ONE OF the interesting things about adding a few more years to life’s tally is the way perspectives on the past are foreshortened. Some months ago, for example, there was a conversation over drinks at the golf club with a fellow whose dog had taken to snarling at his new Indian neighbours, and only his Indian neighbours. The postman was always welcomed with a wagging tail, the meter-reader too. But not the folks next door, the mere sound of whose voices prompted growls and raised hackles. As he did not wish to give offence or, much worse, see his pooch dragged before Judge Mordy and punished for bias and race hatred, he was much concerned. He should read an article published “a couple of years ago” in an American magazine, the Professor advised, as it might help to explain some of canine psychology’s mysteries and perhaps suggest a solution. Some weeks later, during the course of further drinks, the fellow had a good laugh. He had found that article, he said, but it was not of relatively recent vintage, being well over ten years old. Not to worry, he added, it was just one of an ageing memory’s tricks, which make events seem much more recent than is actually the case. Another round was ordered and, before the toast could be forgotten, glasses were raised to the vague wonders of “senior moments”
It is not a dog’s mischief that brings the incident to mind but, of all things, the latest batch of Climategate emails and the triumph of some CSIRO warmists in securing a prestigious award for advancing catastropharianism’s cause. Memory suggested that coup was achieved within the last few years, but a little googling has now established it was almost a decade back when a team led by Dr Barrie Pittock and Dr Peter Whetton, who now goes by the name of Penny, won his/her/their Eureka Prize. Ancient history though it is, there is an enduring lesson in what amounts to a case study of warmists helping warmists to the apparent detriment of both rivals and rules.
The insight came late on Saturday night, when the twinges and spasms of a golf-afflicted back denied any chance of sleep. Some idle key-word searches in the Climategate database proved a distraction, and one of those was “Eureka Prize”. This is the award – awards, actually -- handed out every year by the Australia Museum to our settled solons of science, so it seemed worth checking if East Anglia University’s climate cabal exerted any influence on the competition.
As you might imagine, warmists tend to do very well in the competition, with a special category just for them and frequent appearances atop other, more general fields of investigation. This year, for example, Sceptical Science blogger John Cook, one of the late Alene Composta’s keen believers and boon companion of Stephan Loondowsky, bagged $10,000 for smiting deniers with a Twitter bot that assails online heresy the moment it appears. None of this should come as a surprise. With a scientific establishment so thoroughly corrupted by climate cant and cash, it is only to be expected that judges will hand taxpayer money to chums hooked into the same racket. After all, what are mates for?
This is where the wee-hours googling delivered a reminder of a greying memory’s tricks and, somewhat less of a surprise, the way settled scientists can be counted on for help to line each other’s pockets. Consider this 2003 note of gratitude to the University of East Anglia’s Mike Hulme. It was penned by CSIRO publicist and author of kiddies books Simon Torok (all underlines added at the Billabong):
Hi Mike,Thank you very much for putting time towards writing such a positive reference. I have it here on our green fax paper. Would it be possible for you to also email the reference to me as a Word document so Willem Bouma, who is collecting the information, can print it in colour? He feels this will look more impressive.
The prize is only $10,000 and a trophy -- but the series of awards is well recognised in Australia. I have a nomination in for my series of children's books in the 'science promotion' category, and we have another group nominated for the 'interdisciplinary science' category -- confidentially, I found it difficult to take the latter nomination seriously after being in the Tyndall Centre.
I'm grateful for your effort even if we don't end up featured in the ceremony.
That “positive reference” represents one of the things all Eureka Prize aspirants are obliged to lodge with their entries. And make no mistake, there are quite specific conditions that determine what sort of positive references are acceptable. Here is one of those stipulations:
c. Assessor Reports: a maximum of four (4) written reports addressing each of the judging criteria from assessors who are familiar with the entered research (two page maximum per report). NOTE: Judges rely on assessor's reports to provide additional perspective and informed opinion on the entry. Assessors should not be personally or directly involved in the work entered in this prize.
Trouble is, Hulme was very much involved with CSIRO team leaders Pittock and Whetton’s “work” – some of it decidedly distasteful. For example, there was a sly, underhand campaign that saw all three scientists amongst a mailing list of conspirators aiming to see climate heretic Chris de Freitas sacked from Auckland University.
More relevant, however, is the body of knowledge Pittock and Whetton (who filled the former’s pumps upon retirement) and their team submitted to the the Eureka competition, which the Australia Museum President Brian Sherman described thus: "Led by Dr Penny Whetton, the team of scientists are recognised as the best source of climate change information in Australia." The report, Climate Change: An Australian Guide To Its Potential Impacts, which takes a bit of time to download, can be found here. It still bears Pittock's name -- Whetton would claim credit only after he retired -- it is essentially the same theme submitted to the Eureka judges. And while the paper is peppered with mentions of research by the recipient of Torok's gratitude, East Anglia’s Mike Hulme, it is one of the footnotes that raises the most serious questions about whether the report, rather than being honoured, should instead have been scratched for violating the Eureka competition’s rules. Here it is:
Hulme, M. and N. Sheard, 1999: Climate Change Scenarios for Australia. Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom, 6 pp.
Now remember, the conditions stipulate the referee “should not be personally or directly involved in the work entered in this prize.”
Someone with more energy than the Professor, whose back has improved to the point where golf will be the afternoon’s distraction, might like to contact the Eureka people and lodge a protest, perhaps with a view to seeing the 2003 award withdrawn and the prize money returned.
Neither Pittock nor Whetton is an Indian, but even the dog mentioned above would howl at this one. Like so much of settled climate science and the careerists who promote it, this reeks.