40 in 2010: AR-02

November 29, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 92 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

During the 06 and 08 cycles, there was a lot of talk (particularly among the left side of the internet) of the Republicans becoming a regional party. With the last Republican Congressman ousted from New England, it was claimed that before long the only Rs in the nation was going to be in the South. And needless to say, there was a lot of crowing about this. But what was never mentioned was the other side of the coin. With all the partisanship going on, there’s the possibility of Democrats becoming a regional party too. With the hard-left turn the Ds have made in recent time, suddenly there may be a lot of conservative Democrats wondering where their loyalties lie. And there’s a lot of long time Congressional Ds that may be sweating now. Don’t believe me? Just look at the polling. Read the rest of this entry »


One more thing to take from Climategate

November 24, 2009

Iain Murray wrote an excellent piece at Pajamas Media regarding the three things you must know about Climategate (the hacked CRU email and data). Despite being excellent, I think there’s one more to add. While the emails got a lot of attention, a file called HARRY_READ_ME.txt is finally getting some attention. And wow, is it interesting. Even CBS has taken notice: (H/T: Hot Air)

As the leaked messages, and especially the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, found their way around technical circles, two things happened: first, programmers unaffiliated with East Anglia started taking a close look at the quality of the CRU’s code, and second, they began to feel sympathetic for anyone who had to spend three years (including working weekends) trying to make sense of code that appeared to be undocumented and buggy, while representing the core of CRU’s climate model.

The link has some good excecrpts, but The Devil’s Kitchen has more, plus commentary. Frankly, I encourage you to read the original file. Whoever this Harry person is, he at least knows how to keep an entertaining log. Some fun bits: Read the rest of this entry »


“Hide the decline”: why it’s dishonest

November 22, 2009

Needless to say, the biggest news story in the world of global warming in the past week has been the hacking of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit. When the news first broke, the big headline was an email by Phil Jones from 1999 and one damaging line:

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

This line has prompted much debate, with some on the right claiming this is fraud or that it’s proof the global warming alarmists are adding fake data or whatever. This line of thought has been attacked, with Real Climate leading the way:

The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

Others have said it’s just a way to make the data look pretty, or that “trick” is just the natural jargon. Needless to say, the truth is a bit more complicated. Read the rest of this entry »


40 in 2010: IL-14

November 18, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 89 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

Illinois is fairly unique in that their filing deadline is very early, being one year before the actual election. In other words, the deadline is passed, and we know exactly who’s going to be available in the primaries for all races. Because of that, there’s a lot less uncertainty for IL races compared to the rest of the nation right now. There’s a few interesting House races, but only one good solid chance of a pickup. Read the rest of this entry »