Monday, March 03, 2014

Global Warming, Panda's Thumb, and My "Mann number" of ~2

I have said that I would try and avoid involvement in the "climate wars." It is not because I think that the issue is not significant- it is the greatest threat to civilization. I mean that unqualified. Nuclear war is grave, but is in fact more likely due to the impending climate crisis. It is just that I have a professional background related to evolution, and creationism that I lack in climate science.

None the less, last night I was reading Michael E. Mann's recent book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” (2013 Columbia University Press). And on page 142 (paperback ed.), he wrote about the inspiration for the climate change blog, RealClimate. It was The Panda's Thumb. PT is a science blog I helped start 10 years ago. The goal was to counter creationist fraud and lies.

It seems we helped with public education on global climate, if very indirectly.

Elsewhere, Mann joked about the "Mann number" similar to the Erdos, or "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." The idea comes about from an attack on climate science via a personal attack on Michael Mann. "Smoking" Joe" Barton (R-Tx) as the Chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee ordered an investigation of Michael Mann conducted by Edward Wegman. As part of Wegman's report was a "social network analysis" of Michael Mann's publication record with the intent of smearing Mann as having too wide a "personal network" to insure adequate peer review. This was also of particular interest to me as I had contributed quite a lot to personal social network analysis in my early career.

So, I recon' that I can get an approximate "Mann Number" of 2.