A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

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Are you really surprised?

Readers of the Globalchange news group (see sidebar) will have seen this already, but people like me who have not been paying attention can read about it on Jame Annan's blog.

The Whitehouse.gov search engine filters out results for "global warming" (see post title). That is to say, search their site for this phrase using their search engine and you get virtually nothing (1 at this moment). Search their site with Google and you get plenty (438 at this moment). Stoat has the search result (singular!) archived for when the exposure makes this bit of Whitehouse spinning stop, kind of like a cockroach dashing back under the fridge when you turn on the light.

Wag the Dog has pointed out in the comments that this behaviour is more consistent with broken software than sneaky manipulations. Based on his test cases, I must concur.

So, the lesson seems to be that we (not the royal 'we' of Illconsidered, but the collective 'we' of the blogosphere) we should not be so quick to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.



  • At February 02, 2007 6:41 AM, Blogger Wag the Dog said…

    I wouldn't be so quick to accuse them of censorship as this could just be a technical issue. It seems their search engine is quite poor at exact phrase searches. For instance, merely capitalising the first letter in each word yields over a hundred references. Also, using the +global +warming format yields thousands of results with many of those ranked the highest being pertinent to climate change. So if this is a case of censorship, don't you think they would've have done a more thorough job? Looks more like a poor indexing of documents on exact phrase. I've seen similar behaviour on other homegrown (non-Google) website search engines for non-controvercial terms.

    One needs to be careful not to fall into the trap that Mike McIntee fell into, ending up with egg on his face and a big loss of credibility.

  • At February 02, 2007 11:23 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Fair points. Did you see the test case RealClimate had?

    'searching for "issue of global" gives as top result the President's Rose Garden speech in June 2001 on Global Climate Change, but searching for "issue of global warming" (which of course is the full phrase used) returns nothing.'

  • At February 02, 2007 12:13 PM, Blogger Wag the Dog said…

    Did you see the test case RealClimate had?

    It is easy to find similar test cases that have little to do with climate change. Exact string match on "no child" returns many documents on Bush's "No Child Left Behind" initiative, yet "child left" and "left behind" both return zero entries. All we can conclude is that they have a stupid string matching algorithm for indexing. No ulterior motive is necessary when incompetence will suffice.

  • At February 02, 2007 12:23 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Ok, you have me convinced. See post update.

  • At February 04, 2007 6:14 AM, Blogger Raines said…

    We went through a similar conversational (comment-al?) arc Thursday night over on Daily Kos. The RealClimate thread has some interesting analysis in the comments.

  • At February 11, 2007 7:42 PM, Anonymous Jay Draiman said…


    In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy Sources must change.
    "Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
    Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

    The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must be by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, Ocean-Tidal, Hydrogen-Fuel Cell etc. This includes the utilizing of water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption. (Sales tax on renewable energy products and energy efficiency should be reduced or eliminated)

    The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

    In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer at market price), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

    A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task. As an inducement to buy hybrid automobiles (sales tax should be reduced or eliminated on American manufactured automobiles).

    This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors’ commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) (rainwater harvesting, water conservation) (energy and natural resources conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

    "To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

    Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
    Northridge, CA. 91325
    Feb. 12, 2007

    P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
    I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
    The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

    The Oil Companies should be required to invest a substantial percentage of their profit in renewable energy R&D and implementation. Those who do not will be panelized by the public at large by boy cutting their products.

    Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

    Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 2

    4 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

    Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence. (Installation should be paid “performance based”).

    Installation of renewable energy and its performance should be paid to the installer and manufacturer based on "performance based" (that means they are held accountable for the performance of the product - that includes the automobile industry). This will gain the trust and confidence of the end-user to proceed with such a project; it will also prove to the public that it is a viable avenue of energy conservation.

    Installing a renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

    Nations of the world should unite and join together in a cohesive effort to develop and implement MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY for the sake of humankind and future generations.
    The head of the U.S. government's renewable energy lab said Monday (Feb. 5) that the federal government is doing "embarrassingly few things" to foster renewable energy, leaving leadership to the states at a time of opportunity to change the nation's energy future. "I see little happening at the federal level. Much more needs to happen." What's needed, he said, is a change of our national mind set. Instead of viewing the hurdles that still face renewable sources and setting national energy goals with those hurdles in mind, we should set ambitious national renewable energy goals and set about overcoming the hurdles to meet them. We have an opportunity, an opportunity we can take advantage of or an opportunity we can squander and let go,"
    solar energy - the direct conversion of sunlight with solar cells, either into electricity or hydrogen, faces cost hurdles independent of their intrinsic efficiency. Ways must be found to lower production costs and design better conversion and storage systems.

    Jay Draiman
    Northridge, CA 91325
    Email: renewableenergy2@msn.com


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