The fall of UK science

By Phil Plait | December 20, 2009 1:30 pm

I have been quiet about the woes being suffered in the UK over science funding. That’s mostly because it’s hard enough keeping up with the attacks here in the U.S.! But the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has been underfunded and in trouble financially for a while now, and they announced last week that they will make up the gap by basically slashing and burning major amounts of science research in the UK.

How much? Well, gone will be the UK participation in SOHO, Cassini, Venus Express, and XMM. These are major projects, and just in astronomy. Also gone will be many more projects — some critical — across the science spectrum.

I don’t have the experience or insight to understand all this, but you can read what astronomer Ian O’Neill, Ian Douglas at the Telegraph, and the e-astronomer have to say. Brian Cox, a physicist and friend, has been tweeting about this relentlessly as well. Brian has some insight on the political aspects of this too, and is a particularly good source of information.

I don’t know how this will all fall out. The money shortfall is a pittance — about $U.S. 200M — compared to so many other programs that don’t contribute to the public good nearly as much as science does. If this does not get straightened out (and it doesn’t look like it will) then this is a great tragedy for the UK and indeed for the world of science.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics
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Comments (62)

  1. Elmar_M

    Politicians are really stupid. I am saying that as a general statement. I dont exclude the ones in my own country which are pretty much on top of the list of stupid anyway.
    They can not think beyond the next election, sometimes not even until then. I mean any three year old will be able to understand this:
    Science equals “know how”. If you dont have science you will ultimately fall behind in know how.
    With most of our production- economy being sold out to countries like china, Korea, Malaysia, etc (this is the case with most western countries), we have little left in our favor other than our know how. The advantage we have here is quickly going away though. During the last 8 years the Chinese have cought up signifficantly in all espects of science. Nuclear power, stem cell research to just name two, where they are about to exceed western know how, even.
    So without know how, what will we have left to give them in exchange for the goods they are producing for us? Nothing! The result will be poverty and the ultimate decline of the western society.
    So in the end the Chinese will take over the world and we have quite literally donated it to them freely.

  2. mike burkhart

    This has been going on for a long time in the 60s many said why were we spending millons to go to the moon when we have millons of poor people that could use that money in fact this forced the cancleation of several Apollo missions since then SETI had its funding cut so has NASA and science education programs funding has been cut .I think that science will have to do fundraseing and maybe ask for donations to raise money and not ask for it form the goverment I know its sad but this is what we have to do

  3. Plutonium being from Pluto

    If this does not get straightened out (and it doesn’t look like it will) then this is a great tragedy for the UK and indeed for the world of science.

    Sadly very true. :-(

    Astronomy lost Jodrell Bank recently too didn’t we?

    @ 1. Elmar_M : Spot on. I second that.

    Science isn’t a luxury expense but a necessary investment in the future. We can afford to do without some things – but science is NOT one of those.

    I only hope this short-sighted stupidity stops soon and science funding is restored or , yes, the UK and the West generally is charting a path to a very grim and unhappy future for its citizens and the world.

  4. Allow me to point out that while everybody loves when scientists design new technologies, discover new drugs and make profound advancements in our knowledge, nobody actually wants to pay for it because they don’t understand what’s involved in the work being carried out or how it will benefit us directly…

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/12/20/science-and-technology-who-needs-that-junk/

    The only way to change is that is better science education, but it’s hard to know whether that can happen in climates where anti-intellectualism reigns supreme. Unfortunately, there’s a strong case of that in the UK as Dr. Ian O’Neill pointed out before…

    http://www.astroengine.com/?p=6610

    In fact, he was part of that brain drain.

  5. Well, the only long-term industry the U.S. refuses to cut funding for is the war industry. Of course that one isn’t any good if you don’t have wars to fight, so I suspect the loss of “know how” to the Chinese is as good an excuse as any. How dare they steal our science!!!!

    Just kidding.

    Right?

    俺投降!

  6. Gabby

    I wonder, can you find much of this in government woo funding?
    Do they have government money going to alt-med nonsense?

  7. Hi Phil, thanks for having a read of (and linking to!) my article.

    I’ve been a bit out of the loop insofar as the UK’s STFC woes, but it looks like another twist in the terribly damaged science funding system in the UK. The first high-profile threat was Gemini, but after a massive protest, the STFC relented and started to look for other cuts to make. Since then there have been a growing list of canceled projects, mostly low-level. However, it looks like it wasn’t enough, the deficit is getting bigger. Now it looks like not only Gemini will be on the chopping blocks in the near future, but a slew of other key projects will be culled ASAP.

    Incompetence in the STFC is only beaten by the politicians that promised not to cut “our best hope for the future” — there is a serious disconnect between the value of science and scientists and how that relates to the strength of the nation.

    The more I live away from the UK, the more I am disappointed by the squandered opportunities for greatness in British science. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I now live in the US — the UK’s “brain-drain” is turning into an exodus.

    Cheers, Ian

  8. GT

    When you overspend on social programs, you don’t have money left for other things. Follow the money; it goes where there are likely to be more votes. Science doesn’t buy enough votes.

  9. Blind Squirrel

    To put this in perspective: 200 million is the cost of one (1) one only c17 or f22 aircraft not counting R&D costs.

    BS

  10. Elmar_M – Sadly, I can’t fault your logic.

    - Jack

  11. 10. Blind Squirrel Says: “To put this in perspective: 200 million is the cost of one (1) one only c17 or f22 aircraft not counting R&D costs.”

    It’s also two hours worth of the HHS budget for 2010. It’s also 0.02% of Obama’s simulus package.

    Personally, I’d take the airplanes. At least they have a designated role in protecting this country.

    - Jack

  12. Cory

    Chinese won’t be taking over anytime soon, lol. These sorts of shifts are barely felt over the course of generations.

    I almost feel like gloating, given how many British comedians (and internet trolls) have derided the U.S. for not focusing enough on science. Really, though, it’s just said to see this happen to the nation who led the scientific side of the Enlightenment.

  13. Huh?

    @ 5. kuhnigget Says:

    Well, the only long-term industry the U.S. refuses to cut funding for is the war industry. Of course that one isn’t any good if you don’t have wars to fight, so I suspect the loss of “know how” to the Chinese is as good an excuse as any.

    What, protecting ourselves against fanatical Islamist terrorists who attacked us isn’t fair justification? You do remember how all this started with 9-11 don’t you? Don’t you?*

    Personally, I think should should kill two birds with one stone and fix global warming & the Islamists by nuking Tehran, the Taliban bits of Afghanistan & Pakistan and wherever else the cowardly Jihadists are hiding and preparing their next strike. If we’ve got any bombs left we should take out North Korea and China while we’re at it! Drop enough H-bombs and nuclear winter will cancel out Co2 emissions and make everything hunky dory. Heck, we’ll even have helped reduce the over-population and the crisis that’s causing! ;-)

    Yes, that was tongue in cheek joking in case you’re wondering & yeah, it probably wouldn’t work although it is kinda tempting isn’t it? ;-)

    How dare they steal our science!!!! Just kidding. Right? 俺投降!

    I’d answer that but I can’t speak Chinese. At least I presume that’s Chinese. What does that last word mean and how did you do that?

    —–

    * In case you have forgotten, here’s a reminder – they started it. Osma bin Laden declared war and launched the worst sneak attack since Pearl Harbour by hijacking civilian airliners and flying them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. And they were only stopped by couragous US citizens from flying another planeload of innocent hostages into the White House.

    3,000 Innocent Americans died that day & the man who led the attack is still out there planning more such atrocities. Our enemies whole philospoghy is driven by insane hatred of us simply because of who we are (ie. non-muslims) & they won’t stop until they’ve all been martyred and their evil cult utterly destroyed.

    You think we should tackle this how? Sit down and talk? Line up & get beheaded? Convert totheir cult? Get real! This war we need to fight and finish.

  14. coolstar

    While it is always troubling to see worthwhile science projects cut, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the cuts mentioned here total about 5% of the total UK science budget over the next 5 years. Yes, it’s easy for scientists to say but what about all the waste in other people’s budgets…..but much harder to actually KNOW what to do about it. Most of us hardly understand US science funding, and the Brit system (to me anyway) seems much more arcane. UK science is hardly going to be destroyed by these cuts, but certainly some promising careers probably will be. That’s the takeaway message for me: the project cuts are actually pretty trivial, in the long run, compared to the scholarship and fellowship cuts, which total up to a truly piddly amount of funding. Seems as though it’s a pretty obvious case of eating at least some of your seed corn. (as an aside, from following the Brit links it seems that science blogs there, just like those in the States, really bring the liberal hating wing-nuts out of the woodwork).

  15. Given the well-exposed growing fraud at the well-funded Hadley CRU I wouldn’t be surprised if most people just assumed all of science was as corrupt as that group and didn’t give a tinker’s dam if science got funded at all.

    Hadley didn’t just undo the climate science scam, it undid a lot of science with it.

  16. Blind Squirrel

    vanderleun Says: Blah blah blah…

    Better quality trolls, please

    BS

  17. Let them eat French toast

    Elmar_M: “Science equals “know how”. If you dont have science you will ultimately fall behind in know how. With most of our production- economy being sold out to countries like china, Korea, Malaysia, etc (this is the case with most western countries), we have little left in our favor other than our know how.”

    This argument does not make sense. It is obvious that all our “know how” has not stopped outsourcing of production to these countries, and it will not stop it. They are in fact nearly unrelated issues—except that while China is spending money on infrastructure we are spending it on “know how.” By now the results are clear.

    What we do have in our favor—the reason we are still so far ahead of China—is our government. It is clearly our superior political system that accounts for our vastly better economic performance.

  18. Huron

    There is an election soon in the UK. I doubt anything will get resolved until that, given the current fiscal state of the British government.

  19. Party Cactus

    He does have a point in that public perception tends to lump all science into one big entity. You know, something like ‘Ah, that piece of climate code was rigged, therefore, all other science might be rigged too. They told me science said [insert nonsense here] was bunk, well who’s laughing now?!”

    Of course, what people don’t seem to understand, is that science=economy. Can’t stress that enough. Science=economy. How many of today’s industries are built on science? Agriculture, health care, utilities, manufacturing, ect. All of them are! They were either improved upon by science (like new drugs in medicine, biotechnology in agriculture, or telecommunications in commerce), or they were started because of new technology (like cars or every electronic device out there). Cutting science is like killing new industries before they’re even born, and giving your economy a time delayed poison. You might save a buck now, but in the long run it’s madness.

  20. Wil

    Gosh, I guess it’s too bad that the U.K., the U.S., and other Western nations did not sign a legally binding agreement in Copenhagen that would have forced the transfer of tens or hundreds of billions of dollars from them, to dozens of third world countries.

    I wonder if that massive and permanent cash outflow might have resulted in draconian cuts in the science budgets (and other budgets) in the U.K.? Or does money simply rain from the sky in unlimited quantities?

  21. Charles Evo

    Those UKers could use a smack in the bum. Well done, Horse-Lover.

  22. @ Huh:

    Trolls should at least get the latest talking points. 9-11 is so old hat, isn’t it? I’m surprised you didn’t point out the errors of Bill Clinton’s administration, or that Obama is a socialist.

    Too bad all that war industry spending didn’t save the 3000 people killed on 9-11.

    Your “philospogy” is 令人厭煩的.

  23. Chrysoprase

    @14

    The war on terror is quite similar to the war on drugs. Since the ’80s the war on drugs has been so successfull that you can’t find drugs anwhere anymore, not at schools, or bars, or clubs, or street corners, or convenience stores…….

    Twenty years from now we will still be trying to wage war on both terrorism and drugs and there will still be both terrorism and drugs. Not every problem can be solved by declaring war on it, but hey, when you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail right?

  24. Elmar_M

    While it is always troubling to see worthwhile science projects cut, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the cuts mentioned here total about 5% of the total UK science budget over the next 5 years.

    Yes, but we should increase our science spending. We are not going to increase the production of physical goods any time soon, so we have to increase the production of another valuable good: Know How.

    This argument does not make sense. It is obvious that all our “know how” has not stopped outsourcing of production to these countries, and it will not stop it.

    You are missing my point:
    Science wont stop this trend, of course not. But, know how is a good worth exporting and selling. In fact Know How is worth more than most physical goods that you can produce. That is the ONLY reason why we are still in business at all. Over the past decades we have been trading our know how in return for physical goods that were produced in “cheaper” countries. Metaphorically one could say: “We built their factories and tought them how to build modern cars and return they are delivering these modern cars to us now.”
    So we are selling our Know How. Well, there is only so much Know How that you can sell unless you generate (produce) more. In order to increase production of Know How, you need to invest more into science.
    So let me say that again: Know How is a good. You trade one good for another good. So you trade Know How for cheap cars/jeans/whatever made in China.
    When you run out of Know How to trade, then you wont get any of those new cheap cars made in China…
    Was that more clear now?
    Geee and I thought I was pretty clear the first time arround…

    On the US defense spending. War is the father of everything.
    This is partially true. Which is good, or otherwise the US would be completely bankrupt by now. Defense research does generate some Know How, but it is by far not enough. Also the civil use of many of these items is questionable.
    So that allone wont keep the US affloat. Of course you can always win a war to cover your defense expenses and make some extra on top of that. But… winning wars is not that easy anymore these days.

  25. @Plutonium – No, Jodrell Bank / eMERLIN

  26. @Plutonium – No, Jodrell Bank / e-MERLIN is still funded as part of the strategy to build up to Square Kilometre Array. However, the UK contribution to LOFAR didn’t make the cut, nor did UKIRT, nor the UK role in the Gemini telescopes, so unless some of these decisions are revised the UK’s Northern hemisphere access in the coming few years will have taken quite a hit. For a more complete list, see Paul Crowther’s web page at http://pacrowther.staff.shef.ac.uk/stfc.html#faq21 .

  27. Pieter Kok

    Elmar nailed it, and vanderleun’s comment is a fair one.

  28. (This didn’t appear to post first time, and other posts have appeared in the meantime, so apologies if this appears twice in some form.)

    I’d like to correct the post by @Plutonium. Jodrell Bank / e-MERLIN is funded, because it’s part of the strategy to ramp up to the Square Kilometre Array. However, the research council announced last week that the UK contribution to LOFAR will no longer be funded, nor will UKIRT, nor Gemini. Unless these decisions are changed, this means the UK’s access to the Northern hemisphere will be significantly restricted in the coming few years. For more information on the survivors and casualties, see Paul Crowther’s website http://pacrowther.staff.shef.ac.uk/stfc.html#faq21 (where DOES he get time to compile it?).

  29. Pierre

    British science is doing ok if you ask me.

    “Great tragedy for the UK and indeed for the world of science”, huh? LOL.

  30. JB of Brisbane

    Huh? (#14) says – well, read his diatribe at #14.

    That was for the benefit of those of you who tuned in late. Now, back to the topic at hand… I hope!

  31. themos

    Huh? asks “You think we should tackle this how?”

    It was a crime, you deal with crime by police work, not war. The war in Iraq has claimed at least 100-300 lives for each life lost in 9/11.

  32. ZERO

    Welcome to the Dark Zone!

  33. Nick

    That’s what happens when you have real debts of 7-8 trillion (not the Enron government figure).

    It’s also why CRUgate is so important. Defending the indefensible means that when scientists as the public for funding its going to be, what about CRUgate? What about the errors in cliamate ‘science’.

    That’s the disaster go GW. The religeous behaviour of some scientists is going to tar all of us.

    Nick

  34. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Earlier (#3) I wrote : “Astronomy lost Jodrell Bank recently too didn’t we?”

    Well I’m glad to say I was wrong about that. :-)

    The Jodrell Bank observatory *was* facing closure which is what I was thinking of – but thankfully it was was saved. Hopefully it will still be safe now.

    See : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article4297239.ece

    An article from the Times 2008 July 9th- ironically in this contex titled “Deal to rescue Jodrell Bank helps Britain to See its Future in the Stars” & via Wikipedia :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodrell_Bank_Observatory

    BTW. Off topic but the recently discovered “ocean planet” (which actually may well not so-much be that) GJ 1214 is on today’s Wikipedia ‘recent news’ section too – see :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GJ_1214_b

  35. mike burkhart

    I don’t normaly respond to others coments but I will this time Huh not every follower of Islam is a terorist and as we saw this summer there are many in Iran who don’t like there goverment (you want to kill them to) and I am opposed to any use of nuclear wepons I opposed useing them on the Soviet Union and I still oppse use of them now and the fact that you want to kill millons of people makes you no better then Bin Laden

  36. davem

    Science budgets have been cut before, and reinstated later, when economic times were better. Nothing to see here – move along please. There”ll be another budget coming along soon…

  37. StevoR

    @ 29. Nick Says:
    “…It’s also why CRUgate is so important. Defending the indefensible means that when scientists as the public for funding its going to be, what about CRUgate? What about the errors in cliamate ’science’. That’s the disaster go [sic?] [with A]GW. The religeous behaviour of some scientists is going to tar all of us.”

    Afraid I have to agree there.

    The AGW mess has indeed hurt science and the reputation of science more broadly & made it harder to get science funded properly. :-(

    Whether the Warmer Orthodoxy like it or not – or are willing to face reality or not :

    1.) Twelve years without 1998 ‘s record being bettered despite ever rising human Co2 emissions,

    2.) & the Climategate leaked CRU emails,

    3.) & the heavy snowstorms in Europe & the USA right after the Copenhagen AGW talkfest wound up unsuccessfully.

    Does all mean (& help explain why) the tide of public opinion is turning against the AGW Alarmists. People are getting more skeptical about “Gobal Warming” and there (at least) appears to be very good reason for this.

    Like it or not, Phil Jones, Mike Mann, Trenberth & the others caught up in Climategate have indeed hurt science by – at bare minimum – creating a strong public perception of dishonesty and scientific fraud in seeming to be “cooking” their evidence to suit their theory rather than letting the facts decide.

    You could perhaps argue the case although “hide the decline” appears pretty hard to explain away as does “even if we have to change the meaning of peer review” and “delete the emails rather than accept a FOI request”. People (incl. the BA) may continue trying to work out excuses and justifications for the CRU but the look is not good to say the least!

    I do think that this is a serious issue very negatively affecting public confidence in scientists integrity. Some may think its sad or even false, but in the public mind the damage is done & will keep being done until …. well, we’ll have to see. :-(

    Out of morbid curiousity, how many years without a clear evidence of rapid alarmingly dangerous global warming – namely 1998′s temp. record being broken – do we have to wait before the Anthropogenic Global Warmer’s admit they got it wrong?

    Twelve years? (I.e. end of this year in about a weeks time?)
    …. Fifteen years?
    ………Twenty years?
    ……………….Thirty years?
    ………………….Only once we’re induitably back in the return to Ice Age conditions? Well?

    For me, personally, ten years (eg. 1998-2008) is long enough to call it ‘Mythbuster’ style :

    AGW : myth busted! ;-)

  38. Steve in Dublin

    @Blind Squirrel #17

    Better quality trolls, please

    Indeed. Getting very tired of the likes of vanderleun, Nick, and StevoR spamming nearly every thread for the past few weeks with their anti-AGW vitriol. Cuing Spectroscope in 3… 2… 1…

  39. (I’ve tried to post this comment twice here in the past few hours but neither post appeared. This is my third attempt, then I’m giving up… My apologies if multiple copies appear in some form at some later date…)

    Just to correct some earlier posts, Jodrell Bank (part of e-MERLIN) is still funded, because it’s part of the strategic plan to ramp up to the Square Kilometer Array. However the research council announced the coming end of funding for the UK contribution to LOFAR, and to UKIRT, and to Gemini. Unless these decisions are revised, the UK will have a greatly curtailed access to the Northern hemisphere in the coming few years. For more details on the survivors and casualties, see the FAQ section at the bottom of Paul Crowther’s webpage: http://pacrowther.staff.shef.ac.uk/stfc.html

  40. There’s been a push to the right in British politics going on for as long as there has been in the US. In the US, though, much of that push is seen as being driven by a lunatic fringe that has hijacked the political process. In the UK it’s perceived as much more main stream.

    Hopefully both countries will have the smarts to right ourselves.

  41. Sticks

    Sorry, but we are in the middle of a deep recession, so hard choices have to be made.

    Science has to learn to pay it’s way now and deliver things that can be commercially viable. Ivory towers, blue skies thinking is a lucury we can no loger afford

    At the end of the day, the books have to balance.

  42. @ Elmar:


    On the US defense spending. War is the father of everything.
    This is partially true. Which is good, or otherwise the US would be completely bankrupt by now. Defense research does generate some Know How, but it is by far not enough. Also the civil use of many of these items is questionable.
    So that allone wont keep the US affloat. Of course you can always win a war to cover your defense expenses and make some extra on top of that. But… winning wars is not that easy anymore these days.

    Indeed, which is my point. The old imperialism doesn’t float anymore, not when your mega-billion dollar tank can be taken out by a couple dinars-worth of pipe and some C-4. The paper tiger has been stripped of his fangs and the world knows it. Witness the hand-wringing and knee-knocking over the hacked data stream from the Predator drone in Afghanistan. Meow! Er…we mean, Roar!

    And if your whole bloody economy is nothing but toothless kitty cats, pretty soon you’re not going to be able to stamp your foot and demand the world do your bidding.

    I agree with your Know How™ thesis entirely, Elmar. Too bad our educational system is in such a sorry state. Our ability to manufacture that particular product is rapidly being phased out in favor of mind-numbingly incurious trench fodder.

    Again, I kid, of course.

    並非如此

  43. Quiet Desperation

    Politicians are really stupid.

    I used to think that, but I’ve realized over the years that a lot of what’s going (especially in the economy) is, if not intentional, then at least encouraged.

    No, there’s no dark cabal that plans out global economic misery, but I think a lot of those in power like the idea of most people being worried if their next paycheck will bounce or not. It distracts them from the shenanigans of the politicians. You keep the economy at a slow limp, provide just enough of that there ed-u-ma-cation to keep the citizens in blissful ignorance, and sit back all fat and happy.

    We have a local politico here in Los Angeles that wants to spend over $1 million of his “discretionary funds” to remodel his offices with cherrywood, special imported stone flooring and the highest end office furniture you can find. His spending per square foot rivals office remodels that billionaire’s do for themselves. He’s making a little palace for himself on the taxpayer’s backs. Oh, he could use those funds to maybe provide seed money for businesses in his poverty stricken district, or package it up into scholarships for the many underprivileged children, but, no, he’s going to build his little temple to his own rabid ego.

    I’m sure a lot of them look to the old days where the upper crust of lords & ladies ruled over all the peasants and serfs, and heave a heavy sigh for the good old days. Educating people in math and science is the last thing they want. I’m sure they’d pull the plug on the Internet if they could.

    I know a couple women who worked for a state level election, and they bailed out as soon as they could. According to them, a lot of the “political class” are folks who seriously get off on the fact they they are messing with the lives of people. Not just the candidates, but all the sycophants who take up orbits around them. I’m not a GW skeptic, but even I think that the prospect of massive, restrictive legislation under the guise of “Saving Teh Woooorld!” has arousal levels shifted into overdrive from Sacramento to D.C.

  44. Elmar_M

    Science budgets have been cut before, and reinstated later, when economic times were better. Nothing to see here – move along please. There”ll be another budget coming along soon…

    And what will bring about the better economic times? Some white bearded man on a cloud?
    How is the economic situation going to improve unless you have something that you can sell? What new products are being prepared to be sold in the UK? In the US?
    Yeah kinda empty there, isnt it?
    That is the problem, without science, no Know How, without Know How, economic times wont get better.
    Meanwhile the Chinese are already coming up in the rear mirror. The are investing in new nuclear reactors, they spend 9 billion of USD A MONTH on research on alternative energy allone.
    And what are we doing? We are sitting on our asses like stupid school boys that are waiting for the boring math lesson to be over so they can finally go back to playing with their Nintendos. That lesson is not going to be over any time soon, if we dont get off our asses and learn from our mistakes! The european countries have been neglecting research to much lately. The US has done much of the same mistake in the last 8 years as well.
    Our schools are crap. They are made to be easy, to easy. The path of the least resistance. We could not make the idiots smarter, so we had to make the smart ones dumber, so “everyone is equal”. The word “intelectual elite” has been perverted, turned into a swear word.
    In addition to this our Teachers have to be affraid of some crack dealing punks, because they are stripped of all their powers by some political correctness mongering chair poopers.
    We are badly educated and many in our countries lack even the most basic reading and writing skills, not even talking about math and science.
    Instead people get their heads poisened with Intelligent Design antivaxxination campaigns, Playboy and god damn gangster rapp on MTV.
    More of our children want to be a gangster rapper than a scientist. Because “science is uncool” and “science and technology will bring about the end of the world”, or so MTV/FOX/ fill in idiotic movie title here tell them. Instead we are supposed to play dinosour, refrain from procreation and kindly die out.
    We have become weak and numb and degenerated. It is time to wake up, or go under!

  45. Quiet Desperation

    Allow me to point out that while everybody loves when scientists design new technologies

    Yeah, actually, it’s the engineers like me that do that bit. :-P

    To reiterate:

    Science = http://www.robeson.k12.nc.us/peterson/lib/peterson/science_fair_02.jpg

    Engineering = http://z.about.com/d/cars/1/0/w/F/1/SLK350_front_right_3-4ii.jpg
    ;-)

  46. Elmar_M

    Sorry I dont distinguish between them. They cant exist without each other.

  47. “Steve in Dublin Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 6:34 am
    @Blind Squirrel #17
    Better quality trolls, please
    Indeed. Getting very tired of the likes of vanderleun, Nick, and StevoR spamming nearly every thread for the past few weeks with their anti-AGW vitriol. Cuing Spectroscope in 3… 2… 1…”

    Well, the fatigue of Steve in Dublin is really not my concern. A diet with fewer fried fats and less alcohol is recommended.

    As to the anti-AGW sentiment, I think most reasonable people who are neither Blind Squirrels nor stuck in Dublin will agree that the so called “scientists” behind this long-running scam have been well outed and well and truly shown to be the frauds that they are.

    The problems for these folk and the knickertwisted alarmists is that the shame and the fraud goes well beyond Hadley and even beyond what is risibly called “climate science.” Their exposure hurts and damages all of Science (capital S) especially the legitimate branches such as physics, astronomy, chemistry…. you know the Science that real scientists practice.

    In a world in which a very large majority of the population gets, at the very least, solid instruction in the classical scientific method in secondary school, you have a world in which people understand it on that level. Because it is understood on that level science is understood to be trustworthy.

    Once that trust is betrayed as it clearly was by Jones, Mann, et al the trust is not just taken from “climate science” but from all science. And it makes it that much harder to believe in statements like “it is a good idea to be vaccinated” and “the LHC will not eat the earth with a black hole” and “2012 is unlikely to be the end of the world no matter how many dead Mayans say it.”

    With trust gone, funding it going to be harder to find all the way around. The climate kooks have not done the enviromentally prudent or the serious, grown up sciences any favors.

    They need at the very least to do some serious jail time. That might, just might, start to rebuild public trust.

  48. Steve in Dublin

    With trust gone, funding it going to be harder to find all the way around. The climate kooks have not done the enviromentally prudent or the serious, grown up sciences any favors.

    They need at the very least to do some serious jail time. That might, just might, start to rebuild public trust.

    I would think that the low-lives who paid some hackers to steal those e-mails (the timing of which conveniently coincided with the conference in Copenhagen) would be the ones that should be contemplating some jail time. Last time I checked, scientists showing their frustration in private e-mails with pseudo-scientists that have a completely political agenda isn’t illegal by any stretch of the imagination.

    If the McIntyres of this world and their ilk have valid science that contradicts AGW, then why don’t they publish it in a peer-reviewed journal? And not one that’s been taken over by right-wing nutjobs. I’m sure the rest of us would be delighted to be informed that the human race isn’t environmental toast even if the status quo prevails?

  49. Steve in Dublin

    And since we have to put up with the denialists’ anti-AGW tripe all the time, here’s some scientific ‘spam’ as a counterpoint. There are two web pages that, for me anyway, completely nail the whole CO2 issue. And they are both pitched at a level that lay people can comprehend. The first page shows what happens (using statistical analysis rather than models!) when you add/subtract CO2 from the various factors that contribute to global climate change:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/

    Most instructive is the graph labelled ‘No GHG’, which shows the effect for all factors besides CO2 (methane and other gases also play a part, but not nearly as much as CO2). OK, so that page shows us that CO2 is one of the biggest forcings driving global climate change. But how can we prove that this effect is largely man-made? Well, have a look here:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-7.1.html

    From that page, this is the most telling quote:

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is known to be caused by human activities because the character of CO2 in the atmosphere, in particular the ratio of its heavy to light carbon atoms, has changed in a way that can be attributed to addition of fossil fuel carbon.

    Fossil fuel carbon. Hmm. I wonder where that could come from?

    Of course, even those explanations are not going to convince someone who has a political/monetary agenda against AGW. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

  50. “I would think that the low-lives who paid some hackers to steal those e-mails (the timing of which conveniently coincided with the conference in Copenhagen) would be the ones that should be contemplating some jail time”

    I think that, in the absence of any real information, it might be just as prudent, if not more prudent, to suppose that somebody inside this little cabal of crooks and liars got sickened by the whole scam and blew the whistle from within.

    But whoever did it, from outside or from within, he or she is a hero and a saint for letting the sordid facts and attitudes about this vile coven of liars emerge.

    And they did science a big, big favor. As well as the rest of the human race.

    As for the timing, pretty much brilliant I’d say.

    As for convincing steve of dublin, I’ll waste no more of my time on him than he would waste on me. He’s a lost cause who cannot even see that which is painted onto his face. It’s a bit like our host who, when the emails first came out some weeks back, trotted out the old purloined no big deal email talking point as subject on this page. He was flamed so badly for it in the comments section that he didn’t really reappear there and has, up until this topic, been keeping a low profile on the issue.

    As for horses and water…. whenever I see someone quote that I just recall Dorothy Parker saying you can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think. If thinking was what was going on the CRU material would have, at the very least, made a dent and caused a hitch in the minds of the Global Warming to Climate Change to Climate Instability crowd. But none can be discerned. The mind has been fully colonized and no deviation from the catechism is going to be allowed.

    These climate-change-instability guys now remind me as nothing so much as the corrupt Catholic Church just after Luther had nailed his documents to the door.

  51. davem

    StevoR:

    1.) Twelve years without 1998 ’s record being bettered despite ever rising human Co2 emissions,

    Uh? Where have you been ? 2005 was warmer, and 2001,2,3,4,6,7, and 8 were damned close. . 2009 might beat 1998 too.

    2.) & the Climategate leaked CRU emails,

    Which don’t say what you think they say.

    3.) & the heavy snowstorms in Europe & the USA right after the Copenhagen AGW talkfest wound up unsuccessfully.

    The first for several years in December where I live. And only an inch or two at that. December snow used to be a regular occurrence, but is now very rare indeed. We used to have white Christmases now and then. I can’t remember the last one. Maybe 40 years ago? It used to snow in November, even October, but that hasn’t happened for 30 years at least. I didn’t even turn on my heating until the end of November this year – that’s at latitude 50N.

    In the meantime, while you seem to think the world is cooling, the Himalayas have lost 20% of their snow cover… On the balance, I’ve decided that you’re an idiot.

  52. Travis

    Why is it that when people talk about government funding issues they always bring up:

    1) The military &
    2) Various ongoing wars

    both of which I support while ignoring things we can all agree are wasteful like the tens of billions we blow on farm subsidies for……………what?

    All you end up doing is alienating those who support science but aren’t against those wars.

  53. Seems to me that the controllers of the scam could cough up some “green” to keep the thing rolling.

    Here’s an interesting observation in response to Michael Mann’s self-serving justification yesterday in the Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/17/AR2009121703682.html

    ===
    So, it looks like a single company controls the whole works:

    Climate Exchange PLC owns CCX, including the CCX-subsidiary Chicago Climate Futures Exchange® (CCFE®), as well as the European Climate Exchange (ECX). Climate Exchange plc is a publicly traded company listed on the AIM division of the London Stock Exchange (CLE.L).

    CCX is 10% owned by Goldman Sachs (GS) and 10% owned by Generation Investment Management (GIM), an investment firm founded & chaired by Al Gore. This firm was co-founded by the former Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. [1]

    Wasn’t Paulson the guy who recommended the Wall Street Bail-out? Looks like a rat, smells like a rat. These guys stand to make some really serious coin if they can convince everyone that Cap and Trade is the answer. All they needed was some folks on the inside to artificially inflate the base climate data and the world will be convinced that the world is warming. The other scientists won’t even realize – after all who would expect the data to be falsified to fit the theory? Hansen and Jones, the true believers to the rescue – swindle of the millennium.
    =====

    Pure bunko.

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/12/climate-creationist-slash-laughingstock.html

  54. @ Travis:

    A valid point (tobacco subsidies, anyone?), but what’s a few tens of billions against the many hundreds of billions the latest war du jour is costing?

    Sometimes you just have to aim for the elephant.

  55. Elmar_M

    both of which I support while ignoring things we can all agree are wasteful like the tens of billions we blow on farm subsidies for……………what?

    Uhhhhm, you know the thing is, if you dont subsidize food so you have an overproduction, you will end up with more expensive food. Demand and supply…
    Also you will want to make sure that there are still enough farmers arround, should there ever be a shortage. You know the seven fruitful years and the seven years of drought…
    I am sure you paid a lot of attention in bible class, didnt you?
    On thewars: The best war is the war you dont have to fight, Sun Tsu, the art of war.

  56. John

    The UK has committed billions to fighting climate change.

    Real science is a low priority it would seem.

  57. MadScientist

    Science is getting more expensive and no one wants to slash their military budgets by much (and despite the huge military budgets, the folks in the military don’t necessarily get enough to do their jobs right either). With humongous projects in the pipeline such as the Square Kilometer Array and the Giant Magellan Telescope I expect to see many science projects slashed across the globe. This has always happened in the past – think of how the Apollo program fared when the Shuttle program got approval – and look at the money going into the shuttles now that the focus has shifted to a return to the moon – and look at the arguments over where money will come from to support the ISS beyond the original end-of-funding dates.

  58. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 26, 27 & 29. Stephen Serjeant Says:

    @Plutonium – No, Jodrell Bank / e-MERLIN is still funded as part of the strategy to build up to Square Kilometre Array. However, the UK contribution to LOFAR didn’t make the cut, nor did UKIRT, nor the UK role in the Gemini telescopes, so unless some of these decisions are revised the UK’s Northern hemisphere access in the coming few years will have taken quite a hit. For a more complete list, see Paul Crowther’s web page ..

    Thanks. Belated I know but thanks nonetheless. :-)

    I went & checked and found I was wrong later myself but thanks again for correcting me & enlightening us all anyhow.

    Hope Jodrell Bank keeps going for … well, if I had my way forever! :-)

  59. StevoR

    @ 52. davem Says:

    StevoR:

    1.) Twelve years without 1998 ’s record being bettered despite ever rising human Co2 emissions,

    Uh? Where have you been ? 2005 was warmer, and 2001,2,3,4,6,7, and 8 were damned close. . 2009 might beat 1998 too.

    Really? I’m not sure you are right there. My understanding is that 1998 was still hotter than 2005. If it was hotter then I don’t think it was by much & those other years are all cooler. You know that really doesn’t look to me like temperatures are rising rapidly and dangerously as the AGW believers are claiming.

    If a theory like AGW predicts something eg. temperatures will rise & then that prediction fails to come true – as it hasn’t – then science tells us that theory is falsified or shown to be wrong and scientists therefore abandon it. AGW has made predictions, these predictions have been falsified thus those who still believe in it are being *unscientific*. It really is that simple in my view.

    2.) & the Climategate leaked CRU emails,

    Which don’t say what you think they say.

    Because I think everybody by now knows what they say and show even if some people are refusing to accept the reality. They demonstrate that the climatologists used “tricks” to “hide the decline” and admitted to themselves they can’t find the warming they expected. They also reveal that the AG Warmers would rather delete the raw data than hand it over to legitimate Freedom Of Information requests; that they stacked peer review and censored dissenting opinions and scientists and gloated over the deaths of dissenting scientists and so on ..

    But then you should know all this yourself and if you haven’t done your research here I suggest you go and do so.

    3.) & the heavy snowstorms in Europe & the USA right after the Copenhagen AGW talkfest wound up unsuccessfully.

    The first for several years in December where I live. And only an inch or two at that. December snow used to be a regular occurrence, but is now very rare indeed. We used to have white Christmases now and then. I can’t remember the last one. Maybe 40 years ago? It used to snow in November, even October, but that hasn’t happened for 30 years at least. I didn’t even turn on my heating until the end of November this year – that’s at latitude 50N.

    In the meantime, while you seem to think the world is cooling, the Himalayas have lost 20% of their snow cover… On the balance, I’ve decided that you’re an idiot.

    Name calling & vague personal anecdotes to counter scientific data and written documented evidence. Convincing – not! :roll:

    I think its ironic that as the Coperhagen talkfest failure finishes a huge snowstorm in both Europe & the US expresses nature’s opinion on whether we’re getting alarmingly warmer or not.

    I’d also like to note you failed to answer my question :

    How many years without real, *clear*, noticeable temperature rises have to pass before you admit you might have got it wrong and maybe there is no AGW after all?

    Come on, give us a number! ;-)

  60. Messier Tidy Upper

    @60. StevoR :“How many years without real, *clear*, noticeable temperature rises have to pass before you admit you might have got it wrong and maybe there is no AGW after all?”

    For the record :

    RELEASE : 11-014 NASA Research Finds 2010 Tied For Warmest Year On Record

    WASHINGTON — Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880. The analysis found 2010 approximately 1.34 F warmer than the average global surface temperature from 1951 to 1980. To measure climate change, scientists look at long-term trends. The temperature trend, including data from 2010, shows the climate has warmed by approximately 0.36 F per decade since the late 1970s.

    Source : NASA press release (online) titled “NASA Research Finds 2010 Tied For Warmest Year On Record” released on the 12th January 2011. Capitalisation and emphasis (headline) original.

    For the record also – I used to post here as “StevoR”, I no longer do so & my opinions have since changed esp. on the Anthropogenic Global Warming (Human Caused Global Overheating) issue.

    I would humbly ask and hope that folks here can forgive a bit of temporary insanity on my part.

    Oh, blazes, I hope folks can forgive a bit of permanent insanity on my part too, for that matter! ;-)

    (I do *try* to be good!)

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