Tuesday, February 28, 2012

His transgression cannot be condoned, regardless of his motives.

In the latest EOS (oh, and also here on the web):

The success of the scientific enterprise depends on intellectual rigor [sic], truthfulness, and integrity on the part of everyone involved. The vast majority of scientists uphold these values every day in their work. That’s why opinion polls show that public trust in scientists is among the highest of all professions. Public trust is essential because it provides the foundation for society’s willingness to invest in scientific exploration and discovery. It is the responsibility of every scientist to safeguard that trust.

And more besides, from the President, Michael McPhaden.

I encourage all those who are still trying to defend Gleick's actions, to read and consider the article before posting any more...especially those who are desperately clinging on to the faint hope that his "confession" was actually honest. Which seems pretty implausible from where I'm sitting. Don't forget the first rule of holes!

199 comments:

ScruffyDan said...

Can you elaborate on what you mean by: " the faint hope that his "confession" was actually honest"

BTW my thoughts are here
http://planet3.org/2012/02/23/ethical-considerations-regarding-heartlandgleick/

James Annan said...

Originally, there were several potential ways in which his claims about the "fake" could have been buttressed. Like if his emails had actually mentioned the specific docs referred to, for example. Or, if he had actually presented the supposedly mailed document for detailed examination.

So far, no support has been forthcoming, and the textual analysis that some defenders have presented is risible. The content and his reaction to it (including the way he propagated it) is hard enough to reconcile with his story anyway.

If I believed that all he had done was the email spoofing, and this due to temptation, I would not have considered his transgression to have been quite so severe. I simply don't think that is a tenable theory any more. The evidence is far more supportive of him having made up the fake as a some sort of post-hoc defence/explanation/hook for the media (which worked). I'd love to be proved wrong, or even hear a half-credible argument to back up his version of events.

ScruffyDan said...

Fair enough, though I disagree. I have come to the conclusion that I have no idea who wrote it. There just isn’t enough evidence.

Tony Sidaway said...

Although I differ with you on the plausibility of Gleick's alleged authorship of the one memo, I agree completely with the tone of this post. Actions like this cannot be condoned.

Grypo said...

"I'd love to be proved wrong, or even hear a half-credible argument to back up his version of events."

The jump from making up a persona to get documents to making up documents and passing them off as real is large one, and a much larger risk to himself in perception and legally. This does not mean it was not done, but I believe the burden falls on those who are accusing Gleick of writing it.

I, being one of the people who looked at the pdf metadata (and correctly concluded it definitively did not come from same batch of pdf's sent from Heartland), am still unconvinced of Gleick's guilt, and, also, unconvinced the document originated from Heartland, ever. The emails released from Heartland show me nothing. Gleick was posing as Board member and asked for all documents for board members. Just because the Funding and Budget docs were cited as having more detail, it did not mean that those documents were all he was looking for. He may have wanted to get the original strategy memo, or the identification of the anonymous donor.

After receiving the original batch, the Agenda was in his possession. Inside the Agenda was "2012 Proposed Budget and Fundraising Plan", he then asked for the meeting minutes and handouts. This does not suggest he is innocent, but it suggests he was artfully fishing and understood he was posing as someone else, instead of asking for the specific docs off the bat.

I also believe Gleick to be smart and competent (latest episode notwithstanding) with competent representation. Gleick admitting that he recieved the memo in early January (say 3rd-9th?) leaves himself open to being proved wrong immediately. The meeting was scheduled for Jan 17th. Had Heartland produced create dates on the final word perfects docs being between the day he received the memo and the day of the meeting, he'd be dead in the water. An assumption, yes, but would Gleick do that?

"The evidence is far more supportive of him having made up the fake as a some sort of post-hoc defence/explanation/hook for the media"

But you haven't presented the evidence. You are telling us assumptions. Do you mean the Heartland email release?

Alastair said...

There are no rules in Love and War, and science is in a war with the deniers. The sooner Science recognises that the better.

Gleick's resignation should have been refused until the Climategate Hacker has owned up. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

This is a war, and the enemy will try every trick in the book. It seems to me that it was they who sent the memo anomalously to Glieck knowing that they could claim it was a forgery. By trying to establish it authenticity Glieck has played right into their hands. This was a classic sting!

The problem is that the Deniers can instigate sting operations professionally funded as they are. Science has got to find some way of not just defending itself by perfect honest, is that possible? but also by finding ways to fight back.

Hank Roberts said...

>> evidence is far more supportive
>> of him having made up the fake

> But you haven't presented
> the evidence.

Same question.

If he didn't fake anything -- just got documents -- would it make a difference if he'd thought to hire someone from a profession that does allow phishing (PI or journalist) to make the phone calls?

Seems to me there's refereed publication in journals (science) and there's -- other stuff in the cloud of free speech, PR flackery, advocacy science, lobbying, journalism, private investigation.

While it'd be nice to think that a scientist is as pure in the rest of his life as he's trying to be in doing science -- is it required or even expected?

I'm reminded of Peter Watts again.

tonylearns said...

James,

I agree that this is a very unfortunate and damaging incident, just for the fact that it gives hard core C/D's (contrarian deniers) an objective proof about the evils of warmists and will be used as a rallying cry for years to come
I tend to agree with Grypa about the authorship of the "fake" memo. To me Gleick's explanation fits the facts very well as far as I understand them. he was "tipped off" by someone and went about the task of verifing the info in a away that an investigative journalist might. That he is a highly visible climate scientist(?) and on the boards of AGU and NCSE AND heavily involved in issues around scientific ethics makes that role laughable. it was stupid and destructive.
I hae been reading numerous blogs about this and especially deep climate and Audit. McIntyre is convinced he has all but proven Gleick froged the documents, but I don't understand his reasoning completely. Various people at Deep climate are pretty convinced that he didn't write it and point to several writing analysis that point to Bast or Taylor for the parts that were not lifted verbatim from the other documents.
It seems a plausible scenario to me that Heartland was trying to Scam Gelick by getting him to release a document that they could claim was a forgery and pull a "rathergate" Basts over the top reaction to the leak indicate possibly a person panicking about either something like this or a loss of funds for various reasons.
I also find it plausible that Hearltand was aware of Mashey's sleuthing to invalidate their tax exempt status and used this as a preemptive strike. Pure speculation of course, but it fits the facts as i am ware of them.
I also consider it plausible that Gleick engineered the whole thing because of petty bitterness and ego. if so he is an idiot, as I am pretty sure the true provenance will be shown, and any sympathy from his confession will be gone and his career totally ruined. Is he really that Stupid and narcissistic? I don't have any idea.

And of course it seems credible that someone connected in some way to Heartland did send the document , and it is either real ( seems unlikely) or a forgery intended to cause Gleick to make sure he got it published.
I would be interested if anyone has waded through all of Audit to understand whether they are blowing smoke or their analysis of time-lines really support their contention.

manuel moe g said...

Is there anything inconsistent with this scenario? This is my current understanding, which I made up, but seems consistent with the facts and analyses.

[1] Gleick, working with a Heartland insider, gains access to several preliminary versions of "Heartland Strategy Memo" (memo for the full board) and some random incriminating informal texts (incriminating but not officially authorized by Heartland)

[2] Gleick weaves these into a single disjointed document

[3] Gleick has enough information to perform "social engineering" - he can impersonate a board member, he can talk authoritatively about document names, and can escalate to have his request for the full document set (perpared for the full board) fulfilled by Heartland.

[4] Gleick distributes the document set, plus the disjointed memo.

[5] Heartland is in a bit of a pickle, because successfully prosecuting Gleick for the impersonation and social engineering reinforces the fact that the document set, minus one, is authentic. And successfully prosecuting for libel from the cut-and-paste memo would require establishing damages from lessened donations, which would mean the court peering into Heartland's financial structure in fine detail.

James says I should be clutching my pearl necklace until my knuckles are bone white. I normally am in agreement with James, but I find myself mildly chuckling - the only reasonable conclusion is that I am impossibly morally corrupted from weeping over dying polar bears when I should have been huffing diesel fumes like a true patriot. (Whoops, sarcasm is more evidence of my corruption. ;-) )

Martin Vermeer said...

Nah, this is all too complicated. The basic situation is very simple: Gleick was the only person outside Heartland known to have the leaked docs and enough time to put together the strategy memo. He did not use the memo to extract the other docs.

And it is strange that the mysterious outsider that sent him the memo -- and if he wrote it, had access to electronic copies of the other docs -- didn't just send those too in the same letter.

And why use Gleick as a middleman at all?

And even now, as James points out, Gleick could settle the issue by allowing forensics on the hard copy.

No, the evidence doesn't add up to 'beyond reasonable doubt', but it doesn't look good.

Is forging a document like this any worse than getting real document under false pretenses? One could argue that if it is OK to lie to Heartland to get hold of the docs, then why is it not OK to lie to the MSM to get those docs under the public's eye. Lying is legal. The problem as I see it is the mixing of roles: scientists should not be seen to play these games. May be different for private investigators or investigative journalists, as Hank points out.

Steve Easterbrook said...

The opening sentence from McPhadden:
"The success of the scientific enterprise depends on intellectual rigor [sic], truthfulness, and integrity on the part of everyone involved."
is self-evidently not true. Science is very successful *despite* the regular uncovering of frauds and charlatans, the systematic biasing of medical trials by the drug industry, and the all-too common abuse of statistical methods by just about everyone.

Science works not because we trust each other, but precisely because we don't trust each other, and we're continuously finding and addressing the weaknesses in each other's work. I don't know about you, but I think most of my colleagues are deficient in intellectual rigor, truthfulness and integrity. The drive to publish leads everyone to over-state their claims.

The criticism of Gleick is ridiculously over-wrought, and these theories about him forging the original memo are have no more credibility than the conspiracy theories woven by hardcore denialists.

Occam's razor: Gleick found himself in a quandary, having been sent a copy of a memo, which, if genuine, was explosive. His curiosity got the better of him, and he spoofed heartland into sending him board meeting docs. These corroborated enough of the original memo that he went public. He was then immediately overcome with a sense of guilt, and publicly confessed, in one of the most miserable examples of public self-flagellation I've ever seen.

I'm sorry, but that confession was too artless to be contrived. Peter's really not cut out for industrial espionage.

Utahn said...

All we can do is guess, any certainty is completely inappropriate.

My guess, Occam's razor and Easterbrook are likely correct.

Grypo said...

"And it is strange that the mysterious outsider that sent him the memo -- and if he wrote it, had access to electronic copies of the other docs -- didn't just send those too in the same letter.

And why use Gleick as a middleman at all?"

Well, speculating it is Gleick on the actions of an unknown human doesn't help your case. This, if true, also points to the letter being from Heartland. It would point to someone without access to the docs, but came across the memo somehow.

Doug said...

Presumably it should go without saying that nobody criticizing Gleick has read the documents even while knowing they were purloined, just as we would not criticize a thief while buying cheap, fenced goods?

James Annan said...

Well I'm glad to see that Martin gets it at least.

This comment is too long really but I'm reluctant to put a new post up as honestly I think it would be far better to draw a veil over the whole affair.

The honeytrap theory is a non-starter - the fake has some true info in and many aspects that would be damaging to HI, if Gleick had simply shown the letter to a few journalists (as might have been reasonably expected) then it would have been virtually impossible for Heartland to prove it a fake, and would certainly have done him no harm whatsoever.

The insider mole theory - clearly the author either had access to, or subsequently wrote, some of the valid documents. However, the author of this document made mistakes that show that they don't fully understand the material. It has none of the details that you would expect a real document to have (such as author, recipients, header, or even crease marks etc). It also does not actually explain why Gleick went fishing, or presented this doc as if it had been obtained along with the others - don't forget, this is an additional deception aimed at the (friendly) recipients of his leak, on top of that aimed at his enemies at HI. If there really was such a mole, who is presumably on Gleick's "side" (see honeytrap above), they could easily clear him of suspicion in a number of ways.

The textual analysis showing it looks like Bast is a joke - of course it does, much of it was cribbed from his work! I don't set much store on this analysis "proving" it was Gleick, many of us over-use commas (and parentheses) to a (possibly) inappropriate and, one could even say (possibly), clumsy level [:-)], but it doesn't look unlike him either.

The "Gleick did it" theory is simple and straightforward. We know he was already in contact with HI, and pressing them on funders. This is, of course, a widespread meme (unhealthily so, IMO, but that's another discussion) among a particular clique of the most vocal scientists. Frustrated by their stonewalling, he has a cunning plan, gets the docs through email, then belatedly realises that HI will easily identify him as he hasn't covered his tracks well enough (and would be circumstantially under suspicion due to the previous discussion), and has to rapidly invent a cover story. He puts his own name into the doc as a plausible reason as to why it was sent to him. Under pressure of time and under great stress, he wasn't thinking that clearly at this point, and is still deeply enmeshed in the good vs evil mindset (witness his interest in "ethics"), hence the rather implausible language. He actually thinks that HI thinks like this! In short, he has the obvious means, motive, and opportunity, and absolutely no alibi - though if he was innocent, he would at least be able to produce the original "fake", and maybe even demonstrate that it is incompatible with his printer(s).

It's the equivalent of someone being found holding a knife, spattered with blood and standing over a fresh corpse saying "someone else did it, then gave me the knife and ran away". I wouldn't be surprised if such an event has indeed occurred at least once in the past, but on any given occasion it's a lot more than just "likely" that the knife-holder did it.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this - which I'm actually pretty annoyed about - is that his (probable) continued dishonesty has allowed/goaded various supporters into defending and backing him up - which will make them all look pretty gullible and stupid when the truth does come out. For even if you can try to defend the email phishing, especially under the provocation that he alleges, you certainly can't excuse directly forging a document and pretending it came from HI.

Carrick said...

I think the worse fall out from this whole mess has been the recognition of just how many activists absolutely lack any moral character whatsoever. Simply amazing.

Regarding Gleick and the Magic Memo, Occam's Razor certainly points to him... I don't see anybody in Gleick's position looking at that memo and thinking anything other than "obvious fake". I wouldn't expect necessarily everybody to know what a real memo like that should look like, but they look very different.

A real document would contain more polished language (you're trying to persuade very influential people with limited commitment time, some of whom are typically leaning on the edge of leaving at any given time, you don't keep them on board with this sort of drivel), it would almost certainly have been on letterhead, or at least with a running header, it would have been dated (even versioned sometimes), the pages would have had numbers, and the authorship would not have been anonymous. .... and so on.

Gleick knew all of this, he couldn't possibly have been fooled were he given a fake of this poor a quality, and whats more he would have been able to create a much better fake. It makes me wonder if he wanted to get caught, or maybe he couldn't just stomach what he was trying to do. Maybe the ethics stuff wasn't all pretense, maybe some part of him believed it even while he was betraying everything that he said he believed in.

Emotional melt-downs always are bizarre things seen from the outside, and I think that's what we're dealing with here.

David B. Benson said...

As a good Bayesian I see far too many hypothesis and far too little evidence to determine which (if any) the weight of the evidence supports.

cce said...

Evidence would suggest that people or person who stole the UEA emails also hacked Realclimate, but words like "stole" and "hacked" create emotional meltdowns for activists of a different kind. Occam's Razor, and all that.

That said, Gleick is an idiot and a fraud, and shouldn't be defended or pitied by anyone.

Hank Roberts said...

It's perhaps not surprising at all how well this fits:

-----begin excerpt----

Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”?

There’s this myth in wide circulation: rational, emotionless Vulcans in white coats, plumbing the secrets of the universe, their Scientific Methods unsullied by bias or emotionalism. Most people know it’s a myth, of course; they subscribe to a more nuanced view in which scientists are as petty and vain and human as anyone (and as egotistical as any therapist or financier), people who use scientific methodology to tamp down their human imperfections and manage some approximation of objectivity.

But that’s a myth too. The fact is, we are all humans; and humans come with dogma as standard equipment. We can no more shake off our biases than Liz Cheney could pay a compliment to Barack Obama. The best we can do— the best science can do— is make sure that at least, we get to choose among competing biases.

That’s how science works. It’s not a hippie love-in; it’s rugby. Every time you put out a paper, the guy you pissed off at last year’s Houston conference is gonna be laying in wait. Every time you think you’ve made a breakthrough, that asshole supervisor who told you you needed more data will be standing ready to shoot it down. You want to know how the Human Genome Project finished so far ahead of schedule? Because it was the Human Genome projects, two competing teams locked in bitter rivalry, one led by J. Craig Venter, one by Francis Collins — and from what I hear, those guys did not like each other at all.

This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time.

Yes, there are mafias. There are those spared the kicking because they have connections. There are established cliques who decide what appears in Science, who gets to give a spoken presentation and who gets kicked down to the poster sessions with the kiddies. I know a couple of people who will probably never get credit for the work they’ve done, for the insights they’ve produced. But the insights themselves prevail. Even if the establishment shoots the messenger, so long as the message is valid it will work its way into the heart of the enemy’s camp. First it will be ridiculed. Then it will be accepted as true, but irrelevant. Finally, it will be embraced as canon, and what’s more everyone will know that it was always so embraced, and it was Our Glorious Leader who had the idea. The credit may not go to those who deserve it; but the field will have moved forward.

Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.

As for me, I’ll follow the blogs with interest and see how this all shakes out. But even if someone, somewhere, proves that a handful of climatologists deliberately fudged their findings — well, I’ll be there with everyone else calling to have the bastards run out of town, but it won’t matter much in terms of the overall weight of the data.

-----end excerpt------

Peter Watts
http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886

Steve Bloom said...

So McPhaden also doesn't realize he's in a knife fight.

James, your reasoning about the memo is surprisingly full of holes. As I think I mentioned before, when I first read it (and note that this was before HI had even claimed it to be a fraud) my assumption was that it was an internal working document, written by a non-true-believer staffer (thus the sloppy terminology) and unedited because it never went even as far as the HI board. I've seen plenty like it over the years. Then it was leaked to Gleick because he was named in it. My reasoning may or may not be correct, but it's just as plausible as yours if not more so.

A specific question: Gleick is a reasonably detail-oriented person, I think perfectly capable of careful editing. Why then would he have screwed up several details?

Carrick: "the recognition of just how many activists absolutely lack any moral character whatsoever"

Correction: No, no, that would be you, Carrick. And the ethics thing, too. Happy to have been of service.

Doug said...

Given that Heartland's stock-in-trade is essentially that of deceptions for sale while in the case of Gleick his behavior certainly seems to be a rare if not unique aberration, how is it parsimonious to draw a conclusion that the memo really is fraudulent and then make another broad jump to the hypothesis that Gleick fabricated this memo?

Meanwhile, even if one takes the position that the threat posed by climate change is exaggerated tenfold, the amount of dislocation imposed on subject populations will be notably costly in terms of additional misery and unhappiness. Heartland is selling the increased probability of such poor outcomes. We see that Heartland is not inclined or compelled to behave better, our politicians are no protection against Heartland's transgressions. When is it permissible to commit acts of civil disobedience against Heartland of the most mild and nonviolent style, such as purloining documents?

On a continuum of suffering imposed by the activities of an outfit of Heartland's type, when -would- it be permissible to act against them, using deception if necessary? Is anybody willing to cast a judgement on that, in dollars or lives? Or is James' prescription for dainty ethics absolutely binding in all cases?

If it were not Gleick who'd done this but rather the outfit "Anonymous" (thus allowing the rest of us to arguably remain as anonymous cowards) would James object?

Martin Vermeer said...

All this will be water under the bridge as the Pacific Institute is hiring an external firm to investigate. Time for betting folks to step up.

What I still have difficulty with, is how Peter Gleick would *not* come completely clean at a time when it must have been obvious to him -- and to his lawyer -- that serious scrutiny would be forthcoming sooner rather than later. Ah well, perhaps rational behaviour is too much to expect in the situation he is in now.

I do agree with Steve Easterbrook that much of the criticism of Gleick is sanctimonious and over the top, and that the reason science works is not that scientists are nice people. Heck, I'm not even a nice person myself :-)

Martin Vermeer said...

> The honeytrap theory is a non-starter

Yep, also because these folks are unbelievably dumb and lacking in imagination. Dumb, nasty little men.

Carrick said...

Martin: I do agree with Steve Easterbrook that much of the criticism of Gleick is sanctimonious and over the top, and that the reason science works is not that scientists are nice people. Heck, I'm not even a nice person myself

Given that he went well beyond 'not a nice person' (borderline leagl imo)l and he did substantive damage a cause he was actively engaged in fighting for, I don't see anything particularly sanctimonious. If anything, people within the science community have gone out of their way to understate the seriousness of what he did.

One thing for the non-US citizens who haven't had to go through this, we are getting a requirement often originating from US funding agencies to go through on-line training in responsible conduct in research (here is the site I did my training at), so work is ongoing to more formally define the boundaries between "not being nice" and purely unethical behavior.

It sprang out of a rash of problematic behaviors in the US, for example Anil Potti (I know, great name) who was falsifying data in a chemotherapy study...he's just the tip of the iceberg.

Perhaps the response of us Americans engaged in research is more black-and-white than it might have been five years ago,I think it explains the appearance of committees within each society that are tasked with spilling out what constitutes RNR research. so the AGU committee wasn't just created because Gleick saw it as a "teaching moment".

None of us are always nice people, but (hopefully!) we don't falsify our identify to steal the intellectual property of our competitors simply to try and undermine them.

Steve Easterbrook said...

James, i'm ttruly surprised to see you weave such a fabulous tale of intrigue, with pretty much evidence to go on.

There's a much simpler explanation of why the strategy memo is badly written: it was a draft, assembled by a junior staffer at Heartland, that was accidentally left somewhere it shouldn't have been. I have junior staff pull together drafts for research proposals and such all the time, and they look exactly like this. They fquently use my own words or phrases, and also contain many silly mistakes & awkward phrasings.

My explanation is simple, and explains *all* the available evidence. In your rush to condemn Peter, I think you've been blinded into creating conspiracy theories. Remember: incompetence is always a much more likely explanation than conspiracy.

Your theory requires Peter to have created an incompetent forgery, and then constructed a brilliant cover up through a ridiculously careful partial apology.

Oh, and look who has the most to lose here. Peter might have been foolish to do the phishing, but forging docs requires a whole different level of stupidity. And he knows that what Heartland does is bad enough to condemn them without having to forge documents to frame them - all he has to do is show the world what HI does and how it is funded.

Come now, aren't the already enough silly conspiracy theories in the world without you making more?

Roddy said...

Heartland have specifically said the memo was not prepared by anyone connected with HI, having instantly said it was a fake. Even without parsing the errors and style issues in it, it seems unlikely this would be a straight lie imho.

But we don't really need to go there to agree that Gleick's behaviour was a shocker, and he had plenty of time even having done the phishing to come to his senses and bury the bodies.

It also seems most plausible that he outed himself because he was outed on blogs such as The Blackboard rather than through remorse, but that's speculation I agree.

The thought experiment of the (real) docs being posted wholly anonymously, as the climategates were, is interesting. I read through the list of donors over $10,000 and couldn't find a fossil company in there, but I'm not familiar with all the names. There wasn't anything else very surprising in them, but at least a clean attack could have been mounted had there not been a fake, and had the phisher not been a climate activist of such standing and prominence.

Doug's question about James's 'dainty ethics' doesn't fly. Can I can burgle Greenpeace if I happen to think they're bringing misery on poor South Africans for opposing a coal-fired power station. We can't be our own judge and jury on these things.

Gleick's ethics in his activist writings weren't so dainty, he could cherry-pick with the best of Heartland from my reading of a few of his posts.

The argument that scientists fart like the rest of us doesn't really work either. Stealing an opponent's property and being connected with a fake document goes beyond sexing-up results and in-fighting.

Doug said...

"Can I can burgle Greenpeace if I happen to think they're bringing misery on poor South Africans for opposing a coal-fired power station. We can't be our own judge and jury on these things."

If our politicians refuse to protect us even while the preponderance of evidence says significant harm is being caused, there's a case to be made for civil disobedience. That's the situation at play here, while your hypothetical case does not compare to the case at hand. I'm sure there are better models you could use for comparative purposes.

A simple reading of James' rules seems to say that it would have been wrong for kulaks to have stolen documents from the NKVD in order to protect innocent lives. The risks in terms of lives at play in this case are similar.

So, to be a complete jerk, I'll ask if Stalin's sanctity of property was more important than the lives of kulaks? If not, why is Heartland different?

Steve Easterbrook said...

Roddy "Heartland have specifically said the memo was not prepared by anyone connected with HI, having instantly said it was a fake. Even without parsing the errors and style issues in it, it seems unlikely this would be a straight lie imho."

Hmmm. We're talking about an organization that wants to tell lies to school kids. So, sure, we should immediately believe everything they say about this.

Carl C said...

so what about the computerized textual analysis that points to it being written by the head honcho of Heartland? Wasn't that a scientific-enough analysis? I mean this head honcho & others (i.e. Singer) at HI were lobbyists for big tobacco to muddy the waters about the dangers of smoking. So anything is possible with these creeps. I find it odd that guys are so eager to jump on this scientist -- yet when "Climategate" happened we had tearful letters from British scientists claiming how the guys at U of East Anglia were all angelic martyrs etc.....

Carl C said...

furthermore I'd say the burden of proof is on Heartland --- if those scumbags really thought Gleick forged this memo, they have the power, lawyers, and money to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and hang him in effigy (if not in person)

Roddy said...

Doug – I’m happy with my comp, which wasn’t a hypothetical, I was thinking of Medupi. http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/The-True-Cost-of-Coal/

And I can’t agree a similarity between Heartland and Stalin. Don’t know why, really. They’re so similar.

I have no problem with civil disobedience, Hansen lying in front of a digger is fine by me. Not sure Gleick should be your poster boy for it though. Nor Heartland the appropriate target. (If I remember my Dworkin correctly I doubt this act is well-described as civil disobedience.)

Steve E, my wording was ‘it seems unlikely this would be a straight lie imho’.

Megan McArdle in The Atlantic put it well –
“When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths--including lying--to advance their worldview, I'd say one of the movement's top priorities should be not proving them right.

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you've lost the power to convince them of anything else.”


Carl - James our host commented on the textual analysis above, I think he referred to it as 'a joke'. Heartland have a marked-up copy of the fake document on their web-site differentiating between passages cut'n'pasted from HI docs and those written by the third party to help people who want to do the textual analysis.

Carl C said...

and again - Heartland are experts at misinformation and muddying the waters & poisoning the well - if they really had proof Gleick fakes this they have plenty of money from the Koch brothers et al to prosecute. Yet all it seems they're doing is spinning it on their website & through their usual misinformation channels (Watt, McIntyre et al).

Doug said...

And I can’t agree a similarity between Heartland and Stalin. Don’t know why, really. They’re so similar.

Lots of dead and starving people as an outcome of ideology and materialism. Stalin and Heartland, not identical but essentially the same.

Just do a scholarly search on "human mortality and climate change."

Carrick said...

Carl C: and again - Heartland are experts at misinformation and muddying the waters & poisoning the well - if they really had proof Gleick fakes this they have plenty of money from the Koch brothers et al to prosecute.

Let's see total contribution from the Koch Brothers number a single $25,000 contribution earmarked for healthcare over the span of the last 10 years. (The phrases "critical thinking" and "evidence based reasoning" keep popping into my mind.)

In any case, who says Heartland won't eventually sue him for libel?

As I understand the strategy, you wait to see what the prosecutors involved in the case do. If Gleick ends up with a few convictions out of this, it makes the libel suit that much more effective.

Carrick said...

Doug: Just do a scholarly search on "human mortality and climate change."


Then search for "excess wintertime mortality" and its causes.

Then do a comparison as to whether global warming has a stronger effect on wintertime minima or summertime maxima.

The case is not straightforward. If I were Heartland, I'd pay you guys to say the things you're saying for free. Let's embrace Stalinistic tactics! That's the way to win the hearts and minds of the public.

Yeah sure.

Carl C said...

well let's see what (if) the lawyers come up with -- but from the Muskie letter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canuck_letter) through Frank Luntz's memos -- my money is on these dirtball right-wing think tank dirty tricks as the guilty party.

If I'm shown to be wrong I'll eat James' Stetson hat!

Carrick said...

The problem with the Canuck letter wasn't the letter and its probably origins with the Nixon camp, it was Muskie's reaction to it. His inability to maintain emotional balance at a critical moment, cost him a shot at the presidency.

You may choose to eat as many hats as you like, but I on the other hand, will eat nobody's hat, regardless of where the memo originated. I may optionally eat my own words, wherein I said it was clearly a fake.

Also, my strategy for a knife fight is to run like hell, then call the police. Only chose to fight when you can't lose.

Doug said...

Let's embrace Stalinistic tactics!

Not an "A" for reading comprehension but helpful in understanding whether reasonable discussion with you is likely.

Moving on, hearing from those who believe Gleick is beyond the pale some proposals for useful alternatives to his methods would be great. Also it would be nice to bracket the price of ethical purity.

Given that we have at least two decades of evidence to show that the collective efforts of outfits exemplified by Heartland have effectively stalled sufficiently timely response to C02 mitigation to avoid what scholars have identified as significant and highly likely risks to human welfare and given that we see little or no probability that this situation will be made to change in law, what other form of response than Gleick's is promising, other than simply waiting for human nature to improve?

WHO estimates the current excess morbidity due to climate change at 150K lives per year, a number that is expected grow, this growth to be larger than necessary due to prevarication by such as Heartland. Taking the evidence we have at hand and combining it with the definite articles of rejection we hear of Gleick's methods, the implication is that there's an acceptable cost in human lives for preserving our ethical perfection. Does anybody want to propose some upper bounds for this cost?

Hank Roberts said...

Coincidental, I'm sure:

about intentionally faking documents:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/16/anonymous-internet

“… the firm proposed to (according to a leaked document) “create a false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information, …. “create a fake insider persona and generate communications” …. even “create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second”….. passing off the faked documents they’d created as the fabrication of Change to Win.”

Carrick said...

Doug:Not an "A" for reading comprehension but helpful in understanding whether reasonable discussion with you is likely.

They were for all intents embraced here, not necessarily by you, though you left your own wording appropriately vague (deniable plausibility or something like that).

Moving on, hearing from those who believe Gleick is beyond the pale some proposals for useful alternatives to his methods would be great.

Constructive engagement. Meet them at the parent-teachers board meetings when Heartland tries to get their teaching agenda adopted. In other words same tactics as with creationism.

Also it would be nice to bracket the price of ethical purity.

Shit like this makes me want to puke.

I think the price of ethically questionable/unlawful behavior is the giving up of the moral high ground.

If you occupy the high ground, don't surrender it to your enemy.

Given that we have at least two decades...[followed by heaping blame on Satan, er I mean, Heartland for all of what followed.]

Evidence that anything Heartland did was responsible for this?

Isn't it easier to blame them than to engage in introspection and see if maybe you need to change tactics and strategy, when the tactics and strategy you are employing failed? You may also want to go back in history and look at what events transpired and cross compare it with the movement of public opinion polls.

Ten years ago you (we) were much better off than you are now. How did you start to lose?

(Big hint: It wasn't big oil money going to the denialists, you guys got most of the money from them, there are many more of you than them, many more organizations, you are supposed to have a single voice, because you are supposed to be speaking a single truth, denialist/skeptical organizations OTH are all over the map: They don't have a coherent strategy, they lack funding and personnel, it should be a turkey shoot. What gives?)

WHO estimates the current excess morbidity due to climate change at 150K lives per year.

Of course 150k/year globally is in the noise compared to deaths from influenza (which is primarily a wintertime illness), malaria (treatable and preventable now) and malnutrition (treatable and preventable now).

Even if one were to accept marketplace intervention with respect to CO2 as politically tractable, how long would it take for the effects to be noticed? And how many people would have died from preventable deaths in the mean time?

There are reasonable arguments to make regarding CO2 mitigation strategies, and yes there are strategies that I do favor... I'm not in the "do nothing" camp by any mean.... indeed some of my research is related to mitigation strategies. But like I said, nothing here is black and white like with Stalin's Gulags.

IMO you should definitely avoid arguing favorably towards his strategies and tactics if you want any friends left over when you're through.

Doug said...

...though you left your own wording appropriately vague (deniable plausibility or something like that).

I'll follow the rhetorical fling: claims to read minds even as he demonstrates he cannot read printed words. A failed idiot savant.

I'd much appreciate and authentically thoughtful approach to my puzzlement over Gleick. I don't think this is a simple matter. I could certainly be wrong about it yet we're left with a history and some indications of the future suggesting that "business as usual" does not and will not work.

Roddy said...

Hank, I just read that article you linked, thank you - and I can't on two readings see what someone has done, let alone the Chamber of Commerce?

The author says 'The US Chamber of Commerce is the public face of a corporatism that is hijacking our democracy', but then doesn't come up with a single example, unless I've misread (it's quite badly written).

Did I miss something?

Doug said...

Did I miss something?

The notion of hyperlinking. The words in blue lead to other words describing facts. Try clicking on the blue words and see what happens.

Carrick said...

I'll follow the rhetorical fling: claims to read minds even as he demonstrates he cannot read printed words. A failed idiot savant.

I would suggest you're having trouble parsing basic English here, so while the word "idiot" may be appropriate, it might well serve usage in another context.

As a matter of point, I'm making no profession to reading minds:

What I said was you are leaving your own language intentionally vague, which is quite a different thing, than advocation, what you're doing is morally coping out to be quite blunt.

Say what you mean, and don't accuse me of not being able to understand it without you saying it.

Doug said...

Carrick, you lost me around the point where you said you were not reading my thoughts but then went on to offer me insight into I was thinking, specifically "...you are leaving your own language intentionally vague..."

No meeting of the minds is going to happen here, I suspect, but what do you think I'm thinking? I'm not sure at this point if you're imagining Stalinism or something else.

NnN said...

the thing is, there's nothing in the memo that doesn't come from the documents.

And if you look at the emails Gleik sent it's not obvious that he used anything from the memo at all to obtain the documents.

In fact it looks odd because he gets given 2 key documents without asking for them.

It all looks like the memo came after the documents, not before.

Carrick said...

Jebus Doug, is this that difficult for you to follow:

What is your perspective: Re Stalinesque tactics allowable here or not?

If not, where do you draw the line?

Carrick said...

NnN: the thing is, there's nothing in the memo that doesn't come from the documents.

Nothing new and accurate anyway.

There are things in the memo (Koch involvement in global warming and amount of Koch contribution that specifically aren't factual.

Doug said...

Re Stalinesque tactics allowable here or not?

Don't ask me, though I don't see any obvious signs of James' blog being a revivalist communist cell or the like. Perhaps you see things others do not.


Hanging questions still at 1/3/12 4:53 AM. Anybody care to equate ethical perfection with human lives? Or is that some manner of insoluble ethical conundrum?

Carrick said...

Uh yeah, I literally meant Stalinesque tactics on this blog!!!

Because we have as a group so much control on this blog, we can literally set of Gulag to banish intellectuals and malcontents to.

I couldn't possibly have mean with respect to tactics being discussed in this thread with respect to the inaptly named "climate war".

LOL. Have a nice life Doug. Maybe somebody else will answer your pointless yet leading questions.

Hank Roberts said...

> Blogger Roddy said...
> Heartland have specifically said
> the memo was not prepared by
> anyone connected with HI

That's not correct.

What Heartland said:

"... the “climate strategy” memo was not written by a staff member, did not originate in The Heartland Institute’s offices, and was not one of the stolen documents."

That was precisely worded.
http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2012/02/22/heartland-memo-origin-questions/

Roddy also misread the bit I quoted and cited above, which was from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/16/anonymous-internet

The bit I quoted included:
"… the firm proposed to (according to a leaked document) “create ..."

The firm there was not the Chamber of Commerce. Nothing in the Guardian accuses the Chamber of Commerce of doing anything. That's correct. Now, what firm was quoted, and what did they say they were proposing to do?

Create a fake leak as a trap.

Did it happen?

Can't tell ya that. Your guess is as good as mine. Would you bet it hasn't been done?

David B. Benson said...

This is comment #52.

Steve Bloom said...

'"... the “climate strategy” memo was not written by a staff member, did not originate in The Heartland Institute’s offices, and was not one of the stolen documents."'

What careful language indeed! Thanks for highlighting it, Hank.

The loose talk about criminal prosecutions and lawsuits is wrong, I'm afraid, the former due to lack of an applicable legal theory and the latter because HI can't afford to have the light of discovery shone on the above statement, nor would it care to have its staffers, consultants and board members deposed.

Doug said...

Unusual to see so many people of different stripes harmonizing, united in lyrics they've imagined together. Can't agree on anything grounded in solid evidence, all hugs when it comes to the realm of pure fancy, sharing the same pong.

Better to wait on facts before scribbling down a libretto.

Hank Roberts said...

Seriously, doesn't this sound familiar? For those who didn't look at the Guardian link posted above

---excerpt follows---

a consortium of private "cyber-security" firms were developing a $2m proposal to use a variety of sophisticated disinformation techniques to destroy the reputations of Chamber opponents .... (The same firm was reportedly also proposing, in a presentation for Bank of America, a plot to destroy WikiLeaks, and to "neutralise" constitutional scholar Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com.) Like the Chamber of Commerce, Bank of America has denied knowledge of these plans.

More specifically, the firm proposed to (according to a leaked document) "create a false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information, and monitor to see if US Chamber Watch acquires it". To help make this happen, they'd "create a fake insider persona and generate communications" with Change to Win, a labour group the firm theorised might be allied to Chamber Watch. Maybe they'd even "create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second". But it didn't stop there: the security firms proposed passing off the faked documents they'd created as the fabrication of Change to Win.
....
-----

Creepy.

Hank Roberts said...

ding!

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/02/heartland-1_ncse-0.php

Mosher.

Tom C said...

Gleick practically signed the forged memo by using the term "anti-climate", a nonsensical construction that only he seems to use.

James, your scenario is entirely plausible. It strikes me that deep down you must be aghast at the lunacy that your blog devotees have exhibited.

Carrick said...

"So, it turns out that Heartland was behind the Heartland leak after all.
The evidence seems to suggest that Heartland's Joe Bast wrote a memo, then he and/or Heartland-symp blogger Steven Mosher sent it secretly to Peter Gleick."

LMAO.

Shorter version "Crack kills."

I'll make sure to broadcast the link as well as the person who took it seriously. You're welcome.

Carrick said...

For those who don't read entire posts before believing every word, from the bottom of Hank's link. ;-)

"(It has come to my attention that even some serious sciency type people who understand climate change, and climate change politics, are taking this conspiracy theory seriously. It is a conspiracy theory, produced for your amusement and, admittedly, as troll bait. If it turns out to be true, of course, I will delete this parenthetical remark! That is all, please carry on.)

Doug said...

Riffing on Hank's post, $5+ trillion/annum is a lot of leverage, enough to bend even St. Augustine perhaps.

As to Gleick, we don't really know about the provenance of the infamous memo and might well never do so because we live in a partially paperless world. Without somebody having enough legal drive to perform discovery including forensics on Gleick's Internet provider and failing Gleick confessing to authoring the memo himself, we simply don't know. What we do know is that there's an odd enthusiasm for trying to solve this equation regardless of being crucially short on variables.

Following James' lead and freely speculating while thin on facts, I'm going to offer my suggestion that the weird pushmi-pullyu chorus of outrage composed of both philistines from the anti-science-that-violates-ideology-crowd and the scientific population itself is down to delighted expediency and naive beliefs about lying, respectively. The philistine crowd never lets themselves be slowed by facts before pounding another nail in the coffin of whatever it is they're banging on about, while the science crowd is heavily inculcated with the idea that real truth while possibly unattainable is nonetheless a sacred objective.

Leaving aside the unknowable, we can agree that Gleick lied, apparently in pursuit of degrading Heartland's efficacy, this lie being the central fact of the outrage expressed by the AGU. It's unthinkable for a scientist to lie.

Scientists never lie? That's probably a lie in nearly every scientist's case. Feynman deceived for fun, others might do so only when compelled by social graces. Unless we're a very odd and terribly awkward person in society (think of Doc Martin) we're all quite accustomed to lying. Injunctions against lying turn out to be quite elastic, quite mutable by circumstances.

In our world reason in the sense employed by ethicists is still important. Lawyers are strictly enjoined against lying to judges but a lawyer may defensibly lie in court to a judge if a judge makes an illegal request of the lawyer. Though they do not agree among themselves on standards of measure, ethicists recognize thresholds governing ethically defensible applications of deception.

The case at hand has to do with shutting off a source of existentially threatening lies that has been chronically unaddressed by preferable means. Weighing evidence, one may reasonably argue that the next best means of avoiding risks imposed by other bigger and more significant lies may only be accomplished by lying. This is a working example of an ethical knife-edge, a matter of fine balance and one that different schools of formal ethics address differently. Almost all ethical approaches however make allowance for such situations, concluding that in the presence of reason lies themselves may be compared for ethicality and that it may well be necessary and defensible to lie.

The President of the AGU and many others have skipped informing themselves about the school of thought they're relying on before pronouncing conclusions requiring some genuine expertise, in a way that is eerily remindful of the truncated thinking practiced by ideological philistines. Motivation poles apart, behavior similar.

Sure, it would have been nice if somebody not a scientist practicing in a field overlapping with Heartland had done the job. On the other hand, who knows the stakes better, who is better prepared to make a gut level ethics check?

As to Gleick's career being finished, that's true only if society cannot distinguish between fact and fiction. Will Gleick's future publications withstand peer review? Probably. Gleick may well be fined or otherwise punished by the law-- ethical behavior does not provide get-out-of-jail-free cards-- but strictly speaking that's a separate matter from his professional activities.

Carrick said...

Synopsis of Doug's essay:

Doug knowing more about the practice and ethics of science than scientists do, precedes to lecture them on it: (paraphrased) "Everybody lies so why not? If we break a few laws in the process, who cares? It's all for a Nobel cause."

LAWLZ. Or was that OMG. >.<

Doug said...

...precedes to lecture them...

I've heard the exact same words from my wife! Consensus!

Concerning ethics, I just report, you decide. It wouldn't take long to learn more about it than I do. For a primer on when to lie, see Bok's Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life

Hank Roberts said...

> For those who don't read entire
> posts before believing every word

Spoilsport

> break a few laws

Citation needed (relevant law is narrowly written to protect financial records of financial institutions)

Hank Roberts said...

Andy Lacis: http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/18412384665

steven said...

"There's a much simpler explanation of why the strategy memo is badly written: it was a draft, assembled by a junior staffer at Heartland, that was accidentally left somewhere it shouldn't have been. "


Wrong. The "memo" specifically states that it is only for circulation for a unnamed "subset" of the board.

"subset" of the BOD is not a phrase anyone with any sense would use. "sub committee" of the board is the wording you would use.

The junior staffer argument doesnt work. Also, since Heartland has called the FBI, the first thing the forensic team would do is "exclude"
That is, you search all the heartland systems for a copy of the "fake" memo to exclude heartland. Doubtful that heartland would call FBI in if they had anything to do with it.

Let me tell you how I proceeded with this.

At 140pm n the 15th I downloaded the documents and looked at the metadata. The smoking gun memo was scanned. red flag. I then read all the budget documents. Then I read the memo.
Several things told me the memo was a fake.

1. Heartland claimed it was a fake.
2. It was scanned
3. It didnt read like a strategy memo.
a) wrong markings for a confidential document
b) no distribution list
c) no signature line
d) the document mixed operational
details with strategy
e)The style immediately said two
authors.
f)It got certain budget details
wrong.
g) it constructed a strategy
around individually named
people.
h) it got heartland attitudes toward revkin wrong.

The final kicker was the mention of Gleick. That stuck out as the weirdest thing of all.

Faced with an oddity, I used abduction:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

What would have to be true for these things to make sense. I looked at the smoking paragraph.
Clearly written by a second hand to my ear. I read it like a story: who is the villian, who are the heros.
And then, who would write this kind of story putting Gleick at the center of heartland strategy?
Bam. That insight took about 1 second. If Glecik faked this, then all those odd things made sense.
I wrote Revkin: He agreed. paraphrasing, he thought that it made sense of the weird comment about him. Heartland dont like him.

A day later other evidence came in to support the hypothesis. The west coast time. The use of very rare words. If Gleick didnt write it then you have to assume a faker who knew that gleick used this term and that it was rare. Then came the style. There were only two aspects I found that stuck out.

1. the odd use of parenthesis.
2. some comma errors.

The comma errors I dont expect to find in edited text. But I did expect to find that in his extemporaneous writing you would see an odd use of parenthesis. So, I suggested that people look at comments he made on Judiths blog. Someone also sent a letter he wrote to Pielke. You'll find that the style is consistent. I'm talking only about his weird use of parenthesis.

In short, The reasoning I used was abductive reasoning. The memo was odd and surprising. What would have to be true for it not to be surprising.

Similarly, we find the warming of the 20th century to be anomalous. What would have to be true for it not to be surprising? Well, Ghgs of course. Could there be another explanation? of course. And monkeys could fly out of my butt. The best explanation, given the facts and our understanding is the one that fingers man as the cause.

In the grand scheme of things It doesnt matter. HP was caught pretexting. Heads rolled, the corporation moved on. But heads rolled. The truth of climate science is bigger than this stupid incident. It's bigger than the failings of a single human.

Unknown said...

There is a suggestion here that the origin of the fake memo is that 'some junior staffer of HI wrote a draft'. The same people claim that it matches Bast.

Grasping at straws for anything other than the truth: Gleick clearly wrote it, and was found to be holding the bloody knife and standing over the dead body, as Annan writes above. Occam's Razor operates here.

Unknown said...

Comment above by "Unknown" beginning "The suggestion..." was written by me.
- AFPhys

AMac said...

James commented on the "risible" textual analysis midwifed by the WUWT blog, yet the source of much recent hope for Dr Gleick's supporters.

The "JGAAP" tool is being developed under an NSF grant for, among other things, forensic use. Thus, author deception is an area of interest. JGAAP developers Patrick Juola and Darren Vescovi wrote one chapter of a 2011 book, entitled "Analyzing Stylometric Approaches to Author Obfuscation." It's online, courtesy of Google Books.

They found that the current generation of JGAAP is incapable of surmounting author efforts at deception.

The textual analysis sideshow is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Doug said...

Steven, you're not the only person but only the latest appearing here who seems very invested in proving that Gleick fabricated a document.

The more I read of these efforts, the more curious I am to know why it's so important to nail Gleick on forgery. I think it's fairly clear that this quest is not restricted to Heartland sympathizers. Leaving aside the actual answer to the puzzle you're trying solve, why is establishing Gleick's guilt in this matter so important?

Again, not to pick on you in particular.

Steve Bloom said...

If you're a tone troll, you're going to want to try to get everyone to focus on tone to the exclusion of all else, Doug. Notice how James is already moving on.

"Called in the FBI"

That's rich.

Carrick said...

Hank: spoilsport

Yup. As charged.

Citation needed (relevant law is narrowly written to protect financial records of financial institutions)

Fair enough. I'm not a lawyer, and I am always skeptical of other laypeople's legal interpretations.

How about just "potentially break a few laws?"

I would never have gone into what he did (let's see if you agree wit this, I believe these are true in the layman sense, whether they meet legal definitions I won't argue either way: identity theft, theft and transmission of privileged information across state lines) with the assumption that I wouldn't end up landing in jail.

I happen to agree that sometimes it is necessary, when the government is doing wrong, to engage in acts of civil disobedience. (Greenpeace and "whale research vessels" is an immediate example that comes to mind here.)

Grypo said...

Amazing, that once again, Mosher defending his accusations of Gleick writing the memo has given us another list of things that don't point to Gleick at all - except for this 'style' thing which no ones actually confirmed is at all accurate. It all just suggests that the memo didn't come from Heartland which most everyone already agrees is a likely truth. Now McIntyre has whole post about the use commas, seemingly notknowing how commas are taught in different places. Simply astounding. This media blitz these guys are putting on about how-they-knew-it-was-gleick is becoming a story in itself.

steven said...

Doug.

"Steven, you're not the only person but only the latest appearing here who seems very invested in proving that Gleick fabricated a document.

The more I read of these efforts, the more curious I am to know why it's so important to nail Gleick on forgery. I think it's fairly clear that this quest is not restricted to Heartland sympathizers. Leaving aside the actual answer to the puzzle you're trying solve, why is establishing Gleick's guilt in this matter so important?

Again, not to pick on you in particular."

Good and fair questions.
Let's start with your supposition.
Early on when I downloaded the documents, I made comments at planet3.org. basically, my position was that the press who published this had not done any due diligence. I explained the due diligence I did with climategate mails, to try to prove whether they were real or fake.
http://planet3.org/2012/02/14/is-turnabout-fair-play/#comment-3309

rather than take my advice, folks just ignored me or accused me of concern trolling. Once at MTs prior place I suggested that richard Alley would make a good spokesperson. The same concern trolling charge was leveled.

So, I decided to take some time and look at the documents.

On the morning of the 16th (midnight) I posted my speculation. and later alerted a couple of journalists. Same as Climategate.
For me it was done.
Later mid day on the 16th Steve Mc called me and based on my comment he had found some stuff. I got more interested, but didnt spend much time on it as I'm debugging full time. If I were really interested, I would have spent a bunch of time on it.

Now to your question:

1.why [is it] so important to nail Gleick on forgery.

It's not that important to me. it's scientifically uninteresting.
If I had to make an argument for clearing it up, it would be this. We don't want the controversy lingering and casting a pall on the good people we work with. Skeptics will use any pretext to attack the science. Don't hand them ammunition. The other thing is I love mysteries and puzzles. Funny, when I first met Mcintyre I was sure he would be a right winger. When he said he was liberal, I asked him why he was so interested in the HS. "I like puzzles" was his response. So, we've been friends ever since. he likes math puzzles, I like word puzzles.

steven said...

Before folks go to crazy on style understand this. I did not identify it based on style. My "guess" at the authorship of the fake, was based on the story told by the smoking gun paragraph. As I argued "he put himself at the center of the story"

here is my first comment, where I laid out the supposition.

"It does not read like Bast, it reads like Gleick. It gets facts wrong. It doesnt read like a strategy document.

It has one sentence, the smoking gun, that doesnt even make sense.

The person who had the other mails had electronic copies. All had attribution, formated as official documents.

The organization disowns it. the issue is to prove its real, not the other way

moshpit"

Later I would add more lines of evidence. I surmised that whoever sent this packet would ALSO have access to their 990. That evidence showed up. McIntyre then called me with his "anti-climate" find. At that point I predicted that certain ELEMENTS would be found in Gleicks unedited writing. So, I had a hypothesis. If he wrote it, then certain oddities in the memo would make sense. Then I made additional predictions: he would have access to the 990, and his style would contain a couple odd features.

As with all hypothesis, it is uncertain. And, some lines of evidence are weaker than others. However, the mere ability to mouth alternative explantions ( its the sun, its natural variation, its GCR its a junior staffer, its elvis) does not amount to anything more than denialist armwaving

KingOchaos said...

Grypo

I was following this over at the blackboard from the start.. And would have to say i thought it was worthless speculation at the time. I didn't for a second think Gliek would be dumb enough to write it. It comes across rather naive, something more like a kid(uni student) would write. I didnt doubt it was fake though, the Koch contribution errors were far to large to have come from the legitimate source.

However, with Gliek confessing to the phishing, ive come around to thinking it maybe, not so worthless speculation. Why did he confess? Either hes confided in someone who has given him an ultimatum. Or he did something rather silly, like use his work ip to access the g-mail account. Without even running it through a proxy.

Obviously if he had been caught, by being informed on, or having google surrender the IP of the person who accessed the account. No one would believe he didnt fake the memo(with the possible exception of laden)

So now he has a story, of how he obtained the fake memo, that maybe enough to cause enough doubt, that his denials are pausible.

However, who ever wrote the fake, had access to the other heartland documents, before the release of the documents to the wider public... and at the moment, Gliek is the only person outside of heartland, that is known to have been in possession of them.

It seems exceedingly likely, hes the author.(i also have funny use of parenthesis, and comma's, but i didnt have access to the documents.)

steven said...

Grypo.

I dont think you get it.
The anomalies all point to somebody not at heartland. True.
That was my conclusion: Now, I had this weird thing to explain: what in god's name is Gleick's name in the middle of this thing? And Curry? and Revkin? so, I thought, wow. Judith humiliated him. you see these types of things are really personal wars hidden by the agenda of a cause. That is what lead me to suspect him. Motive and opportunity. And MO as well, since he had been accused of faking a book review. Intuition. Now, can I ask you to share that intuition? No.
But it was that intuition that lead me to other lines of evidence.From my perspective all the evidence is consistent with my initial intuition. When somebody comes up with a better explantion that accounts for the facts, then I would of course consider it. This is not settled science. Here is a hint about what counts as an explaination:
A) "somebody else" did it, is not an explanation. Thats a possibility
B) you havent proved it, is not an explaination. That's a debating tactic.
C) colonel green did it with a candlestick, is not an explanation.
but at least its specific.

You want to remain skeptical? Fine by me. Want to wait for more evidence? fine by me. I will however expect you to be consistent in your toleration of people who demand more evidence about more important matters. This matter is nothing. Funny lesson there. It's really a fight over symbols. Here is an interesting argument to try: If people really did care about climate change they would throw Gleick under the bus, and get on with the grand challenge of saving the planet. He's only one man. And if we can condone lying to save the planet, then why not throw him under the bus. Odd question, that nobody has asked. As a philosophy student I like to ask these questions.

If you thought that Gleick was innocent of the forgery, but thought that the continued defense of him harmed the cause, would it be ethical to throw him under the bus? why stop at condoning lying?

Just a question. the ethics is not settled.

Grypo said...

Mosher, you are all over the place. I've never said it wasn't him, I don't know. I merely question how you knew it was him, and you based it on a memo that he has denied writing. Putting himself in the middle of the forged document would be nothing less than moronic. Faking book reviews? Intuition? These are not at all explanations either. But if you thought he would do that then nice crazy guess, but your confidence it was him is fishy. If you can't admit that then I don't know what to tell you. Save the all-knowing act for someone else because I just don't buy it. I'm not the only one who wonders why the hell you're always involved in this crap.

As far as my tolerance for skeptics, I have more than most. I argue risk and politics.

The last question is an interesting one, but nothing new. We've heard the same about Mann and Jones. Sooner or later when we put everybody through the skeptic ringer perhaps we'll get somewhere. I won't hold my breath.

Doug said...

Thanks, Steven. It is a puzzle, surely enough.

For the little it's worth I think you've got your gain turned up way too far, are well into parsing the noise floor for some kind of real signal. Counting commas isn't really conducive to constructing a formal logical case, but on the other hand as a Sherlock Holmes sort of thing I can certainly appreciate your fascination. Plus it's gossip, another compelling feature of Sherlock Holmes stories.

We don't want the controversy lingering and casting a pall on the good people we work with. Skeptics will use any pretext to attack the science. Don't hand them ammunition.

Some (me) might argue that promoting conclusions about Gleick's guilt in the absence of any formal proof is a dubious way to accomplish your stated objective.

AMac said...

Grypo wrote at 9:20am

> I merely question how [Mosher] knew [the "Heartland Insider" was Dr Gleick]... [Mosher] based it on a memo that [Gleick] has denied writing.

Mosher's explanation seems to border on preposterous to some informed, intelligent people, while it strikes others as entirely plausible.

Mosher fingering Gleick as "Heartland Insider" is a trivial consequence of Mosher identifying Gleick as the author of the memo.

If Gleick isn't the memo's author, there's a puzzle. Either Mosher got lottery-lucky, or he was involved in as-yet-undisclosed events.

If Gleick did write the memo, there is no mystery.

Two competing narratives, one complex and one simple. And Occam.

Grypo said...

Your Occam only works if the evidence in the letter leads to Gleick. You've just stated it does not necessarily do that. Otherwise, there is another simpler explanation to how Mosher knew it was Gleick.

AMac said...

Grypo wrote at 10:13am

> You've just stated it does not necessarily do that.

I've stated the two possibilities: either Gleick wrote the memo, or he did not. Not much to take issue with, there.

> Otherwise, there is another simpler explanation to how Mosher knew it was Gleick.

What is that?

Hank Roberts said...

> lying

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/417

"... all undercover operations - whether conducted by cops, intelligence operations, or journalists, involve deception to induce someone to act in a particular way, or to give information they would not give if they were told the truth.

Do we really want to make all forms of lying actionable?

.... is the conduct of HP management, their lawyers, and the investigators immoral, unethical, unlawful, criminal or even actionable?

The Gramm Leach Bliley Act .... statute only applies to non-public financial records, not the myriad of other records in databases that are routinely bought and sold - you know, your driver’s license records, your phone records, your ISP records, your medical records, - even that dreaded “permanent record” from fourth grade!"

So -- US law is quite specific and narrow about this. Watch the spin.

Doug said...

What is that?

Anything you like! We're making things up as we go along, casting chicken bones, so no need to worry about narrative consistency.

Carrick said...

People interested in the question of Gleick and wire fraud might want to review this.

"Doesn't look to be applicable" is my initial reading. The closest case I could find was Czubinski, and while he was initially convicted it was overturned.

Tangible benefit seems to be one of the thresholds you have to meet (I think Hank is overbroad in his characterization that it only applies to financial institutions).

There'e a short blurb in the Federal Prosecutors Handbook, which summarizes case law as saying that "the four essential elements of the crime of wire fraud are: (1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money; (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud; (3) that it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used; and (4) that interstate wire communications were in fact used."

I'll be interested in seeing how the legal blogs weigh in on this.

Hank Roberts said...

Heartland does have time travel.

This guy Barr can teach you about

"the free market principles and Darwinism upon which the United States was founded."

No kidding. They must've given Darwin a ride back to 1776, to know that.

They wouldn't kid us.

http://blog.heartland.org/2011/06/protecting-yourself-from-yourself-reflections-on-the-nanny-state/

Darwinism.

Who'd have thunk it?

David B. Benson said...

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Hank Roberts said...

'wire fraud' isn't even close -- it's an empty assertion being thrown around with no basis.

The tactic used against Heartland is called "pretexting" -- the 2006 Hewlett Packard investigation used the tactic, along with fake documents, fake leaks, and other trickery.

Look at 2006 and 2007:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=pretexting+law

http://www.netplaces.com/private-investigation/working-within-the-law/pretexting-law.htm

"the Supreme Court has recognized this challenge. In order to balance the scale when necessary, it has given permission to certain behavior that skirts the hardline rule of law, and it allows those with responsibility for public protection to push the truth ever so slightly when seeking information from a suspect. The line is fine, however, and must be tread carefully.

In achieving this balance, the cost of lying is weighed against the foreseeable benefits to the public a .... the moral wrong of the lie (if done correctly) isn't as weighty as achieving justice .... legal ideals and real-world practicality clash..."

-------
Nobody likes to think about this stuff, but most of the trickery -- phone sales, telemarketing, the fine print giving your personal information away to businesses -- is protected because it's profitable.

Mostly, at least in the US, we have no basis to complain if someone calls up and fools us into saying something we regret by fooling us about who's calling.

You may wish it were illegal or fraud. Look carefully.

James Annan said...

Thanks for all the comments, sorry I don't have time to keep up right now, but you seem to be doing a pretty good job among yourselves :-)

One quick reply to Steve Bloom regarding Occam and probability of different hypothesis - if you start from a confident prior that Glieck could not possibly have done such a thing, you will never be convinced by any evidence. However it might be hard to justify such a prior while at the same time emphasising that scientists are also human with their range of failings. One thing we do know is that Glieck has recently behaved in a highly uncharacteristic manner and was dishonest not only in his emails to HI but also the misrepresentation of the memo to his friends. Theories involving another author require someone else to *also* have behaved in a very odd manner. It may be easier to accuse some faceless unknown person but it significantly increases the number of unlikely things that have to be explained.

As for why it matters so much...well, I have only posted a couple of things on my own blog, I'm hardly waging some massive campaign.

Doug said...

James: "One thing we do know is that Glieck... was dishonest not only in his emails to HI but also the misrepresentation of the memo to his friends."

But "we" don't know that he misrepresented the memo to his friends or the rest of us. We can -surmise-, but we don't know. Again, the urgency at all costs-- including ignoring having a factual basis-- to establish that Gleick fabricated the document. Why?

Steven Mosher (duh, I only just figured that one out) is comfortable fanning embers of scandal, indeed his fame is mostly built on the TomskTwaddle, but what's with the baying pack of folks normally more attached to facts?

Doug said...

Pardon me, I just had a second beer.

It seems arguable that people making a concerted effort to convince others that a party has lied about the provenance of a document even as they know they cannot provide concrete proof of that claim are in fact intending to deceive, are engaging in an attempt at deception.

What's a more charitable description of such behavior? Is cultivation of a cognitive short circuit in the mind of the public really deception?

James Annan said...

Doug, I'm referring to the "dear friends" email, in which (even assuming his later confession is a full and honest account) he misrepresented the memo as having come from the HI. His later confession claims it arrived anonymously in his mail and he has absolutely no idea where it originates. Even under the most sympathetic view, he cannot possibly have any idea if the uncorroborated aspects actually represent HI or whether instead some 3rd party made them up (eg inserting his name to grab his attention).

Doug said...

James, is this the "Dear Friends" email you mention?

Dear Friends (15 of you):

In the interest of transparency, I think you should see these files from the Heartland Institute. Look especially at the 2012 fundraising and budget documents, the information about donors, and compare to the 2010 990 tax form. But other things might also interest or intrigue you. This is all I have. And this email account will be removed after I send.


I don't see the memo called out, so "misrepresented the memo" is a bit of a stretch. Is it known with certainty that Gleick was aware at the time he sent this that the earlier document was concocted? Do we know that earlier document was false? Did Gleick characterize his later manifest of the bundle he mentions here as a "confession" that the memo was false, or is that term superimposed?

Right now, without further information, it doesn't seem possible to say what Gleick knew or to make a definite call on the authenticity of the "memo." It seems reasonable to conclude that pushing the issue one way or another is in the interest of pursuing an agenda of some kind, point scoring or ??

For my part I'm more interested in whether anybody believes the hazard (hazard including the notion of risk) imposed by such outfits as the Heartland Institute rises to the threshold of making a lie permissible if no other reasonable course of opposition avails, as I described earlier. This business about the memo seems to be mostly frustrating exploration of that topic, terminally so.

All done!

Roddy said...

'For my part I'm more interested in whether anybody believes the hazard (hazard including the notion of risk) imposed by such outfits as the Heartland Institute rises to the threshold of making a lie permissible if no other reasonable course of opposition avails.'

The hazard 'imposed' by HI does not make burglary/phishing permissible, no. Plenty of other courses available too.

I might think Greenpeace 'impose' a hazard to the planet on GHG grounds by their opposition to nuclear power. I wouldn't think impersonating a director and phishing their docs a sensible course of action. I'd rather do what Monbiot does, point out their idiocy on this point.

I think Gleick should have stuck to that line of action.

Jeff said...

james,

I was pointed here from the blackboard. You have pretty well nailed the situation. It is unfortunate that Gleik sees HI as evil but that is his unshakable view. I suppose I see some of these activist institutes like Gleik's in a bad light but if the truth doesn't undo them by itself, it isn't worth undoing.

In my opinion, he is also guilty of violation of IRS 501c3 tax code for political campaigning with his government grants. That is another issue but it also shows his extremism on climate.

Arthur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthur said...

While we're adjusting our Bayesian priors on the likelihood of various people to commit various acts, I'd like to remind those still reading that Steven Mosher has a record of complete fabrication himself. It's one thing to make stuff up; in my reckoning you're in a different league when you state it so confidently and sign your name to it.

I've always wondered how Mosher has so much time to spend posting comments on blogs. Has he ever explained how he is supported?

Carrick said...

Arthur Smith: I've always wondered how Mosher has so much time to spend posting comments on blogs. Has he ever explained how he is supported?

LOL.

Actually I'm pretty sure you haven't always wondered this. What a dumb comment.

NewYorkJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Roberts said...

Here's an example of how fake identity call scams work, how they can fool businessmen -- and how you enforcement agencies have no leverage to do anything. From a BMW salesman:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/8204

D. Robinson said...

re Doug - "But 'we' don't know that he misrepresented the memo to his friends or the rest of us."

Doug he definitely misrepresented himself to his friends when he called himself the Heartland Insider.

He phished for the E-mails twice, he misrepresented himself to his 'friends' and tried to gain credibility by acting as an insider.

With those maneuvers admitted into evidence his defenders say that we should not assume he did it?

Gleick lied to his 'enemy' and lied to his 'friends'. There is no justification to say that he is either too smart or too ethical to have fabricated the memo. Quite the contrary.

Zeke said...

Arthur Smith,

If Mosh were a paid shill of the denier lobby, they would be asking for their money back :-p

Arthur said...

Zeke - I'm not saying he's a paid shill. Mosher's general modus operandi seems to be to push everybody's buttons for fun. There's a lot of that on the internet. But, talking of Bayesian priors and believability, (1) I don't trust him to give a factual account of things based on prior behavior, and (2) I might trust him a little more if I knew what keeps him fed and sheltered. You've worked with him, do you have any idea where he's coming from?

HR said...

I have no problem with people using any sort of tactic against people they believe are lying, cheating and doing harm to others. History has taught us there are many rules worth breaking, Rosa Parks would be a fine example for anybody to follow.

Unfortunately PG is not Rosa Parks.

His target seems all wrong. I don't see that PG's obsession with nefarious (rightwing) organisations is justified. Climate science has significant uncertainties. Many can see that and HI can rightly exploit that. The problem is the advocates seek to downplay the uncertainty. The idea of settled or consensus science sets up a situation were you are either a believer or a liar and people like PG start to truly believe this. Rather than setting himself up as advocacy champion he should have continued to do what he's trained in and produced convincing science. That's still what we all need.

Specifically on his recent actions his lack of complete transparency with his allies remains the most worrying aspect. As things stand his career seems salvageable, after all he has only hurt an organisation that many in his profession seem to believe deserve to be hurt. His lack of transparency with the 15 friends may also be overlooked. If it turns out he was the faker it'll become obvious that he's also willfully hurt his allies. It seems like there'll be no way back from that. He's going to fight the faker allegation all the way.

HR said...

Arthur,
All you need to realise is

1) Mosher is willing to express an opinion
2) that opinion contradicts your own

then the reason for your unease with him will become apparent. You really don't need to uncover some secret agenda. You're heading down the same path that has lead to GP recent grief.

Carrick said...

Zeke: If Mosh were a paid shill of the denier lobby, they would be asking for their money back :-p


LOL. Yep.

/poke mosher

Roddy said...

(2) I might trust him [Mosher] a little more if I knew what keeps him fed and sheltered.

Really? I happen to know he lives in a shed at the bottom of a friend's garden and lives mainly off food stamps.

But I can't tell if that makes him more trustworthy or a useless member of society who should be made to do community service.

Please advise.

Carrick said...

"But I can't tell if that makes him more trustworthy or a useless member of society who should be made to do community service."

The mandatory community service will come soon enough, I'm sure. >.>

Grypo said...

James,

Are you saying that Gleick's uncharacteristic behavior easily explains him writing a fake memo? I still think this is a big stretch. Lying to fake information and lying to get real information are two very different behaviors. You have a point with him not explaining the origin of the memo, but a minor one. As weird as it might have been for him to lie to HL, I don't think he is a complete idiot. I'm sure he knew that HL would show everyone that they didn't send the memo. If you can use his odd behavior as a prior to explain him writing it, then I think him having a brain should be another prior. Him writing a fake memo and sticking himself in it must the most foolish act possible and I'm having a hard time reconciling that with someone who graduated high school, let alone someone who accomplished what he has.

AMac said...

Grypo at 10:44pm --

Mosher and others have offered a simple explanation that satisfies Occam. It entails adding one premise: that Gleick authored the Fake Strategy memo.

You describe why you believe Gleick didn't write that memo. Upthread, you suggested

> there is another simpler explanation to how Mosher knew it was Gleick.

Many Occam's Butterknife scenarios have been floated, but none that pass tests of logic and plausibility.

Can you sketch out your thinking on this?

Grypo said...

Two issues here:

Your occam was

"
If Gleick isn't the memo's author, there's a puzzle. Either Mosher got lottery-lucky, or he was involved in as-yet-undisclosed events.

If Gleick did write the memo, there is no mystery.
"

That only works if the evidence presented at the time led to only Gleick. It did not. So Mosher did get lottery lucky either way. Unless, as he said he was doing, he got an IP address or some other identifiable information from HL or a recipient of the leak email.

So what is simpler, Mosher guessed it right through style and the mention of Gleick in the memo, or Mosher obtained the information he was looking for and doesn't want to tell anyone for whatever multitude of reasons.

2nd issue is whether or not "Gleick wrote the memo" satisfies Occam's razor. James made the point that we would need to have two people acting in an odd way for it not to be Gleick. My argument would be Gleick would have to acting odd and be a complete moron. Plus, since we don't have an identified 2nd person, I don't know how we can justify saying someone was acting odd.

Grypo said...

" My argument would be Gleick would have to acting odd and be a complete moron."

Should read
"
My argument would be Gleick would have to acting odd, then put himself in more legal and professional danger, risking the entire operation, and be a complete moron.
"

AMac said...

Thanks, Grypo.

> That only works if the evidence presented at the time led to only Gleick. It did not. So Mosher did get lottery lucky either way.

Mosher has presented a set of "tells" that suggested to him that Gleick was the author. So, if Gleick was the author, he was a bit luckier than you or me. But lottery-lucky only comes into it if Gleick wasn't the author.

> Unless, as he said he was doing, he got an IP address or some other identifiable information from HL or a recipient of the leak email.

Could you supply a link? "as he said he was doing" -- does this mean "I tried and failed," "I tried and succeeded," "I intend to try," or something else?

> 2nd issue is whether or not "Gleick wrote the memo" satisfies Occam's razor.

My impression was that you had a competing theory in mind that satisfied Occam's razor at least as well. If so, can you sketch it out?

Grypo said...

Amac,

I don't feel like fishing for all the links, but at Kloor's he was asking for the headers of the email to be released. At Blackboard, after the initial speculation of Gleick, in the middle of a flurry of his comments he said:

http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/tell-me-whats-horrible-about-this/#comment-89992
"err Duke
I dont think I got it. Kinda busy now, may get the leaker IP.
fingers crossed."

Then, I don't see where it is brought up again. So there definitely appears to be something that was going on with someone "in the know" behind the curtain. This leads me to believe that by the time Mosher had left that comment, someone had led him to say Gleick was involved. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the version of events we've led to believe doesn't smell right at all. It's not even my original thought as many others have come to this conclusion independent of me.

Carrick said...

Grypo, It's simpler to assume Mosher is telling the truth and there isn't some really convoluted story about how he came by the name Gleick:

As he said, Gleick is mentioned by name in the memo, which struck many of us as odd.

The memo was such an obvious fake, so you immediately start look for evidence of self-incrimination, and if you read it with that in mind, Gleick pops out like a lightning bolt.

(Mosher wasn't actually the first person to work out or publish the theory that Gleick authored the fake memo. I suppose you know that.)

Grypo said...

"Grypo, It's simpler to assume Mosher is telling the truth and there isn't some really convoluted story about how he came by the name Gleick:"

We already know he was discussing it with someone who could have gotten the ip address. Why should I assume that?

And no, the info I have is that Mosher first published the Gleick accusation. Where is the other accusation predating it?

AMac said...

grypo,

> at Kloor's he was asking for the headers of the email to be released. At Blackboard, after the initial speculation of Gleick, in the middle of a flurry of his comments he said: "err Duke | I dont think I got it. Kinda busy now, may get the leaker IP.
fingers crossed."

You haven't laid out an alternate theory to "Gleick wrote the Fake Memo and Mosher figured it out," so I can't comment on it.

However, it seems your alternative likely supposes that Mosher first secretly learned that Gleick was the source of the "Heartland Insider" emails and then came up with the tells that pointed to Gleick.

The Blackboard link that you supply is inconsistent with this timeline. What about what Mosher wrote at Collide-a-scape?

Grypo said...

Until we know what was going on with Mosher and his source, what was discussed and when, what was the outcome etc - outside of our view - the timeline is not going to make any sense and I sure will not make any assumptions on how or when he knew.

Just call me skeptical. :)

dljvjbsl said...

Steve Bloom wrote:

===============
If you're a tone troll,...
================

The common accusation of tone troll contains the implicit assumption that someone's views on a matter cannot be valid because they do not agree with the person's who used the words. This is a very un-useful and counterproductive attitude. People can have differing views on ways to achieve the same outcome. They may have differing priorities and criteria in making their decision. The "tone troll" accusation is an indication of n opinion that there is only one valid view. This is in no way useful and is a major part of the political AGW question today. The link to the current controversy is apparent and very apparent in the comments to this posting

Holly Stick said...

How about another possible explanation: that Mosher fabricated the memo and sent it to Gleick, hoping he would produce it in public and it could then be shown to be fake. Gleick's actions in getting the other documents from Heartland would have been unexpected.

That eliminates Mosher's unconvincing explanation for why he decided it was written by Gleick.

AMac said...

Thanks, Holly.

That's the explanation that Greg Laden favored at his blog, until he backed away from it.

Can you evaluate your idea's strengths and weaknesses?

Carrick said...

Gyrpo "And no, the info I have is that Mosher first published the Gleick accusation. Where is the other accusation predating it?"

The other person was Ross Kaminsky, who interestingly enough is a senior fellow at Heartland, and almost certainly would have had access to the IP of the person who was phishing.


If I were Gleick, I would have used a fake email account and a proxy server, but he may not be as bright as the MacArthur Foundation people suggest. You wouldn't have been able to track me that easily if I wanted to stay hidden.

"Just call me skeptical'

I wouldn't call anybody who wasn't highly skeptical of this particular theory, skeptical.

At this point, Gleick has already destroyed his credibility as a witness, he's lied both to his opposition and to his own supporters. I don't personally see any reason to believe anything he has to say on this. Now that is truly skeptical behavior. ;-)

Grypo said...

Kaminsky came after Mosher. I am well aware of the article you linked. And someone in the comments lets Kaminski know...ad his response is:


Ross Kaminsky| 2.18.12 @ 5:10PM

I haven't heard of Steven Mosher, so it's unlikely I'm "stealing from" him.

There's an interesting exchange. So, if we are to trust Ross, two people with thin evidence fingered Gleick. Although Ross may have had insider info and we don't really know what Mosher had.


"I wouldn't call anybody who wasn't highly skeptical of this particular theory, skeptical."

I'll keep that in mind.

Carrick said...

Gypos, I guess my point wasn't to argue chronology but to point out that multiple people arrived at the same conclusion and two people developed enough of a story in their head at least, to go forward and make an accusation.

There were others who suspected pretty quickly. You might ask the "15" when they first thought it was Gleick, whether it was a shock that he confessed or not.

(If I were to concoct a theory in which Gleick got a honey pot, it would involve a Heartland'er not, an outsider with agnostic views about Heartland.

(I don't see any evidence that Mosher even likes Heartland and what they get involved in, I admit I don't.)

Holly Stick said...

AMac, I may not remember the details too well now (been busy watching our election robocall scandal lately); but it seemed to me that over at Curry's blog everyone was so excited about Mosher having fingered Gleick, that I just wondered about him. In a TV crime show his being in the middle of things would be suspicious.

Some of Mosher's arguments at 2/3/12 8:35 AM above would be answered, such as Gleick being named in the memo because Mosher put him there; and any other anomalies in the text that he has pointed out.

The memo being different from the other documents could be explained by Gleick's story as well as by Mosher's theory.

Mosher writes:

"...Later I would add more lines of evidence. I surmised that whoever sent this packet would ALSO have access to their 990. That evidence showed up. McIntyre then called me with his "anti-climate" find. At that point I predicted that certain ELEMENTS would be found in Gleicks unedited writing. So, I had a hypothesis. If he wrote it, then certain oddities in the memo would make sense. Then I made additional predictions: he would have access to the 990, and his style would contain a couple odd features..."

I don't know if it is certain that some information in the memo could only have come from the 990. If that is so, then whoever wrote the memo had access to the 990. Well, is the 990 public information? So possibly Mosher could have gotten hold of it?

The whole Gleick thing coincided very closely with the release of John Mashey's report on the Heartland Institute. Would the HI know that he was researching them? Perhaps. I've certainly seen him mention 990 forms on various blogs over time, so they might at least guess he was working on it and would have the 990. Could they have planned a diversion with Mosher's help?

Kaminsky's denial that he knew Mosher struck me as a little strange too, and not necessarily believable. And was Mosher tracing the IP for HI? That's not clear to me.

There is that possibility that Mosher fingered Gleick after tracing the IP. Which might lead

Some of this theory seems pretty flimsy. But if the memo is a fake I find it more plausible that it was faked as bait for Gleick than that Gleick would fake it so badly and add it to a bunch of real documents. And Gleick's emails when they asked him to debate look like he was fishing for information, perhaps to confirm the memo he had received anonymously.

If the memo is real, then was it just a draft? And who sent it to Gleick?

Carrick said...

Holly, " But if the memo is a fake I find it more plausible that it was faked as bait for Gleick than that Gleick would fake it so badly and add it to a bunch of real documents"

Definitely a your mileage may vary. There really isn't any good explanation for Gleick using the memo. One theory is he is really a moron who can't tell the difference from a real versus a fake memo of that sort.

I've listed the differences above, having served on a BOD for a foundation before I do know what they look like in RL--claiming nothing specialo ther---but Gleick should to, which is the real puzzling part.

The thing is the memo was so bad it should have been target as Gleick as a fake, and if he could have traced it back to Heartland, it would have blown up major in their faces.

Regarding Mashey, I have a great deal of trouble taking anything he says seriously. Definitely another YMMV, and my certainly does.

Carrick said...

Sorry for the typos...cat in my lap. At least he's not trying to push his nose between my fingers and keyboard now. ;-)

Grypo said...

I think the point is that Kaminsky's article sounds like BS and has even less "evidence" to go on than Mosher.

And now you are saying there were others who suspected quickly? The 15? Are we rewriting history here?

Grypo said...

Holly, I'd just give up on the Honeypot theories. It really makes absolutely no sense. I'd say that Gleick writing is more likely. As stupid a theory as I believe it is that Gleick would do that, a Heartland honeypot would be ever more stupid. There's no way Heartland wants this kind of sunlight on their inner-workings. Fakegate has been like public brain surgury and I'm sure they are quite pissed about it.

AMac said...

Grypo wrote

> Holly, I'd just give up on the Honeypot theories. It really makes absolutely no sense.

Yeah, the MacArthur-Genius-Acts-Like-Reckless-Dolt scenario is odd. One has to assume an extended lapse of judgement on Gleick's part.

On the other hand, the Gleick-didn't-do-it story lines that I've read are less plausible, even preposterous. They posit elaborate anti-Gleick conspiracies, even the ability to read his mind and forecast his foolish conduct.

That doesn't make them impossible; we've all read John Le Carre novels.

But the particulars of Gleick's mea culpa and his post-confession conduct make them less likely. He's acting as if disclosure of the details of the Fake Memo and the circumstances of how he obtained it won't be exculpatory.

It's simplest to assume that this is so.

Carrick said...

Grypo, the memo didn't jump out to you as a fake?

What I said above: "A real document would contain more polished language (you're trying to persuade very influential people with limited commitment time, some of whom are typically leaning on the edge of leaving at any given time, you don't keep them on board with this sort of drivel), it would almost certainly have been on letterhead, or at least with a running header, it would have been dated (even versioned sometimes), the pages would have had numbers, and the authorship would not have been anonymous. .... and so on."

This isn't rewriting of history, it's simply recognizing that not everybody gets fooled by lies. 15 people, all of them equally credulous?

As to Kaminsky, I think you're stretching credulity again. As an insider, he would know with certainty that this fake document was fake, so all that was left for him was to figure out who done it. Read from that perspective, what's wrong the analytic portion of his his blog post?

Gleick left his name like a calling card on the memo. I wonder why you keep missing the obvious here. And once you start there, you immediately recognize that it fits. He describes himself in an implausibly positive light, attacks JC and Revkin, two people he's been pissed about. Everybody had all just seen similar fakes of his, like his fake review of Laframboise's book, so it's not like we didn't have language style to compare against. Then there was the dog that didn't bark (his absence from the scene after the documents were released). The specter that he'd be willing to write fake reviews tied in with same 'effing language style as the memo, and then you're just say "wow! what a dunderhead."

What made Mosher and Kaminsky different was they were both willing to make their speculations public. And for many of us, just pointing out the connections above were enough for us to end up at the same place.

All I'm saying on this, because things that seem obvious to some people seem totally opaque to others, and there's no point in arguing over which impression is right and which is wrong.

GS said...

@Carrick

"he's lied both to his opposition and to his own supporters"

Has he actually lied "to his own supporters"? From what was quoted here, he simply didn't mention the strategy memo as a separate issue. Has he actually told/written anywhere "I got this strategy memo from HI as well"?

Holly Stick said...

"...like his fake review of Laframboise's book..." I know the idiots at Curry's blog were screeching about this, but I don't recall anyone actually proving that his review was fake.

Those sad idiots, who helped Laframboise "crowd-source" her little book of self-indulgent mediocrity and were all over Amazon writing pawky reviews and attacking any honest reviewer in their comments, must be seething with frustration over the excellent moderation of the reviews for Michael Mann's book. Sorry kids, only grownups allowed there.

(Oh, and I haven't read Laframboise's book, but the silly title and her blog posts are enough to display her style of writing and thinking. I might read it for the entertainment if I find a cheap used copy)

GS said...

@Carrick

"real document would contain more polished language" etc.

It could be a rough, early draft.

GS said...

@Carrick

"he'd be willing to write fake reviews tied in with same 'effing language style as the memo"

Actually, the language of the memo seems to point to Joe Bast:

http://www.shawnotto.com/neorenaissance/blog20120229.html

(at the bottom)

The method may be not perfect, but it's still better than eyeballing and gut feelings.

john lichtenstein said...

One lie to supporters was when he mixed together materials from different sources, the documents he was mailed from Heartland by impersonation (good provenance), a public 990, and the memo of unknown origin, and claimed that they all had a similar provenance. Gleick was dishonest from the beginning about the origin of the memo of disputed authorship.

Grypo said...

"Grypo, the memo didn't jump out to you as a fake?"

I was one of the people who looked at the the metadata and said it was not mailed with the rest. McArdle used my comment in her Atlantic story as part of her evidence.

"Gleick left his name like a calling card on the memo."

This is just silly. I've already addressed this numerous times. Repeating it over and over doesn't make it more convincing.

john lichtenstein said...

Doug, you say """ don't see the memo called out, so "misrepresented the memo" is a bit of a stretch""". But it was the not calling out of the memo that was a misrepresentation. The docs he phished from Heartland and the public 990 had good provenance and the memo didn't. So the memo had to be called out. Instead, Gleick snuck it into the package with the authentic items. He only came up with the story that that document had a different origin after he had been fingered as the forger.

Carrick said...

Grypo: This is just silly. I've already addressed this numerous times. Repeating it over and over doesn't make it more convincing.


Of course, self-incrimination is a pattern that law enforcement uses to track down people who commit wrong doings (leaving evidence directly identifying them, returning to the crime scene etc), so the idea that it is silly that a person might self-incriminate is itself risible.

As a point of fact his name was mentioned in the memo, and for many of us, acted as a lightning rod. It obviously didn't for you, but that doesn't mean our inductive reasoning was wrong. Induction is always based on incomplete information, and for those of us who are scientists, this type of "leap of faith" to see where an argument will go if X is true, is pretty standard faire.

Carrick said...

Couple of other comments, regarding

"It obviously didn't for you, but that doesn't mean our inductive reasoning was wrong."

If we turned out to be right (which I put at the 99.7% threshold) that Gleick authored the memo, then our inductive reasoning was actually correct.

Secondly, you can't tell us that we didn't use a piece of information that can readily be confirmed as true (his name is mentioned in the memo). That would sort of be mind reading on your part, wouldn't it?

Thirdly, if we're correct that Gleick wrote the memo, then it's impossible to argue that he did not self-incriminate, is it not? If he put the words "Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-
profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own.
"

High profile climate scientist? Really??? Some guy that counts water molecules?

(Now it's true but not for the reasons he'd like.)

GS said...

@Carrick

"Thirdly, if we're correct that Gleick wrote the memo, then it's impossible to argue that he did not self-incriminate, is it not?"

That's circular reasoning. "If we're right, then he actually self-incriminated, and we think that we're right because we assume that he self-incriminated".

Carrick said...

GS: "That's circular reasoning. "If we're right, then he actually self-incriminated, and we think that we're right because we assume that he self-incriminated"

You're not reading what I said carefully very carefully.

What I said was if he self-incriminated, then we were right in our inductive reasoning or whatever you want to call it.

If he didn't write the memo, and therefore did not self incriminate, we're wrong.

Simple as that: The facts dictate truth, not our desires for what is true to be true.

Carrick said...

To many carefully... sorry punchy over here.

Also on this "What I said was if he self-incriminated, then we were right in our inductive reasoning or whatever you want to call it."

By definition he self-incriminated, if he wrote the memo, and suspicion towards him was generated by his name being included in such a prominent and bizarre manner in the document.

GS said...

@Carrick

You don't really make much sense.

"By definition he self-incriminated, if he wrote the memo" -- sure, yes, of course. And if he didn't?

"Suspicion towards him was generated by his name being included in such a prominent and bizarre manner" -- in other words, you consider his name in the memo as an argument for his authoring of the memo, then use this hypothesis to claim that "by definition" his name in the memo is self-incriminatory (if you're right). That's still running in circles.

You might be deeply convinced that it was Gleick who wrote the memo, but you can't possibly know that, and apart from his name in it you don't really have much evidence. As I was saying earlier, your "he'd be willing to write fake reviews tied in with same 'effing language style as the memo" is groundless: Otto's use of JGAAP is still better than your gut feelings, and the style fingerprint points to Joe Bast more probably than Gleick.

AMac said...

GS wrote (5/3/12 1:15 AM) -

> Actually, the language of the memo seems to point to Joe Bast: [Shawn Otto link]. The method may be not perfect, but it's still better than eyeballing and gut feelings.

As I noted upthread, there's no evidence that the "What's Up With That"/Otto approach has any value. JGAAP developers Patrick Juola and Darren Vescovi published last year that their method couldn't overcome author deception efforts. Careless blogger Greg Laden has backed away from his embrace of the "Bast did it" claim.

For Shawn Otto's views, see this exchange in the comments of the above-linked post. Even he doesn't put much stock in his JGAAP findings.

GS said...

@AMac

Yes, I've read his blognote. Still I trust JGAAP more than people's eyeballing and gut feelings. In particular, I find it difficult to defend a categorical "tied in with same 'effing language style as the memo" when the memo seems to be in another person's style (genuine or imitated). That's leaving aside the question of whether there are grounds for charging Gleick with any fake reviews in the first place.

AMac said...

GS wrote --

> Still I trust JGAAP more than people's eyeballing and gut feelings.

As far as situations involving author obfuscation or deception, you and the WUWT commenters trust JGAAP more than its developers do. Juola and Vescovi go over this subject in the Results and Discussion of "Analyzing Stylometric Approaches to Author Obfuscation," online at Google Books.

GS said...

@AMac

Sorry, but I don't get your point. I'm not in the least arguing the software is infallible. But if you can fool JGAAP by imitating another person's style, that's all the more argument to be suspicious of the "we looked at it and it was Gleick's style" miraculous epiphanies. It should be more like "we looked at it and it was Joe Bast's style, but something was wrong", right?

KingOchaos said...

@GS

Well we can all agree, that whoever wrote the memo, had access to the other leaked documents at the time it was written. Yes?(direct c&p's etc)

It is also rather apparent, whoever wrote the memo, did not actually understand the coding for the donations(the Koch contribution errors in the memo, and the fact that whoever wrote it was not aware that the kochs had only made a one off donation for medical rather than climate) So it wasnt written by an insider, someone familiar with the intimate workings of the HI climate group(or taskforce, or whatever yah want to call them)

The wording of it, comes across as if some comical villain had written it, it paints heartland in the worst possible tone...

Ok, so it was written, by someone, who had access to the documents, prior to their release to the general public. Who was not familiar with the actual workings/ donation codes in the documents. But seems to have gone out of his way to give it an almost comical villain feel to it.

So by process of elimination, who outside of heartland had access to the documents prior to there release to the public, who viewed them as comic book villains.

GS said...

@KingOchaos

Yes, but that's different from "there was Gleick's style all over the place". I still think he is the most probable author of the memo, but the style argument is bogus.

AMac said...

Sorry, GS, I don't get your point.

I've linked to evidence that JGAAP doesn't work under these sorts of circumstances. You haven't provided any reason to think that it does work.

The more complicated thing we might have needed to discuss -- if JGAAP worked, which it doesn't -- is how one might objectively interpret the results spawned by the "What's up with that" people and Shawn Otto. They get numbers like "2.312453" and "17.3456740," but nobody seems to have any justifiable procedure to get from there to meaning.

But the main point is simple. Doesn't work.

GS said...

@AMac

You don't get it, or you don't wanna get it? Because it's very simple, really: yeah, sure, you can trick JGAAP by imitating another style (or obfuscating your own). So, if we assume that Gleick did exactly that -- imitated someone else's style, or obfuscated his own -- on what basis was his style recognized in the memo by so many people?

AMac said...

GS -

JGAAP has been under development for a little under five years.

"Determining the author of a particular piece of text has been a methodological issue for centuries." Reference (PDF).

GS said...

@AMac

You're avoiding an answer to a simple question, while rushing to general conclusions like "under these circumstances it doesn't work". It should be more like "it may not work", and you cannot be certain of the "circumstances", but never mind. The basic question is still there: fooled by imitation/obfuscation or not, the software points to another person. On what basis were people so sure they recognized Gleick's style then? Is JGAAP a worthless piece of crap whose analysis doesn't mean anything when confronted with a deep conviction of a human being? Really? I think that's goint a bit far.

BTW, my answer is "they wanted it to be Gleick, so they saw the style that they wanted to see". I still think most probably he was the author of the memo, but the style argument is totally bogus.

AMac said...

GS -

Your arguments are very compelling. I will have to rethink my position.

GS said...

@AMac

LOL ;) That was a good one.

jrkrideau said...

@ KingOchaos "re the not understanding the codes in the funding document".

This would be a good rationale except for a couple of minor problems with the funding document.

If you look at Table 3 on page 8 you will note that Susan Crockford of the University of Victoria, Australia is listed. Uh, oops! UVic is in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

David Watkins of Michigan Technological
University is listed. However both he and his university have categorically denied any connection, whatsoever, with Heartland.

If an official board document can be this sloppy I don't see why one should expect the memo to be perfect.

I tend, until anything more likely appears, to assume it was a Heartland working document--Steve Easterbrook's suggestion makes a great deal of sense to me.

I have seen, and, at times drafted, similar pieces that require extensive revisions when one actually pulls out the background documents and checks budget codings,$ values, the spelling of names, exact dates etc.

What I do not discount the possibility that it maybe was Bast writing quickly and from memory, perhaps somewhere away from his normal files.

Funding categories probably have changed over the years and one can mix them up and have to catch the mistakes in the edit process.

Given how fast Mosher "identifed the writer as Gleick worries me. It was just way to fast.

AMac said...

GS (5/3/12 9:56 AM)

;-)

We just see things differently. No worries, thanks for explaining your perspective.

Carrick said...

GS, I have no idea what you're even trying to argue.

Not following you at all, other than you don't like that I think Gleick wrote the memo, and allow for the possibility that I could be wrong.

Sorry.

Carrick said...

GS: "BTW, my answer is "they wanted it to be Gleick, so they saw the style that they wanted to see". I still think most probably he was the author of the memo, but the style argument is totally bogus."

I think you are way overstating your case here.

It wasn't totally bogus. Programs like JGAAP aren't as good as humans at pattern recognition. I think you fall for the same trap that many laypeople do of assuming that if it's written on a computer, that must make it better than what a human can do.

False premise, incorrect conclusion.

KingOchaos said...

@jrkrideau

That is pretty sloppy with the Victoria University... of course there are Universities of Victoria all through the common wealth countries. There is one here in New Zealand too, in wellington. I can see a potential for confusion there. But no doubt sloppy.

As for David Watkins, that is interesting... of course this is a proposed budget, so they could still both be correct. I have no idea what the payment would be for (for 125 a month... maybe averaging a single proposed payment out over the year, for review? of what? who knows?) But what are the chances of them plucking a random name, and just sticking it in there, it maybe they were wanting to hire him to review something he has expertise in? ;-)

But thats all just worthless speculation... i know, that in the memo, a good portion of the "increased climate project fundraising" section, is devoted to an imagined substantial contribution by the koch's. I do not buy that is a typo. Or anyone intimate with its funding, is going to make an error of that magnitude. (10% of the budget?)

So, the HI characters deny that they authored the memo, it has LARGE errors in it. Out right bizarre terminology. There is nothing to verify its authenticity. And you assume its an early draft from what is known... Well we are all entitled to our opinions, but your argument does not convince me for one.

Its possible its not as it seems. But from what is known, it is all pointing toward Gliek making a huge error in judgement. And doing something really stupid... well stupider than the phishing.

tonylearns said...

I still think there are too many indeterminate factors to know who wrote the faked memo.
I think there is a strong argument that PG wrote the memo as a cover for the documents he deceptively talked out of Heartland.
But to me the errors in the fake could push in two opposite directions. if DID write it he did a really piss poor job for various reasons.

1. He named himself in a strong positive light and named Revkin and Curry in a strong negative light. If he wrote it he would almost surely KNOW it would be determined to be a fake - that Heartland and many very smart motivated people would go after it. Putting his name in it seems incredibly stupid. These people he is dealing with are ENEMIES, who in his mind have no scruples and will do anything to protect themselves. Naming himself makes him an immediate target. It was basically suicidal to do that.

2. Also writing the obvious phrase "anti-science" is again a huge red flag. this is exactly the type of thing he would want to see. And it is again going to bring attention to him. Is he really that foolish? It would require not just naiveté, but a tremendous ego to put this out there. I do not know him at all, so I cannot say whether the temptation or the frustration combined with a fairly serious neurosis fits who he is.

3. Unless he was some sort of egomaniac I see no need to add the memo. There is the information that he wanted to find in the documents he obtained, and he was sending it to people who could be counted on to present that information in the worst possible light for Heartland. It is not like he needed to prime desmogblog on the best way to make use of the info. Just sending the documents would have been safe and much lower risk of being found out. Hard to imagine that even a class one egomaniac wouldn't consider, at least a little bit, trying not to get caught.

On the other hand if someone at Heartland wanted to frame Gleick, it seems quite reasonable that they could send him this memo in the hopes that he would publicize it and then be shown to have released a fake which would then immediately point to him as the forger.
If Heartland knew that Mashey was already putting together a lot of info against them, then this would be a perfect smokescreen so that not only would Mashey's revelations be completely lost, but Heartland would be the victim of a fraud from a known climate scientist and enemy of Heartland.

I see no need to speculate on it being Mosher, that is pretty irrelevant to whether Gleick is the forger or not.
I certainly agree that not considering the psychology of the person and politics of the situation, Occam is happier with the "one person did the whole thing", and I think it at least as likely as any other scenario.
But if Gleick is NOT a fool, and not a narcissistic egomaniac, then I don't think it makes nearly as much sense.

the idea of gleick ACCEPTING the memo as being legitimate only implies a slightly puffed up sense of importance, something that is not unlikely in a broad range of rational people.
Also the memo presents Gleick in a way that could be seen as an egomaniac which fits with the Heartland supporters views of him and other climate scientists. So once the forgery was revealed as such the contrarian community could make lots of self justified noises about Gleick as typical of other unscrupulous climate scientists.

I find it extremely unlikely that anyone who sent this to Gleick as a scam would consider the possibility that he would obtain corroborating documents through deception.

There is still the possibility that someone did genuinely send the memo to Gleick with the hopes he would use it against Heartland, but the mistakes in it make this seem rather less plausible to me.

Either possibilities where he did not forge the document are completely consistent with his story. Which obviously he could have concocted after realizing he had to admit he sent the stuff.

tonylearns said...

Reading all the comments on this in the various blogs has caused me to ebb and flow about whether he is the forger or not.
I sincerely hope that we do find out with certainty what happened.

As for the ethics. if he did receive an anonymous document and it was sent by Heartland to entrap him,, then I still consider his phishing to be unethical, but an order of magnitude more ethical than the entrapment.
If an anonymous incompetent person sent him the memo, then his phishing is of course still unethical, but in my view an understandable one. Not one I approve of, but something that had a reasonable rationalization.
IIf he forged the document and set this whole thing up, then it is a gross breach of ethics and he should be reprimanded both professionally and politically, and, if appropriate, legally.

Of course another possibility is that he KNEW the memo was a fake for the purposes of entrapment and so he engineered this whole thing, including being found out, having to make the heartfelt confession and then waiting for heartland to come tumbling down. In which case I would expect no less than another MacArthur Genius Award.

GS said...

@Carrick

Sorry, I don't think I can make it any simpler. I have only your word -- an ad hoc assumption -- for the "programs aren't as good as humans at pattern recognition" in this particular case. And yes, I trust a method -- as imperfect as it may be -- more than your gut feelings and ad hoc assumptions.

AMac said...

tonylearns (5:43pm) -

> On the other hand if someone at Heartland wanted to frame Gleick...

There's a straightforward theory about how the Fake Memo came to be emailed by Gleick to DeSmog et al -- Gleick wrote it.

Then there are bits and pieces of alternatives. E.g., I have no affection for Heartland, and agree that it's plausible that somebody there might want to frame Gleick.

As I asked Holly Stick upthread, can you expand your thoughts into a coherent explanation?

Once it's proffered, third parties can evaluate it, perhaps poking holes in it and perhaps strengthening it.

So far, "Gleick didn't write the Memo" posts read as if they are written by Anti Sherlock Holmes. Gather clues, and then propose an unlikely and implausible scenario as the solution to the mystery.

AMac said...

Who would a JGAAP analysis finger as the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- Mosher, Gleick, Austen, or Grahame-Smith?

Carrick said...

GS: "And yes, I trust a method -- as imperfect as it may be -- more than your gut feelings and ad hoc assumptions."

Actually it's totally useless for this, and the authors say as much.

Of course I don't ask you to trust my judgement, merely to recognize that one can reasonable and quickly arrive at Gleick's name by its bizarre appearance in the fake memo

"Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-
profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own".

If you need a program to tell you something is odd there, then stay out of forensics, you aren't cut out for it.

GS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GS said...

@Carrick

Quote the authors of JGAPP as saying that their software "is totally useless for this".

And please read before you write. I said a few times already that evidence points to Gleick as the author of the memo, and it's just the "it was written in his style" argument that I don't buy. You're talking to voices in your head, not to me.

Michael Tobis said...

I am having a great deal of difficulty imagining Peter Gleick forging the memo.

All scenarios in which he did so are far less plausible than the story in his confession, in my opinion.

The "dear friends" cover did attribute the disputed memo to HI, but in the scenario propounded by Gleick, it in fact must have so originates, perhaps at one remove.

If in fact Gleick composed the disputed document, with its inconsistencies and its weird word choices and its peculiar references to various prominent blogosphere players (one doubts that Curry is top-of-mind for Gleick for instance) then this is all very bad news for him, although what is revealed about HI hardly changes. I suppose. But try as I might I can't imagine anyone as smart and socially adept as Gleick doing such a childish thing.

This is not any disgruntled scientist - this is someone who carved out his own institution.

So yeah, I'm finding the Gleick as author scenario completely implausible. (The fact that HI disavows the thing contains zero information.)

But I encourage continued wild speculation.

To the extent that the conversation considers the motivations of HI, keeping this story alive is bad for HI, because their motivations are, if perhaps not as dreadful as the disputed memo shows, at the very least almost as dreadful.

Steve Easterbrook said...

After reading the entire thread, I have another theory: The entire affair is one big Rorschach test, in which we learn a lot about each of the discussants by what they project onto a formless blob that contains no actual information.

From this point of view, most people are behaving pretty much as I might have expected, except for James, who is normally the first to criticize wild speculation. Maybe James is actually having a whole load of fun with this, and deliberately set up the Rorschach test in the first place....

James Annan said...

Wait, is it really "bizarrely overwrought" to consider that the document was actually forged at all? So far we have one party asserting this very strongly, and even for those who are not inclined to trust HI, there is no evidence that I am aware of in support of the contrary view.

On the premise that it was forged at all, speculation that Gleick was the author seems pretty straightforward. I accept that this speculation may turn out to be incorrect, of course. But even that would not make it a ridiculous theory.

Maybe assigning probabilities would clarify the matter. Who would bet how much money (and at what odds) on the various theories?

GS said...

I'd divide stakes along the following lines: 70% - the memo is forged and Gleick did it, 15% - the memo is forged, someone else did it (e.g. to frame Gleick), 15% - the memo is not a fake (a draft etc.).

Soo... Who's taking the bets?

Michael Tobis said...

If it was written by Gleick, it is indeterminate unless Gleick confesses or was foolish.

If it was written by someone at Heartland, it is indeterminate unless one of the recipients acnowledges it.

If it was written by the third party who contacted Gleick, it is indterminate unless that party confesses or was foolish.

So the betting seems pointless unless God comes down from the heavens to settle the bet.

However, if we were to have a promise of divine guidance, I would bet heavenly dollars to heavenly doughnuts that Gleick did not forge it.

One's opinion seems to depend rather crucially on whether one has a prior model of Gleick, which I suppose is understandable. In fact, I had thought him rather a conformist and perhaps a bit dull. I've had to update that one a bit.

But I still consider him perceptive enough that the supposed (and supposedly clumsy) forgery seems wildly implausible.

Brian said...

Way upthread now, but....

If I were PG's lawyer, I'd forbid him from talking or showing the strategy memo hard copy/envelope to anyone, so his failure to reveal it doesn't tell you anything. Even if PG swears to me that his story is true, I don't know whether my client is lying to me (think it's no problem for me if my client lies to me? Think again.) Even if I believe my client 100%, forensics might not prove it. Even if forensics proves it 100% (doubtful), then I've got a good hand on that one issue, but I don't automatically show my hand immediately. I'll choose the time for opposing counsel at Heartland to learn that his case has a weakness, rather than hand him that useful info upfront on a silver platter.

dbostrom said...

From this point of view, most people are behaving pretty much as I might have expected, except for James, who is normally the first to criticize wild speculation.

Enthusiastically wild guesses have certainly kept me coming back here in morbid fascination to watch the evolution of this discussion. Forgetting for a moment that there's an actual subject person as the gossip-mongers' target, it's an entertaining, gushing cornucopia of half-baked conjectures in passionate support of conclusions that simply can't be known without a handful of additional key facts.

Add in the constant references to Occam's razor even as ever more elaborate rationales for this or that conclusion are patched together and it's just too darkly funny. "He knew the document would be subjected to semantic analysis so he obfuscated it," counting commas, etc. A hoot.

Meanwhile, there's new fodder for gossip coming out of this. How about Bob Carter's apparently slightly glossy affidavit to the court in New Zealand handling the Heartland-connect lawsuit against New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research? What was Bob really thinking when he signed his affidavit? Is that really his signature, or was it forged??

Inquiring minds want to know.

KingOchaos said...

Michael Tobis, the ball is in Glieks court. He must hold the original that was scanned, and if it was posted to him via snail mail, he would have a post stamped envelope. Showing the origin of the sender. If it was electronic, there would be a trail. To date he hasn't been terribly forth coming. (maybe legal advice?)

As for it being a setup by HI. It would seem a rather bizarre, kamikaze attack... It damages their organization considerably, and for what? To make one semi prominent scientist look silly. And that seems plausible to some people?

Which leaves the document, is a HI original... with the errors? And the comical language... No letter head, ok so its possible, its been forwarded to Gliek by a disgruntled intern who got fired for really crappy memo writing skills(as i read somewhere (-; ) But i would think there would be some evidence of its origins. And Gliek should be in possession of them.

Now you are right, in that i have no idea personally what he(Gliek) is "capable" of. Now you may say he isnt so stupid to forge such a poor fake... so that would mean he was stupid enough to buy that it was genuine. In spite of having obtained the documents that should have high lighted the errors in the memo. Seems contradictory, to me. If he bought the fake as an original HI memo, he must have a very polarized view of them... and his admitted actions show he is capable of letting his passion motivate his actions, over common sense.

As for heartland... seems to me, they are just another advocacy group, advocating stuff. Plenty of these groups are misguided(and annoying), and have a habit of ignoring what dosnt fit their world view.(not unlike Jehovah witness's, or Greenpeace, or any other group thats about pushing "their" ideals on others) But i wouldn't characterize them, as evil. Ok so maybe relative to life experience, beliefs, if you believe they are single handedly dooming humanity to extinction or such, they may seem evil.. if you think Jehovah's are trying to steal yah soul, ditto.

The world is not black and white, good people do bad things, bad people do good things. What Gliek has admitted is stupid, rather than bad. And if it turns out he is the forger, it would be another stupid action. He should be holding the last piece to this puzzle.

I dont know, it dosnt seem serious enough to me to justify criminal action, but i know the laws are a bit harsher in the states. Ill wait and see.

dbostrom said...

Being able to spell "Gleick" correctly is a decided plus in establishing credibility, no matter what hypothesis one is promoting.

KingOchaos said...

dbostrom

That is awesome deductive reasoning! :big thumbs up from me:

If it was spelled the same in the memo, you would now have solved the mystery. Im now in clear. ;-)

Carrick said...

GS: And please read before you write. I said a few times already that evidence points to Gleick as the author of the memo, and it's just the "it was written in his style" argument that I don't buy.

Ah, well I don't really use that argument either. So we're in agreement eon that point.

I won't comment on the putative existence of voices in my head. Plausible deniability.

I look at anomalies in the memo, I assume the person writing it is trying to copy Bast's style in general, so you look for sentences that are out of place with the flow of the rest of the memo.

I can see how people might see the style to point towards Gleick, but I myself used Oxford commas until I started writing in journals that used the other style convention (and sometimes even overuse parentheses).

"Anti-climate" is a strange construction used mostly by pro-mitigation activists (I don't think anybody except Dr. Evil is plotting to deliberately see the climate obliterated), it's not one that Bast would (or ever has used), but it just demonstrates that he didn't write the memo and probably indicates it was written by an enemy of his organization.

Given that it's supposed to be a strategy memo and it's just two pages long, the idea that an "intern" in his organization (I don't think they even have any interns, they're rather small....) would get assigned to something like that is silly to me.

Doe he/she get to do the first draft of next year's budget too? LOL.

This is just not how organizations function, and I think most of us realize this, at least those who've done time in charity organizations or similar before.

Steve Reynolds said...

Michael Tobis: "I would bet heavenly dollars to heavenly doughnuts that Gleick did not forge it."

So, are you willing to bet real dollars to be paid to the winners charity if the truth does come out?

If so, I will wager $500 that Gleick did participate in forging the memo.

Michael Tobis said...

Steve Reynolds, I don't know how to structure such a bet between parties who don't have overlapping networks of trust without the most likely outcome being leaving $1000 in escrow forever.

But if you do, let me know.

Steve Reynolds said...

Michael,

I believe our host has some expertise in that area. Maybe he has a suggestion.

In any case, we should set a time limit. If there is no resolution (beyond a reasonable doubt either way) within say two years, then the bet would be off.

GS said...

@Carrick
I look at anomalies in the memo, I assume the person writing it is trying to copy Bast's style in general

... and build speculations on an arbitrary assumption. Sorry, as far as the style argument goes, I still prefer a method to your eyeballing and gut feelings. I don't like to assume things I have evidence against.

Carrick said...

GS: Sorry, as far as the style argument goes, I still prefer a method to your eyeballing and gut feelings.

As I said that's pretty common among laypeople to assume that computer-baesd algorithms are superior to analyst generated results.

If there was a software algorithm that had any skill, I' be sympathetic to this viewpoint, but there isn't in this case.

The first thing I do with continuous tone data is plot the time domain, look for obvious glitches. There isn't any set algorithm that detects all of the ones your eye can spot.

Then I do a Fourier analysis or the equivalent (OLS based software usually).

If you start with the Fourier analysis, you'll find recording glitches can look like part of your noise floor.

This isn't something I say lightly, it's something all students who collect and analyze data need to be taught.

The whole point of an analysis is not the "gut feeling part", it's the connecting the dots between the different anomalies in the data. If you think the only way to do forensic analysis is with prebuilt software tools not designed to be applied to the task at hand, you won't get very far with it.

Michael Tobis said...

OK Steve, let's make it fifty instead of five hundred. Then I won't have to explain it to my wife and we can just make it informal.

Proposed bet:

If by close of business in California on April Fool's Day 2014 there is no decision, the bet is off.

If at any time before that date the author of the document is identified by confession or by adjudication or unchallenged testimony in civil or criminal court, I will give you US$50 if it's Peter Gleick and you'll give a charity of my choice $US50 if it isn't, in the form of a check drawn on a US bank and sent through the mail.

I'm easy to find though.

I haven't agreed to the bet and won't unless and until you provide me with a good idea of who you are and how I'll find you in 2014. There must be a thousand Steve Reynoldses around. You can do this offline if you like.

Do you accept that?

I think the likelihood of funds being exchanged between us is very small.

(I doubt that Heartland will press charges, actually.)

Steve Reynolds said...

OK, Michael, I agree to those terms. I will contact you offline to satisfy your "provide me with a good idea of who you are and how I'll find you in 2014" term as long as you give your word not to use any of my personal info for any other purpose or share it with anyone else.

Steve Bloom said...

Michael, as I continue to think about the situation (why oh why do I waste my time like this) it occurs to me that Gleick may well know exactly who sent him the draft memo, and wants to keep the identity of the source confidential. If so, the PI investigation will say so, but also not release verifying information. Probably your betting terms should account for such an outcome.

Paul Kelly said...

I've been saying some of the same things to M Tobis, with much the same reaction. He shakes his head and pats the top of mine.

Michael Tobis said...

I accept the bet conditional on receiving offline contact from Steve Reynolds. I promise not to reveal any identifying information which I receive in that communication.

I'll confirm here.

GS said...

@Carrick

Again, you're not even reading what I write. This is not a discussion, this is your continued monologue based on things I don't say. I'm talking about style, you're talking about forensics and "anomalies in the data". I'm not claiming JGAAP can reliably determine the author of a text sample, I'm claiming that in order to take advantage of its weaknesses and fool it, you need to change your style. Which is why the argument "it was written in Gleick's style" is bogus.

James Annan said...

Interesting to see the bet...I think mt has framed it well. FWIW, I am not so pessimistic as many of you about the likelihood of resolution one way or the other, AIUI HI has already said they are taking action, the Pacific Institute is also promising an investigation...

Of course from the HI's point of view it might be good to sit on their hands until Gleick is fully rehabilitated by his supporters, before dragging it all up again. They must have a very good idea whether the document could possibly have originated at HI in some form (as Gleick's claim implies), or whether it can only be a post-hoc assembly from the other documents (ie Gleick did it).

Steve Reynolds said...

Michael,

I sent you an email on Wednesday (to mtobis@gmail.com) to provide the identification you requested. Did you get it?

Holly Stick said...

Just an observation: when the question of Mosher possibly faking the memo comes up, Mosher disappears from the conversation. Happened at least twice that I know of.

AMac said...

Holly Stick (10/3/12 6:22 AM) --

Your observation is very compelling. I will have to rethink my position.

Michael Tobis said...

The $50 bet with Steve Reynolds is mutually agreed and accepted.

Martin Vermeer said...

Hmmm...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/21/peter-gleick-cleared-heartland?INTCMP=SRCH

James Annan said...

Hmmm indeed. They will need to come up with more than a vague leaked whitewash to convince me. If he was really sent the forgery as he claims, the least he can do is actually produce it.

Martin Vermeer said...

Well, release of the report was promised. And it's "external". let's see.

"He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorised release of the documents, although it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed. That investigation is now complete, and the conclusions will be made public."

As I said, hmmm.

Hank Roberts said...

Just for perspective on how this stuff is done all the time -- and why it should be left to the professionals

"... two of the best investigators I've ever met were a couple of ex-actors in Manhattan. They were masters of pretext, which is industry-speak for telling lies in order to determine the truth. If they called you on the telephone, you'd believe whatever they told you -- and you'd tell them whatever they wanted. This isn't to say Shakespeare is necessarily more important than the skills they teach you at Quantico, but being a capable investigator in the private sector frequently requires creative thinking and the ability to improvise. Which, of course, you already know ...."

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/08/29/confessions-of-a-private-investigator/