Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anthony Watts is a Mensch

One thing has been crystal clear in the Climategate mess.  Chaps like Dr. Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit are clueless when it comes to computers, IT, email, and the Internet.

We know that because Dr. Phil cluelessly advised his pals to delete emails.  Give me a break!  Surely everyone knew, back in the early 2000s, that you can't delete an email.  Emails are forever!

Put it this way.  No American CEO can be ignorant of the fact that everything he puts into an email can be used against him and will be, if he gets sued.  One of the basic responsibilities of his job is to manage IT issues like email.  Not at the detail level, but at the grand strategic level, to make sure that his company obeys the law, but also protects itself as much as possible.

So how come Dr. Phil Jones, CEO of CRU was so clueless?

I will tell you why.  The rules that apply to business don't apply to the little darlings of the NGOs.  These little pets of the politicians, so obligingly churning out actionable research that can be used to justify tens of billions in climate rescue programs, don't have to obey the laws you and I do.  So they manage to stay stunningly ignorant of the law and the technology.

Anyway, Anthony Watts, proprietor of WattsUpWithThat.com, the climate skeptic site, found out that Jones and Co. had been sending emails to each other with "open links" to their research papers on the websites of the scholarly journals they use to communicate their science to the world.  The open links include the password of Jones's account at Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR).

Har! Har!  You might guess that Anthony Watts would publish this embarrassing fact to the world,  but you would be wrong.  Watts is a mensch, and so he sent a private email to Dr. Jones instead.
I know that you know me, and probably do not like me for my views and publications. Regardless of what you may think of me and my work, it has been brought to my attention by a reader of my blog that there are open access links to your manuscripts at JGR included in the email that are now in the public view.

Therefore, it is my duty to inform you that in the recent release of Climategate 2 files there are links to JGR journal review pages for your publications and also for the publications for Dr. Keith Briffa.

For example, this link:

http://jgr-atmospheres-submit.agu.org/cgi-bin/main.plex?el=[access code redacted]

I have verified that in fact that link opens your JGR account and provides full access to your JGR account.
Now that the chaps at CRU have changed the password, Watts has published his email in an interesting post that discusses who could have assembled all the Climategate emails for publication.  Answer, it had to be an IT administrator, because only those chaps have both the knowhow and the passwords to do the job.

Actually, it's not surprising that Watts would do this.  The famous Robbers Cave experiment shows that when people divide over an issue each side takes a lot of trouble to be different from the other guys.  Since the Hockey Team has a culture of bullying, statistical incompetence and data manipulation, it is natural that the skeptics should make a point of being completely different.

But that doesn't alter the fact that Anthony Watts is a mensch.

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