There is no “Planet X” hurtling toward us from space. Nothing particularly on tap astronomically for December 2012. Likewise no pole shift, no need to lay in supplies, so says the manager of Nasa’s Near-Earth Object Office.

I know this isn’t a big issue among my readers, but keep this handy for responding to panicky emails from Aunt Teabag and Uncle Dittohead.

The “Planet X” hypotheses, – fun fact here – was put forward by, among others, Richard Muller, of BEST temperature project fame. So add yet one more check to his oddball resume – you can view more below.

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Swedish Chemistry

January 27, 2012

Nothing remarkable about this little piece – a bit of explanatory visuals about the chemistry of greenhouse gases – except – it answers a burning question:
How the heck do you pronounce “Svante Arrhenius”.

If you’re pressed for time, cute swedish girl tells you at 2:00.

The SOTU and Climate

January 26, 2012

For those that missed it, the money quotes, 4 minutes worth on energy and a very quick-oh-so-quick blip of acknowledgment of the greatest threat to civilization in history – which is about all you get on the floor of congress these days. Not enough, but no use crying – we have work to do.

Greg Laden:

Obama probably did the right thing in sidestepping climate change, and admitting that we need to side step it for the time being in order to get other things done. Those of us who do not subscribe to that view would have preferred, perhaps, a fire and brimstone demand to step up our national efforts to address Global Warming and the other issues related to the high rate of release of fossil Carbon into the atmosphere. We might have liked to have seen some of the victims of aridification, tornado swarms, regional drought, parasite-affected forestry and agricultural failures in the US and elsewhere, in the gallery seats where real people sit as emotional sidebars in every State of the Union Address. But, President Obama chose to not do that, and it is easy to see why he made this choice.

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Large fluxes of carbon, material and water pass from the Siberian Tundra to the Arctic Ocean. Örjan Gustafsson, professor of bio-geochemistry at Stockholm University has studied the effects that these fluxes have on the climate.

Bullying, intimidation, and threats are the currency of the climate denial movement .

NYTimes:

There is a ripple of unease among many scientists who study the warming of the planet these days. Some have faced harassment, legal challenges and even death threats related to their research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reports.

On Tuesday, the board of directors of the association, which publishes the journal Science, released a strongly worded statement “vigorously opposing” such attacks on researchers, saying that the tactics inhibited the free exchange of scientific ideas.

“Reports of harassment, death threats and legal challenges have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas, and makes it difficult for factual information and scientific analyses to reach policy makers and the public,” the board said. “This both impedes the progress of science and interferes with the application of science to the solution of global problems.”

Climate scientists like Mike Mann, Ben Santer, and Phil Jones have born the brunt of this behavior unassisted for more than a decade. Now there’s help.

Scott Mandia:

Washington, DC — The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has found a non-profit home in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which provides it fiscal sponsorship and logistical support. CSLDF lets scientific colleagues and the public directly help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks.

In recent years, these legal attacks have intensified, especially against climate scientists. The fund is designed to help scientists like Professor Michael Mann cope with the legal fees that stack up in fighting attempts by climate-contrarian groups to gain access to private emails and other correspondence through lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests at their public universities.

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The anti-science movement, including the climate denial movement, owes its beginnings as a serious organized force to the tobacco industry.
The same people who have peddled addictive poison to billions of the world’s most vulnerable, are the good people who have brought you the twisted web of “sound science”, non-thinking “think” tanks, and ignorant “experts” who today congratulate themselves as the planet careens to a precipice.

Those who spread the misinformation and outright lies of the climate denial industry, are useful idiots of some of history’s coldest and greediest killers.

Guest Post by Colin Maessen:

The scientific discussion has long since moved on from whether we are causing the increase in our planets temperature to fine tuning what effects this will have. We know it is happening, we are responsible for it and we are now in the process of finding out that we have been underestimating it.

Yet, the so-called sceptics have managed to delay action, very effectively spreading misinformation. A considerable amount of misinformation comes from the blogosphere, where familiar and long-debunked claims about climate change are repeated time and time again.

Case in point, Anthony Watts with his website Watts Up With That:

Being called out does not stop him from spreading obvious misinformation.

So how does he manage to still hold on to the trust of his readers?

The reasons are many, and have lot to do with the mindset of a science denier, but he does have his methods for creating the illusion of legitimacy. One of these methods is gaming the internet vote for certain dubious “science blog” awards.

When Watts won the 2011 Bloggie Award in the category Best Science Blog, he gave full credit to his loyal readership:

This was truly surprising. According to the Bloggies Facebook page, WUWT has been named the first ever winner of the Best Science Blog category (new this year for the Bloggies), beating Wired and Boing Boing, both of whom have way more reach and traffic than we do. I suppose it demonstrates the loyalty of our readers.

These awards are won by popular vote, rather than merit. Those that rouse or manufacture enough support, can engineer a win in the submitted category – in this case resulting in “science” awards for a blog that routinely misinforms on scientific subjects and even slanders scientists.

Watts is at it  again for the 2012 Bloggies:

Well, it is that time of year again. You can nominate your favorite blogs for top honors in the 2012 Bloggies Awards. As many know, WUWT won last year in the Best Science Blog category. This year, Science and Technology blogs have been combined into a single category, so the competition will likely be stronger.

I also followed up on his advice and joined in to vote, which also meant I had an interesting opportunity. If you submit nominees for the Bloggies you can indicate that you are interested in being selected as a one of the 200 randomly selected voters who choose the finalists.

And I was selected as one of those 200 voters. Thanks to this I am in the possession of a ballot to vote for the finalists and a list of the candidates for “Best Science or Technology Weblog”. For your convenience I’ve marked the ‘sceptic’ sites in orange and the actual science sites that report accurately on climate change in green (order as they appeared on the ballot):

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