In order to take a serious look at whether this toad thing has anything to it — and whether the little buggers were somehow able to read electrical signals from the edge of space — I consulted with Susan Hough, a seismologist at Caltech. After having a read of the paper, here’s what she had to say:
This is a good example of bad science. The earthquake prediction heyday of the 1970s was launched and sustained by similar studies: people who found snippets of data after the fact that showed an apparent correlation between some signal and an eventual earthquake. This is not good statistics. You can’t select data after the fact.
In this case, there’s no way to know what kind of fluctuations are normally seen in toad activity, or what else might have been going on in the study area that could have influenced toad behavior.
It is within the realm of possibility that there are precursory signals before some earthquakes, and that animals might respond to them. But to demonstrate a significant correlation one would need to have a long record of objectively-recorded data before and after many earthquakes.
On the question of the ionosphere, she added:
There have been a number of studies of satellite observations that approach the bar for good science, in terms of applying rigorous statistics, etc. And, again, it is within the realm of possibility that VLF [Very Low Frequency] precursors exist.
But the snippets of data shown are insufficient to draw conclusions.
There are really two questions: 1) do precursors exist, and 2) do useful precursors exist? It is possible that precursory signals — electromagnetic, whatever — are generated in the earth prior to SOME earthquakes, but these precursors, if they exist, will have no predictive capability if they do not reliably occur before large earthquakes, and only before large earthquakes.
John Graham-Cumming研究了前述几行代码前后更多的语句。这段程序的文件名是“briffa_sep98_d”，说明工作很可能是1998年做的，作者是Briffa（现在知道就是Keith Briffa，也是卷入“气候门”邮件的CRU工作人员）。那段代码后面有几句是要做另外一张图（对比1880到1994年间不同年份的温度、树木年轮宽度等），John Graham-Cumming发现，这张图确实出现在Briffa、Osborn、以及Phil Jones等人1998年的一篇文章，而这篇文章确实和前述那几行可疑代码毫无关系。
I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office press release with Doug’s paper that said something like - half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998! Still a way to go before 2014. I seem to be getting an email a week from skeptics saying where’s the warming gone. I know the warming is on the decadal scale, but it would be nice to wear their smug grins away. （2009年初的邮件）
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
This was done for a set of experiments reported in this submitted 2004 draft by Osborn and colleagues but which was never published. Section 4.3 explains the rationale very clearly which was to test the sensitivity of the calibration of the MXD proxies should the divergence end up being anthropogenic. It has nothing to do with any temperature record, has not been used in any published reconstruction and is not the source of any hockey stick blade anywhere.
（这段程序是用于Osborn等人2004年寄出的一篇稿件中的一组试验，但是从没有发表。稿件的4.3节非常清楚地解释了其原理【中间一句不好翻，我就不翻译了】。这段程序和温度记录毫无关系，从来没有应用于任何已发表的古代温度重建工作，并且从未作为任何地方的hockey stick模型末端的数据源。【注：hockey stick模型末端是指AGW主张的1850年以来全球温度“前所未有”的快速上升。】）
“气候门”丑闻之前之后，戈尔和IPCC都被指责夸大“全球变暖”和气象灾害之间的关系。气候研究的核心人物Michael Mann也承认，他的一些同行以及政策制定者太急于宣布某些问题已有“科学定论”，特别是有关气候变化后果的问题（ his colleagues and policymakers were too eager to present certain scientific conclusions as “settled” — particularly with regard to possible consequences from climate change, which he says need further study. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/environment/2010-03-10-warming_N.htm）。关键之处是，如果一些人宣布某一场干旱能够说明全球变暖，那么另一些人就可以宣布某一次严冬就能够表明全球变冷。看来CSIRO和中国国家气候中心都已经认识到了把“气候变化”庸俗化的害处。
Ethical consumers less likely to be kind and more likely to steal, study finds
When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to “green” type.
According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the “licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour”, otherwise known as “moral balancing” or “compensatory ethics”.