Coles Notes and alt audio for Don’t Feed the Trolls

Matt Lowry was so kind as to post his notes on the Don’t Feed the Trolls panel, which while it’s not a full transcript, certainly pulls out a lot of the relevant details.

In Canada, you call that a “Coles Notes”, after the Coles bookstore from whence these synopsis books come. I hear in America, the same idea is called CliffsNotes. I like Coles Notes way better, not the least reason being the unpretentious space included between the two words.

I’ve also done an alternate audio recording from the panel, so if you’re interested in the original take by Cristina Rad’s friend which is uploaded to Youtube presently, but don’t have the tech to hit Youtube at the moment, or just want to grab the mp3 for posterity, you can use this podcast doodlybopper like what I done used for the other two panels.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Also, here’s the mp3 link (20 megs) if you’d like to download it for later listening. Again, lose the -lr if you want a 128kbps version that doesn’t add much in the way of lost audio.

Don’t forget to visit Cristina’s original at her blog in case the ridiculousness in the Youtube comments didn’t do it for you with regard to rampant trolling and misogyny.

An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

yes, actually he SAID: "ALL OF THESE POSTS ABOUT SUPPOSED RAMPANT SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND UNNAMED LISTS OF CERTAIN SPEAKERS “VICTIMIZING” YOUNG WOMEN, AND THE LIKE. SO MUCH OF THAT FEELS TO ME MORE LIKE RUMOR AND DISTASTEFUL LOCKER ROOM BANTER"

So, I have this problem. A vacuous shitbag troll is running around telling everyone that I’m a homophobe based on a reading of my comment here:

DJ Grothe is not LITERALLY a douchebag, as he does not store vinegar or other potentially harmful chemicals in his person for the purposes of “cleansing” a woman’s vagina. In fact, I hear he wants little to do with women’s vaginas.

When people who have shown every intention of manufacturing controversy just happen to be right about something, I have this tendency to not believe them because of all the dross they’ve spat out before. I sometimes trust my pattern recognition all too much. The fact that this troll is presently spamming both DJ and all my compatriots, and has been for two days, is galling, but must not blind me to the fact that some people could find that offensive.
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Freethought, and freedom to express yourself on someone else’s private property

Freethought Blogs was founded by our Glorious Leader Ed Brayton on the principle that many great voices in the community (meaning, at the time, himself and PZ Myers) were being actively squelched in some fields of interest and needed a place where they could blog about atheism, skepticism, humanism, politics, et cetera, without being curtailed on one or any of these topics by their blog overlords. It has since expanded to include more, and better, writers than I, but I am privileged to also call this blog my home, and the compatriots and friends I have made here mean the world to me. Not to mention the total autonomy I have in what I get to talk about and how I get to do it — there is, basically, no hive mind, no dogmatic demand of adherence to any principles in specific. We disagree with one another quite frequently, in fact, but we are comrades where and when it counts. All in all, Freethought Blogs is generally a damn good place to be.

And then some assholes come along and demand the right to piss on your rug. All in the name of “freethought”.
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More pushback against systemic misogyny within our respective communities

I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few of the posts that have sprung up about Freethought Blogs lately in the wake of Rebeccapocalypse 2. Posts like Greta Christina’s “Why ‘Yes But’ Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny” or Maryam Namazie’s “We are not an atheist community”. Excellent conversation abounds, but I do hope you’re looking at trackbacks and such. Otherwise, you’re missing conversation elsewhere. Here’s two you should read.
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Marieke Hardy apparently incorrectly named the man who calls her things

A while back, in my post The General Pushback against Misogynist Trolls Begins, I mentioned an incident where Marieke Hardy, a screen writer from Australia, has endured a years-long hate campaign by a particularly vicious little misogynist troll. She posted the name Joshua Meggitt in a post supporting the Twitter #mencallmethings hashtag, only it turns out that naming was premature. On her blog today, the following post appeared, under the title Apology:
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The Case Against Outing Franc Hoggle

There’s a battle raging presently over at Ophelia’s and Stephanie’s over a guy by the ‘nym of Franc Hoggle. I say ‘nym, because a real-life friend of his learned of his online identity, evidently by him outing himself to this friend — leading to his friend discovering his blog, Grey Lining (no link, sorry). Said friend decided to tell Ophelia Franc’s real name so she could use it to defend herself and the rest of us by extension from his ongoing misogynist, anti-feminist, anti-FtB, anti-Ophelia and downright obsessive anti-PZ campaign.

To be clear, Franc Hoggle, despite making a great many oblique and yet threatening comments like “if I were a woman, I’d kick [Ophelia] in the cunt”, has never directly threatened anyone. In his nascent proto-Mabus state, he has compared PZ Myers, popular atheist blogger and small town professor of biology, of being like Idi Amin and Kim Jong-Il, the only admitted difference being that PZ was lacking only the opportunity to commit mass-murder.

The constant drumbeat of anti-feminist sentiment from his site and his commentariat (whom we would probably leave largely alone if they would only stop staging raiding parties!) is evidently intended to inculcate a hostile environment for our bloggers, shaming and othering and invoking fear to speak our minds lest we incur the wrath of some people who happen to think that including feminism in the skeptic and atheist blogosphere is the Wrong Direction For The Movement™. But he has made no direct threats to anyone, and short of the fact that he has visited the Melbourne-based Global Atheist Convention in 2010 under his real name, and PZ was planning on being at the 2012 GAC, he poses no physical threat to anyone in real life.

Yet.
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Humpty Dumpty on the meaning of words

Relevant to a discussion at Stephanie’s about whether to out a persistent and rather unsubtle troll so their meatspace acquaintances have a better understanding of what kind of viciousness he gets up to online, allowing them to protect themselves. It has, as most conversations do, meandered into an area related to the meanings of certain words. I was reminded of a passage in Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

‘You don’t know what you’re talking about!’ cried Humpty Dumpty. ‘How many days are there in a year?’

‘Three hundred and sixty-five,’ said Alice.

‘And how many birthdays have you?’

‘One.’

‘And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what remains?’

‘Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.’

Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. ‘I’d rather see that done on paper,’ he said.

Alice couldn’t help smiling as she took out her memorandum-book, and worked the sum for him:

365
1
____

364
___

Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. ‘That seems to be done right—’ he began.

‘You’re holding it upside down!’ Alice interrupted.

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Mann vindicated yet again; no tampering with hockey stick graph

The NSF Inspector General closed out the investigation of Michael Mann, central focus of the ClimateGate manufactroversy, after finding no malfeasance. This brings the total “vindications” up to at least seven. From the report:

As part of our investigation, we attempted to determine if data fabrication or falsification may have occurred and interviewed the subject, critics, and disciplinary experts in coming to our conclusions. As a result of our interviews we concluded:

1. The subject did not directly receive NSF research funding as a Principal Investigator until late 2001 or 2002.
2. The Subject’s data is documented and available to researchers.
3. There are several concerns raised about the quality of the statistical analysis techniques that were used in the Subject’s research.
4. There is no specific evidence that the Subject falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct.
5. There was concern about how extensively the Subject’s research had influenced the debate in the overall research field.

[...]

To recommend a finding of research misconduct, the preponderance of the evidence must show that with culpable intent the Subject committed an act that meets the definition of research misconduct (in this case, data fabrication or data falsification).

The research in question was originally completed over 10 years ago. Although the Subject’s data is still available and still the focus of significant critical examination, no direct evidence has been presented that indicates the Subject fabricated the raw data he used for his research or falsified his results.

Climate denialists will, completely within their character parameters, not give a shit. They’re not in the business of “facts”, they’re selling a fully antiscientific conspiracy theory that only grows stronger in the face of facts to the contrary. The next sentence of the report goes on to suggest that the only debate in the matter is whether the statistical methods used were appropriate, which is a wildly different conversation from the one we were having up until now. But the denialists are, frankly, famous for latching onto a single, easily misunderstood sentence.

From The Backfire Effect:

The backfire effect is constantly shaping your beliefs and memory, keeping you consistently leaning one way or the other through a process psychologists call biased assimilation. Decades of research into a variety of cognitive biases shows you tend to see the world through thick, horn-rimmed glasses forged of belief and smudged with attitudes and ideologies.

That about sums it up.

The most horrible part about this is, while we do have facts to back up our claims, we are vulnerable to the same “you’re just experiencing the Backfire Effect” accusation — in much the same way as people who understand that the Earth is round might be vulnerable to such accusations from a flat-Earther. I mean, we’re also vulnerable to accusations of being polka-dotted unicorns with a penchant for human flesh, while we’re itemizing things that people could accuse us of if facts are thrown right out the window. But we’re vulnerable all the same, and I expect the first antiscience troll (who will no doubt show up first over at Greg Laden’s) will accuse us of being mired in our ideologies and accusations of malfeasance by some ever-widening conspiracy.

Only, it’s far more galling when, despite the lack of evidence for these accusations of malfeasance, they just keep on coming, repeated ad nauseam, because “malfeasance” is almost transparently the modus operandi of the folks who’d rather destroy the planet to make a buck. Attack your opponents’ strength, and all that. Explains why when we point out denialists’ weakness in whom they’re supporting (the oil industry), they counter by questioning the money-making intentions of people who write books about this stuff. They attack our strength in our lacking money as a motivating factor, by claiming we’re just trying to make a quick buck. Somehow. As though the pay scales between book authorship or scientific study grants, and owning a fucking oil company, are even remotely competitive.

This is the vector that this fight will take. We must expect that we are no longer able to simply sway people with mere facts; not when the lies are shouted from the rooftops and the truth merely whispered apologetically under the din of the denialists. We need to change our tactic — to not allow them to shout us down, to refuse to allow the media to bury the “corrections” to their anti-science hitpieces in the middle of their obits page. We need to hold the information gatekeepers responsible for the misinformation and the lies that are propagated. Our species’ future is at stake.

RCimT: Climate round-up

Apropos of the topic of discussion for today’s radio show, here’s a roundup of some links related to climate change, plus some other related sciencey bits that I otherwise just wanted to get out of my tabs. Enjoy!

Here’s how climate change was subsumed into the “culture war”. Good overview of how we got to the point where science and anti-science polarized along political lines, and how it’ll backfire on the pro-money and anti-science crowd.

Knowing that bots and hired trolls have all but filled the discourse on other matters, Googling for related topics and astroturfing dissent as though they were legitimately grass-roots, it’s no surprise that climate denialists are employing these same tactics to muddy the discourse.

Some new study came out claiming some ridiculous things about the science proving anthropogenic global warming, and the media is touting this study as “blowing a hole” in the science, calling those people that understand and accept the evidence “alarmists” in the process. Phil Plait rips ‘em a new one over this mendacity, and in the process, Learns to Stop Worrying and Love the Ad Hominem in the process. Though I’d argue that since he’s also showing why they’re wrong, what he’s doing is simply including a personal attack in the conclusion. You’ll want to click pretty much every one of the links in his post, as the actual debunking mostly happens off-blog.

Like at RealClimate, for example. If you don’t want to go through the links above, at least check that one out.

John Abraham, one of the participants in the Atheists Talk radio show today, had another radio spot recently about climate change that you should check out.

The Koch Brothers, apparently movers-and-shakers in the conservative world, are making a concerted effort to stamp out a wind power generation project in New Jersey. And, of course, disguising it as a grassroots movement.

Mike Haubrich, host of the Atheists Talk show, has a good piece on “Hide the Decline”, those unfortunate terms of trade in the “Climategate” emails. Those emails led to a million false allegations against climate scientists and climate science as a whole due to a simple misunderstanding and a willful ignorance of the truth, even after having it explained a million and one (for good measure) times.

And now that the raw data from the “Climategate” study has been released, and STILL they can’t find any actual wrongdoing or manipulation in the scientists’ processes, I’m sure that’ll evaporate finally! Right?

If we could find some way to keep space debris from smashing it to bits, I’m now convinced space solar is the best path out of this era of fossil fuels and into the next, of renewable resources. Building the arrays and keeping them safe from space junk would be expensive, but no more expensive than, say, three ongoing wars, or the Bush-era tax cuts.

Enjoy the radio show! I’ll be listening live myself, if I can get the stupid feed to work properly this time around. Last time the streaming was glitchy as hell. Here’s to hoping it’s sorted now.