I don’t really wanna get too mired in this, as right now there’s lots of heat but little light. It never ceases to amazes me how people appear to be incapable of seeing how stupid they look when they type stuff on the internet. (Although given how agitated I was when I wrote my last post, maybe I shouldn’t be too hasty – who knows what nonsense I typed!) Climate change discussion in the blogosphere seems to be mostly based around either declaring the whole thing a dastardly plot designed to create a world government run by the greens with Al Gore as supreme overlord (complete with sustainable, carbon-neutral baby eating) or declaring it the modern holocaust complete with modern holocaust deniers who should be summarily executed, preferably slowly by drowning in the last vat of oil to be ever pumped from the ground. At least the scientists are keeping their cool right?……
Okay, so maybe they’re not keeping their cool, but at least they’re doing science. That’s what makes them scientists, right? Well, I’m just not so sure about that either any more.
One thing that comes out of the CRU crack/leak/misfile is some code. Some very badly documented code at that. Now the first point in my mind is: If this is kosher code used to generate publish results, why did it need to be leaked? Surely it should have been published with the results? (I had to give source code for all my uni work – what makes them so special?) If it’s not kosher code, where *is* the kosher code?
Second thought I had was that only the author of the code has any hope of understanding it. I’ve seen references to this code:
; ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!! ; yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904] valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,'Oooops!' yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)
What sort of documentation is that?! Whoever wrote this should outsource their coding work. The major problem with such a generic comment as “apply a very artifical correction” is that it gives no idea what this correction this is (ie what method, and what it fixes – unless it’s somehow obvious what was meant by ‘the decline’), so it would be very easy to forget about it and recreate this correction somewhere else.
This of course assuming that this correction is valid. I’m not familiar with the language/libraries used so I don’t know precisely what this code does. It doesn’t look friendly though.
My last thought is about the cracker who got the info (if it was indeed a crack), and there’s some indignation on the consensus side that there’s not much outcry from the non-consensus side about illegal activity to obtain the info. Trouble is, it’s never quite as simple as that in these sorts of cases. If the information gleaned turns out to be publically important and was being deliberately hidden, then you can make a case that prosecuting the intruder would be a miscarriage of justice. Just imagine if it had been the other way around. Actually, I’m gonna predict that there’s gonna be revenge attacks on non-consensus sites now. I don’t think this is over yet…