Friday, December 04, 2009
Frank J. Fleming channels his inner Jack Nicholson and Aaron Sorkin and rewrites the famous court martial scene from "A Few Good Men."
Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to have scientific equipment on them to gather data, and that data studied by men with computers. Who’s going to do it? A layman like you? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the global warming skeptics and curse the climatologists. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know — that the crushing of data contrary to global warming, while tragic, probably saved grant money. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to the layman, creates scientific consensus. You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about on Twitter, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall studying those measurements you can’t even begin to comprehend.Read the whole thing, it's great satire.
We use phrases like “peer review,” “overwhelming consensus,” “settled science.” We use these phrases as the backbone to a life spent studying something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket made by synthetic fibers my science creates, then questions the manner in which I provide that science! I’d rather you just said, “You’re such a genius!” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a lab coat and crunch data. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!
Slightly off-topic, but I just wanted to throw this out there. It is always fun when TIME’s Man-of-the-year time rolls around, because it is in fact a kick to knock around the two questions:
1) Who IS the person or persons who most influenced the news or the world in 2009?
2) Who will TIME say that it is? (not necessarily related to question #1)
First off, #1 just can’t be Obama, and if TIME falls back on “oh, he changed the tone of things”, or some such driveling nonsense, they will have gone beyond craven into the realm of the pathetic. But who would it be, for 2009t?
Well, I think many of us might agree…. That person is the anonymous hacker here. This person has literally upended the world of both science and politics in one fell swoop. Other than an inventor or a Bill Gates (who has been declared TMotY), I cannot imagine one human being not in politics who has had such an impact on the planet.
Runners up, I would honestly have to consider a Rush Limbaugh or possibly the Tea Partiers, simply because Obama has not been the story, but rather the fact that he and his Democratic owned Congress have been largely stopped cold by the unlikeliest of un-powers.
Anyway, hope I haven’t stepped on TH’s blog , but it’s actually an interesting question, and I stand by the hacker choice. Is there a better one?
Let's not call the person in question a "hacker".
Based on the evidence, right down to the title of the leaked .zip file, it is probable that the leaker was an insider, a whistle-blower -- the last person with integrity at the University of East Anglia.
That person seems to have been pushed beyond his or her limit by the University's recent refusal to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request -- for data that would have been public already, if the University of East Anglia had been following normal scientific protocols.
Since there is one law for the Mann and another for the little people, that whistle-blower may yet still pay a high price for his or her courage. The whistle-blower certainly deserves the thanks of the entire human race.