William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Page 146 of 700

Reporting On So-Called Climate Reporters: Update 4

Chief, we got a guy here who claims climate models are no good. How do you want me to discredit him?

Chief, we got a guy here who claims climate models are no good. How do you want me to discredit him?

Update Be sure to come back on Sunday and see my wrap-up column.

The first section of this article contains background on the subject which should be read, the second records correspondence with several “science” reporters which can be skimmed, and the third has an analysis on the state of science. Feel free to pass this article around (but in its entirety and with a link back here).

Fallacies galore

This concerns the paper Lord Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates and I wrote entitled “Why models run hot“, which carries the good news that we have a potential and likely explanation why climate models perform so badly that they should not be trusted.

Yet instead of celebrating this or at least asking relevant or pertinent questions related to the physics, those of a certain political persuasion panicked. What matters to these sad people is not truth but belief. Only evidence which is consonant with their belief is countenanced. Evidence which questions or refutes their belief isn’t challenged or engaged, instead it is anathematized, and the bearers of the bad tidings are damned and hounded.

Now it is utterly, completely, starkly irrelevant, and obvious to any but a bug-eyed zealot, how the four of us came to our result. It does not matter if Greenpeace itself, as that cult-like organization often does, paid for the writing of the paper. It doesn’t matter if the government, awash as it is in billions, asked us to do the work. It even doesn’t matter if we discovered the results printed small on a Chinese fortune cookie. The result is what and is all that is important.

As it is, none of us, as I have repeatedly said, received consideration in any form from anybody for the work we did. This means that even if you embraced the childish fallacy that the origin of ideas mattered to the truth of them, here the result is as pure as pure can be.

The easily frenzied did not believe this, and were convinced a conspiracy was afoot. Some, whose grasp on sanity is faintest, organized a petition to have one of us (Soon) fired, because why? Because they falsely accused Soon of failing to fill out a journal form properly. I do not joke nor jest. As it is, Soon and the rest of us honestly, openly, and properly filled out all forms. Not that any of that matters to our result.

It was at this point real dread set in. It looked like the four of us were telling the truth. We were. And to the deluded who cherish the genetic fallacy this appeared that our result might be true, too. So the mentally feeble David Appell (sometime scourge of the comment box) put a FOIA request to the employer of Legates, but the poor soul was rebuffed because no state monies were involved in the writing of the paper. As we claimed. Then Greenpeace contacted the employer of Soon with the same intent, and Greenpeace discovered that Soon was in the same state as those who receive Greenpeace money. Which is to say, Soon in his career received money from sources other than our beneficent government. But he didn’t get anything for the paper the four of us wrote. How disappointed Greenpeace must have been to have discovered that.

Science mistaken for politics

Greenpeace was stymied again. But they have friends in low places, who they contacted because Soon soon (a joke!) was inundated with “science” reporters asking for interviews.

One of these was Jeff Tollefson, US Correspondent for Nature, who pestered Soon. I wrote to Tollefson (complete with my typos):

Tollefson,

A little birdies told me you’re writing an article which won’t discuss Lord Monckton et alia’s “Why models run hot” paper, but which will instead try to discredit the paper by talking about anything but what’s in it.

When I heard that I said to myself, “No reporter at Nature can be that pig ignorant or wantonly scurrilous.” Am I right? “No,” I said, “the reporter must be writing about two common fallacies used by those who deny science. The genetic fallacy and the non sequitur.”

When confronted by an unpleasant result, non-scientists in the media love to encourage the genetic fallacy, which is when they try and get their audiences to believe that the origin of a truth is false because of that truth’s origin. I know you’ll have difficulty believing this, Tollefson, but this strategy actually works! People are so gleeful at the possibility that they don’t have to confront the truth that they leap at the chance to turn the discussion to money or politics. Shameful and more than a little sad, no?

And then there’s the non sequitur that falsely accusing a man of not checking off a box on a paper submission form therefore invalidates the results of that paper. Embarrassing that anybody would believe such a thing. But it happens!

I know you know these things, Tollefson, but I had to say them because I wanted to share my misery over the shoddy state of science these days.

Incidentally, isn’t it wonderfully cheering news that our results in the “Why models run hot” paper show that multitude of the-end-is-nigh forecasts are very likely exaggerated?

Briggs

He replied:

Hello Mr. Briggs,
I’m writing a story about the broader issue of industry funding as illustrated by these documents that are about to come out. The study in Science Bulletin will likely come up, but this is not a story about that discussion. That said, I just submitted a request to our librarian to get me that paper (we don’t have free access), and I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass it along (with any supplemental materials).

Many thanks,
Jeff

To which I said:

Tollefson,

Broader issue, eh. So you do prefer politics to science? Well, I’ll look for you to point out the fallacies I mentioned to your readers.

But since politics and not science is your beat, then what effect do you think the billions of government money flooding into the system has? Why is it government money is seen as “pure” and industry money “tainted”, especially when the government far outspends industry. The government is, after all, an interested source. Just think of EPA grants. What will you say of the common practice whereby scientists review grants and also receive them from the same agencies (not simultaneously of course)? Tremendous conflict of interest! Do you recall Eisenhower’s speech where he not only cautioned against the military-industrial complex but also about the corrupting influence of government money?

Incidentally, the paper is open source. But I’ll attach it for you.

Briggs

That was one reporter. Another was Sylvan Lane, Congressional Correspondent at The Boston Globe, Washington Bureau, who we met before and whom I offered to instruct in physics. He wrote:

Hello Dr. Briggs and Lord Monckton,

I hope all is well. I’m writing to ask you a couple of questions about your and Dr. Soon’s work on “Why models run hot.”

We received documents today that Greenpeace obtained through FOIA indicating that the Dr. Soon received several $100,000 during the time you all were working on “Why models run hot.”

Were you two aware that Dr. Soon was receiving this money at the time? Do you believe that this should have been disclosed as a conflict of interest, given the proximity of the receipt of funding to the work on the paper?

Thank you very much,


Sylvan Lane

I replied:

Lane,

Still no questions on the physics? Have you even tried to learn any in the interim?

Plus I notice you didn’t answer any of the questions I asked before. Why is that? Are the answers too embarrassing for you? Are you compromised in some way? You can tell me.

If you’d like me to suggest a course of reading on physical modeling, let me know. After you have that under your belt, perhaps we can then have a relevant, intelligent discussion.

Briggs

Surprisingly, Lane never wrote back.

A third reporter, Dave Hasemyer at InsideClimate News, starting harassing Soon at home. This cheeseball in part wrote (it’s only “in part” because I am affording Hasemyer of stripping off his email and phone number):

I am doing a story that tracks some of your recent published studies — reporting in which questions are being raised about whether you violated any conflicts of interest guidelines by not disclosing your funding sources.

I’m also need to talk with you about the ethics of what you have said about trying to sway public opinion and influence public policy though the results of your studies that address climate change and global warming.

I didn’t write Hasemyer because it’s almost certain he’s beyond helping. That last sentence of his is a doozy and is all the proof you need of the one-sided nature of this public debate.

Another reporter, a Justin Gillis, Environmental Science Writer for the left wing New York Times, wrote something similar. His email also admitted his relationship with Greenpeace.

About two weeks back, another reporter, Chris Mooney of the Washington Post wrote this:

Yes, can you address two points — and anything else you’d like to address?

1) The article suggests there should have been some type of disclosure. Does Dr Soon have a response to this? Or you, the authors?

2) There’s a citation of “more than $1 million Soon has received from companies and interests supporting studies critical of climate change.” Is that accurate?

Also: You’re acting as a spokesperson for Dr. Soon? How do I identify you?

thanks

Chris Mooney

I answered:

Mooney,

A) Let me ask you this. Are you getting paid to write this upcoming piece? Do you feel that this money biases you? Do you feel under pressure to, say, bend the truth, leave out pertinent details, or otherwise misreport the story based on your funder’s desires?

B) I notice you didn’t ask questions about the physics. Why was this?
Our argument is that the physics used in climate models is sorely lacking at specific points. Are you familiar with the Genetic Fallacy? This is when somebody says an argument fails because of its source. It is a fallacy because it does not address the argument itself. How about the non sequitur? In this case, the fallacy is the crude and foolish attempt to distract from the argument, presumably because there is no answer for the argument. Will you be addressing the central argument of the paper or ignoring it? Will you make the same points I made in this paragraph?

1) There was a disclosure, all in full accordance with the journal’s policies. None of us were offered nor did any of us take any form of consideration for writing the paper. Suppose instead the counterfactual, that we, for instance, accepted a grant from Greenpeace or Government. Would that make our central finding—that climate models are poor—true or false? Do you often write stories asking whether authors filled out intra-journal paperwork correctly? How many have you written?

2) I have no idea about that “citation.” But at what level of funding from non-governmental sources makes an author’s finding doubtful? Is there an accepted figure? Does money from places like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and, say, Apple Corporation count toward it, or is there an official list of tainted firms? If so, may I see it? And why is it that government funding is seen as pure and disinterested? The government spends vastly more on grants than do private sources. Interestingly, the same people who sit on grant awarding committees also themselves apply for and receive grants from those same committees (albeit not simultaneously). Isn’t that a huge conflict of interest? If so, why doesn’t anybody ever declare this? Talk about an unreported scandal.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Briggs

Mooney actually replied saying (ellipsis original), “Just one other question — you are speaking for Soon, for the group of authors, or….?” I thought this question silly and didn’t answer.

And there are more, including those schooled by Lord Monckton, but that’s enough. You get the idea.

The End is nigh

Listens up, lovers of truth. Do not play their game. Refuse to honor their dishonorable requests. This is an attempt by malcontents to change the subject from WHY MODELS RUN HOT to some putrid political point.

The very second you start on their diseased path, they win. Everybody will forget that climate models stink, that they have no skill, that they should not be trusted, that something is very deeply wrong with the science behind these models, that the IPCC forecasts are awful, that the science is far from settled. Instead, we’ll have some nonsensical “debate” about paperwork.

They are hoping you are as dumb as they; they are hoping that if, as is false, some box on a form was improperly checked, the results in the paper are therefore wrong. Can you imagine the level of mind that is convinced by an argument like that? I can. We are swimming in a sea of such people. This is why the science is now yet another branch of politics.

Never did I once get through to any of these “science” reporters. Why? Their minds are too clouded, they are incapable of understanding the subjects on which they are reporting, or they are on a mission to discredit a good man simply because we questioned a cherished belief.

What a sad story. What vast ignorance. What despicable people. What a farce.

Oh, by the way. Climate models have no skill. They should not be trusted. The science behind climate models is woefully incomplete. The forecasts from these models have been a bust for decades now. If you’d like to learn why, you can’t go too far wrong than by starting with the paper “Why model run hot”, available at the link above.

Update

Lane finally emailed me back. Here’s what he said:

Dr. Briggs,

I assume you’re not willing to answer my questions then? We’ll be running a story this weekend that I’m finishing up today.

Thanks,

Sylvan

To which I replied:

I assume you’re not willing to answer my questions then? I’ll be posting your responses.

Why is it reporters think they’re immune from questioning their motives?

Tollefson also emailed:

Hello again Mr. Briggs, and hello for the first time Lord Monckton,
So I wanted to verify your position regarding the alleged conflict of interest, given Willie Soon’s funding, and then provide some comments that I received regarding your paper in Science Bulletin.

First regarding the alleged conflict, I saw that you were quoted, Lord Monckton, in the Boston Globe saying that there was no such conflict because all of the work for this paper was done in your own time. Is that correct? But regardless, shouldn’t Willie Soon’s funding be acknowledged just as a matter of due diligence so as to avoid questions like this?

Second, I’m pasting in a quick critique of the Science Bulletin paper from Kevin Trenberth below, who summed things up with the following question: How did this get published? Your responses are welcome, although to be clear the story I’m writing is not about this paper but about the question of science funding and conflicts of interest.

Many thanks for your time.

Jeff

I’ll post Trenberth’s critique and my response to it in a separate post. But notice that Tollefson still can’t be brought to discuss the point at hand. I replied to Tollefson:

Well, you’re finally getting to the real point. Instead of trying to distract and mislead your audience with irrelevant and already asked-and-answered questions, you have actual science to discuss. What a wonderful change!

What I’ll do is to put up for all to see Trenberth’s critique and my response. I’ll let you know when this is done. Lord Monckton may wish to do his own, of course.

Update Note the New & Improved title!

Update

Gillis of the far-left New York Times is a pathetic creature who without talking to Soon jumped to pre-judged conclusions. Without evidence or corroboration the foolish Gillis accused Soon of an “ethical breach”.

So I emailed this foolish ethically breached man:

Gillis,

I understand you’re attempting to distract your readers with persiflage about whether Dr Soon incorrectly filled out a journal’s paper submission form. I am one of the authors of that paper.

Why are you doing this? I understand you are funded by progressive corporate interests that have a stake in the politics of climate change. I’d like to ask you whether your acceptance of this corporate funding has influenced the conclusions of your reporting. I’m guessing it has. Can you explain yourself?

I’d also like to know why you feel falsely accusing people of trivial paperwork mishandling contributes or detracts to science. Do you feel you’re on a mission to “change the world”? Don’t you agree that scientific truth is more important in this case? If not, why not? Do you yourself feel important in some way by making these false charges?

I’m most concerned that you did not ask any relevant science questions. Do you know much about the physics of climate change? Can you, for instance, tell me what cloud parameterization scheme you like best? Can you expound for me on the scientific principle that bad forecasts imply false theories and its relation to global climate predictions?

Again, I’m pretty concerned that because your employer, a well known far-left publication, is involved that you no amount of argument can talk you out of your pre-conceived and false notions. Do you think this is an apt charge? How do you defend yourself?

I’m going to press with this story pretty quickly, so I’d appreciate a quick response.

WM Briggs

Update Want more proof that climatology is no longer a science? Somebody slipped their restraints and started emailing me, Willie Soon, and a bunch of others attempting to taunt us. Though “taunt” is too strong a word. This person calls itself “Willie A Soon” with email willieasoon@yandex.com. The latest email was this poem from The Hobbit:

I cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
I lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes I fills.
I comes out first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.

So it self-identifies as Dark. Sheesh. Is there a place I can apply to government for victim status? I really ought to be compensated.

Update The naughty Sylvan Lane has a Boston Globe article on some politician trying to boost his take by frightening people about global warming, or whatever, in which he fibs, “Co-author Dr. William Briggs declined to comment.” Which, as you can see above, is not so. And don’t forget my earlier back-and-forth with Lane here. Tons of correspondence. What a pest this earnest but ignorant young man is. I just wrote to him this:

Naughty naughty, Lane.

I have all the correspondence between us posted, which proves your fib that I refused to comment.

I hope you at least blushed when writing that.

Pascal’s Pensées, A Tour: VI

PascalSince our walk through Summa Contra Gentiles is going so well, why not let’s do the same with Pascal’s sketchbook on what we can now call Thinking Thursdays. We’ll use the Dutton Edition, freely available at Project Gutenberg. (I’m removing that edition’s footnotes.)

Previous post.

19 The last thing one settles in writing a book is what one should put in first.

Notes I have to keep this in mind for my book, which is edging ever closer to completion. But it’s too late, because what went in first is already there and what goes in last hasn’t yet been decided.

20 Order.—Why should I undertake to divide my virtues into four rather than into six? Why should I rather establish virtue in four, in two, in one? Why into Abstine et sustine rather than into “Follow Nature,” or, “Conduct your private affairs without injustice,” as Plato, or anything else? But there, you will say, everything is contained in one word. Yes, but it is useless without explanation, and when we come to explain it, as soon as we unfold this maxim which contains all the rest, they emerge in that first confusion which you desired to avoid. So, when they are all included in one, they are hidden and useless, as in a chest, and never appear save in their natural confusion. Nature has established them all without including one in the other.

21 Nature has made all her truths independent of one another. Our art makes one dependent on the other. But this is not natural. Each keeps its own place.

Notes Abstine et sustine = suck it up or live with it (my translations). From Epictetus. From other stoics, Follow nature = well, very little, unless, as Pascal said, you bring with you an already complete philosophy. We’re addicted to aphorisms, though, and they can be quite useful as shorthand or as an open-secret code when talking to other insiders.

22 Let no one say that I have said nothing new; the arrangement of the subject is new. When we play tennis, we both play with the same ball, but one of us places it better.

I had as soon it said that I used words employed before. And in the same way if the same thoughts in a different arrangement do not form a different discourse, no more do the same words in their different arrangement form different thoughts!

23 Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have different effects.

Notes Distinctions lost on a bureaucratic nation which has lost touch with poetry. Anyway, from what Pascal said it follows that language cannot be abstracted to mathematical formula, that not all thoughts can be quantified. That the ultimate analysis of literature cannot be a science.

24 Language.—We should not turn the mind from one thing to another, except for relaxation, and that when it is necessary and the time suitable, and not otherwise. For he that relaxes out of season wearies, and he who wearies us out of season makes us languid, since we turn quite away. So much does our perverse lust like to do the contrary of what those wish to obtain from us without giving us pleasure, the coin for which we will do whatever is wanted.

Notes The corollary to this is to focus on the task at hand, the exact right advice for anybody reading this on the screen of a “device”, where the urge to “surf” can be overwhelming. The art of reading is being lost rapidly.

25 Eloquence.—It requires the pleasant and the real; but the pleasant must itself be drawn from the true.

26 Eloquence is a painting of thought; and thus those who, after having painted it, add something more, make a picture instead of a portrait.

27 Miscellaneous. Language.—Those who make antitheses by forcing words are like those who make false windows for symmetry. Their rule is not to speak accurately, but to make apt figures of speech.

Notes The pleasant not drawn from other than the real is The Daily Show. How much “communication” now is designed to tell readers, in an amusing way, that whoever does not believe as they do are stupid? And this wouldn’t be so bad except that this (to speak loosely) discourse is held in great regard as if it were eloquence. Awards for everybody!

Give Up Carbon For Lent?

You don’t really need this, do you?

Ought to be easy to give up carbon for Lent, as the Global Catholic Climate Movement suggests1. Step one: don’t exhale and don’t eat—your breath and food are chock full of carbon. Step two: die.

Think how much smaller your carbon “footprint” would be!

But enough hilarity. It’s important to understand groups like the Global Catholic Climate Movement because we’re going to be hearing a lot more from them after Pope Francis releases his promised ecological encyclical.

Encyclical? A device used by popes to offer advice that need be contemplated most seriously but which do not establish dogma. Catholics must be extremely careful when disagreeing with an encyclical, giving these documents the benefit of most doubt. The rare exceptions are when encyclical content wanders into subjects which are not areas of Church expertise. Like whether climate model forecasts are any good and, if not, should their predictions be heeded. Nobody knows whether Pope Francis will head that direction, but it is doubtful.

Anyway, what gets me is how some Catholic groups award themselves authority they do not possess, and write on such things as “Catholic Teachings and Statements on Climate Change and Creation Stewardship“. There are no Catholic teachings, in the sense of dogma or required beliefs, on global warming, though plenty of Catholics, including popes, have made remarks on these subjects.

For instance, the GCCM quotes from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, but it puts ellipses into some strange places. The GCCM starts “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole…” with the ellipsis theirs. Here is the remainder of the original paragraph which the GCCM skipped:

When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God’s creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation.

This strikes an agreeable balance: and the rest of the encyclical is as subtle an analysis, which in no way can used to justify a monolithic, powerful world government regulating every possible aspect of human life. Yet some folks anxious for more governmental control are hungry for any kind of support they can glean.

For instance, the GCCM blames, as many ignorant of how the climate works, typhoon Haiyan (which struck the PI) on global warming. They say, the “impacts of extreme weather on the vulnerable and marginalized become clear”. Clear? How? Only the press and activists say things like this. You don’t get it from models, which in any case are busted, nor from observations. False information mistakenly called “science” is passed around and believed implicitly because the false information is consonant with the desires of many. Is that how science is supposed to work?

The GCCM says “we recognize that conversations about the climate crisis have historically been more about intellectual arguments than about the profound spiritual and moral implications of our failure to care for God’s creation.” They are about intellectual arguments because that is how we decide whether we even need to worry about the moral implications of global warming. If the level of global warming is intellectually determined to be trivial, or the positive benefits of an atmosphere richer in carbon dioxide outweigh the negatives of slightly northern hemisphere warmer winter nights, then we need do nothing.

Strike that. One thing we can do is to stop turning our food into fuel for guilt-ridden spoiled Westerners. It’s because corn is turned into fashionable “lifestyle” go-juice that food prices increase. We in the States can mostly afford it—except the price increases swell the ever-growing food stamp roles, which, in turn because somebody has to pay for this largess, increases the number of the less well off. Food-as-fuel makes it economically tempting for the poor in other countries to carve out more jungle to grow crops with which to feed their families.

On these subjects, false dichotomies premised on falsities abound. Example? “Global warming is a crisis, therefore the only solution is larger government.” That’s bad enough, but to pretend a saying like that is a “Catholic teaching” and must therefore not be doubted is disturbing.

We didn’t do much today, but over the next couple of months, we’ll have to look at these groups more closely.

———————————————————————-

1Incidentally, what a nice blog theme they have. And thanks to Pewsitter where I learned about this group.

Beware, Bloggers, The Government Is Coming. Update

Google CEO Larry Page holds up the Net Neutrality pact.

Google CEO Larry Page holds up the Net Neutrality pact.

We’ve all heard—this information is still allowed to be transmitted—that the government will soon take over the Internet under the couldn’t-they-come-up-with-something-not-so-Orwellian-sounding Net Neutrality scheme. By “neutrality” they mean a kind of enforced-by-arms demilitarized zone. No competition by carriers will be allowed that isn’t government designed, monitored, and approved.

That’s only the surface. Buried within NN will be new powers allowing the government to regulate content. That means sites like with “controversial” content could be in some deep kimchee.

First, it is a simple prediction that prices will rise and access and speed diminish. Not for everybody, of course. Just for those who do not make a government favorites list, which is most of us. A few select groups will discover that Internet access is a fundamental “right” and these folks will get free, but limited, service (and probably computers, too). News reports will highlight these winners.

The naifs at Google and other top providers actually gave money to Congresspeoples and the like so that these regulations would be instituted. The government is ever obliging to those with fat wallets. See, Google didn’t want its content regulated by carriers. So Google got the government to promise carriers they’d have to accept whatever content the government approved.

Google no doubt smiled, thinking their old-fashioned crony capitalistic trick worked. But you know how smart people can be really dumb? Here’s another case. Because Google also opened the door—which many in government were already pushing at—to the government regulating all content. Including content delivered by Google.

Idiots.

Say, remember how quickly Google caved to China when that government said “You may not do this”? And how quickly Google caved in Europe when those governments said “You may not do this”? And how… Sure you do. Prediction two: The same thing will happen here.

Enter Uncle Fred, who explains better the same thoughts had by Yours Truly:

First, “hate speech” will be banned. The government will tell us whom we can hate and whom we cannot. “Hatred” will be vaguely defined so that one will never be sure when one is engaging in it and, since it will be prosecutable, one will have to be very careful. Disapproval of favored groups, or of their behavior, will be defined as hatred. National security will be invoked, silencing whistle-blowers or, eventually, anything that might make the public uneasy with Washington’s wars.

The next step probably will be to block links to foreign sites deemed to transgress…

Prediction three: a major content provider, like Google (they own blogspot, blogger) will either be sued or will see harassment by “activists” because the activists revile a blog or blogs and want them killed. Maybe Ed Feser one day describes how acting on same-sex attraction violates natural law. This will be called “hate speech.” A “victim” or “victims” will be trotted out. The litigants/activists will invoke Net Neutrality, whether or not it is relevant. The “press” will jump at yet another chance to change the world.

And Google will cave. Out the door goes Feser. And every other site that is “hate filled”, too. For, you see, Google will write a new policy to protect itself from harassment from government and busybodies. Other major content providers will follow suit. Bloggers and news site writers won’t be all kicked off immediately, only when “discovered” by the perpetually “outraged.” Kind of like how copyrighted videos on YouTube disappear only after they’re found by lawyers.

Prediction four: a major carrier, like Comcast, will either be sued or will see harassment by “activists” because they, Comcast, streamed content from some site deemed politically unacceptable. How dare they “facilitate hate”, etc. Again, Net Neutrality will be invoked. The government, as above, may never be actively involved. Comcast will block the site, re-write its policies, which others will emulate.

Self-censorship will take care of most problems, leaving the government to clear up the most “egregious” cases. The cry of “Free speech!” will be heard, of course, and so that brings up Prediction five. The government won’t outright forbid most content. Instead, it will cause sites to have a “rating” which can be used to filter. That means carriers and web hosts will have to implement software rules to handle the filters. Browsers for major software platforms—think Brendan Eich?—will quickly add code that works with the ratings. All major corporations will restrict hate-rated sites.

The same sorts of restrictions for websites will happen to other venues like Twitter. Look for ratings and more from-the-hip account cancellations.

Timing? Good question. These things always happen faster than you think. I say within five years. You?

Update It’s important you see the comments between myself and others below. They explain better than anything why my predictions hold force.

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