Thanks for another sack of trenchant and pungent correspondence, including a veritable Kelvin Kavalcade, about which more below. Some topics, such as further thoughts on US policing, we'll leave for the days ahead. It was a remarkable week on the climate-cult front, as Anthony Watts delineates here. This thuggishness will continue until the cult actually suffers a bright, clear defeat, which is why in my own particular case I'm not wasting time with procedural dodges but want to get Michael E Mann into court and under oath as soon as possible. Your continued support through the Steyn store is very gratifying.
On Monday, after months of consultation and strategizing with counsel, I adopted a prudent, cautious legal posture on the guy who's suing me, which you can read here under the rigorously lawyered headline "Michael E Mann: Liar, Cheat, Falsifier and Fraud." It was our most read piece of the last week, and many readers enjoyed it, but California lawyer Michael Harlin cautioned:
If I were your attorney, I would be very disappointed that you published this; it is your attorney team's outline of your case and exactly how you're going to topple the plaintiff.
On the other hand, it's really good stuff. It reminds me of the movie True Lies when The Arnold tells his captors under truth serum exactly what he is going to do to them and then does it.
Good luck with this. I think you have a winner too.
On the other other hand, it could just be a massive head-fake, intended to lure Mann's quintet of high-priced lawyers down a costly and time-consuming dead end of matters I've no intention of bringing up in court. On the other other other hand, Simon Conway-Smith of Cambridge (England, not Massachusetts) draws attention to this line from John Christy:
The cooling portion of Briffa's curve had been truncated for the IPCC report (it is unclear as to who performed the truncation...)
Mr Conway-Smith says:
The opening trial question to Mann must be "Did you truncate the data? ", and if he says no, then "Who truncated the data?", followed by "Why did you not follow clear guidelines for preventing scientific malpractice and fully declare the truncation?"
Okay, I don't know how you broke into my lawyer's office, but now we are giving away the trial outline.
Dr Reuben thinks I may be getting a little cocky about the trial:
Do not be smug, nor so certain of the outcome of your case against Mann.
It is not that I disagree at all with you or the issues involved. However, it is always prudent to ponder this—even Jesus LOST his case, at least in the short run.
With all due respect,
Actually, porcine-fornication expert David Appell thinks I'm already expecting to lose. The truth is, when you're in a proceduralist swamp governed by a politicized judiciary, only a fool would say for certain how it will turn out. If I lose as badly as Mann and his lawyers want me to lose, it will cost me everything I have, and I will be over. However, such an outcome will also be the worst setback for freedom of speech in America in the half-century since New York Times vs Sullivan. So, while I'd rather wake up in the morning and go to the studio to record my next Christmas album, I don't really have much choice but to slog on.
Speaking of Mr Appell's devastating legal analysis, Robert Orr writes from Toronto:
David Appell says, "Like, you can't call someone a pig-f**ker if they're not actually f**king pigs."
But …. in, e.g., Detroit, people call one another motherf**kers all the time without meaning that they actually do …er …..
Indeed. Mr Appell seems to know very little about jurisprudence in that somewhat specialized area: The Jerry Falwell/Larry Flynt Supreme Court decision is in essence the constitutional right to call someone a mother-f**ker or pig-f**ker regardless of whether or not he's actually f**king pigs or mothers.
Okay, enough with the asterisks. On Friday, I had some sport with my old newspaper The Irish Times' willingness to publish warm-monger John GIbbons' impeccably scientific belief that Centigrade can be rendered as Percentigrade (as several readers called it). That's to say, if it's 10 degrees Celsius today, and 15 degrees Celsius tomorrow, it means it's 50 per cent warmer. Whereas, if it's 50 degrees Fahrenheit today, and 59 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow, it's only 18 per cent warmer.
I'll come back to Mr Gibbons and Ireland's newspaper of (temperature) record in a moment, but I was delighted to see that our Percentigrade item produced a veritable avalanche - indeed, a melting Himalayan glacier - of mail talking up Mr Gibbons' fellow son of the Emerald Isle, Lord Kelvin. I wasn't much of a science boy at school, but I always admired Lord Kelvin's beard (see above) - a splendid example of the facial shrubbery that built the Empire. Anyway, let Steven Lent of Arlington, Virginia stand for a thousand Kelvophiliacs out there:
I can reduce global warming to almost nothing …but using the kelvin scale...
Per the Irish Times savant's example, 14.5 degrees Celsius plus 4 degrees Celsius becomes 287.65 degrees kelvin plus 4 degrees kelvin for an percentage increase of just 1.39%.
And, of course, the 'global temperature' hasn't risen by anything like 4 degrees (Celsius or kelvin) in the past hundred years – more like 0.6 to 0.8 degrees – meaning that the actual percentage increase in global temperature on the kelvin scale is at most 0.28%.
Wow, I feel much better now. I need to call that Irish fellow and see if I can get him off his ledge.
BTW, all this is rather silly, of course, but in fact the kelvin scale is an absolute scale: If you have zero degrees kelvin, you really DO have no degrees…
Then again, after a day's Kelvilanche, the Kelvier-than-thou types started writing in:
This is the problem dealing with people who like show tunes and get sued over climate change.
I am not a "certified climate scientist", I am an engineer who knows a lot about all that energy balance thingy stuff. The temperature scale you are looking for is the Rankine scale, which is the scale that begins at absolute zero for the Fahrenheit scale as the Kelvin scale does for Celsius (which used to be the centigrade scale until "scientists" felt the need to honor a dead guy no one had heard of.)
Come to think of it, that absolute zero business would make a great sky-is-falling concept for a new grant. Go to go!
Oh, don't give me all that can't-expect-a-showtune-queen-to-know-his-Kelvin-from-his-Rankine stuff. Did you know that William John Macquorn Rankine had two great loves - mathematics and music? He was a pianist, cellist and singer, and composed light verse and comic songs all his life. If he were around today, he would be duetting with me on "De-Lovely".
We'll have a lyric diversion from Mr Rankine in a moment, but you're right about his scale. If you're keeping score, Mr Gibbons' fears about a 28 per cent warmer planet in Centigrade work out to a 12 per cent warmer planet in Fahrenheit and a 1.39 per cent warmer planet in Kelvin. But, if you convert it to Rankine, where absolute zero is 459.67, it works out to... Stand well back...
...a 0.01 percent warmer planet!
My fear, however, is that people have been so conditioned by all the alarmism that, even if The Irish Times were to inform its readers that, if we don't act now, the planet will be nought-point-O-one warmer by 2050, everyone would still run around shrieking, "Oh, no! We're all gonna fry!"
So we need to get it lower still. Forget Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, Rankine. It's delightful, it's delicious, it's Delisle:
Dear Mr Steyn,
Not that I enjoy being pedantic (ok, yes, as a nerd sometimes I quite relish minutiae), but the Delisle scale is the same as the original Celsius scale was: with a negative temperature slope (the hotter it gets, the closer the numeric value gets to negative infinity). Under Monsieur Delisle's scale, the transition of this orb from 14.5C to 18.5C actually gives you a -4.7% temperature change.
I have singlehandedly solved anthropogenic global warming.
Before we leave the new Percentigrade scale of temperature alarmism, Peter O'Neill of Dublin thinks we should emphasize that John Gibbons, if not The Irish Times, did eventually accept he was wrong, albeit some 14 months later:
The Irish Times did him no favour by protecting him from correction. I would hazard a guess that the sub-editor was simply as clueless and believed Gibbons was presenting valid science.
At least one of the acolytes, although not Gibbons himself, did still clutch at straws four months later to write:
When was the last time that Jean Byrne or Evelyn Cusack [Irish TV weather presenters] told the people of Kilkee [seaside town] to expect lots of visitors tomorrow because the temperature would top 293K ? I suspect that if they did Kilkee newsagents would see a statistically significant increase in requests for this months Nature or American Journal of Physics and a can of diet coke. Most non scientists have very little interest in the finer details of the Laws of Thermodynamics and would be content with the turf accountant [bookmaker] explanation John Gibbons should perhaps have qualified his statement ....by over 25% as measured on the celsius scale, but what actual difference would it have made.
Finer details of the Laws of Thermodynamics my arse as we are prone to say.
As Mr O'Neill says, John Gibbons eventually recanted. But he now appears to be recanting his recantation:
Hello again, Mark (or as John Gibbons would express it, you GOP toe-rag),
The Irish Global Warm-Monger John Gibbons is the gift that just keeps on giving. On his website, defending his mistake (or as he terms it his "clumsy" "translation") over temperature percentages, he has just come up with this explanation:
Relating temperatures to absolute zero is ... meaningless ... for a lay audience.
Hence although, Mr Gibbons tells us, his "translation" [?] was "clumsy" [ie anti-science], he seems to reckon it was "less meaningless" to tell his readers that that famous 4° Celsius temperature rise was "over 25%", rather than the truth, being 1.4%.
Deliberately telling lies to people - effectively your own customers - because you think they're too ignorant to handle the truth is neither honourable, nor respectful to your readers. You can see his delightful comments at the foot of this article, "When Will Accuracy Trump 'Balance' In Media Climate Coverage?"
PS - Thanks for your "Slow Boat to China". Much enjoyed.
Yeah, but Bill Rankine's version really swings.
As the sun sets on this kerfuffle and the temperature sinks 60 per cent to the overnight low, what struck me about it was something I've come to appreciate more and more since Mann decided to sue me. Real science in this field is concerned with relatively narrow, specialized corners of the climate. Whereas the ayatollahs of alarmism are all about the big picture, and as a result their politico-media allies tend to be a planet wide and an inch deep. The shallowness of this guy's expertise is not untypical.
But I promised a song from William John Macquorn Rankine. Of the three colossi of thermodynamics, two were Irish - Lord Kelvin and John Gibbons - but the third - Rankine - was Scottish. He did, however, spend a lot of time in Ireland, including in dear old Mullingar, where my aunt once lived. This is Rankine's ode to Mullingar:
Ye may sthrain your muscles
To brag of Brussels,
Of London, Paris, or Timbuctoo,
Vienna, Naples, or Tongataboo,
Or the Capital iv the Rooshian Czar;
But they're all infarior
To the vast, suparior,
And gorgeous city of Mullingar...
Start spreading the news, he's leaving today. Actually, he's just warming up:
That fair metropolis,
So great and populous,
Adorns the ragions iv sweet Westmeath,
That fertile county
Which nature's bounty
Has richly gifted with bog and heath...
And he winds up, naturally, with the fair colleens of Mullingar:
Now, in conclusion,
I make allusion
To the beauteous females that here abound;
With lovely fatures,
And taper ankles that skim the ground...
Whoa, that Rankine scale is about ready to blow! Time to move on.
Joseph Meyer wants to know have I no sense of decency, sir:
Your columns and radio appearances always clear my mind and add a spring to my step. I do, however, suffer mild dyspepsia when you allow references to "McCarthyism" to appear in your writings without a clarifying note.
Isn't it about time we gave Tailgunner Joe a reprieve? Since the publication of the Venona Cables, we know that the "innocents" he fingered were all Soviet agents.
Yeah, he smoked and drank too much, and was a chicken farmer without the Ivy League panache of Alger Hiss and the rest of the gentleman's club in the employ of Moscow, but isn't it about time we found someone else's name to use as a synonym for witch-hunt? Torquemada, perhaps? That would at least offer some amusing potential for mispronunciation.
As Mel Brooks said, you can't Torquemada anything. Re McCarthy, I know what you're saying but I was inclined to cut Lennart Bengtsson some slack about that "climate McCarthyism" bit because (a) he's a Swede and (b) as he told The Times of London, most of the intimidation was coming from his American "colleagues". Which sounds right to me: Many of the Continental warm-mongers are genuinely deluded, but the serious mob-hit mentality comes mainly from the US guys. So he's a Swede being whacked by Yanks, and, to give people a sense of what he's going through, he tries to come up with something bad and American and hits on McCarthy. I doubt Professor Bengtsson has so much as heard the expression "Tailgunner Joe". And I think there's no doubt, judging from some of the response, that the McCarthy thing worked in a way Torquemada wouldn't - in that it seriously got under their skin.
You'll notice, though, that I subtly distanced myself from it by equating Mann to Lee J Cobb in On The Waterfront, written and directed by two men who named names.
Longtime reader Chris Petrie in Norway thinks, slowly, surely, the tide may be turning - at least among the Facebook friends to whom he'd post my thoughts:
When this whole Mann business started I would receive the usual response from them: "You can't be serious, Chris". But now - things are starting to change. Those who actually read about what is going on, the law suit, Mann's comments, your comments and updates, reports from other sources etc. are starting to open their minds to the possibility that maybe things are quite what they seem. Maybe the world isn't going to end in the next few years. Maybe this guy Mann isn't the guru we thought he was.
It's fascinating to watch. And I believe that a great deal of it is owed to you and your tireless efforts to shine a very bright light on this subject. So this is just a quick note to say thanks. You give me hope that maybe this world isn't as stupid as it sometimes appears to be.
And also a special thanks to those lawyers who are working for you in the Mann lawsuit. I remember a cloumn many years ago where you mentioned a group of British soldiers (in Iraq if memory serves correct) who were surrounded and low on ammunition. Things looked very grim indeed. What did they do? The commanding officer ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge. Result - victory, no further casualties. That is exactly what you are doing. Good luck and give 'em hell.
The return of the SteynOnline Request of the Week prompted a torrent of mail pointing out that, for a guy who knows the William John Macquorn Rankine Songbook inside out, I'm hopeless on the Fab Four. This Ontario reader can stand for dozens more:
However, your column on the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" contains a mistake: Paul McCartney was not inspired by BOTW to write "Let It Be". The recording history of both songs is clear. "Let It Be" was written in 1968 and recorded in early 1969. A recording session on April 30, 1969, served as the basis for the final recording, which was done on January 4, 1970.
By contrast, BOTW was written, as you note, in the summer of 1969 – after Let It Be was recorded. BOTW was recorded on November 9, 1969, and released on January 26, 1970. They're both great songs, but BOTW does not deserve credit as the inspiration for Let It Be.
The first time we ran "Bridge Over Troubled Water" a gazillion readers made the same point, but I forgot to amend the column. I was trying to think where I first heard the "Bridge to Let It Be" thing, and I have a vague memory it was from Macca himself a couple of decades back when I found myself chit-chatting with him at an Ivor Novello lunch or some PRS bash. But it may be my mind playing tricks, or, conversely, that I was drunk that day. Paul was on my left, and the person on my right was one of the most unpleasant persons in London. But I will let that be for another day. The facts are unarguable: saying that Simon inspired McCartney is a "Bridge" too far.
Still on the subject, Ken Brady doesn't care for the lyric. "I will ease your mind"?
Ease your mind with what? A nice shoulder massage?
Enjoyed your article, but with all due respect to the faux-profound 60's lyrics, I prefer the Maynard Ferguson version.
Seeing how he's a fellow Canadian, I hope you sympathize with that.
Are you kidding? I could listen to Maynard Ferguson playing scales - even Kelvin and Rankine.