Archive for the ‘FOI’ Category

H/T to Barry Woods. The Frontiers in Psychology journal editors have issued this statement regarding the retraction of Stephan Lewandowsky’s deeply unpleasant attack on climate sceptics. They confirm that contrary to the claims of the usual suspects, no ‘threats’ were involved in the retraction decision. Why did Bristol University give Lewandowsky a tenured professorship. Why did the royal Society give him an award? Something stinks.

(Lausanne, Switzerland) – There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

Get it while it’s hot. Link below the break. Thank you, secret Santa. :)


This needs etching on a large steel sheet and nailgunning to the door of Parliament:

December 2, 2013


As news organizations, editors, and journalists who often report on government actions
that officials seek to keep secret, we write to the Committee on the eve of the forthcoming
appearance of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to express our grave concern over pointed calls
by those in authority for censorship of The Guardian and criminal prosecution of its journalists in
the name of national security. Such sanctions, and the chilling impact created by even the threat
to impose them, undermine the independence and integrity of the press that are essential for
democracy to function.


Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

Around four months ago a wind turbine collapsed at Loughderry windfarm in Donegal, Ireland. The owners and the designers, Vestas have been silent about the cause, despite repeated calls from the local community for re-assurances and explanation. The local council told the owners their planning permission did not entitle them to erect a new turbine. Then someone decided that they should ignore the law and erect a replacement turbine anyway. The general competence of the outfit was underlined when a wagon carrying part of the new support tower got itself stuck in a ditch near the site. The upshot of that is that the council has served an enforcement notice, prohibiting further work and demanding the removal of the partially built replacement turbine. The windfarm’s owners claim it’s a repair not a rebuild. The photo on the right says otherwise. There’s more bad news for windfarms everywhere too. a new study has revealed that the numbers of birds and bats killed by these useless eyesores has been deliberately undercounted by a large factor. Are you paying attention RSPB ? Read on for more.


Well done Electronic Frontier Foundation. Cyber-bullies like the NSA need to be told to EFF off.


In response to EFF’s FOIA lawsuit, the government has released the 2011 FISA court opinion ruling some NSA surveillance unconstitutional.

For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court’s opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated “the spirit of” federal law.

Today, EFF can declare victory: a federal court ordered the government to release records in our litigation, the government has indicated it intends to release the opinion today, and ODNI has called a 3:00 ET press conference to discuss “issues” with FISA Amendments Act surveillance, which we assume will include a discussion of the opinion.


It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new policy has on submission volumes;

freethedataThe EGU open access journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) has implemented some radical new policies that apply to papers published in the journal. The changes are highlighted in an editorial recently published in GMD.

The new policies include the requirement that, from now on, authors must provide the actual computer code of their models to the reviewers or editor as part of the review process. Furthermore, authors are required to include a section in the paper itself discussing the availability of their code to the wider community. If the authors choose not to make their code available to the community, then they must describe the reasons for this.

The GMD executive editors hope these changes will improve the transparency and rigour of model development in the geosciences.


obama-nsa-surveillance-001From BoingBoing. Not much needs to be said here, apart from; Fuck You, Obama.

Lavabit, email service Snowden reportedly used, abruptly shuts down
Xeni Jardin at 12:05 pm Thu, Aug 8, 2013

Remember when word circulated that Edward Snowden was using Lavabit, an email service that purports to provide better privacy and security for users than popular web-based free services like Gmail? Lavabit’s owner has shut down service, with a mysterious message posted on the home page today. Below, the full message:


Bit of a turnaround for the Guardian this. It looks like the ‘Making Science Public’ blog posts Warren Pearce has been running at Nottingham University’s website looking at Dana Nuccitelli’s ’97% consensus paper have had the opposite effect to that which Dana hoped for. Along with many other well known critics, plus Prof. Mike Hulme, I assisted in giving the 97% consensus paper ‘a bit of a kicking’.


Click to visit Josh’s site – and buy a mug or something.

Are climate sceptics the real champions of the scientific method?
Warren Pearce 30-7-13

Since climate change came to prominence in 1988, the role of scientific knowledge – especially an idea of scientific consensus – has played a starring role in the ensuing academic enquiry/political debate/trench warfare (delete as preferred).

Beyond a depressingly binary characterisation of simply pro or anti-science, I’d argue sceptics cannot simply be written off as anti-science orconspiracy theorists

Many climate sceptics worry climate science cannot be dubbed scientific as it is not falsifiable (as in Popper’s demarcation criterion). They claim that while elements of climate science may be testable in the lab, the complexity of interactions and feedback loops, as well as the levels of uncertainty in climate models, are too high to be a useful basis for public policy. The relationship of observations to these models are also a worry for climate sceptics. In particular, the role of climate sensitivity.

As well as their use of models, the quality of observations themselves have been open to criticism; some of which have been attempts to clean up issues deriving from the messiness of data collection in the real world (eg the positioning of weather stations), while others have focused on perceived weaknesses in the proxy methods required to calculate historic temperature data such as cross-sections of polar ice sheets and fossilised tree rings


‘What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified’ - Sergei Nikitin

‘What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified’ – Sergei Nikitin

The U.S. administration has gone off the rails and as well as imposing a ‘climate solution’ based on false science, uses secret courts to justify breaking the U.S. constitution and international law:


Speaking after taking part in a meeting with the US whistleblower Edward Snowden at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport earlier this afternoon, Sergei Nikitin, Head of Amnesty International’s Moscow office, said:

“Amnesty International was pleased to reiterate our support for Edward Snowden in person.

“We will continue to pressure governments to ensure his rights are respected – this includes the unassailable right to claim asylum wherever he may choose.


Rodin: The Thinker

Rodin: The Thinker

From Politico

By Dylan Dybers

The Washington Post has published a remarkable report showing that the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring the central servers of major Internet companies — Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple — and “extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”