I arrived at the office and remembered I hadn't eaten breakfast; golf would have to wait. "Hey Bloggy," I said, "want to go to Mels? It's biscuit and honey day."
No answer. I looked over at where Bloggy would usually be boring into me with his wee beady eyes, making sure work gets done, but it was empty. Instead there was just a note. It read:
"Gone to the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco to meet a tall Scandinavian blonde. I probably won't be back. She says they have real honey in Norway and not that artificial sweetener stuff you put me on last month."
Well, I was a little put off by that and already missed him. Don't get me wrong, he is a terrible caddie but I can lean the paper against him at breakfast. I knew the AGU meeting was this week but if there isn't something groundbreaking happening or I'm not invited to be on a panel, I am probably not going. But I went to check out the agenda at their website.
The first disturbing thing I found was a defense of the fraud that occurred among a very small subset of researchers regarding global warming data.
AGU finds it offensive that these emails were obtained by illegal cyber attacks and they are being exploited to distort the scientific debate about the urgent issue of climate change.You know what I find offensive? Not addressing the real issue. This is no different than Tiger Woods' wife finding about his infidelity and him releasing a statement saying he finds it offensive she looked at his mobile phone log. If climate scientists want to regain the political high ground they have lost on the matter they need to stop engaging in the kinds of actions politicians engage in. Al Gore is no help.
"Well, they took a few phrases out of context. These are private e-mails, more than 10 years old, and they've tried to blow it up into something that it's really not"and then again
"If you take one little thing from 10 years ago out of context and describe it inaccurately, then it becomes a controversy without any real substance"and then in Slate
To paraphrase Shakespeare, it's sound and fury signifying nothing. I haven't read all the e-mails, but the most recent one is more than 10 years old.This sort of comment is damaging to the multitude of legitimate scientists working in the field because this wants to make it a partisan issue rather than a science issue. I don't expect Rush Limbaugh listeners to take a neutral stance but I do expect it from climate researchers. The latest email was actually from last month. Even the email telling people to get rid of their emails was from last year.
So I was disappointed that the AGU is circling the wagons around frauds. Scientific credibility means cutting loose the people who have an agenda outside science. But they have a nice blogroll so they are right in line with our Science 2.0 spirit otherwise and off I went.
The drive was uneventful. I had a mix CD of Christmas stuff to try out provided by the ever-reliable Heather Browne at the Fuel Friends blog; she has sold me on more music than smarmy Apple commercials ever could.
If you have never been to Union Square in San Francisco is is very festive - and very politically correct, being San Francisco. But it has a big tree and an ice-skating rink and parking is cheap.
Turns out I didn't have to look very far. I saw him right away with ... drag queens.
Who knew Bloggy could sing? They called themselves Drag-apella (sung to the tune of "Hallelujah", this being San Francisco) but really they are called The Kinsey Sicks(2) and had conscripted Bloggy for help with a tune.
Who knew Bloggy could sing? I am worried about my sanity if he even talks.
An all-day seminar on Euclidean geometry was happening nearby and they were on a coffee break and a few recognized me so I was swarmed with autograph requests and when I turned around to look for Bloggy again the song was over and he was ... gone.
But I knew he could not have gone far - he is only 6 inches tall. So I walked around the tree to look for him and imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon our own Bente Lilja Bye, who writes PlanetBye. Bente came to us in 2007 as Research Director at the Norwegian Mapping Authority and enthusiastic advocate of science outreach.
She also happens to be a tall ... Scandinavian ... blonde.
Heyyyyy, wait a minute. Too late, she already had him.
Well, this could not be allowed so we went off to a nice lunch to mediate the issue. She had an infectious laugh, was sharp as a razor and worldly enough to have great stories. Heck, even the childrens' stories in Norway are fascinating. They all seem to involve a drunken 3-year old who cleaves people in half with a sword somewhere in the tale. How Norwegians remain so affable and friendly is beyond me. She told me just one of those stories and I was ready to invade Sweden.
We came to an agreement; she would get a Scientific Blogging shirt and I would keep Bloggy. Bloggy was sad but I gave him some time alone and we went on our way.
(1) Not only were they good sports and ridiculously talented singers but they care about your kids. You can't tell in the photo but Bloggy is stuck down in his underwear. However, the gent doing the holding, smiling broadly the whole time, kept telling me through his teeth, "Take the picture, kids are coming. Kids are coming, take the picture." So I appreciated that.
If you are in the city they are doing a one-night-only holiday show Friday December 18th at 8:00 PM at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness&McAllister in San Francisco.