost never make mistakes this big on this blog. This is a first.

    Well, I appreciate that. But I’m sure it won’t be the last…

    Which false associations?

    Ahmanson and esr. Ahmanson and I.

    I tried to make it abundantly clear that I in no way think that every single anti-AGW supporter, or even any on this blog, are engaged in any bad behavior regarding AGW, or are stupid enough to have been misled by people engaging in bad behavior, or even hang around people engaging in bad behavior related to the controversy. To the extent I failed in conveying that message, I am truly sorry.

    Although I have been commenting here for awhile, I have never before participated in a discussion on AGW. I really have not been paying enough attention to the controversy because there are too many other things going on to worry about and because I did notice (from the periphery, not on this site) that it appeared to be really politicized from both sides. When I happened to notice an article on Richard Muller during the current debate, I thought I’d toss it out there.

    For somebody just starting to look at AGW on the web, if that somebody knows about Ahmanson (and the expected corporatists such as Exxon and the Koch brothers) and knows about the East Anglia debacle, it would be quite easy to conclude that it is all politics and no science on both sides. It is my impossible dream that it be depoliticized and discussed in purely scientific terms on an open source basis, and Muller seems to be taking small steps down that road.

    But something that you could have learned from this, if you thought about it, is that attacking someone for what he perceives, rather than asking where the perceptions come from and then carefully analyzing that and explaining why the perceptions are immaterial, is not a great way to advance an argument.

    Interesting. Since I started out pretty calmly in my criticism of you, why didn’t you spend the slightest amount of effort about asking where my perceptions come from and then carefully analyzing that and explaining why my perceptions are immaterial?

    If I attacked you, I am sorry about that as well. I don’t recall doing so and certainly didn’t mean to, and certainly thought I was quite calm in responding to you. In point of fact, in trying to understand where your perceptions are coming from, I just asked “which false associations?” And learned that you think I’m including you in those associations. Despite the fact I thought I disclaimed that, right at the start. So I’m not doing very well at all at expressing myself here.

    In fact, where have you done this for Glen? Monster?

    I will admit to being a bit harsh on Monster after he effectively accused me (maybe not exactly, but it looked that way to me at the time) of trying to spring a kafkatrap and of moral equivalance with Nifong.

    I thought Glen made some good points (which, btw, I was mostly agree with and was trying to make at the start) that tenuous connections aren’t at all dispositive, but the only thing I thought I said to him which could possibly be construed as any sort of attack was to call him out when he mis-quoted me on the actual connections between Ahmanson and others. Ahmanson really does have a lot of money, and he really did spread a lot of it around to some people who think that gays should be stoned and some people who think that Creationism should be taught in science class and… some people who don’t believe in AGW.

    Nevertheless it is a FANTASTIC lesson. Glad you mentioned it. I’m never very persuasive except maybe to undecided people in any case, so you are certainly right.

    I don’t think either of us can pull off sarcasm all that well very often.

    Patient questions and answers are always more effective.

    Yes. I actually thought I was patient on most of the Q&A, but I admit I didn’t start out that way after Monster’s first comment. Obviously, my perceptions didn’t match the mainstream perceptions on the blog.

    @esr:

    except when otherwise rational people have fallen so far off their game that they think there’s any kind of alliance between the likes of Ahmanson and me.

    I certainly didn’t think that and certainly didn’t intend to imply it in any fashion. To the extent you thought I was saying that, I can understand why Monster was so outspoken. But I fear this tone-deafness, especially with regard to others’ perception of my written words, is a lifelong affliction. To cope, I have developed reasonable skills at explaining where I was coming from, but occasionally, when the tone-deafness also impedes my perception of others’ written words, those skills fail me. Obviously, that has happened in spectacular fashion in this instance. Sorry.

  291. I will admit to being a bit harsh on Monster after he effectively accused me (maybe not exactly, but it looked that way to me at the time) of trying to spring a kafkatrap and of moral equivalance with Nifong.

    I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was simply reacting to the ad hominem and guilt by association tactics, and later, your willingness to excuse them so long as they’re directed at both sides of a controversy.

    I did not accuse you of moral equivalence with Nifong. I simply demonstrated the logical consequence of “I don’t discriminate; I use guilt by association to attack BOTH sides!”.

    A lot of what’s being done in a misguided effort to make up for centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, etc. has taken the form of “two wrongs make a right”. It’s what led the Gang of 88 to pre-judge the guilt of the LAX players, despite the lack of any evidence other than the ever-changing testimony of an alleged victim, simply because she was a member of a pre-judged victim class, and the accused were of a pre-judged oppressor class. In their twisted minds, there’s nothing wrong with a lynch mob, so long as they lynch only whites to help make up for that history of lynching blacks.

    I did not accuse you of intending a Duke-like outcome. I was telling you that the result of excusing equal-opportunity McCarthyism is invariably more witch hunts, not less.

  292. @esr
    “I have been careful to note that I think most of the scientists pushing AGW are relatively innocent victims of an error cascade – that is, “good people who really are trying to do good science”. I wrote about this, in particular, in my posts on error cascades and naming and shaming the fraudsters.”

    Actually, that is to some extend my view of the anti-AGW camp too, except that there are relatively few scientists in that camp.

    This leads us to only one question to answer. You wrote (referring to AGW research):
    “When the ‘scientists’ are frauds and liars, criticizing them is pro-science.” As you seem to be very sure about the fraud in AGW, you should be able to answer it rather easily.

    So the question is: What data were fabricated? And who did it?

    If those thousands of scientific papers and thousand pages of the IPCC report are essentially based on fabricated data, this should not have to be very difficult. After we get the answer, we can go and clean up the mess.

    Alternatively, if there is no ready answer (“Someone somewhere must have fabricated some data at some time”), we can go the David JC MacKay’s excellent summary and point out where he is wrong (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c1/page_5.shtml), so we can trace back the guilty.

  293. >So the question is: What data were fabricated? And who did it?

    You’re new here. Search the blog archives for my previous posts on this topic. Three of the leading villains are Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and James Hansen. Data sets that we have strong reason to believe have been actively tampered with include GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and the Siberian paleoclimate reconstructions used in the IPCC report. Many other datasets are compromised by severe siting problems, “correction factors” added without physical or instrumental justification, and aggressive interpolation using dubious assumptions; AGW alarmists have committed a more passive form of data fraud by continuing to put these forward as evidence despite the known and very serious problems with the quality of the measurements.

  294. @esr
    “strong reason to believe have been actively tampered with include GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and the Siberian paleoclimate”
    “Many other datasets are compromised by severe siting problems, “correction factors” added without physical or instrumental justification, and aggressive interpolation using dubious assumptions”

    Is that really all? Is that the “evidence” that all of AGW is fraud and deception? There is reason to believe Hansen tampered with the GISTEMP series. You think.

    What else is this than saying the whole field is utterly incompetent. Because this is basic science training. Actually, solving these problems IS the education of a scientist. Siting problems, correction factors, interpolation? What do you think meteorology is? Ecology? Oceanography? Glaciology? Really, the field must be utterly incompetent if they cannot handle these problems.

    And the other data sets? Ice core and ocean floor drilling? Lake sediments? Isotope series? Other paleoclimate sequences? Tree rings? Local surface temperature series? Ice cover? They must show a discrepancy with the tampered data, or not? Or are they all manipulated too?

    And then we did not start with the basic science behind carbon dioxide and solar forcing.

    I am most definitely unimpressed. But I am sure the skeptics will eventually get hold of the raw data, or generate some of their own, and then they can try to prove that there was no global warming.

  295. >Is that really all? Is that the “evidence” that all of AGW is fraud and deception?

    Oh, no. There’s much more, including severe problems with the models on every level from crappy code up to reliance on unjustified bugger factors and unverified coupling mechanisms. Sample: catastrophic AGW projections rely on a positive feedback between atmospheric CO2 and water vapor levels that has never been verified. It’s simply assumed in the computer models, using coupling constants that were pulled out of someone’s butt.

    >Really, the field must be utterly incompetent if they cannot handle these problems.

    Welcome to reality. This is what a scientific field in the grip of a serious error cascade looks like.

    >But I am sure the skeptics will eventually get hold of the raw data, or generate some of their own, and then they can try to prove that there was no global warming.

    See, now you’re exhibiting one of the problems. The AGW alarmists have been very artful about presenting the evidence for “global warming” as evidence for “anthropogenic global warming”. There are in fact reasons to suspect that we are in a natural warming trend due to forcing such as Milankovitch cycles. The fraud, and the resulting error cascade, centers around models that finger anthropogenic CO2 as a principal forcing input.

    But there’s a more basic problem here. It is not up to the people you call “deniers” to prove a case. The extraordinary claim – that the climate is being radically fucked up by human CO2 emissions – is the one being made by the other side. What we are pointing out is that they have grossly failed to meet the standard of scientific evidence required for the huge policy interventions they are advocating.

  296. @esr
    “It is not up to the people you call “deniers” to prove a case.”

    All of science points in one direction, people who do not like the conclusion point in another. So science must be wrong?

    @esr
    “What we are pointing out is that they have grossly failed to meet the standard of scientific evidence required for the huge policy interventions they are advocating.”

    1 All of science thinks AGW met the standard of evidence (including journals like Nature and Science). The anti-AGW camp disputes even the most basic science, starting with the greenhouse effect itself. And they also fight the very concept of a warming trend. You yourself are claiming the data-sets that establish a warming trend have been intentionally corrupted.

    2 It is not the task of the scientists to decide on policies and interventions. As citizens, they did their duty and warned of the consequences. They can advocate interventions just like anyone else.

    This discussion in NOT about the advocated policy interventions, but about the basic data. If you claim fraud and deception, your burden of proof is more than “We think this must be wrong”. All of the natural sciences support global warming science. So it is either they are all wrong, or you are wrong.

    These other causes of warming have been investigated seriously. And they fail to explain the warming measured.

    But I think the point is in the quote “they have grossly failed to meet the standard of scientific evidence required for the huge policy interventions they are advocating“. It is not the science you seem to object to, but the interventions that would become inevitable if the basic facts are accepted.

    But politicians are well positioned to say “Yes, there is 90% certainty that AGW is real, but we decide to ignore its effects until we are 99.9% certain of the consequences“. That really is a policy question. Instead, we see a lot of accusations of fraud, deception, and stupidity leveled against the very scientists who try to get the facts straight.

  297. Data sets that we have strong reason to believe have been actively tampered with include GISTEMP…

    GISTEMP is open source. If it’s been tampered with, you should be able to provide more than an accusation.

    There’s much more, including severe problems with the models on every level from crappy code…

    Do you have any evidence that GCMs are based on “crappy code”?

    Sample: catastrophic AGW projections rely on a positive feedback between atmospheric CO2 and water vapor levels that has never been verified.

    Really? It’s never been verified that warmer air holds more water vapour?

  298. >All of science points in one direction, people who do not like the conclusion point in another. So science must be wrong?

    Now you’re being either dishonest or just silly. You don’t get to equate “science” with “what the IPCC says” or “what various people claim the consensus is”. If the term is to be meaningful, “science” is the correct application of the scientific method. My charge is that the AGW alarmists have failed at this.

    >These other causes of warming have been investigated seriously. And they fail to explain the warming measured.

    What part of the definition of “error cascade” did you fail to understand?

    >It is not the science you seem to object to, but the interventions that would become inevitable if the basic facts are accepted.

    No. I am merely opposed to some of the proposed interventions. I am revolted in a much more basic way by the corruption and politicization of science. In support of this, I have commented before that I think there are actually good reasons to be concerned about atmospheric CO2 levels, just that none of them happen to be AGW.

    >That really is a policy question. Instead, we see a lot of accusations of fraud, deception, and stupidity leveled against the very scientists who try to get the facts straight.

    I see no evidence that the likes of Jones, Hansen, and Mann have ever been much concerned with facts.

  299. > I see no evidence that the likes of Jones, Hansen, and Mann have ever been much concerned with facts.

    Another baseless smear.

    Boo, hiss.

  300. @esr
    “Now you’re being either dishonest or just silly. You don’t get to equate “science” with “what the IPCC says” or “what various people claim the consensus is”.”

    Nope, I equate it with all the overlapping results from meteorology, paleontology, glaciology, oceanography, geology, ecology, planetary science, basic physics, themodynamics. These have all fields that overlap in science, tools, and methods with research into AGW. And where there is overlap, the science behind AGW is confirmed. AGW research involves thousands of scientists all over the world.

    I most certainly do not mean the exact predictions published by the IPCC (which will have uncertainties), but the science behind these predictions.

    @esr
    “What part of the definition of “error cascade” did you fail to understand?”

    Actually, I have contributed in resolving an error cascade that spanned a few decades. In all papers participating in that error cascade, it was rather easy to resolve the problem after you knew what you were looking for. And I was actually able to recalculate all results using only the published data to show the error. But such an error cascade is completely different from what you describe in AGW. For one thing, there are only a few researchers doing the actual work and they forget to look into the original publications. And the errors are removed the moment someone looks into the matter.

    @esr
    “I am revolted in a much more basic way by the corruption and politicization of science.”
    “I see no evidence that the likes of Jones, Hansen, and Mann have ever been much concerned with facts.”

    In short, you believe science cannot be trusted because it is dominated by the corrupt and incompetent. You state AGW research cannot be trusted after so much scrutiny from so many sides, and it is still supported by all major scientific institutions. Then we can only conclude that you do not trust Science itself, as it cannot be counted upon to resolve such an important matter. Where I mean “Science” as in the community enterprise according to Popper.

    Which was the subject of my original comment which set of this wild goose hunt.

  301. >Really? It’s never been verified that warmer air holds more water vapour?

    I have this tendency to forget that you are a dishonest debater, until you remind me with baiting like this. I’m going to answer for Winter’s benefit, because I don’t think he is the kind of slimy, insidious jerk that you are. But you forfeited any claim to be taken seriously many months ago.

    Winter, this rhetorical question is typical of AGW theoretical flimflam. What it sweeps under the table is that “warm air holding more water vapor” is nowhere near sufficient for the AGW catastrophic-warming scenarios to hold. They rely on positive-feedback loops in which CO2 and water-vapor greenhousing reinforce each other in particular ways that have never actually been observed. Furthermore, even supposing those ways had been observed, the coupling constants in the AGW models are arbitrary – neither justified by observation nor inferred from a generative theory with fewer bugger factors. And just to top it all off, the real atmosphere doesn’t exhibit the kind of temperature profile predicted by the models.

    So there are actually three different levels of methodological and predictive failure here, all of which this jerk is trying to handwave away by speaking as though rejecting AGW catatrophism is equivalent to failing high-school physics. It’s a fundamentally dishonest and bullying way to argue, but it often works on people who either lack the scientific literacy to understand the whole picture or are narrow specialists who naively trust all their peers in other specialties to be honest.

    And…this kind of misdirection and bullying is exactly how frauds can create, then reinforce, error cascades.

  302. >Then we can only conclude that you do not trust Science itself, as it cannot be counted upon to resolve such an important matter. Where I mean “Science” as in the community enterprise according to Popper.

    In the long term, I do trust science. But I recognize that error cascades are a real and recurring phenomenon that can cause serious short-term failures. AGW is not the first, and is (sadly) unlikely to be the last.

  303. @esr
    “Winter, this rhetorical question is typical of AGW theoretical flimflam.”

    I know the problem. It is the explanation for the temperature on Venus. It has also been used as part of the explanation for the start and end of the “Snowball Earth” period. If this really would happen on earth again, we would be all dead.

    But it is hideously difficult to predict positive feedback loops (extrapolating exponential curves and all that). Snowball Earth is not relevant due to differences in atmospheric composition and the different temperature of the sun nowadays. There is a positive feedback loop, but current understanding is that it simply amplifies CO2 effects (if that exists, you would say).

    More research needed as they say, but not really urgent.

  304. @esr
    “In the long term, I do trust science. But I recognize that error cascades are a real and recurring phenomenon that can cause serious short-term failures.”

    For my part, I will leave it at that. In hindsight, my initial comment was a too harsh. These were people I should not have lumped you with. I hope matters will be sorted out before irreparable damage has been done (one way or the other).

    Now, I feel an uncontrollable urge to be occupied by other matters.

  305. >More research needed as they say, but not really urgent.

    No, it is actually pretty urgent, because the entire edifice of AGW catastrophism collapses if the positive feedback loop doesn’t work the way alarmists say it does. And there is not broad confirmation for this. You only think there is broad conformation because they have conned you into confusing evidence for natural climate change with evidence for anthropogenic forcing. They rely on this mistake – it’s a kind of evidential shell game.

    >There is a positive feedback loop, but current understanding is that it simply amplifies CO2 effects (if that exists, you would say).

    Sure the CO2 effect exists. You haven’t gotten the point yet. The “understanding” of it is a bunch of ungrounded and deeply flawed computer models. Not only have they failed at prediction, they don’t even retrodict at anywhere near 95% confidence level without constant fiddling of the bugger factors. That’s not science, it’s numerological voodoo.

  306. I have this tendency to forget that you are a dishonest debater, until you remind me with baiting like this. I’m going to answer for Winter’s benefit, because I don’t think he is the kind of slimy, insidious jerk that you are. But you forfeited any claim to taken seriously many months ago.

    I took “catastrophic AGW projections rely on a positive feedback between atmospheric CO2 and water vapor levels that has never been verified” to mean that you thought there was no positive feedback between CO2 and water vapour. Apparently you meant that some particular positive feedback has never been verified. I apologise (hat-tip Tom DeGisi) if I misunderstood you.

    They rely on positive-feedback loops in which CO2 and water-vapor greenhousing reinforce each other in particular ways that have never actually been observed. Furthermore, even supposing those ways had been observed, the coupling constants in the AGW models are arbitrary – neither justified by observation nor inferred from a generative theory with fewer bugger factors. And just to top it all off, the real atmosphere doesn’t exhibit the kind of temperature profile predicted by the models.

    It might be worth pointing out that increased atmospheric water vapour has been observed.

    The temperature profile of the atmosphere is difficult to measure, but is broadly consistent with the models. Most importantly, stratospheric temperature have decreased , which is one of the main reasons we know that GW is AGW (they would have increased if GW was a result of solar warming).

  307. GISTEMP? Hah. Hansen’s been caught fucking with that data.

    …outright fraud like Hansen or Jones…

    Three of the leading villains are Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and James Hansen.

    I see no evidence that the likes of Jones, Hansen, and Mann have ever been much concerned with facts.

    I think this question is worth repeating, since open source is your area of expertise: Given that Gistemp has been open sourced, why can you not point to concrete evidence of fraud by Hansen?

  308. the entire edifice of AGW catastrophism collapses if the positive feedback loop doesn’t work the way alarmists say it does.

    A true positive feedback loop would cause runaway heating, all of the ice would melt, raising ocean levels to doomsday levels. But there’s no evidence that’s ever happened before, despite CO2 levels much higher than they are now. In fact, when the absolute highest levels were reached, temperatures started to go back down!

    None of the pro-AGW people have ever been able to explain this to me:

    Before human-created CO2 was a statistically-significant player, when an ice age ended, temperatures started to rise, and CO2 would follow ~800y later. This increased CO2 fed back into higher temperatures, which later fed back into higher CO2, until the interglacial period hit its peak. At this point, temperatures, CO2, and water vapor would all be at their highest values for ~100ky.

    Then, $THING1 would happen that caused temperatures to start falling again, CO2 would fall ~800y later, feeding back to lower and lower temperatures, CO2, and water vapor until they all hit their lowest values for ~100ky, where they’d stay for about 90ky.

    If CO2 drives temperature swings, how is it possible that when it and water vapor are both at their min/max, temperatures can start to go in the opposite direction in the first place? What $THING1 happens after ~10ky of interglacial that suddenly makes this powerful feedback of CO2 and water vapor impotent to prevent the plunge back to an ice age? What $THING2 happens after ~90ky of ice age that makes the lack of these two powerful greenhouse gases irrelevant?

    If temperatures can rapidly fall/rise when the greenhouse gases are at their highest/lowest levels, something else is more powerful than CO2 and water vapor, which apparently only get to provide feedback to exaggerate the swings. Find out what $THING1 and $THING2 are, and you know what really drives climate cycles.

  309. Patrick,

    Whew. Well, you walked that back very nicely and thoroughly. Thank you. Yes, there has been a great deal of sturm und drang over AGW here.

    pete,

    > I think this question is worth repeating, since open source is your area of expertise: Given that Gistemp has been open sourced, why can you not point to concrete evidence of fraud by Hansen?

    I think I can answer that one.

    Have the original data and all entire history and methods of the corrections made to GISTEMP been open sourced?

    I’m pretty sure the answer is no, since Richard Muller, (Thanks, Patrick) is having to do a great deal of work to recreate them, and since I have read that they were lost, and someone (I believe you) said they weren’t lost but they also weren’t available.

    Yours,
    Tom

  310. @The Monster:

    Short answer: $THING1 and $THING2 are opposite ends of the Milankovitch cycles.

    Longer answer here

    @Tom De Gisi

    >Have the original data and all entire history and methods of the corrections made to GISTEMP been open sourced?

    Have a look at clearclimatecode.org if you want details.

    The BEST team aren’t recreating Gistemp, they’re making a completely new product.

  311. >Have the original data and all entire history and methods of the corrections made to GISTEMP been open sourced?

    I’m not sure exactly how much Hansen released, so I don’t know if the entire revision history of the Gistemp code is available.

    He did release enough that Clear Climate Code could recreate the latest Gistemp analysis.

  312. @pete

    I don’t see where that explains anything. There seems to be a lot of handwaving to arbitrarily declare that this interglacial is somehow different from all the others that have come before, even those that have had higher CO2 than we have now.

    Looking at that chart, it appears to me that the current CO2 levels are following the temperature peak from the MWP at the standard 800+/-200y lag. Also, it looks like we’re overdue for the next ice age, which makes sense because this interglacial is at ~12ky already. If the current solar cycle remains as quiet as it’s been thus far, our grandchildren may wonder why anyone was afraid of global warming.

  313. >even those that have had higher CO2 than we have now.

    Previous interglacials were 270–290ppm. We’re at 390ppm now.

  314. @ pete

    I thought I had a reference of an interglacial with slightly higher CO2 than current, but I can’t put my hands on it right now. Perhaps I’m conflating that with the massively higher CO2 levels further back than the Quaternary, so I withdraw that comment until I can find something to substantiate it.

    But the graph on that page you linked to still looks to me like we’re overdue for an ice age.

  315. >>even those that have had higher CO2 than we have now.
    >Previous interglacials were 270–290ppm. We’re at 390ppm now.

    You don’t actually know what the exact peak was in the past, because the method one uses to get the data points has a lot of physical averaging built into it. By which I mean, if CO2 levels started declining today and then a thousand years from now somebody dug up an ice core sample to see what today’s level was, it wouldn’t be 390ppm. Right?

  316. @The Monster:

    I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was simply reacting to the ad hominem and guilt by association tactics, and later, your willingness to excuse them so long as they’re directed at both sides of a controversy.

    When I go out on the web looking for global warming (which I last did in a serious way before I even knew about this blog), I find stuff like this that leads to stuff like this way too easily. I found that unhelpful, and I found your response unhelpful. Glenn Raphael’s response to look at Steve McIntyre was very helpful. Starting with that name, I found a lot of good information both on this blog and on the wider web. I also found that most (maybe all?) of the various anti-AGW institutes are apparently incapable of science, but since they take a lot of money from corporate sponsors, they feel the need to get involved and try to control the debate. Unfortunately, this poisons the well terribly, because the liberal element in the news organizations view the right wing “think tanks” as their natural enemy. To the extent that good science should be done and widely disseminated, the institutes are in the way, but they apparently feel the need to do something to earn their money.

    In retrospect, I should have just said “I never see anything useful on the web; where do I start?”

    I did not accuse you of moral equivalence with Nifong. I simply demonstrated the logical consequence of “I don’t discriminate; I use guilt by association to attack BOTH sides!”.

    I said that it appears that at least some on each side have an agenda. I also tried to say very clearly that I don’t believe for a minute that all on each side have an agenda. You’re a dad — don’t try to tell me that relationships and motivations aren’t quite often useful tools at formulating testable hypotheses about the truth.

    A lot of what’s being done in a misguided effort to make up for centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, etc. has taken the form of “two wrongs make a right”. It’s what led the Gang of 88 to pre-judge the guilt of the LAX players, despite the lack of any evidence other than the ever-changing testimony of an alleged victim, simply because she was a member of a pre-judged victim class, and the accused were of a pre-judged oppressor class. In their twisted minds, there’s nothing wrong with a lynch mob, so long as they lynch only whites to help make up for that history of lynching blacks.

    AGW is several complicated intertwined subjects, with millions of words written by thousands of authors, and it’s not a given that it’s worthwhile to start off learning about it from people who have an obvious reason to have an agenda. It’s actually an ad hominem attack to compare people who think justice can be done in bulk or for political purposes to somebody like me, who simply wants — as part of due diligence, not as a replacement for it — to follow the money and connections and try to figure out who probably doesn’t have an ax to grind to read as a starting point.

    I did not accuse you of intending a Duke-like outcome. I was telling you that the result of excusing equal-opportunity McCarthyism is invariably more witch hunts, not less.

    I’m not trying to engage in a witch hunt. I’m making a statement that the SNR is way too high because of the behavior of some people on both sides. And when I say that I’m having trouble with this, imagine the plight a lot of average people trying to look for this information.

    Look, if you met somebody at a party, and they said “I’m trying to get a handle on global warming, but I did a web search and all I see is people behaving badly all around” and you shouted “ad hominem argument!” you might actually be able to educate somebody, or maybe not — they might just slowly back away and be convinced that (a) you’re a loon; and (b) you don’t believe in AGW. A lot of them will go on to (c) therefore AGW must be correct, because the loons don’t believe in it. And you can factually and correctly explain to me the error of their logic all day long, but it still doesn’t alter the fact that behavior very similar to that you exhibited towards me can easily take some people who have no agenda, and “teach” them the exact opposite of the lesson you intended.

  317. It’s actually an ad hominem attack to compare people who think justice can be done in bulk or for political purposes to somebody like me, who simply wants …

    I’m not trying to engage in a witch hunt.

    For what I hope is the last time, I’m not comparing you to those people, and I’m not saying you are trying to engage in a witch hunt. I’m saying that the reasoning you use to justify your “even-handed” application of ad hominem, guilt-by-association tactics, regardless of what you’re “trying” to do or what you want, leads to those outcomes that you keep assuring us you are not trying to, nor want to achieve. What you want to happen, and what you are trying to make happen, is irrelevant to what I am saying. You are talking about intentions and I am talking about consequences.

    Using those tactics empowers the Nifongs by giving them precedent.

    Look, if you met somebody at a party, and they said “I’m trying to get a handle on global warming, but I did a web search and all I see is people behaving badly all around”

    But you didn’t say that:

    but to the extent that some on the anti-AGW side seems to be in bed with the same people who want Creationism taught as science and gays to disappear off the face of the earth,

    You tarred AGW skeptics as knuckle-dragging Creationists who only stop burning books long enough to kill gays. And if someone spoke those words at that hypothetical party, I’d call them on it. It’s a despicable “debate” tactic. I’d make sure everyone who heard those words heard the rebuttal.

    Just because some knuckle-dragging Creationist book-burner gay killers are anti-AGW doesn’t say a goddamn word about other AGW skeptics. And anyone who would stoop so low as to imply that it does will never be convinced otherwise, no matter how nicely I rebut his charges.

  318. You are talking about intentions and I am talking about consequences.

    And vice-versa, with my party example.

    It’s a despicable “debate” tactic. I’d make sure everyone who heard those words heard the rebuttal.

    It wasn’t meant to be a debate tactic. It was an observation. I didn’t even intend to be in a debate. Was trying to ask those already engaged in the debate what they thought about this new development. Did it badly; got pummelled.

    Just because some knuckle-dragging Creationist book-burner gay killers are anti-AGW doesn’t say a goddamn word about other AGW skeptics. And anyone who would stoop so low as to imply that it does will never be convinced otherwise, no matter how nicely I rebut his charges.

    Thanks for confirming that I’m a lost cause. No reason to be nice, then.

  319. Thanks for confirming that I’m a lost cause. No reason to be nice, then.

    I never said you were a lost cause. I have consistently confined my discussion to the words in the comments, not any imputation of the persons attached to those words. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you didn’t really mean that the existence of knuckle-dragging Creationist book-burner gay killer anti-AGW people implies that AGW skeptics are tainted by association with icky people, then go barefoot.

    But if you do mean it, I owe you no courtesy at all; the only reason to be nice to you is for the benefit of the others observing our interactions, including our gracious host.

    [Note the use of the word "if" there. In an "If P then Q" statement, if P is false, that statement says nothing about Q.]

  320. I have consistently confined my discussion to the words in the comments, not any imputation of the persons attached to those words.

    But I wrote those words. They came from my fingers. And I could have easily said them at a party. And in no case would I be trying to tar everybody with the same brush.

    If you didn’t really mean that the existence of knuckle-dragging Creationist book-burner gay killer anti-AGW people implies that AGW skeptics are tainted by association with icky people, then go barefoot.

    Thanks. I didn’t. I will.

  321. @ esr
    > No, it is actually pretty urgent, because the entire edifice of AGW catastrophism collapses if the positive feedback loop doesn’t work the way alarmists say it does. And there is not broad confirmation for this. You only think there is broad conformation because they have conned you into confusing evidence for natural climate change with evidence for anthropogenic forcing. They rely on this mistake – it’s a kind of evidential shell game.

    You keep making statements like this without evidence. When you are pointed to contrary evidence, you claim that evidence to be fraudulent (or, sometimes, the product of an error cascade founded in fraud) but again without providing evidence of your own.

    When you continually reject the actual published science, without a scientific basis for doing so, you are cheerleading, not debating. For example, in another thread you refused to actually read IPCC 4AR because you claimed in essence to know in advance that the contents of that Report were either fraudulent or wrong.

    There is no doubt that climate policy has become heavily politicisced, and that you picked your team long ago. Good for you – questions about mitigation and adaptation require substantive and considered debate.

    But your mudslinging at climate science and the constant unfounded allegations of fraud make you look like an increasingu irrational cultural warrior, rather than a torch bearer for truth.

  322. >For example, in another thread you refused to actually read IPCC 4AR because you claimed in essence to know in advance that the contents of that Report were either fraudulent or wrong.

    That is incorrect. It is either a falsehood or a misunderstanding.

  323. >You keep making statements like this without evidence. When you are pointed to contrary evidence, you claim that evidence to be fraudulent (or, sometimes, the product of an error cascade founded in fraud) but again without providing evidence of your own.

    You see, this is the crux of it, and the thing that more-or-less convinced me that climate change was not nearly so set-in-stone as I had previously believed. The effects of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere are well known, and it does tend to cause warming due to the greenhouse effect. That’s not in question. However, the amount of greenhouse warming that the carbon dioxide we release could conceivably create is also known, and it’s nowhere near the “catastrophe, immediately mitigate by banning oil” level. The only way you can argue for catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming is by positing a feedback loop that has nearly no evidence for it–only some models which have the basic idea of the feedback loop programmed in (i.e. they assume that the loop will occur in the first place). If you know of any real evidence for this feedback loop phenomenon, I would be delighted to hear it, but I have seen none from anyone else involved in the debate.

  324. A climate scientist changes from alarmist to skeptic: http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/15/former-alarmist-scientist-says-anthropogenic-global-warming-agw-based-on-false-science/

    His point is exactly the same as esr’s. The empirical data does not match the models which predict catastrophic AGW.

    I’ll be specific, and this time say what I believe is true. Yes, there is climate change. Yes, there has been global warming. Yes, increased CO2 due to human activity has increased global temperatures (although it was not the principle cause of the warming). But not very much and the temperature increase is not dangerous. There may be other reasons to believe that increased CO2 is a problem, but that is pure speculation on my part.

    Yours,
    Tom

  325. pete,

    The specific humidity chart you gave does not help much, since it does not say at what altitude it was measured. The key is humidity in the upper atmosphere.

    Yours,
    Tom

  326. @Tom
    Thanks – while I’m not sure that posts on political blogs are a great place to source high quality scientific evidence, I am not a climate scientist and there are others better equipped than me to respond to the specific statements quoted in your linked article. 

    @esr
    >That is incorrect. It is either a falsehood or a misunderstanding.

    At this comment [http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1776#comment-250295], I said:

    But each of the issues you raise has been addressed in
    the published science. Which you would know if you had bothered to
    read (in particular) the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. So repeating them
    on a blog is, as I said in my post, punditry untroubled by the
    necessity to deal with the actual published science instead of some
    imaginary “alarmist” conspiracy.

    You replied [http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1776#comment-250305]:

     
    Isn’t that the report that was full of horseshit about imminently
    melting Himalayan glaciers based on a telephone conversation with a
    guy who was projecting based on anecdotal evidence from a student
    paper? Real high standards of evidence in those, yes sirreee….

    At this point I’d trust the reading on a used car’s odometer before
    I’d trust anything the IPCC issued. Read my lips: not just zero
    credibility, negative credibility.

    This looks to me very much like you consider the 4th Assessment
    Report to be either fraudulent or wrong (or possibly both). It also implies that you
    haven’t read the Report. My apologies if I misunderstood you.

  327. >A climate scientist changes from alarmist to skeptic

    David Evans has commented on this blog, by the way. I was very pleased when I recognized him.

  328. @ Tom DeGisi

    >A climate scientist changes from alarmist to skeptic: http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/15/former-alarmist-scientist-says-anthropogenic-global-warming-agw-based-on-false-science/

    His main point is this:

    Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

    The claim is that models predict one thing (a particular tropical tropospheric temperature profile) and that the “data” shows something else. The problem with this argument is that we don’t have data for the temperature profiles. We have inferences about the temperature profiles based on radiosondes. Those inferences have uncertainties, and in this case the uncertainties are too large to support the claims David Evans is making.

    Quoting Allen and Sherwood, via this Realclimate post:

    The new analysis adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that these discrepancies are most likely the result of inaccuracies in the observed temperature record rather than fundamental model errors.

  329. @Tom DeGisi, esr

    A response to the David Evans opinion piece (the source for the quotes
    in Tom DeGisi’s linked article) is available here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/david-evans-understanding-goes-cold.html

    (I hesitated before providing the link. I know that debate-by-blog-post is not going to change anyone’s mind, but I thought others might appreciate the opportunity to read an informed response, even if they don’t agree.)

  330. @esr

    But there’s a more basic problem here. It is not up to the people you call “deniers” to prove a case. The extraordinary claim – that the climate is being radically fucked up by human CO2 emissions – is the one being made by the other side. What we are pointing out is that they have grossly failed to meet the standard of scientific evidence required for the huge policy interventions they are advocating.

    This basically allows you to set up a panchreston. You start by privileging your preferred theory by assuming that other claims are “extraordinary”. The next step is to either ignore contrary evidence or dismiss it as fraudulent. The end result is that your theory is now unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.

  331. >You start by privileging your preferred theory by assuming that other claims are “extraordinary”.

    The reason that the catastrophic AGW hypothesis is considered “extraordinary” is because it is fundamentally at odds with all previous experience. There’s no particular privileging there.

  332. >The reason that the catastrophic AGW hypothesis is considered “extraordinary” is because it is fundamentally at odds with all previous experience.

    You might as well have said: the reason that the catastrophic AGW hypothesis is considered “extraordinary” is because it is extraordinary. It’s a circular argument which lets you smuggle in the assumption that your theory gets to be the null hypothesis.

  333. >You might as well have said: the reason that the catastrophic AGW hypothesis is considered “extraordinary” is because it is extraordinary. It’s a circular argument which lets you smuggle in the assumption that your theory gets to be the null hypothesis.

    Well, yes. It is, by definition, “extraordinary”, as in ‘at odds with previous experience’ (the ‘ordinary’). Is this an argument as to why it shouldn’t be so considered, or just a definitional clarification?

  334. My point is, you haven’t made your case that it’s extraordinary. You’ve given a definition of extraordinary, but have not shown that the AGW hypothesis meets that definition.

    In addition you would need to show that your own theory is not extraordinary. Only then do you get to set asymmetric standards of evidence for the competing theories.

  335. The AGW hypothesis is extraordinary because we have never yet seen increases in global temperature leading to significant catastrophe, and the AGW hypothesis predicts that this will occur. It’s true that we have also never before emitted carbon dioxide in such amounts as today, but you can say that about a whole host of things, most of which it is accepted will not cause any major problems.

    The alternate theory is, basically, that regardless of human carbon emissions, there will not be an increase in global temperature leading to significant catastrophe. As it turns out, this happens all the time.

  336. @Tom Dickson-Hunt
    You might want to define “significant catastrophe”.

    If you would like to know what climate scientists (rather than journalists, bloggers or filmmakers) think the impacts of climate change to be, I’d suggest an appropriate place to start would be the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”.

    You can read it here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/contents.html

  337. You’ve defined “extraordinary” as “at odds with previous experience”.

    But “previous experience” is just another way of saying “evidence”.

    So when you say that the theory of AGW is “extraordinary”, what you’re saying is that AGW is inconsistent with the evidence. When you say that your theory is not “extraordinary”, you’re saying that your theory is consistent with the evidence.

    It’s circular reasoning. You want to start from the assumption that the evidence favours your theory.

  338. @Tom:
    “If you would like to know what climate scientists (rather than journalists, bloggers or filmmakers) think the impacts of climate change to be, I’d suggest an appropriate place to start would be the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”.”

    This comes down to a matter of trust: Who does he trust more, “journalists, bloggers [and] filmmakers” or the scientists writing for the IPCC?

    So who he will quote?

  339. @winter:

    This comes down to a matter of trust: Who does he trust more, “journalists, bloggers [and] filmmakers” or the scientists writing for the IPCC?

    Well, some journalists and bloggers are almost certainly going to be more trustworthy than the IPCC. The question is: which ones?

    Coincidentally, saw a reference to this on slashdot yesterday:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/05/wisdom-of-crowds-decline/

    Once scientists start to collaborate on a report, and the report takes on a life of its own, I would assume the report itself is actually more susceptible to the social conformity pressure than a random sampling of journalists, bloggers and filmmakers.

    But the good thing about something like an IPCC report is that it presents the single target — all the reasonable arguments from one side (and a few obvious arguments from the other, simply to be able to counter) all gathered together. Since the IPCC report itself defines the current state of the conventional wisdom, the most credible and newsworthy counterarguments will almost certainly be those that dissect and demolish it bit-by-bit, as time-consuming and unsavory as that sort of task is.

  340. You’ve defined “extraordinary” as “at odds with previous experience”.

    But “previous experience” is just another way of saying “evidence”.

    So when you say that the theory of AGW is “extraordinary”, what you’re saying is that AGW is inconsistent with the evidence. When you say that your theory is not “extraordinary”, you’re saying that your theory is consistent with the evidence.

    It’s circular reasoning. You want to start from the assumption that the evidence favours your theory.

    Um, no? I’m starting from the assumption that we haven’t had any significant catastrophes due to global warming. I don’t think this is in question.

    I’m defining ‘significant catastrophe’ here as the sort of thing that you keep hearing the Al Gore crowd yelling about–major sea level rises, extreme famine due to drought, very severe storms–that is outside the usual range of weather variation. I’ve heard various stories about ‘climate refugees’ and so forth, but they all seem to be fleeing things that are not hugely unusual, by weather standards. If you’ve heard differently, and New York is, say, in fact underwater, then I’d be happy to look at that evidence.

  341. I’m starting from the assumption that we haven’t had any significant catastrophes due to global warming. I don’t think this is in question.

    Since neither AGW theory nor your theory predict that we should have had significant catastrophes yet, this assumption does not allow you to place an asymmetric burden of evidence on AGW theory.

  342. > Since neither AGW theory nor your theory predict that we should have had significant catastrophes yet

    I seem to remember that AGW theory has predicted that we would have had significant catastrophes by now, and that we haven’t, and that the theorists have pushed the catastrophes into the future.

    Kind of like the rapture keeps getting put off.

    But this could be my memory. What do you remember, pete?

    Yours,
    Tom

  343. In fact, I seem to remember that there were specific predictions about islands being overwhelmed by rising oceans, climate refugees and polar ice caps permanently melting.

    The smart psychics would normally avoid specific predictions, but the specific predictions are so much more likely to be printed in the Enquirer.

    Please don’t take my sense of humor wrong people. I am not trying to be mean. But I love reading the predictions in the Enquirer. They are a stitch.

    Yours,
    Tom

  344. >In fact, I seem to remember that there were specific predictions about islands being overwhelmed by rising oceans, climate refugees and polar ice caps permanently melting.

    There were supposed to be 50 million climate refugees by now.

  345. A mass migration of 50 million people is pretty darn extraordinary, pete. I owe one quarter of my ancestry to the Irish potato famine and half to Vesuvius blowing up. Your move. I’d say Tom Dickson-Hunt is winning this one, so far.

    Yours,
    Tom

  346. >A mass migration of 50 million people is pretty darn extraordinary, pete … Your move. I’d say Tom Dickson-Hunt is winning this one, so far.

    I think you might have misunderstood this particular disagreement. esr and Tom Dickson-Hunt want to shift the burden of proof onto AGW. What they seem to be saying is that, before any evidence is considered, the presumption must be that AGW is false and their theory is true. Therefore, it is not sufficient that the balance of evidence favours AGW; they require that AGW have extraordinary evidence, and that if AGW does not have extraordinary evidence then their theory requires none at all.

    If CAGW [*] predicts X := “50m climate refugees by now”, and the everything-is-okay theory predicts not(X), then that would be evidence for EIO and against CAGW. This is where I believe the debate should be: which theory is best supported by the evidence.

    The 50m claim looks like an error cascade to me. But it’s a particular type of error cascade. A single researcher makes a bold claim, which is then picked up by PR people or the media. In cases like this I’d expect an error cascade to begin more often than not. This sort of error cascade is quite damaging to public understanding, but I don’t think it will generally be a threat to the scientific process — scientists, I would hope, are properly skeptical of media and PR claims.

    I’d like to note that a falsification requires both (a) a hypothesis entailed by the theory, and (b) evidence that the hypothesis is false. esr’s statement “There were supposed to be 50 million climate refugees by now” fails to provide (b), and is disputable on (a) — I believe, for example, that the PR people have already mangled “environmental refugees” into “climate refugees”.

    Even provisionally accepting (pending evidence) that there are not already 50m environmental refugees, the prediction is peripheral to CAGW, and irrelevant to AGW. The claims “UNEP PR people are sensationalist”, “Norman Myers makes unsupported predictions”, and “Jones, Mann, and Hansen commit scientific fraud” differ substaintally as to their seriousness.

    [*] Define:

    GW := “Global mean temperatures are increasing.”
    AGW := GW + “Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause.”
    CAGW := AGW + “Continued emissions will result in consequences sufficient to justify the costs of mitigation.”

  347. > I think you might have misunderstood this particular disagreement.

    Nope. I understand.

    AGW advocates say the sky is falling. They predict extraordinary catastrophes of all kinds. So far, none are coming true. Those kind of extraordinary catastrophes have never happened in history. We have no historical examples in all of recorded history of AGW caused catastrophes. Never before seen. Never observed. Yes, AGW is an extraordinary claim. I can hardly think of a more extraordinary claim.

    Yours,
    Tom

  348. Your chastised esr earlier —

    esr is painting with too broad a brush and tarring good people who really are trying to do good science

    But now you say —

    AGW advocates say the sky is falling. They predict extraordinary catastrophes of all kinds. So far, none are coming true.

    The discussion, as usual, slides from “climate science is a fraud” to “environmental activists exaggerate the threat of climate change”. You’ve moved to the latter target, because it’s much easier to defend than the former. But you’re tarring the climate scientists with the claims made by their most extreme “advocates”.

    You note that —

    We have no historical examples in all of recorded history of AGW caused catastrophes.

    I’ll say this again: a falsification requires both (a) a hypothesis entailed by the theory, and (b) evidence that the hypothesis is false.

    Historical examples of AGW caused catastrophes are not entailed by CAGW. Therefore their absence does not constitute evidence against CAGW.

  349. pete,

    The discussion, as usual, slides all over the place. Get over it.

    Climate scientists – not just advocates – are also making the same extraordinary claims. Don’t be disingenuous. They are still good people. They are really trying to do good science. And they are making the extraordinary claims.

    > I’ll say this again

    And I’ll ignore it again, because it is beside the point.

    Yours,
    Tom

  350. >Climate scientists – not just advocates – are also making the same extraordinary claims.

    No, you don’t just get to make this leap. The extraordinary claim esr has given is “50m climate refugees”. If any climate scientists were making this claim I’d be very surprised (and, of course, disappointed).

    >And I’ll ignore it again, because it is beside the point.

    If falsification is “beside the point” then we’re not having a scientific discussion.

  351. pete,

    And you don’t just get to deny it. Nor do you get to just gloss over the central extraordinary claim, which is AGW itself. We have never seen AGW in all our history. Never observed.

    > If falsification is “beside the point” then we’re not having a scientific discussion.

    Wrong. It is not germane to this point, which is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Yours,
    Tom

  352. For the moving goalposts you do have to scroll down. Now Cristina Tirado, a climate change health scientist is claiming 50 million refugees in 2020.

    Here’s the thing, pete. It’s too easy. If AGW was true it wouldn’t be so easy to find credible climate scientists with credible evidence who disagree with it. And it’s trivial.

    Yours,
    Tom

  353. Nor do you get to just gloss over the central extraordinary claim, which is AGW itself. We have never seen AGW in all our history. Never observed.

    Your argument, if you’ll allow me to paraphrase, is: AGW has never been observed; therefore AGW is an extraordinary claim.

    If you’ll allow me to paraphrase further, that’s equivalent to: lack of observed AGW is evidence against AGW.

    This is a perfectly valid line of argument. There’s no need to cloud the issue by bringing in an empty term like “extraordinary” that can’t be operationalised.

    Of course, since we’ve just observed 40 years of AGW, that particular argument is unsound.

    (I’m not ignoring your Cristiana Tirado point, but one thing at a time)

  354. Sigh. A blog post, which excerpts an AP article, which quotes Dr Tirado, who is describing a UNEP projection, which came from … somewhere.

    From what little you’ve given me it sure looks like an error cascade, albeit one that’s extremely peripheral to the science. On the other hand I’ve been burned a few times by giving too much credence to these sorts of talking points — there’s usually something important left out.

    I haven’t looked at most of the Working Group II material, which is a regrettable gap in my understanding of the world. So I’ll look a little deeper, and get back to you on this one.

  355. Of course, since we’ve just observed 40 years of AGW, that particular argument is unsound.

    I suppose, by a particular definition of AGW, we have. However, the warming so far (as far as I know) coincides nicely with the physical predictions of increased greenhouse effect due to CO2, and show absolutely no signs of the sort of feedback loop required to make AGW truly catastrophic. From what I’ve read, the temperature increase we can anticipate due to CO2 alone might actually be good for humans (question: which kills more people yearly, cold or heat? hint: it ain’t heat).

  356. >However, the warming so far (as far as I know) coincides nicely with the physical predictions of increased greenhouse effect due to CO2, and show absolutely no signs of the sort of feedback loop required to make AGW truly catastrophic.

    That is correct. But it’s standard for AGW alarmists to conflate three categories: (a) warming due to natural forcing via Milankovitch cycles, etc.. (b) ‘linear’ warming due to anthropogenic CO2 greenhousing, and (c) positive-feedback warming due to CO2/H2O interaction. The first two have been observed (assuming we can trust the data, which I doubt); the third has not. One of the most important mechanisms of the fraud is to yell about evidence for (a) and (b) as though it proves (c).

  357. @esr
    “(c) positive-feedback warming due to CO2/H2O interaction.”

    So we can assume a+b actually exist. And if scientists are not part of a large conspiracy or totaly incompetent, b) has also been observed (I know you assume some of both).

    Obviously, you know that the equilibrium water pressure grows exponentially with temperature (to a good approximation). That means that any coupling between CO2 and H2O pressures will grow with temperature and thus, CO2 pressure. With a mix in of coupled methane release at higher temperature (let’s ignore that). So the multiplier will grow with higher CO2 concentrations.

    Which means that any “we have not seen any strong feedback yet” c) is not very convincing. Even without resorting to a Venus like scenario.

  358. @esr, Tom Dickson-Hunt

    How certain are you that there are no observations of an h2o feedback loop?

    “Nature” doesn’t seem to agree with you:
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler09.pdf

    (I know, I know, you think the published science is all fraudulent and can’t be relied on etc. etc. As I keep saying, I don’t expect to change your mind, but gee it would be nice if you at least attempted to deal with the actual science instead of your imaginary version)

  359. >So the multiplier will grow with higher CO2 concentrations.

    Yes. But the alarmists’ calculations themselves say that even with that factored in, greenhousing by directly observed mechanisms is not enough to produce catastrophic warming. For the scare scenarios to work you need other coupling mechanisms, such as a positive feedback of cloud formation that prevents IR reaching Earth’s surface from being reradiated into space (and this is actually quite a significant effect – it’s why clear nights get colder than overcast ones). But that effect has to fight a negative feedback, which is that cloud formation increases albedo so less IR warms the lower atmosphere and surface in the first place.

    The scare scenarios depend on a fragile relationship between several coupling constants. To continue the example, increasing cloud formation has to trap IR reflected from the surface more efficienctly than the rising albedo increases reflectance at the cloud tops, otherwise cloud formation acts as a net negative feedback on greenhousing rather than a positive one. The observational data we have on the atmosphere doesn’t show a net positive feedback, and the theory that it might in any even remotely plausible temperature or CO2-concentration range rests on assumptions that have not been tested either.

    The above is not an isolated problem in the theory. When I mutter about unjustified bugger factors in the models, what I mean is that the coupling constants in multiple feedback loops on which (c) relies have been set in the jackpot range without either physical observation to back that up or a theory with fewer free constants generating them. The effect of the huge data blitz about effects (a) and (b) in the IPCC reports – perhaps the intended effect – is to bury this problem and to obscure the difference between physically observed effects and ungrounded outputs of the models.

  360. >“Nature” doesn’t seem to agree with you:

    I quote: “sufficient to roughly double the warming that would otherwise occur.” This is very funny if one actually knows the magnitude of GAT forcing due to “otherwise”. It means that even assuming the worst case of what I’ve been calling ‘linear’ greenhousing, the dreaded water-vapor feedback loop is about as scary as a hatful of cotton candy. Thanks for pointing me at this paper; it just shot the alarmist scenarios directly through the head. I expect to be quoting it frequently.

  361. @esr
    “not enough to produce catastrophic warming.”

    I am not sure what you mean by “catastrophic”.

    I consider the flooding of my house and those of another billion people under the header “catastrophe”. And it takes not much acceleration in Greenland ice melting to get there before I die. And things like agriculture moving polewards (with less land) are also not very comforting.

    In short, we do not need Venus like runaway processes to see a large number of lives at stake. Just a global increase of 2 degrees Celcius can wreak havoc with a lot of economies. And here it holds that every delay we can get on such outcomes buys us time to adapt better.

    As usual, there is Science that tabulates a lot of these processes with error bars. And there is Activism that tries to go beyond the error bars in both directions. I will stick with the Science, thank you.

  362. >I am not sure what you mean by “catastrophic”.

    Warming to a range outside the normal variation in the historical record.

  363. @esr
    You’re welcome.

    Your earlier comment asserted there were observations supporting your (a) and (b) but not (c). Pointed to evidence that indicates (c) has been observed (with caveats as to certainty), your response is apparently to accept (c) but claim that the effect of (c) is small.

    This does seem like progress.

    At the risk of being provocative, maybe we should take another look at what Working Group 1 said in AR4 about the range of likely warming:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-es-1-mean-temperature.html

  364. >but claim that the effect of (c) is small.

    It’s not me claiming the effect is small, it’s your guy saying it.

    I see a couple of places where the argument in the paper is suspiciously handwavy – I’d like to know, for example, what “broad agreement with the models” means quantitatively, for example. And the ability to retrodict (which is what he’s claiming) is a necessary condition for prediction but not a sufficient one. My point is that even if we grant that all his assumptions are correct and his methodology is sound, the amplification effect he predicts is a joke. Factor of two? Really? Watch me tremble in…no, that’s not fear, that’s a belly laugh trying to get out.

    See, a physical chemist told me once that the linear CO2 forcing tops out at about 0.2C because past a certain concentration it’s already trapping all the solar IR that’s incoming in the two specific IR frequency bands that CO2 likes to munch on. So the net from that and this guy Dessler is that the most warming we can expect from anthropogenic forcing is on the close order of 0.4C. That’s less than the 0.5C uncertainty in the GAT record since 1950, even assuming none of the data had been crocked. In other words, the total predicted anthropogenic effect is less than the instrument noise!

    Delicious. I wonder how they’re going to spin this in AR5…

  365. @esr
    “See, a physical chemist told me once that the linear CO2 forcing tops out at about 0.2C because past a certain concentration it’s already trapping all the solar IR that’s incoming in the two specific IR frequency bands that CO2 likes to munch on. ”

    I am not sure what this person told you. But what you write here has no obvious relation on how absorption/emission of IR radiation insulates the surface.

  366. Winter,

    Maybe it’s this. There is a law of diminishing returns that operates with any kind of radiation shielding. Past a certain point, the effectiveness of additional shielding at trapping a given kind of radiation drops off rapidly. Two layers of black construction paper are not notably blacker than one.

    Yours,
    Tom

  367. >Wow! I had no idea that James Hansen’s former boss flipped to skepticism.

    I’m not sure which is my favorite part – where he calls Hansen out for screwing with the data, or where he says there’s “no rational justification” for believing the catastrophists.

  368. Winter,

    > This is about the diffusion of heat, not absorption.

    You are going to have to explain that to me. The IR has to be trapped – esr’s word – absorption is yours, before it can be diffused via being radiated again. I don’t think that two sheets of black construction paper necessarily diffuse more heat, since they don’t have more surface area. They may store more heat.

    And as you can see, I find simple, graphic and concrete examples very helpful. I’m sure I’m not in your league if you get technical on me.

    Yours,
    Tom

  369. See, a physical chemist told me once that the linear CO2 forcing tops out at about 0.2C because past a certain concentration it’s already trapping all the solar IR that’s incoming in the two specific IR frequency bands that CO2 likes to munch on.

    There seems to be lots of evidence that CO2 forcing is actually logarithmic, not linear. If doubling CO2 from 100 ppm to 200 generates, say, a degree C of temperature increase, doubling it again to 400 ppm adds just one more degree.

    The problem with the water vapor theory is that while clouds arguably could either trap heat under them, or reflect light falling upon them from above, they also are part of a powerful mechanism to move heat from the surface to higher altitudes:

    Warm ocean water evaporates, eventually coalescing into clouds, which then produce precipitation. Evaporation absorbs a great deal of heat, and precipitation releases that heat at the altitude of the clouds. In the case of a classic cumulonimbus, the precipitation takes place at altitudes far above where clouds normally occur. In essence, this cycle of evaporation and precipitation is a giant heat pump. Now that this heat has been moved to a higher altitude, it’s much further along the path toward radiating out to space. Because the precipitation formed is above the level where other clouds can trap it, that part of the theory is circumvented.

    TTBOMK, none of the AGW models take this factor into account.

  370. I’ll attempt to explain the greenhouse effect, but there’s a good chance I’ll do it poorly. I’d recommend searching the web, but a good explanation is hard to find, although I did find the this and this fairly useful. Most of the simplified explanations (where the atmosphere is treated as a single layer) aren’t useful in explaining the effect of saturation.

    There is already enough CO2 within a few meters of the surface to saturate some of the frequency bands. In these bands, effectively all of the IR emissions from the surface are “trapped”. However, the “trapped” photons are re-emitted. Those that head upwards will generally be trapped again at a slightly higher altitude.

    The atmosphere gets thinner with altitude. At a sufficient altitude, there is no longer enough CO2 to saturate the frequency band, and some of the IR radiation can escape into space. The greater the concentration of CO2, the higher the altitude at which IR radiation escapes into space.

    The atmosphere also gets colder with altitude. At lower temperatures, you get less emissions.

    So if you increase CO2 concentrations, then you increase the height (and therefore decrease the temperature) at which IR escapes into space. This means energy is arriving from the sun faster than it is leaving from the atmosphere. Therefore the temperature of the atmosphere must increase until equilibrium is restored.

  371. @pete
    Very good explanation.

    I find it disconcerting that people who accuse scientists of fraud and incompetence do not take the time to understand the very basic principles.

  372. >I can’t verify the claims in this, but I would like to submit it to the discussion.

    Well, sure. CO2 is not in itself a very effective greenhouse gas. CO2 greenhousing keeps Venus hot because its atmosphere is much denser than Earth’s. All they’ve done here is calculate pure CO2 greenhousing at Earth’s atmosperic density and insolation. I don’t have the technique to run those numbers myself, but I do know enough to say that result is not crazy.

    This article does not refute the AGW theories centered on anthropogenic CO2, because they rely on interaction with H2O.

  373. > I find it disconcerting that people who accuse scientists of fraud and incompetence do not take the time to understand the very basic principles.

    Like Hansen’s boss? Are you maintaining he does not understand these principles? You should know that a key moment around here was when esr dissected the computer code they were using at CRU. This blog is haunted by people who know how to write computer programs well. Fraud and incompetence was a very good description of what happened at CRU, from people who understand those basic programming principles very well.

    In general however your demand that people must understand the very basic principles before they pass judgement is unethical. People both cannot know all the basic principles and do not need to know all the basic principles in order to correctly detect fraud and incompetence. This is just an unethical way to protect your own, like the “professional courtesy” cops extend to each other. It’s very nice if you are cop! Not always so nice if you are not a cop.

    Yours,
    Tom

  374. pete,

    Yes, that is an excellent explanation. It occurs to me that, however, if the saturation point is reached in the upper atmosphere as well, than additional CO2 will make no difference. It also occurs to me that a new equilibrium will not need to be reached if the upper atmosphere continues to re-emit IR towards space at the same rate – that is the IR will spend a little more time bouncing around the upper atmosphere before heading off into space. The rate of heat flow into space will decrease until the CO2 created tank is full, but once the buffer is full the rate will resume.

    Yours,
    Tom

  375. >People both cannot know all the basic principles and do not need to know all the basic principles in order to correctly detect fraud and incompetence.

    That is true. Junk science has a characteristic stench which is detectable in the communications behavior of the people doing it. I have successfully spotted junk science in fields I don’t understand nearly as well as I do climatology just by paying careful attention to weasel-wording, vagueness, and the warning signs of statistical flimflam.

    For example: I’m not very knowledgeable about virology or epidemiology. I know enough to can read papers in those fields and extract meaningful information, but not enough to analytically critique them the way I can critique computer models of climate physics. Nevertheless, I easily spotted that the heterosexual-AIDS panic of the late ’80s and early ’90s was hokum. You remember, when we were being told that AIDS was going to break out of the reservoir population of gays and IV drug users and devastate America?

    The central clue that this was BS was the way the CDC kept revising the diagnostic categories for what it reported as AIDS incidence. I didn’t need the scientific chops to form a position on the validity of the diagnostic criteria; all I needed to see was that the changes were engineered to keep the incidence numbers going up when they would not otherwise have done so.

    In fact, from that and other junk-science episodes preceding it I learned that the most reliable indicator of junk science is when an allegedly scientific theory is used in an attempt to rev up a moral panic by political means. In that instance, the main offenders were right-wing sexual puritans, though there was a weird element of complicity in their scam from homosexual activists attempting to shed the “gay disease” stigma. (Sorry, but AIDS actually does discriminate; anal sex is far more likely to lead to transmission than vaginal because the rectal lining isn’t adapted to withstand pressure and friction without capillary rupture.) Those two groups allied with careerists in the CDC and grant-seeking medical researchers to inflate the severity of the AIDS threat far beyond what the facts actually warranted.

    I could give other examples, but they’d merely reinforce the same point: when you see ‘science’ being used as a prop by someone yelling that we’re all going to die unless somebody’s political or moral policy preferences are implemented RIGHT NOW, odds are high that the science is hunk.

  376. It occurs to me that, however, if the saturation point is reached in the upper atmosphere as well, than additional CO2 will make no difference.

    Even if you reach saturation at any given layer, there will still be an unsaturated layer at some higher altitude.

    I suspect the increase in greenhouse effect might break down if you could saturate the atmosphere all the way to the tropopause, but I think that scenario is unrealistic.

    The rate of heat flow into space will decrease until the CO2 created tank is full, but once the buffer is full the rate will resume.

    Very interesting, I used to think that too!

    It turns out that the rate of emission is described by Planck’s Law. So in order to get the same rate, you need to have the same atmospheric temperature. To get the same temperature but at a higher altitude, the surface temperature must be higher.

  377. That is true. Junk science has a characteristic stench which is detectable in the communications behavior of the people doing it.

    I was able to tell that the so-called “climate skeptic” view was fraudulent because its advocates sounded so much like creationists.

    The “no warming since 1998″ meme was a fantastic diagnostic marker. The argument was so obviously wrong that you could automatically tell that someone using it was either deliberately lying or in the grip of extreme cognitive dissonance.

    One of the reasons I keep coming back here is that your posts on prospiracies and Gramscian damage were key contributions to my understanding of the climate debate. I suspect that you are going to be very angry if you ever realise that you’ve been an unwitting vector for memes spread by the carbon lobby.

  378. Like Hansen’s boss? Are you maintaining he does not understand these principles?

    Speaking of characteristic stenches: John Theon wasn’t James Hansen’s boss. Theon himself said “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results.” By that token, you could claim that the CFO of any given company was the “supervisor” of the engineers, because after all the CFO justifies funding, allocates resources, and evaluates results. “In effect” is classic vague weasel-wording.

    Theon appears to have a reasonably good record as a scientist and it’s possible that he was in a good position to evaluate Hansen’s performance. But it’s completely sloppy to call him Hansen’s boss, because he wasn’t the guy Hansen reported to on a day to day basis. For that matter, I’m not sure why a bunch of people who should know better are citing “boss” as evidence that Theon’s right. Surely some of you have had incompetent superiors? It’s an appeal to emotion — a gotcha moment — not logic.

  379. You should know that a key moment around here was when esr dissected the computer code they were using at CRU. This blog is haunted by people who know how to write computer programs well. Fraud and incompetence was a very good description of what happened at CRU, from people who understand those basic programming principles very well.

    One of those people was JonB, who understood the basic programming principle of “commented out code” ;-)

  380. @Tom DeGisi
    You are rejecting 1900 era thermodynamics. That makes it very difficult to have an informed discussion on heat transport in the atmosphere.

    There is no ethical dimension in thermodynamics. However, there is an ethical side to condemning people of fraud without due dilligence.

  381. > Speaking of characteristic stenches: John Theon wasn’t James Hansen’s boss. Theon himself said “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results.” By that token, you could claim that the CFO of any given company was the “supervisor” of the engineers, because after all the CFO justifies funding, allocates resources, and evaluates results. “In effect” is classic vague weasel-wording.

    Not at all. How many dotted line supervisors have you had? I have them all the time. Once I even had a boss once who worked for another company, a supplier of ours. He thought he functioned as my boss. I thought he functioned as my boss. He told me what needed to be done and I did it. I reported my status to him and he passed it on. He approved (and sometimes disapproved) my work. He did not do my evaluations though.

    How much time have you spent working for large bureaucracies?

    > For that matter, I’m not sure why a bunch of people who should know better are citing “boss” as evidence that Theon’s right.

    Who is claiming this?

    Yours,
    Tom

  382. > You are rejecting 1900 era thermodynamics.

    No, I’m not. I’m learning. Have you learned anything today?

    > However, there is an ethical side to condemning people of fraud without due dilligence.

    I’ve done the due diligence. It isn’t based on my understanding of thermodynamics. It’s based on my understanding of people, and processes.

    You, on the other hand, have not convinced me that you are doing your due diligence.

    I have yet to hear you condemn the pro-AGW, pro-HIV and even pro-evolution scientists for doing the exact same political things to anti-AGW, anti-HIV and anti-evolution scientists that you condemned earlier.

    BTW, pete just revealed an idea that would get him in real hot water with the pro-HIV crowd – especially if he applies it to Africa. So why aren’t you crawling all over pete? Do you really think he has a perfect understanding of all basic principles in epidemiology?

    Yours,
    Tom

  383. >BTW, pete just revealed an idea that would get him in real hot water with the pro-HIV crowd – especially if he applies it to Africa. So why aren’t you crawling all over pete?

    Maybe he didn’t see any link between anything I said and HIV in Africa? I certainly can’t!

  384. >Do you think HIV is spreading in Africa via heterosexual sex?

    Tom, this may not take you where you want. In fact heterosexual contact is a major AIDS transmission route in Africa; the reason is the high incidence of ulcerating STDs such as chancroids. These increase the blood-exchange risk. Fortunately these co-pathogens don’t like cold weather or low humidity.

  385. >Do you think HIV is spreading in Africa via heterosexual sex?

    Given that it’s showing up in pregnant women, I strongly suspect that heterosexual sex is one of the ways HIV is spreading in Africa. However, I think you may have mistaken one of esr’s comments for one of mine.

  386. @Tom DeGisi
    “I have yet to hear you condemn the pro-AGW, pro-HIV and even pro-evolution scientists for doing the exact same political things to anti-AGW, anti-HIV and anti-evolution scientists that you condemned earlier”

    You might read my comments more carefully. In all three cases I have only commented on people who rejected scientific discourse. They refused to deliver testible claim or evidence, rejected peer review and rejected evidence that countered their opinions.

    In all cases, no scientific debate was possible anymore.

    Your insistence of questioning the viral cause of AIDS
    , modern biology, and even 19th century results in thermodynamics seems not to be founded in any understanding of the debates that caused the rifts.

    My only point has been that there is a long tradition of blaming unwanted scientific result on fraud and a general failing of science and its practitioners.

    Btw, I am personally acquainted with AIDS researchers abd biologists and your portrait of them could not be more wrong.

  387. Winter,

    > You might read my comments more carefully. In all three cases I have only commented on people who rejected scientific discourse. They refused to deliver testible claim or evidence, rejected peer review and rejected evidence that countered their opinions.

    > In all cases, no scientific debate was possible anymore.

    Exactly. Some pro-AIDS, pro-AGW and pro-evolution scientists reject scientific discourse, refuse to deliver testable claim or evidence (for particular points, not all points), and reject evidence that counters their opinions.

    I’ve never heard/read them reject peer review, although my brother, a modern, practicing biologist has commented on how much science is really accepted because scientists trust one another, without any attempt at repeated experimental verification. And the words “peer review” cover two topics. The first is peer reviewed publication. That sort of peer review is little more than a cursory check for obvious errors. It’s useful, but it’s not even close to an audit, much less a replication of results. The second is grants. But both are subject to well known, centuries old political problems. I mentioned Issac Newton above. You know as well as I that scientists can be very vindictive towards those who challenge their work. Peer review enables that vindictiveness.

    I don’t reject peer review. I just don’t worship and venerate it as you do. It’s a process with known flaws.

    > Your insistence of questioning the viral cause of AIDS
    , modern biology, and even 19th century results in thermodynamics seems not to be founded in any understanding of the debates that caused the rifts.

    We aren’t communicating. I’ve seen no evidence you are reading my comments with any particular attention to my points. You keep restating things that are orthogonal to what I am stating. For example, I never stated my position on AIDS. I am happy that scientists question the particular viral cause of AIDS since we don’t have a working vaccine yet. Personally I think Duesberg is wrong, and HIV is the cause of AIDS. OTOH, he may have, for example stumbled on some things that make it worse. We may never know. I also don’t think that AIDS is as widespread in Africa as is claimed.

    In addition, I’m quite happy with modern biology. I believe in evolution, although I also believe it is God’s method of creation, a position which does not conflict with science. You have confused my discussion of the history of science with your own personal animus towards modern creationists.

    > My only point has been that there is a long tradition of blaming unwanted scientific result on fraud and a general failing of science and its practitioners.

    Certainly. And we also correctly blame incorrect scientific result on fraud and a general failing of science and its practitioners. Are you familiar with the research that says that 90% of medical research is wrong?

    Are you maintaining that we cannot make significant improvements in the way we do science?

    > Btw, I am personally acquainted with AIDS researchers abd biologists and your portrait of them could not be more wrong.

    So am I. I have observed horrible behavior. I doubt you have spent much time on Dean’s World during any of the HIV discussions. Actual AIDS researchers and biologists showed up and behaved badly. I have also observed good behavior.

    Yours,
    Tom

  388. Winter,

    Oh, and BTW, if you would read my comments you would know that I’m not rejecting thermodynamics, I’m learning them. Try to be a better teacher. :) I’ve thought about my earlier comment, and pete’s response (which was not helpful). If what I said was correct, insulation would not work. By contrast, pete’s explanation matches the way insulation works quite well. What has not not been explored enough is whether insulation, and possibly the CO2 in the atmosphere is subject to diminished returns at some point.

    Why do I care? Because I’m curious, and it’s fun to learn from discussion. However, I don’t need to know any of this to tell whether catastrophic AGW is happening. (Catastrophic AGW is the only interesting kind, and the only kind I doubt. I believe we have AGW, just not enough to worry about.) If the models aren’t matching the empirical data, it’s not happening.

    > Given that it’s showing up in pregnant women, I strongly suspect that heterosexual sex is one of the ways HIV is spreading in Africa.

    How do you know? One of the biggest problems in Africa is that they are too poor to even use HIV tests.

    > However, I think you may have mistaken one of esr’s comments for one of mine.

    You are completely correct, pete. Sorry about that.

    > Tom, this may not take you where you want. In fact heterosexual contact is a major AIDS transmission route in Africa; the reason is the high incidence of ulcerating STDs such as chancroids. These increase the blood-exchange risk. Fortunately these co-pathogens don’t like cold weather or low humidity.

    If that is the case we should spend less on HIV and more on ulcerating STDs. We still don’t know how to cure HIV, and we don’t know how to treat it cheaply. Since it is such a hard problem, maybe ulcerating STDs are easier.

    Yours,
    Tom

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