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Slashback: VoIPersecution, Israel, Plug-in 334

Posted by timothy
from the what's-wrong-with-glowball-warming? dept.
Slashback tonight with updates and clarifications to previous stories on the 911/VoIP disconnect, the perception of scientific unanimity on global warming, Israel vs. Microsoft, and the march of Mozilla (Firefox). Read on for the details.

That damn eye of Sauron is just everywhere! Amigan writes "Over a year ago, the Israeli government did a buyout on their contract with Microsoft - and it was hailed as a great opportunity for OSS. It is now being reported that the Israeli government is back in the Microsoft fold - and again licensing software - not outright purchasing."

No good technology goes unpunished by the inertia police. First it was the state of Texas that decided to sue Vonage over consumer impressions of its support of 911 service; now, as kamikaze-Tech writes "Luispr, a member of the Vonage VoIP Forum has posted a TMC.net article titled VoIP E911: Michigan Atty. General Says Vonage Misleads." That article notes Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's announcement "that Internet-based telephone service provider Vonage Holdings Corporation will now face legal action for misleading consumers about the company's emergency 9-1-1 service."

Note that this is specifically about ads alleged to mislead customers about 911 capabilities, related to but distinct from the objection to VoIP that it doesn't in the first place provide the same location information to 911 operators that conventional telephone service does. See also this earlier story about the FCC pushing 911 requirements on VoIP providers.

Anything you like as long as we already agree. Lawrence Person writes "According to this article, the widely reported study showing unanimous 'scientific consensus' on Global Warming ('not a single paper asserted otherwise') is not only deeply flawed, but that same consensus is artificially maintained by Science and Nature rejecting any papers which disagree with it. 'Dr Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer in the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University, who decided to conduct his own analysis of the same set of 1,000 documents - and concluded that only one third backed the consensus view, while only one per cent did so explicitly. Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet."'"

Larger bounty could be a quicker picker-upper. crhylove writes "The good people over at downhillbattle.org have upped the bounty for their gaim filesharing plugin from $500 to a nice $1k. They say their initial developer has gone AWOL, and that there is an additional $332 in the fund for the developers discretion. I myself want this plugin! Go GAIM!"

It's so good that people give it away for free. Beth writes with what may be the most impressive of the various agit-prop, free-labor Firefox marketing campaigns undertaken around the event of the 50 millionth download of the browser; "To celebrate 50 million downloads of Firefox, a crew of six students from Oregon State University painted a 30 foot wide mural in the Memorial Union Quad. With kool-aid. And cornstarch. Over 20 pounds of it."

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Slashback: VoIPersecution, Israel, Plug-in

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  • by ral315 (741081) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:04PM (#12447200)
    Who needs Pepto Bismol?
  • I highly doubt the server admins at Oregon State are amused, nor is phyisical plant.
  • I'll admit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:16PM (#12447267)
    ... I find the controversy over the "scientific consensus" surrounding man-made global warming amusing as heck.

    What happened the last time we, as a nation, took drastic and pre-emptive action based on a "consensus" of highly self-interested "experts?" We invaded Iraq.

    I'm amazed at the thought process that leads the typical leftist Slashdotter to decry the forced consensus that there were WMDs in Iraq on one hand, while arguing vociferously in favor of rewiring the entire world's economy based on even slimmer evidence of anthropogenic climate change. Why is wishful thinking, fuzzy reasoning, and bad scientific practice good for environmentalists but bad for the Bush Administration?
    • Re:I'll admit... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bobalu (1921) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:31PM (#12447372)
      1) I knew there were no WMD and I have no budget - it was obvious he was playing poker, we had him in a box for ten years. It's kinda obvious if you have a brain and don't get pressured by Cheney and Bolton.

      2) If you want to call things "leftist", why not just use "Communist", which is what you're trying to imply?

      3) BSAF was happy to report they put 23% less stuff in the air last year, down to 17,000 million tons. Fifty years ago people thought you could put anything you wanted into the ocean and rivers and it would affect anything. BZZZZTTTT. It did. It's common sense that's it's a good long-term move to minimize our effect on the environment, for purely selfish reaons. It's what they call a CONSERVATIVE approach to natural resources.

      Now post with a real fucking name next time coward.
      • Re:I'll admit... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NanoGator (522640)
        "1) I knew there were no WMD and I have no budget "

        No you didn't. You assumed you knew.

        Why am I being annoyingly nitpicky? Because people claim they know stuff all the time. Yet, I imagine in your case, you've never even been to Iraq.

        It's like me saying I knew Episode II was going to suck. I didn't actually know until I saw it. It'd be very arrogant of me to try to pass that little prediction off as some sort of positive attribute to my character.
    • Re:I'll admit... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Trepalium (109107)
      When you have money, you can always find a group of "experts" willing to argue anything you want. Doesn't matter if it's WMD or global warming or economics. Beware of those offering definitive simple answers to complex problems.
    • Re:I'll admit... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:03PM (#12447564) Homepage Journal
      Actually, most of us were content to see Hans Blix continue the inspections. He wanted to, and if there was real evidence WMDs existed, there should have been no problem with the relevent intelligence agencies passing on pointers to Blix. Instead "we" (the US and UK) pre-empted an investigation that hindsight has told us was absolutely on the mark. And for no good reason.

      I don't really see any connection with the consensus on global warming. And no, I've no plans to put consensus in quotation marks. From the kooky write-up in the story (Nature's censoring anti-GW-exists evidence? Really? And Nature's the only location you can publish that, right? Really?) to the routinely discredited sources anti-GW-exists arguments come from to the simple fact that nobody opposed to the concept of existing can come up with a consistant argument to begin with ("No, the Earth's not warming up!" "Yes it is, but it's cyclical!" "Yes, and it's probably greenhouse gasses, but we don't contribute enough, it's got to be cows farting or something like that!"), it's hard to take seriously the notion that the vast majority of serious scientists in relevent fields are seriously split on the subject.

      Not that it matters. People listen to what they want to hear. If Michael Crichton, MD, writes that it's all cyclical and includes a whole bunch of footnotes, or the Cato institute issues another report for the aptly named "junkscience.com" to link to, then who cares what the truth is?

    • When was that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by argent (18001) <peter AT slashdo ... taronga DOT com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:16PM (#12447643) Homepage Journal
      What happened the last time we, as a nation, took drastic and pre-emptive action based on a "consensus" of highly self-interested "experts?" We invaded Iraq.

      When did that happen? The last time the US invaded Iraq they did it despite the opposition of the experts.

      the forced consensus that there were WMDs in Iraq

      I don't recall any such consensus from any experts. I recall assertions from the US administration, and a US press that refused to defy him after 9/11, but the international press was less credulous and the experts (particularly the experts who knew the most about it) were in no way weighing in on the side of the WMDs. All the push for invading Iraq because of the presence of WMDs came from the US administration and their suspiciously secret and unconvincing "evidence".

      By the time of the invasion even the US administration had quit talking so much about WMDs and more about regime change and what a monster Saddam was, because they knew they weren't getting the consensus they wanted.

      In fact pro-WMD side more resembles the anti-Global-Warming side, down to the refusal to provide evidence, ignoring the most knowledgable experts in favor of people who do science by press release, and having the might of the most powerful nation on Earth as their strongest argument.

      Meanwhile what we have on the other side is a consensus of experts, not US newscasters and the US administration they don't dare defy, just like when the people trying to force the same kind of consensus in the face of the evidence gave George the maneuvering room to get his invasion of Iraq off the ground.

      In other words, it didn't happen, you're making it up.
    • Re:I'll admit... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@noSPaM.hotmail.com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:43PM (#12447827) Homepage
      Rather than worrying so much about WMDs and other minutiae, one should pay more attention to a moral and philosophical principle that vindicates this course of actions. These words remains as true now as when they were first published, back in 1963...

      -----

      The right of "the self-determination of nations" applies only to free societies or to societies seeking to establish freedom; it does not apply to dictatorships. Just as an individual's right of free action does not include the "right" to commit crimes (that is, to violate the rights of others), so the right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to legalize the enslavement of some men by others). There is no such thing as "the right to enslave."A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal - but neither can do it by right.

      It does not matter, in this context, whether a nation was enslaved by force, like Soviet Russia, or by vote, like Nazi Germany. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Whether a slave society was conquered or chose to be enslaved, it can claim no national rights and no recognition of such "rights" by civilized countries - just as a mob of gangsters cannot demand a recognition of its "rights" and a legal equality with an industrial concern or a university, on the ground that the gangsters chose by unanimous vote to engage in that particular kind of group activity.

      Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a matter of its own self-interest, not of respect for the nonexistent "rights" of gang rulers. It is not a free nation's duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.

      This right, however, is conditional. Just as the suppression of crimes does not give a policeman the right to engage in criminal activities, so the invasion and destruction of a dictatorship does not give the invader the right to establish another variant of a slave society in the conquered country.

      -----

      from Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness"
      • It is not a free nation's duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.

        Bullshit. Pure drivel. Asserting the existence of a right does not bring it into being. "Liberate other nations" is doublespeak for unprovoked war. Civilians always suffer the most during war. It is not for an external force to decide that those who survive will be better off with their government overthrown and many of their number murdere

        • by tehdaemon (753808)
          This is not pure drivel - or even close. Wrong? Yes, but not blatantly so.

          This logic is very similar to John Locke's arguments in his Second Tretise on Government [constitution.org], which in many ways is as much a founding document of the United Stated as the Constitution is. The phrases "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," in the Declaration of Independance are directly inspired by Locke. Go read it, and when you ar

          • by BitGeek (19506)
            Nations and society have no rights. Only individuals can have rights. Rand and Locke both recognize this, but Rand, unfortunately, forgets it a few sentences later.

            Government is a disease masquarading as its own cure. It is no better than, in fact- it is just another name for- the mafia.
            • " Nations and society have no rights. Only individuals can have rights."

              According to Locke, No.

              Nations have those rights that were given to them by the consent of those who formed them. One of the rights that men have is "EVERY MAN HATH A RIGHT TO PUNISH THE OFFENDER, AND BE EXECUTIONER OF THE LAW OF NATURE."[1]

              When a proper government is formed, this right is ceeded to the government. But only as it applies to members of that government (citizens) and to forigeners inside the jurisdiction of that gove


        • Pretty idiotic to not even know the definition of a cult. Sounds like they've heard of Ayn Rand, but never been exposed to anything she's ever written.

          Or maybe they think its cool to accuse someone of holding exactly the opposite position that they do hold.

          The problem is, too many idiots in this country hear that and think its true, and never bother to actually read what she did write.

          I love the Anton Levay smear-- exactly the kind of idiotic irrelevant jab that passes for "discourse" in our adle-brain
      • Re:I'll admit... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LarsWestergren (9033) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:26AM (#12449032) Homepage Journal
        Rather than worrying so much about WMDs and other minutiae,

        Minutiae? It was the reason they wanted you to go to war, remember? No, I guess you don't, you are an expert on doublethink.

        There is no such thing as "the right to enslave."A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal - but neither can do it by right.It does not matter, in this context, whether a nation was enslaved by force, like Soviet Russia, or by vote, like Nazi Germany.

        Or by capitalism, like in the US?

        Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen.

        I submit, that by Rand logic, any country has the moral right to invade the US based on how they treat the people enslaved in Guatanamo bay.

        • Capitalism has enslaved you? Jesus, you must have gone to public school.

          If you think money is the root of all evil, have you ever asked yourself-- what is the root of all money?

          The statements quoted above were apparently written by Ayn Rand, but they are inconsistent wiht her philosophy, and I think taken out of context.

          IF not, she loved america so much she overlooked its flaws. I hope one day you understand the ideal she worshipped-- instead of the nationalist socialism that you are apparently taken
          • If you think money is the root of all evil, have you ever asked yourself-- what is the root of all money?

            Evil?

            "Behind every great fortune there is a crime."
            Honore de Balzac
            French realist novelist (1799 - 1850)

          • The statements quoted above were apparently written by Ayn Rand, but they are inconsistent wiht her philosophy, and I think taken out of context.

            How do you see them inconsistent with her philosophy?
      • As a reader and admirer of Ayn Rand, I do wish she, and other admirers of hers would apply her critical thinking towards this own country.

        Individual rights are not subject to popular vote, thus taxation, the invasion of Iraq, and the mere existence of the government --- all of which require the violation of individual rights to carry out-- are all immoral.

        Ayn Rand missed it, but the only logical conclusion of her philosophy is the support of anarchism.

        At any rate, those leftist idiots have a good saying-
      • These words remains as true now as when they were first published, back in 1963...

        Indeed.
    • Re:I'll admit... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NixLuver (693391)
      I happen to be one of the many, many individuals who 'decried the forced consensus that there were WMDs in Iraq'; There was far too much trumped up 'evidence' for me to believe that it was an 'innocent mistake'; and anyone who can read "A Plan for a New American Century" and the tenets of the Project For a New American Century - along with their letter to Big Bill urging the invasion of Iraq, their assertions that we needed a 'new Perl Harbor', and still suggest that it was all an 'innocent mistake', is, IM
      • Re:I'll admit... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxpublic (450413)
        Either way, I see no sin in reducing the profligate amount of pollution we contribute to the environment, and think that a reduction can only have a positive effect on the future.

        And I suppose that you're perfectly willing to pay for these efforts out of your own pocket?

        Max
    • Yeah, but when you consider that almost all of those "experts" on Iraq's WMD are also "experts" on denying global warming, it's obvious what to conclude.
  • by DecayCell (778710) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:17PM (#12447277)
    I never expected anything else from our stupid government.
    They abused FOSS as an ace card against Microsoft, and never intended to proceed further. People have already speculated this would happen back then, but now I guess it's settled. Too bad our elected representatives don't give a damn about anything but their own seat in the Knesset and their own bank account.
  • by violet16 (700870) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:18PM (#12447286)
    According to this article, the widely reported study showing unanimous 'scientific consensus' on Global Warming ('not a single paper asserted otherwise') is not only deeply flawed, but that same consensus is artificially maintained by Science and Nature rejecting any papers which disagree with it.
    Exactly! And they claim there's a "consensus" that there's no such thing as an Invisible Pink Unicorn, but that's just because all my papers proving Her existance keep getting rejected! Bias! Bias!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:20PM (#12447298)
    Specifically, flame wars on Slashdot and Fark, and to a lesser extent Yahoo and various blogs.
  • by wwwrench (464274) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:20PM (#12447299) Homepage
    While I strongly disagree with the journal Science's policy of rejecting articles which have been made public, it is a consistent and well known policy -- not some conspiracy against Dr Peiser's global warming paper. See their faq [sciencemag.org]They want the scoop, and often don't even allow you to post the articles on preprint servers (which is why many scientists refuse to submit their articles to Science). They allow you to present your work at conferences, but are well known to be jerks about it. The journal Nature used to have such a policy, but now allow you to submit your paper to a preprint archive, as long as you don't announce your result to the media. A lot of this came about because of the cold fusion fiasco, but many find it an over-reaction. The policy should be, don't talk to media, but go ahead and talk to fellow scientists. I guess the internet really blurs these things.
    • While I strongly disagree with the journal Science's policy of rejecting articles which have been made public, it is a consistent and well known policy

      I'm not sure that's the case here. To quote the summary: "the points he make had been 'widely dispersed on the internet.'".

      If your article doesn't contain any original thought or research, it probably isn't going to be published, especially not in Nature.

    • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:35PM (#12447774) Journal
      On a related note, I did a quick journal article search for Benny Peiser (really quicik - only used scholar.google). Interestingly (or not, whatever), it didn't turn up a single paper in a peer-reviewed journal that had ever been cited by another (I didn't actually wade through them to see if he had any papers period - though there were only 6 pages of returns). He is apparently an editor for something called "Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilizations" - clearly an expert in the field of climate change (yeah right).

      Anyway, just wanted to add to what you said above - from a quick (admittedly incomplete) search, it appears that Dr. Peiser has no history of contributing to serious research, nor of working with people that do, which may make the editors of a major publication like Science still less likely to want to publish his work.

      Science (and many other journals) does have some pretty wacky policies (from the standpoint of encouraging scientific dialogue, anyway), though this is not uncommon - one of the many problems with the current scholarly publishing world (which has a lot of problems).
      • by maxpublic (450413) on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:49AM (#12448928) Homepage
        Anyway, just wanted to add to what you said above - from a quick (admittedly incomplete) search, it appears that Dr. Peiser has no history of contributing to serious research, nor of working with people that do, which may make the editors of a major publication like Science still less likely to want to publish his work.

        You have got to be kidding. How in the hell did you come to the conclusion that a failed google search somehow 'proves' that a person hasn't done any serious research?

        I ran two google searches myself on people that I know: one a relatively famous astronomer, and another on a researcher in fisheries and fish biology. Guess what? None of the papers they've published or contributed to come up on google at all. That doesn't mean that they aren't serious scientists doing serious research; all it means is that the stuff they do is too esoteric to be distributed in a way that google tracks.

        Real hard science isn't flashy and often doesn't end up on web sites. While the hormonal effects of stress on Columbia river salmon might make for interesting reading to scientists that work in fisheries or biology, it usually isn't the sort of thing that'll see any sort of distribution outside of those who actually find it to be of value (or even understand it in the first place).

        Max
        • See Salmons abstracts [google.de]: it seems quite some people on the internet have an interest in river salmons.

          Well, maybe you are right that there are papers that do not turn up on the internet, but why does this guy has to spread his ideas the way he does when the media will happily magnify the dissenting ideas of one person, while just mentioning the consensus in a sidenote?

          I also wonder, if he is researching the impact of climate change on ancient civilizations, shouldn't he be more open to the idea that clim

    • by Sara Chan (138144) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:25PM (#12448019)
      Everything you say is untrue.

      Peiser's work was not previously disseminated. Science just made that up. See Peiser's web page about this [livjm.ac.uk].

      And Nature has always allowed--indeed, supported--preprint archives [nature.com].

      Moderators: please note that I've provided links to back up what I say; the parent seems to be a troll or similar.

      (Peiser's submission to Science is available on his web page. It's short and easy to read. If it's right, then the original Oreskes paper was fraudulent.)

  • Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet."

    Come on! Everybody in the scientific community knows that Science and Nature will only accept articles that have not been published electronically first. This is handled in an extremely strict way. The authors are not even allowed to put up a preprint on their ho

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:41PM (#12447440) Homepage Journal
    The whole concept of bounties for FOSS development usually results in people refusing to do the work. Unless you're actually offering market rates to perform a small or well specified task you're just making coders think they're getting ripped off. If you want file sharing in GAIM, just do it. Start by making it simply a directory that gets indexed ("~/.gaim/My Shared Files") which you can choose to whitelist to your buddies and they can double click on to download from you. Then you can go about your viral friend-of-friend stupidity that will quickly turn your trusted network into an untrusted one as your not-so-bright-buddies give access to some "hot chick" they've been chatting with.
    • by Aero Leviathan (698882) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:59PM (#12447893) Journal
      The folks at Downhill Battle also seem to miss that the official AOL Instant Messanger client already has much of the functionality they so carefully describe, and if memory serves, it has had it for quite a while. (I remember the feature [not that I ever used it] being there back when I used to USE the official client, which was a while ago... Gaim 4evah. But I digress.)

      Windows version:
      My AIM menu > Options > Preferences > File Sharing section

      Looks fairly functional. You can allow users from your entire buddy list to browse your files, or limit it to a certain group; and optionally have it prompt you before each browse request. The one major thing missing is the ability to search everyone on your buddy list at once, but I suspect this is because AOL doesn't want to become a ??AA target.

      Finally the point of my post: Gaim's eventual goal is to have complete compatability with all of the IM networks, yes? Perhaps they should strive to be compatable with official AIM's already-existing feature before reinventing it.
  • by uncadonna (85026) <mtobis AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:07PM (#12447591) Homepage Journal
    The report Peiser didn't like is here [sciencemag.org].

    Note that we only have this guy's word for why he was rejected.

    For what it's worth, in my experience hovering around the edge of this field, the consensus is in line with the IPCC report [grida.no], which is not surprising, since the IPCC's task is to report the opinion of the relevant sciences.

  • by georgep77 (97111) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:30PM (#12447738) Homepage Journal
    I don't remember the researcher's name but he was ridiculed when his findings on the causes of stomach ulcers didn't fall into line with the "popular" opinions within the scientific/research community. He actually had to infect himself with the bacteria in question (Helicobacter pylori), then cure his ulcers with anitbiotics before anyone else in the scientific community would take him seriously and/or publish any of his work.
    I am all for less polution in the air and do my best to reduce/reuse/recycle yadda yadda yadda but I can still remember how scared I was as a pre-teen when I learned at school that the earth was cooling off and headed for another ice-age. I am VERY sceptical of the amount of influence we humans have on the climate etc.

    Cheers,
    _GP_
    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:56PM (#12447882) Homepage

      And you're exactly the type of person the article is geared towards. Forget the fact that the article doesn't offer any solid evidence or even direct arguments against Global Warming. Just so long as it creates FUD based on the argument that since two studies controverting Global Warming happened to have been rejected by those liberal academic journals there must be a conspiracy going on--thus, Global Warming must be hoax!

      Create your own FUD, it's easy!
      Just:
      1.) Claim to have an objective study refuting X(the actual content/quality of the study is irrelevent since it will never actually come into play. Actually, it's probably good to have poor content since it will help with step 3).
      2.) Submit it to a bunch of large mainstream peer-reviewed journals.
      3.) Have your papers rejected by the reputable publications.
      4.) Claim that there's a conspiracy by proponents of X to silence legitimate studies challenging X. Therefor, X is naturally false.

    • A con trail from a jet can block up to 15% of sunlight in the area it crosses. When they expand that's quite a bit of area. Look up global dimming.

      I'm not so sceptical. I look at the numbers. Small changes (as in parts per million) in CO2 cause the atmosphere to retain a larger amount of heat. The more CO2, the more energy is trapped on Earth instead of being radiated away.

      At 379 ppm, the CO2 levels are at their highest levels that we have knowledge of (ice core samples and such). Earth is retaining more
  • Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected...

    Well, I heard from the wife of a cod salesman who knows this guy who lives in the same local area as Dr Peiser's ex-lover's hairdresser who had drinks in the same place that Dr Peiser likes to hang out at... well THAT place has DAMN good margaritas...
  • by lemonlimeandbitters (748923) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:38PM (#12447792)

    If you really think about it, it's kind of hard to work out whether you have a consensus on an issue when the group you are polling never meets. And as far as I can tell noone's volunteering to host a meeting of the world's atmospheric scientists so we can have a vote on the matter. A general reading of the literature (and that means reading much more than Nature and Science) suggests that
    a) the science says we "should" be having an effect on global temperature, and
    b) we are observing long term temperature change.

    The consensus is that a) and b) are connected. For sure there are scientists, some prominent, who claim that the consensus is wrong. However claiming there is no consensus is just not a very useful activity, you really do have to go searching to find scientists who just refuse that this connection exists. That alone should tell you something.

    Sadly the nature of the debate for the last 30 years over global warming has been a tug-of-war between very vocal and strident people, most of whom seem to have a political axe to grind and aren't too squeamish to let things like facts and good analysis get in the way of a catchy story that might get you into Time or The New York Times. It's a pity really, because like a lot of younger atmospheric scientists, like myself, really worry about what kind of planet our kids are going to be left with.

    What a lot of people don't seem to realise is that, in private, the conversation amongst atmospheric scientists is moving on from whether there is an anthropogenic effect in global warming and onto what the hell we are going to do about the likely impacts. The newer consensus that I think is forming is that the political process is so deeply flawed that only a truly cataclysmic disaster is going to bring about change in the global arena. So basically, we know pretty much what's wrong and we're largely powerless to do anything about it. Just so you know, it leaves you with not such a great feeling. If you look around you'll find smaller conferences and meetings now looking at local climate changes, trying to assess how things are changing and discussing how we might ameliorate some of the changes we are already observing. Over time these will probably become more common till, at some point in the future, the general public will realize that the 'debate' has completely moved on from 'is global warming happening?' and on to 'how are we going to save lives?'. Should be interesting times.

    • When it comes to an event that has immediate consequences, people band together, pool resources, and address the problem (911 though misguided).

      If people can't see a problem immediately nor th effects, most times little if anything will be done about it.

      Case and point: The pollution of Lake Eerie. Everyone knew Lake Eerie was in bad shape, but nobody did anything until it actually caught on fire.

      Maybe this is a problem of society at large (instant gratification) or maybe it's just that we are fundamental
    • by CustomDesigned (250089) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:06PM (#12448224) Homepage Journal
      The problem is that global warming is not a yes or no question. All sides agree on the basic facts:
      • There is medium term warming since 1700s.
      • Human activity is having an effect.
      • Natural causes and cycles (solar cycle, 1200 year cycle) are having an effect.
      The disagreement is on the weight to assign to natural and human causes. Worse, activists on both sides try to pretend that it is *all* human activity or *all* natural causes.

      In my opinion, whether the cause is primarily human, or natural, it is pretty much a done deal. We can expect to reach temperatures at least as high as the medieval period in the next few hundred years, more depending on the extent of human influence. Instead of bickering, we should be making long term migration plans. Places like Netherlands and Florida might not be good long term real estate investments. Places like Siberia and Northern Canada might pay off. Looking at what is known about local climates in the medieval temperature maximum would be a good start.

      How can such migrations be handled equitably? If the area is currently barren, a homestead policy might be effective. But there will be unforeseen shifts in climate as well. Deserts may bloom. Farmland may become desert.

    • Thanks for the article. I, sadly, agree completely with your analysis of both the atmospheric and political climates.

      I found the temperature profiles measured in Alaskan permafrost described in the first part of Elizabeth Kolbert's devastating series in the New Yorker [newyorker.com] to be extremely clear and decisive. So much of what is attributed to as "climate change" is easily dismissed as anecdotal (at least by those who wish to deny change.) But the permafrost is a spectacular low-pass filter, and provides incon

      • I hope that things change, that people in general wake up to the impending climate catastrophe.

        Change might be coming. But to call it a "catastrophe" is just braying alarmism, the sort of hype that so-called environmental movements use to scare people into sending them money.

        And there is no solid evidence whatsoever - not a smidgeon - that human beings have caused this change, or are contributing to it. Even if you accept the idea that humans are contributing to climate change (based on faith, since yo
    • The newer consensus that I think is forming is that the political process is so deeply flawed that only a truly cataclysmic disaster is going to bring about change in the global arena. So basically, we know pretty much what's wrong and we're largely powerless to do anything about it.

      For a fictional treatment of exactly this, See Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain [newscientist.com]. In this the catastrophe is a massive storm and flooding of Washington DC. This is not like the rather silly Day After Tomorrow, but s

  • That GAIM thing is my idea! See my patent stopping idea [wikipedia.org]. That's cool.
  • Oh My God! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:55PM (#12447875) Journal
    Sunlight is increasing on Earth

    By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent
    (Filed: 06/05/2005)

    More sunlight is reaching the Earth's surface than it was 15 years ago, scientists reveal today.

    American researchers say there has been a four per cent rise in the amount of solar radiation reaching the planet's surface since 1990.

    Several studies have shown that up until the late 1980s, four to six per cent less sunlight penetrated the atmosphere than during the 1950s.

    Researchers believe the shift could be explained by the varying quantity and composition of aerosols, tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the air.

    Other theories include changes in cloud cover or in atmospheric transparency caused by volcanic eruptions.

    Scientists believe that an increase in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface could add to the greenhouse effect, the warming caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide and other gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere.

    Many believe the effects of these trends are already being seen in the melting of polar ice and glaciers.
  • Speaking of plug-ins, check out yesterday's Alien Loves Predator [alienlovespredator.com] comic. Hysterical!
  • I wonder if this will appear in satellite imaging as an easter egg. ;)

    I'd love to have been able to see it from a higher angle.
  • Wait, if Microsoft is against Israel, does that mean Bill Gates is on the side of the terrorists?

    Everyone boycott Microsoft! They support terrorism!

  • I find this debate kind of strange.

    We are in an ice age (minor) headed out from a major one. If we were out of the ice age the polar caps would be gone and we would be using much more AC.

    The weather is changing all the time. Does that mean it's beyond influence? Not even close.

    If the US wanted to it would be absolutely trivial to bring an ice-age back. Hell, Microsoft could probably do it if they were in the mood. Just get enough fine dust into the atmosphere and the problem is solved.

    Hell, some fo
    • It's all causing pollution. and even if you live as cleanly as possibly, for each person like you there are thousands of people who you will never convince to look up from their big mac.

      Says the person typing this via computer, the construction of which is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. Not to mention the fossil fuels being burned at the local coal-based power plant to produce the electricity he needs to post to Slashdot and surf for porn.

      While you're wasting valuable natural resou
  • by solman (121604) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:11AM (#12448986)
    It seems well established that global temperatures have in general been gradually increasing over the past century.

    It seems well established by that same data that begining in the early fourties there was an extended period of gradually decreasing global temperatures.

    It seems well established that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have been increasing throughout this entire period.

    How do environmentalists account for the two decades of decreasing global temperatures?

    If sometimes CO2 goes up and global temperatures go up, while other times CO2 goes up and global teperatures go down and we have no explanation for this, isn't the only reasonable conclusion that we don't understand global temperature well enough to draw conclusions about the factors that drive global climate change?

    I wouldn't accept any other scientific theory that suspended operation for two decades unless there were some clear explanation for this aberation. Why do we accept global warming?
    • " It seems well established that global temperatures have in general been gradually increasing over the past century."
      True (underlying temps at least).

      "It seems well established by that same data that begining in the early fourties there was an extended period of gradually decreasing global temperatures."
      WAR + aftermath

      "It seems well established that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have been increasing throughout this entire period."
      Prior to 1960 the CO2 numbers are not reliable.

      Imagine the end of WW2,
    • Because there are more inputs than CO2 and more outputs than global temp.

      Global climate is not some over simplified example in a high school text book like you propose here. Rather global climates are a result of a staggeringly complex balance of interconnected factors and Educated environmentalists see that the activities of man are beginning to influence some of these factors. Change some inputs then some of the outputs change.

      Educated environmentalists care because the impact of any measurable change to global climate most likely will cause significant changes in the global social and political state.

      For example a slight global warming has a number of interesting potential effects like moving America's "Bread Basket" northwards towards Candida and dramatically increasing the area covered by 'tropical' disease vectors like Malaria, Yellow fever, and the African sleeping sickness. Typically the results of upheavals of this sort of magnitude are wars.

      Of course there are knee jerk reactionaries on both sides of the issue who have there opinion and never will let anyone change it. And of course this whole thing has been grossly oversimplified so that it can be spoon fed to people of the evening news, sad really.

      Still if you are really interested in the topic loose the media supplied moniker "Global Warming" and google about for "Climate Change" it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to find some studies that back your existing opinion up and a couple of evenings to learn about what's being measured, how they apparently interact, and the consequences of the results. Then you can make an informed decision about it.

      Hope That Helps

  • by cahiha (873942) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:12AM (#12449174)
    Not only do they refuse to publish papers opposing global warming, they also just rejected two papers of mine, one describing a perpetual motion machines and the other demonstrating conclusively that the universe is 6000 years old. Those pinko commie European bastards have been bought off by the oil lobby and the anti-Christ.
  • by tim_olsen (103379) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:57AM (#12449319)
    ExxonMobile gave $50,000 [exxonsecrets.org] in 2003 to the International Policy Network.

    and guess who's a contributing writer to the IPN [exxonsecrets.org]
  • Of course noone will want to do it...

    Now if they threw in another five bucks we'd have a totally different story ;-)

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