William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Scared Scientists! Climate Terror!

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Picture this

The heck with evidence: it’s how much you care that counts. That sentiment is what’s behind Nick Bowers’s new Scared Scientists project. Motto: “Nobody is safe”!

The far-left Huffington Post reports that Bowers asked scientists with livelihoods based on environmental work to contemplate their findings and stare into the middle distance while he, Bowers, captured their pensive and “frightened” expressions.

That the burdens of the world are on these narrow shoulders is what Bowers hoped to show (examples above). Well, that’s not what his pictures say to me. Maybe I’m imagining it, but I see different thoughts passing through these top minds—thoughts like these:

  • Shauna Murray (top left), a biologist, looks like she just discovered her goat’s milk yogurt bought at the food co-op contained non-organic fruit.
  • Tim Flannery (top right), a mammalogist, appears as if he’s come to the realization that generic stool softeners are not a wise investment.
  • Sarah Perkins (bottom left), a weather researcher, might be wondering how many people will notice the ill-advised steel post puncturing her face (I did).
  • Matthew England (bottom right), an oceanographer, could be thinking about his first pet, a puppy perhaps named Oopsie, who strayed too near the M4 Western Motorway.

Bowers’s idea isn’t as silly as it sounds—or looks. Much can be learned from the facial expressions of our deepest thinkers. For instance, I was able to discover this picture of physicists (not grant-funded climatologists) discussing the accuracy of climate models:

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The full range of emotion can be seen. This poor woman, a scientist reliant on government grants and worried that the flow might cease once it was recognized that climate models have no skill, was captured mid contemplation in this snapshot.

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She needn’t have worried, of course. Accuracy is no longer a scientific requirement.

Not yet known is just what’s on the mind of this climatological fellow.

Climatologist are people too or Terror from the skies!

We good-naturedly tease climatologists in our as-yet vain, but surely ultimately successful, strategy of reminding them of the key scientific principle that bad forecasts logically imply bad theories. But sometimes we forget that climatologists are more sensitive than the average scientist, and that they have feelings, too.

Joe Duggan never forgot. He cares, always and ever.

How? Well, he has a Masters in science communication (not to be confused with a Masters in just-plain science), which led to the masterful plan to ask climate scientists to describe how they feel, about their climate terror.

According to the leftist National Journal (Australia), Duggan solicited the most nervous of climatologists and had them write letters which could be displayed in an “installation.” They are also collected on Twitter.

Yours Truly’s favorite, written by an ecologist who missed his true calling as a greeting card writer:

Duggan’s website contains a wealth of information, like that provided by Dr Elvira Poloczanska Climate Change Ecologist, CSIRO, who tells us there are seven billions folks on the planet and, I quote, “I am one of seven billion, as are you”.

Dr Roger Bodman, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Victoria University, disputes Poloczanska’s numbers and says global warming “will impact adversely on many thousands of people.” When global warming impacts, people get hurt.

Kevin Walsh, Associate Professor and Reader, School of Earth Sciences University of Melbourne said, “I wish that climate change were not real.” Your wish is my command, Walsh, old thing, if by “climate change” you mean a world doomed by the odd carbon dioxide molecule.

Somebody named A.J. Pitman is “scared” that he “cannot trigger action.” That’s what gun oil is for, A.J. Always clean your weapon after use! That you don’t know this shows you how far over-specialization in science has progressed.

The same Sarah Perkins we met above (of face-piercing fame) might be the most concerned.

For sometime now I’ve been terribly worried. I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge it, but everything I have feared is happening. I used to think I was paranoid, but it’s true. She’s slipping away from us. She’s been showing signs of acute illness for quite a while, but no one has really done anything. Her increased erratic behaviour is something I’ve especially noticed. Certain behaviours that were only rare occurrences are starting to occur more often, and with heightened anger. I’ve tried to highlight these changes time and time again, as well as their speed of increase, but no one has paid attention.

Who’s this “she”? Herself? Somebody call a shrink before it’s too late!

Still to come! The winner in the What Should Artists Do About Global Warming Contest.

18 Comments

  1. I particularly like the ‘spot the phallus’ shot. Trick question I know. There are 2!

  2. Next BIG Thing will be the Scared Celebrities.

    None could look as scared and concerned as Nick Cage.

  3. Milton Hathaway

    August 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Many years ago, I determined that for sticky issues with global significance, my best source of moral guidance is to be found in old Star Trek episodes. For CAGW, the relevant episode is clearly “Force of Nature” . The gist of the story is that the Enterprise crew slowly and reluctantly must face up to the fact that racing around the galaxy at fast-than-light speeds is gradually destroying the very fabric of space-time, with grave consequences for all. In his wisdom, Captain Jean Luc Picard determines at the end of the episode that, for the sake of the universe, in the future they must ease up on the gas a tad.

    The Federation mandates a speed limit of Warp 5 (except in cases of extreme emergency). But will non-Federation planets comply? Surprisingly, the Klingons will honor the speed limit, but, of course, the Romulans most certainly will not. But what about the Ferengi, they wonder? This is clearly a rhetorical question, though – as the ultimate capitalists, the Ferengi will jump at the open field created by the Federation speed limit.

    The moral? The Darwinian outcome seems clear here – the Federation’s future is looking dim in light of the new galactic speed limit. But fear not! The speed limit was confined to just this episode; the following week, the Enterprise is back to rip-roaring around the galaxy at Warp 9 again. Alternate energy sources and solar windmills to the rescue, perhaps, but the exact technology employed is left unelaborated.

  4. They look kind of constipated to me … or to simplify “Full of ****”.

  5. I go back to the Original series and Amok Time

    Bones is complaining that Kirk doesn’t have a prayer against Spock because the air is so hot and thin on Vulcan (never mind Spock could always kick Kirk’s ### even under the influence of spore or whatever biiologics working against him).

    T’Pau says: Dee air is dee air; vhat can be done …

  6. I wondered where I’d seek those expressions before and then it came to me — the famous clown, Emmett Kelly’s Weary Willie character. http://bolstablog.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/emmett-kelly.jpg

  7. Ye Olde Statisician

    August 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

    What would we do without “art” and “installations.” Not to mention demonstrations and declarations. I recently read such events described as “public acts of self-love.”

  8. The full power of the social sciences has been unleashed on the poor unsuspecting masses. How can they possibly resist the unstoppable force of climate change communication expertise? It almost seems unfair. How can you not shed a tear when looking at how serious these people are? They are very, very, serious.

    They must be tons of fun at parties. “So what do you for a living?” Queue up the most stern serious anxious aggravated distressed face one is capable of and answer: “I AM A CLIMATE SCIENTIST! I’m saving the planet and you are not you heathen!”

    There is no doubt that the defenseless masses cannot withstand this assault on their puny little minds. Their minds are clay for the masters of science communication. It’s too bad it had to come to this, but the public forced this upon themselves. Maybe they will learn their lesson this time and submit to the superior thinking of their betters to prevent this from happening again.

  9. Maybe skeptics should vent their feelings:
    1. I feel frustrated that scientists are lying to people just to get grants.
    2. I feel sad scientists are behaving like children and name calling.
    3. I feel angry that people are foolish enough to listen to doomsaying.
    4. I feel betrayed by those who adjust data for the sake of political expediency.
    5. I feel happy that at least some people see the scam for what it is.
    6. I feel if people could do math and science, they would see through this scam.

    Michael Mann is wondering if he really can wait out Mark Steyn or if he’s going to get smacked down in court.

  10. They’re a bit like pictures of forlorn pets in animal charity appeals.

    “When the Climate Commission was heartlessly closed down, these poor puppies found themselves homeless, hungry and bereft of funding. Donate now to keep climate change in the headlines and ensure the welfare needs of these lovable but endangered little fellows.”

  11. Alex—good point. Maybe we can get Sarah McLachlan or Willie Nelson singing in the background. Maybe they could even write a whole new song for the occasion.

  12. I think you are all being terribly unkind.

    We should all club together and buy them a cardboard “I’m a Champion Carer ” badge they can all wear when they go out. That way the world will know of their superior human qualities.

    After all if they sat alone caring in a forest would anyone be better off?

  13. Can’t wait for the pictures of scientists(pierced or not) paying inflated energy bills, food bills, etc. after Leviathan “does something” for our own good to regulate emissions. Should be some good pictures of the poorest of third world people still living in the dark ages because Leviathan browbeat their country into “doing something”, too. Should be great art.

  14. Last week there were enough plate tectonics events in play for even these grant feeders to fret about. An earthquake in Chile and one in San Francisco within hours of each other (west boundary of American plate), and a volcano in Iceland (east boundary). Those were – are – real, troubling, and when accelerated will cause irreparable harm to humanity. Where are the merchants of doom? Guess we can’t tax plate tectonics! Oh no, did I reveal the next great environmental quest – to stop the earth from moving! Can’t wait to see the predictions! How do we achieve extermination? CO2 and global warming or massive earthquakes coupled with a super volcano or 2? Hint – we can’t control either!

  15. “She’s slipping away from us. She’s been showing signs of acute illness for quite a while, but no one has really done anything. Her increased erratic behaviour is something I’ve especially noticed. Certain behaviours that were only rare occurrences are starting to occur more often, and with heightened anger. I’ve tried to highlight these changes time and time again, as well as their speed of increase, but no one has paid attention. ”

    A (no particular) religious fundamentalist would agree with the diagnosis but offer a different cause.

    Premise:
    1a) AGW causes bad things to happen.
    1b) Not following edict so-&-so in religious text such-&-such causes bad things to happen.

    2) It’s obvious to me and all my friends that bad things are happening.

    Conclusion:
    1a) Bad things happening prove there is AGW.
    1b) Bad things happening prove you are not following edict so-&-so in religious text such-&-such.

    QED

  16. Apparently the models are right!
    nuccitelli getting nuttier
    Who would have adam and eved it! Beyond parody

  17. Saw this in the comments from Dana:
    “Just because you desperately want something to be true doesn’t make it the simplest explanation. Especially when there’s little if any evidence supporting it. You can’t just ignore inconvenient data. Well you can, but there’s a word for that, and it starts with the letter D.”
    I’m guessing it’s coincidence that Dummy and Dana also starts with D.

  18. Mann there looks like he’s dropped his trolleys and is hunkering down for the graunch… Unstipation perhaps??

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