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  1. Okay, this live preview function is soooooolove it frig’n cool awesome2.


    Now I can only blame myself for my misteakes mistakes.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 1 Jan 2011 @ 2:01 PM

  2. Errrppp. The live preview accepts/reflects more tags than the post, so my previous comment lost the subscript, superscript, and span/color tags… I didn’t expect the last to work, but when it did in preview I was shocked.

    Oh, well… the preview function is still mega-cool.

    [Response: I’ve allowed sub and sup for future comments. – gavin]

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 1 Jan 2011 @ 2:05 PM

  3. I’m still a beginner at this blog but I’d like to learn how I can post a question, e.g., about sea level rise in the distant future, without having to post a “this question is on a different subject than the one being discussed here.”

    Any suggestions?

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 1 Jan 2011 @ 2:40 PM

  4. The live preview doesn’t work in IE8 and Firefox 4.

    Firefox 4 reports:
    14:52:25.366: Exception: syntax error Source File: Line: 1, Column: 0 Category: content javascript

    14:52:25.651: Warning: Unknown property ‘-moz-outline’. Declaration dropped. Source File: Line: 1, Column: 2447 Category: CSS Parser

    IE8 reports:
    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648; .NET CLR 3.0.4506.2152; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E)
    Timestamp: Sat, 1 Jan 2011 19:51:08 UTC

    Message: Syntax error
    Line: 1
    Char: 1
    Code: 0

    Comment by Wayne Johnston — 1 Jan 2011 @ 2:55 PM

  5. I love the preview function, thanks a lot. Though my last post over on one of the other threads makes clear I should use it more thoroughly (a couple of typos slipped through). Oh, well.

    Happy New Year, and keep up the good work.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  6. This whole business can be very depressing, maybe even moreso for the unwashed hoi polloi like myself, and your posts, arriving irregularly as they do, but dependably, cheer me up a great deal, and so I applaud your efforts for that reason if for nothing else.

    I remember that y’all seemed stiffer at the outset; snobby know-it-alls (I hope you don’t mind me saying this – it’s just my opinion); but you seem to have been developing positively in this respect – an example of extreme pressure bringing out the best (as I imagine it).

    I am also glad to see no Facebook or Twitter icons; certainly a relief.

    A preview feature to review comments before you submit them would be nice.

    Keep it up. Be well.

    Comment by David Wilson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:14 PM

  7. Oops, silly me, there ARE Facebook & Twitter connections, so small I didn’t notice ’em at least – ok, no problem.

    Comment by David Wilson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:18 PM

  8. The preview is now working in IE8. I didn’t do anything other than to close and reopen the browser.

    Comment by Wayne Johnston — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:20 PM

  9. Hunt Janin: If you can’t find somewhere relevant, then find the latest open thread where you can ask whatever you please.

    Comment by Didactylos — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:23 PM

  10. Add my voice to the chorus of happy previewers.

    And Happy New Year, while I’m at it!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Jan 2011 @ 3:43 PM

  11. I already liked the site and I think the preview improves it.

    Sometimes when I post the text is displayed with the notation “Awaiting Moderation”. I think it would be helpful if you always displayed the text (for a given poster) awaiting moderation. If that isn’t asking too much.

    Also, some submissions are deleted because they trigger the spam filter, but there is no hint at the offending words or phrases. It would be nice if you could highlight the offending text. Again, if it isn’t too much work. You do lots of good work already.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 1 Jan 2011 @ 4:07 PM

  12. I wish all my life’s more significant decisions had a preview function. Thanks for the improvements! Typos can make good comments look idiotic. I hope real climate can help with ways for everyone to have a happier new year and for Mother Earth to have a happier future as well.

    It’s only tangentially related to climate change discussions, but a microclimate in Death Valley, California has given rise to some interesting physical effects and much controversy regarding the ways big heavy rocks can be seen to have moved around on the bottom of a playa lake, untouched by external, unnatural forces.

    A solution to what’s been a mystery for decades can be found at:

    I don’t see a way to preview these comments before I click the “Submit Comment” button in either Safari or Firefox on an Intel Mac.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 1 Jan 2011 @ 4:48 PM

  13. Thanks for keeping on, and a happy new year to you!

    The new preview is neat.

    Just testing a couple of other things, please ignore:

    \lambda \equiv \frac{\Delta T}{\Delta R_f}

    Comment by CM — 1 Jan 2011 @ 5:15 PM

  14. Good for all of us! But then some one calling themselves RoveRoveRoveYourBoat is my “fan” on one of these sites I’m linked to; and injecting a lotta validatable truths into cyberspace, like the kinds of Scientifically Assessed Truths I find here, is why.
    And the more ‘fans’ progressive, scietifically minded, social lefties like me (and some of you EU Citizens’, I’d wager) have on ‘that side of the aisle’ the better.
    Maybe I can even draw “K.R.” into the debate!
    Happy New Year!

    Comment by James Staples — 1 Jan 2011 @ 5:26 PM

  15. S. Matthew #11, re: “awaiting moderation”, when I submit a comment I consistently see it displayed the way you describe. If it’s not consistent for you, might it be a browser issue on your end?

    Comment by CM — 1 Jan 2011 @ 5:26 PM

  16. There are two reasons it may not say “awaiting moderation”. 1) It didn’t make the cut, and 2) sometimes the comment appears on a different page to the one you get redirected to.

    Comment by Didactylos — 1 Jan 2011 @ 6:04 PM

  17. Live preview is visible for me: Firefox 4.0b8, Mac OSX

    A few errors (parsing value for ‘filter’ and ‘font-size’; unknown property ‘-moz-outline’) cause those declarations to be dropped, per Error Console.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2011 @ 6:14 PM

  18. Hunt Janin — Just ask anyway. Lotsa people do it. As for SLR eventually, first read David Archer’s The Long Thaw. Then note that even at current levels of CO2, we are back to Miocene conditions,
    The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems
    Wolfram M. Kürschner , Zlatko Kvaček, and David L. Dilcher
    with sea highstands ~60 meters above current sea levels.

    So if CO2 concentration remain so elevated, a couple of millennia ought to be long enough.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 6:30 PM

  19. Two opposable thumbs up for preview!

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 6:31 PM

  20. Didactylos gave good advice:
    If you can’t find somewhere relevant, then find the latest open thread where you can ask whatever you please.

    Suggestion — keep an open thread, and put a nice big fat blinkenlights button for the currently open thread smack in the middle of the banner — below the picture, since the buttons along the very top often are missed?

    It might help.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2011 @ 7:19 PM

  21. CM and Didactylos, thanks for the comments. I’ll try some experiments.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 1 Jan 2011 @ 7:33 PM

  22. Hank Roberts idea @20 might help to keep comments more on-topic.

    If that matters.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 7:39 PM

  23. I’d suggest adding the “WinerLinks” functionality, which allows direct linking to individual paragraphs in posts. In case it’s not clear what I’m talking about:

    [Response: Your wish is our command… – gavin]

    Comment by andrewo — 1 Jan 2011 @ 8:05 PM

  24. “some submissions are deleted because they trigger the spam filter, but there is no hint at the offending words or phrases. It would be nice if you could highlight the offending text.”

    YES. Please make the spam filter light up the offending word(s) instantly. I find it very difficult to identify the problem and usually just email my comment to A highlighting spam filter would save time for you as well as for me.

    How do you put formulas into comments? I see that 13 CM did it. I used to be able to write formulas with the Word formula maker, but I don’t have that on this machine. I now have NeoOffice.

    [Response: The math functionality comes from QuickLatex – gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Jan 2011 @ 8:36 PM

  25. Can you do threaded comments, where comments can be directly replied to?

    [Response: We’ve tried it, but the threading gets very complicated and it’s hard to see what is new. Sorry. – gavin]

    Comment by Damien — 1 Jan 2011 @ 8:38 PM

  26. Do you need the spam filter in addition to ReCaptcha? I mean, it’s a really, really rubbish spam filter. It can be defeated by a three year old, but blocks perfectly good comments due to perfectly legitimate words.

    If you do feel you still need a spam filter, there must be a better one out there. Maybe even one good enough to dispense with ReCaptcha.

    Agree with you on threading. Threads are great, but WordPress just can’t cope.

    Comment by Didactylos — 1 Jan 2011 @ 8:55 PM

  27. sweet

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 1 Jan 2011 @ 9:54 PM

  28. CO2. Excellent, this is only the second site I know of that allows subscripts.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 10:16 PM

  29. Testing from an iPhone.

    Comment by Pete W — 1 Jan 2011 @ 10:23 PM

  30. There is a vast assortment of media articles which are related to many of the subjects raised at RC, sort of a parallel universe of information streams coexists simultaneously feeding info not necessarily accurate scientifically.

    At the bottom of each subject there should be ALL the current relevant text and links which are related , these links could be provided by RC readers. This in turn would give any commenters here a chance to redress the misinformation directly, in near real time, which in turn gives the reporter blogger who wrote the related article feedback for the main stream readers in on a better opinion, corrections and other obvious scientific obscenities.

    Responding in a quicker time stops bad science from metastasizing into TV
    or into the anti-science pop culture, which is even harder to correct.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 1 Jan 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  31. Hey guys,

    I’ve enjoyed reading the blog for several years and have decided to chirp in occasionally. I’m a former US government meteorologist but I’ve learned a lot about climate here and from the links. Plus the commentary can be very entertaining.

    As far as AGW is concerned, I believe the empirical evidence; the temperature record and the physics. But like many I have questions about feedbacks.


    Comment by Tom — 1 Jan 2011 @ 11:20 PM

  32. The biggest problem with the spam filter, and even more with Captcha, is that (at least for me) one mistake in either and all your words vanish. I’ll have to look into the quicklatex. I hate not being able to express math in a readable manner….

    Comment by Thomas — 1 Jan 2011 @ 11:24 PM

  33. Gavin:

    “We’ve tried it, but the threading gets very complicated and it’s hard to see what is new. Sorry. – gavin”

    In reality, threading mostly sucks. Don’t go there.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jan 2011 @ 12:17 AM

  34. Thanks for the updates and all the hard work and patience.

    Comment by Charles — 2 Jan 2011 @ 12:41 AM

  35. Threading is horrible for a busy site like this. Once you’re beyond 20ish comments, someone sometime will want to address a response to more than one previous comment. So they have to write two or more separate comments? Numbering comments is much more important.

    The convention of @ or # with a commenter citing comment number and name of writer they’re addressing is much better.

    Comment by adelady — 2 Jan 2011 @ 1:16 AM

  36. QuickLatex: Reading
    I see that I have to learn a computer way of writing math formulas. I also have to get special characters one by one out of my system special character thing. OK.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2011 @ 1:26 AM

  37. Re: LaTeX — the basic syntax is:

    [latex]…your latex code here…[/latex]
    The usage details are worth reading.

    It’s nice to have, but I think anyone who’d like to use it should consider themselves obliged to preview the latex output on their own system first — the new preview function here cannot help with this, and comments like “sorry I screwed up the formula above, it should look like this” are boring.

    Comment by CM — 2 Jan 2011 @ 2:15 AM

  38. I’m author of and I want to thank you for using it.
    It is really motivating that such respectful website relies on our service. We appreciate it very much.

    We are planning to release updated version of the QuickLaTeX plugin for WordPress soon, which will support native LaTeX syntax embedded directly in the webpage (copy-paste compatibility with offline LaTeX papers), tikZ drawings, automatic equation numbering, styling through CSS and many more.

    Hope you will like it too.

    Comment by Pavel Holoborodko — 2 Jan 2011 @ 2:47 AM

  39. Sometime last year I browsed through most of the links in the menu on the right and found a few broken or dead links.

    If you haven’t done so yet, maybe someone can do a bit of house cleaning and tidy up or fix the links??

    [Response: We do so every so often, but if people would notify us of any dead links anywhere on the site, we will endeavour to fix them. Thanks. – gavin]

    Comment by The Ville — 2 Jan 2011 @ 4:26 AM

  40. I read many of the climate change blogs of all ‘sides’. I frequently find other blogs pointed to as proof of a particular issue – especially WUWT. I would like to be able to go directly to a science based site where somebody knowledgeable has already provided a rebuttal to the WUWT article so that I can see just where they’ve got it wrong.

    A good example is this article –

    It does seem that several folks even at WUWT have shown that there are significant flaws in this but I can’t always find such posts in the comments section.

    I know that it would be quite a burden to ensure that every WUWT article has a rebuttal here (or somewhere linked) as that is quite a prolific site but I think it should be done. I do use the Skeptical Science site too but rebuttals specific to WUWT items would be better I think.

    If there are thousands of scientists working on climate change (as we are told in concensus pieces), perhaps these others should be encouraged to contribute. After all, if the denier meme becomes dominant, they may find it harder to access funding so it is in their own interests to ensure the truth is known.

    [Response: This isn’t quite what you are looking for, but there is a web site devoted to bringing Watts to task. It’s called wottsupwiththat–eric]

    Comment by Louise — 2 Jan 2011 @ 6:14 AM

  41. The live preview function is great.

    Happy New Year and thanks to all who bring us this excellent blog.

    Comment by Adam R. — 2 Jan 2011 @ 8:15 AM

  42. Louise,
    I don’t think there is a sort of “rapid action force” to combat bullshit papers. The thing is that if you are a scientist (as opposed to an idjit pretending to be a scientist on a blog), you know better than to attach much importance to a single paper, especially one that purports to overturn a theory that has been established for a century.

    Unfortunately most laymen have zero understanding of how science is actually done or what scientific concensus is, and there seems to be a minor industry publishing crap that takes advantage of the public’s credulity when they hear the word “peer reviewed”. Energy and Environment was one of the first–it makes no secret of its political nature. Other publications aren’t political, but merely provide an outlet for researchers to publish crap. Scientists know that these journals should come printed on 4-inch squares and wrapped around a cardboard roll. The public, not so much.

    If it’s climate related, at some point, it will probably be mentioned on the most current thread of Realclimate. Tamino’s Open Mind also does absolutely beautiful demolitions of WTFUWT’s cerebral flatulence. Rabett Run occasionally skewers an idjit or two. Deepclimate follows the oily money, and anything you can find by John Mashey is worth reading. is good against the denialist memes.

    About this particular incident of dumber-than-owl-droppings idiocy, Rattus Norwegicus vectored me to this nice, little evisceration of the publisher:

    So, in short, “Watch these spaces” and ask questions. It will become very clear that the two “sides” of this debate are science vs. anti-science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2011 @ 8:49 AM

  43. Ray Ladbury – thanks for your reply

    I do have a science background (long time ago) but do not have sufficient knowledge of climate science to be able to instantly spot the problems in the non-science stuff posted at places like WUWT (and even worse, I lack the confidence in my own ability to state what I believe to be the problems without confirmation from another source). Hence, I would like a site that I could click on that I know will be keeping tabs on WUWT.

    I list that site in particular as it does seem to be the main home of the deniers and whackos and so I feel a team of dedicated WUWT rebutters would be useful in a similar way that keeps an eye on Monckton.

    Comment by Louise — 2 Jan 2011 @ 9:18 AM

  44. > that site in particular

    Only at the moment. Over years, there’s slow movement.
    Look back a few years and you’ll find the gathering place changes over time, to wherever a blog host can be relied on not to challenge bogus claims.
    When the host encourages that stuff, the site fills up with what you see.

    If you’re dubious, ask people posting the usual talking points where they found what they believe and why they consider their source reliable and trustworthy. Such claims usually aren’t cited; those who’ve discovered them want to post them as their own ideas and argue them yet another time again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jan 2011 @ 9:55 AM

  45. Louise,

    The idea of a one-stop-shop for providing balance (to use a word they like so much over there) to WUWT was exactly what I thought of too. If done right (eg providing all data and ready-to-run scripts to replicate the correct results), it could be very effective.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 2 Jan 2011 @ 10:00 AM

  46. Louise,
    Really, your best bet is to go through Realclimate and skepticalscience and get familiar with the recurring memes. There really aren’t that many, and they keep being recycled:

    1)”It’s all a fraud”–absurd on its face, as it would have to include not just climate science, but physics, geophysics, chemistry,…
    2)”It’s all down to UHI, GCR, black carbon…”–Invariably these arguments restrict themselves to a tiny portion of the evidence available and show they can “sort of” explain that with some other cause than greenhouse gasses. I guarantee they will not simultaneousl consider tropospheric warming and startospheric cooling, spatiotemporal characteristics of warming, etc.
    3)”The models are all wrong…”–again, these arguments restrict themselves to a tiny portion of the evidence, usually a cherry-picked dataset. They also invariably distort what the model outputs mean
    4)”CO2 sensitivity vs positive/negative feedback”–This one can be subtle–that’s why actual climate scientists like Lindzen and Spencer play in this arena. Often, they obtain low sensitivity estimates by distorting the timescale of climate response (e.g. exaggerate the speed with which the system comes to equilibrium). Also, there tends to be a good bit of cherry-picking datasets and questionable analysis (e.g. Lindzen & Choi 2009). Finally, they utterly ignore all the things you can’t understand about Earth’s climate without a significant positive feedback on energy input into the climate system.
    5)Finally, my favorite–the contention that there is no greenhouse effect. This one is so absurd that it ought to be disproved simply by the volume of laughter it generates. Invariably, though, you find these papers to be riddled with errors–e.g. G&T, Miskolczi…

    It took me, with a physics PhD, about 3 years until I felt comfortable with some of the more subtle aspects of climate theory. However, one can pretty quickly learn that the denialists don’t have much in their arsenal, and that the memes repeat themselves with about a 1-2 year periodicity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2011 @ 10:05 AM

  47. I don’t think much of a site devoted to debunking rubbish since there’s an infinite amount of rubbish. The editorial process of scientific journals is kind of the sentinel to obvious bilge.

    If a blog appearance is all a theory has going for it, why worry about it?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 2 Jan 2011 @ 10:52 AM

  48. > that site in particular

    This may help:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jan 2011 @ 11:05 AM

  49. There’s an odd bug in the live preview. It can’t cope with URLs that end in a digit. Just testing to see how it behaves in the actual comment:
    same link (this breaks the preview and doesn’t render) (this line doesn’t render in the preview)
    same link with an extra / (this works, but the workaround is only valid for some URLs)

    It’s more broken than I thought, the link that doesn’t display in the preview totally screws up the preview text following it, too. View source, and it’s a total mess.

    Comment by Didactylos — 2 Jan 2011 @ 12:27 PM

  50. Good news: this bug only affects the preview. It may even be browser-specific.

    [Response: Well, I can replicate the bug, and it is related to a specific string replace line in the php (line 101): s = s.replace(/(\d+)"/g, '$1″'); . I commented it out, and the bug disappears, but it may have broken the preview in other ways. I will notify the authors and see what they suggest. In the meantime, my ‘fix’ is in. – gavin]

    Comment by Didactylos — 2 Jan 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  51. I wish you a good year an I hope forn real climates guys as good job like other years.
    Thank you very much much much.

    Comment by José Larios — 2 Jan 2011 @ 12:33 PM

  52. Not getting the Latex thing. In case I’m just not hopelessly dense and others have simlar problems, I tried:
    and (at leat the preview) just literally shows the string.
    I can’t seem to find a simple primer on Latex, just a couple of examples, but a list of the most commonl commands etc. isn’t obvious where to find.

    [Response: You need a \ before any latex command ie. \frac{a}{b} gives \frac{a}{b} – gavin]

    Comment by Thomas — 2 Jan 2011 @ 1:59 PM

  53. Gavin,

    I think I’ve found the bug. Lines 86-87


    should be the other way around:


    With this change, the wptexturize function should work as intended, i.e. only on what’s between <html tags> rather than inside them…

    Caveat: I haven’t tested this on a live WordPress system.

    [Response: I just did. Bad things happen! Thus I’ll stick with my original fix for the time being until I hear from the authors…thanks though. – gavin]

    Comment by CM — 2 Jan 2011 @ 3:57 PM

  54. Thomas #52,
    the live preview plugin takes some guesses at how WordPress will format the text. It doesn’t know about the latex plugin, and cannot simulate it (and I doubt there’s any good way to make that happen with this plugin combination). That’s why you only see the raw latex string, and why I suggested a few comments back that people had better test any latex math on their own systems before posting here. The standard 157-minute (!) intro to LaTeX, including math, is here:

    Comment by CM — 2 Jan 2011 @ 4:39 PM

  55. Louise,

    Try WottsUpWithThat.

    A rapid rebuttal service run by ‘Ben’. Keeping up with the Gish Gallop – it can take a lot longer to debunk bunk than it does to write it – must take a lot of time and Ben, in his New Year post is considering a bit of crowdsourcing.

    Happy 2011!

    Phil Clarke.

    Comment by pjclarke — 2 Jan 2011 @ 5:56 PM

  56. Well now, I thought I’d become a slobbering moron when I got no reply for reporting that the live preview didn’t work for me and my Mac. Now I see the text as I write in the window recapped below the window as indeed a live preview. Cool.
    I’ll echo Edward’s comment regarding words that trigger the offending words filter. It might save time for everyone if that filter pre-empted a mistake, much like spell check.
    Thanks for fixing this.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 2 Jan 2011 @ 6:09 PM

  57. Thanks for preview mode.

    As for threading, I would like to find all related conversations. That’s useful when you get into a discussion late. The ideal: have a threaded and nonthreaded view.

    Meanwhile the \LaTeX stuff is great though it would be nice if it previewed. I use LaTeXiT on my Mac for quick tests and formula entry. You need a TeX installation for this to work, but if you do any significant formula typing, it’s well worth doing.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 3 Jan 2011 @ 2:18 AM

  58. Louise,

    Also see SkepticalScience. Specifically, this page there organizes all known denier memes in a smart hierarchy and links to existing pages on the site explaining the real science.

    That site is a treasure.

    Comment by GFW — 3 Jan 2011 @ 2:31 AM

  59. Gavin 39,

    I wish there were a link to my climatology pages. Unless you think I have unreliable information there somewhere?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:31 AM

  60. Louise 40,

    Go to tamino’s “Open Mind” blog —

    Tamino makes a running theme of pointing out how Watts blew it on all his major posts, and then resisted correction from people who knew what they were talking about.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:32 AM

  61. Jeff Davis 47: If a blog appearance is all a theory has going for it, why worry about it?

    BPL: Because millions of unsuspecting people are influenced by these blogs.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:35 AM

  62. Louise,
    A list of 119 denialist memes:

    Although, Ray has it right, most of them fall into categories. The rebuttals to the list link back to skepticalscience, but I like the list format, makes it easy to find ’em.

    Comment by Maya — 3 Jan 2011 @ 12:05 PM

  63. Benson at #18 said: “with sea highstands ~60 meters above current sea levels.
    So if CO2 concentration remain so elevated, a couple of millennia ought to be long enough.”

    I am teaching classical literature this semester–works by people who wrote 2000 years ago or so. It is sobering to look at the world we have now ensured will be here in an equivalent amount of time:

    Comment by wili — 3 Jan 2011 @ 12:30 PM

  64. Maya, Paul, GFW, et al, The problem here goes beyond identifying the meme. The “new paper” in this case was published at this (apparently bogus?) aggregation website Scientific Research Publishing:

    It looks like this site exists so that dubious denialist papers can be republished for no other reason than so the denialist websites can claim them as new papers again. It appears that they are doing this so they can claim that the rebuttal of the denialist meme is no longer valid, because the paper is about new research.

    Comment by Martin Smith — 3 Jan 2011 @ 1:11 PM

  65. > bogus … Scientific Research Publishing

    It appears there’s more to it than just climate denial, it’s a whole new science publishing universe being created out of handwaving and assertion; hard to tell if it’s sophisticated scammers/spammers or another example of the notion that it’s okay to take stuff you find online and put your own name on it and build a reputation that way.

    This (suggested by one of the links from turns up more:

    including an attack on the IEEE claiming they’re the scammers.

    Amazing stuff going on. Gives the current plagiarism problems a context.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2011 @ 1:43 PM

  66. I’m thrilled to read this update after having just found another inspirational post the other day entitled:
    “Top 10 reasons why grad students should blog”
    In other words, it’s a great resource we have in the sea of opportunity to get our message out. As scientists, we should embrace the chance to widen our audience! Thanks for the consistent quality.

    Comment by Part of the blogging massive — 3 Jan 2011 @ 1:57 PM

  67. More strangeness about IEEE and SCIgen, with multiple links, none of which I’d trust without verifying. Has IEEE commented anywhere on this?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2011 @ 2:35 PM

  68. Gavin (at #53),

    Oops. Sorry to waste your time with a bad bugfix, then. It worked fine on my test page (I did make one), so I’m curious what bad things happened, if you have a minute.

    [Response: The whole browser froze if I tried to delete any of my typing…. – gavin]

    As long as the script continues to trespass inside the html tags, you may want to comment-out not only lines 101-102 but also 103, 105 and 106, which will cause some valid html links to fail in preview, as in the cases below — they won’t eat up any text, but they also cannot be tested by clicking on them in the preview. (Ditto line 111 for certain picture links where the URL includes the resolution as [width]x[height].)

    Working link:
    <a href=””>RealClimate</a>

    Space after attribute — link fails in preview:
    <a href=”” title=”test”>RealClimate</a>

    Single quotes around attribute — link fails in preview:
    <a href=’’>RealClimate</a>

    [Response: Indeed. There is something more amiss… – gavin]

    [Further thought:: Why is this plugin defining it’s own wptexturize and wpautop functions in any case? Why not just us the ones in the standard WP setup? – gavin]

    Comment by CM — 3 Jan 2011 @ 3:01 PM

  69. As people know, I can be very persistent :-)

    I *still* hope for “shadow threads” or some mechanisms that gives moderators a quick way to improve the S/N ratio of the main thread. without jus rejecting posts. See RC, comment#192 from March 2009.

    A November 2010 comment Stoat has an addition, with further development at OIIFTG December 2010. Standard codes for sending a comment to the shadow woudl be delightful, akin to John Cook’s codification of anti-science memes at Skeptical Science.

    It only makes sense for this to be done by bloggers who actual have blogging software, but I would bet that if one or two well-known blogs do something like this, the idea will spread. Especially for archival use, some of these 400-post discussions would seem to be far better split into an on-topic discussion of ~100 posts and 300 in a shadow thread. It can be painful to go back and read some of the longer discussions. I sometimes have to tell people just to read the main post and avoid the discussion, especially towards the end when S/N ratios degrade. That’s sad, as there is often valuable content in the discussions.

    Anyway, RC remains the best around, and really, this might save time in moderation.

    Comment by John Mashey — 3 Jan 2011 @ 3:21 PM

  70. I encountered another person who says we don’t have to worry about climate because “God” will fix it.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jan 2011 @ 3:33 PM

  71. Gavin (#68),

    That’s bad, all right. I think I’ll admit defeat, and hope you’ll get a response from the developers.

    But re further thought:
    The plugin defines its own functions because it does its magic by client-side Javascript, not WordPress’s server-side PHP. (I seem to recall the original — static — preview function was dumped because for some odd reason it was too much of a server load… Now imagine calling those WordPress functions on the server every time any commenter presses a key!)

    [Response: Agreed, but these functions are just filters- no database calls at all. When I get a chance I’ll experiment with just commenting out the plugin versions…- gavin]

    Comment by CM — 3 Jan 2011 @ 3:49 PM

  72. Gavin, it’s reimplemented in javascript. The fact that the javascript is on a php page is just to confuse everyone.

    John Mashey: how about one of those plugins that allow featured comments?

    Comment by Didactylos — 3 Jan 2011 @ 4:26 PM

  73. Re: threads

    Google Groups does threading.

    Comment by Martin Smith — 3 Jan 2011 @ 4:41 PM

  74. There’s a lot of criticism of the ‘censoring’ that happens on this blog. I can understand exactly why giving the deniers houseroom is not something that you’d want to do but I like Greenfyre’s ‘dunce’s corner’.

    ie – removal of the denier post from the thread in question and dumping it out of the way but not actually deleting it. That way, everyone can see the posts that were removed as irrelevant, trolling, etc without them upsetting the flow of the discussion.

    Worth considering?

    Comment by Louise — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:13 PM

  75. Gavin,

    I’m pretty sure you can’t get there by commenting out bits of live-comment-preview.

    What you’re thinking about is something like what this plugin does:

    Might be worth a try.

    Comment by CM — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:24 PM

  76. Thanx again for the web site. I fear that I do not express my appreciation as often as I ought. I too would like threaded comments, but I dont know of a good way to do it without going the usenet route. Mr. Mashey’s shadow comments are probably a good way to go.

    I take this opportunity to request a review of ice sheet models.


    Comment by sidd — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:29 PM

  77. wili @63 — It is possible to put the excess carbon back in the ground. A budget about the same per year as the USG’s DoD ought to be able to do the job in under a decade; all 500 billion tonnes of it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Jan 2011 @ 5:32 PM

  78. @32 (belatedly) I have had the same problem and my work-around is simply to write any longish comment in a text document and paste it in the comment window after saving it. It’s also possible to type in the comment window and copy it to the clipboard just before trying to submit.

    Comment by MalcolmT — 3 Jan 2011 @ 7:32 PM

  79. Will there be, or is there, a realclimate app for iPhone or Droid?

    Comment by John Coffee — 3 Jan 2011 @ 7:37 PM

  80. 77 David B. Benson

    500 billion tonnes of carbon or 500 billion tonnes of CO2, which is it?

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 3 Jan 2011 @ 7:54 PM

  81. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. @80 — Carbon, as I stated.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Jan 2011 @ 8:47 PM

  82. re: 72 “plugins” to allow featured comments
    That is nice as well, but it’s a different feature.
    Just as good editors do, good blog moderators can add great value (read: improve S/N ratio) in either direction:

    a) Highlight especially-good posts.

    b) b1) Put marginal posts elsewhere (but visible), b2) reject truly-bad ones.

    Print editors used to have choice a) or b2) for letters-to-editor. To some extent these days, online sites act as intermediate places fo expression, especially if someone actually pays attention to them.

    However, while doing a) can be helpful, that still leaves a lot of noise.

    As a use-case exercise, people might go back a year or two, print some thread at least 100 posts long, and mark it up as they would, given the suggestions I’ve made. I’m especially interested in an small set of codes that people might use to categorize reasons for sending to a shadow. After all, sometimes even highly credible posters just cannot help themselves from getting into off-topic duels and troll-feeding.

    I conjecture that some people’s posting goal is the degradation of S/N ratios … because it works, especially because it discourages people from later plowing through the discussion, a different experience from watching one in progress.

    Comment by John Mashey — 3 Jan 2011 @ 10:07 PM

  83. Off topic but needed quickly:
    Does anybody know how to make an amicus curiae [friend of court] brief to the US Supreme Court?
    No. 10-174 Title:American Electric Power Company Inc., et al., Petitioners
    v.Connecticut, et al.
    is over whether the states can do more than the EPA is doing about CO2.

    Unlimited amicus curiae [friend of court] briefs are already authorized, but the time limit has already been extended many times. Dr. Doi’s paper and BPL’s paper should be part of the documentation that the court uses to reach a decision. The EPA is working far too slowly. RealClimate should be “witnesses” at this “trial.” Quotation marks are because you get to be a witness by filing an amicus brief. I may do it pro se [without a lawyer by myself], but I am really not good at it. How should BPL’s paper be presented?

    We should have heard of this case a long time ago. Could RC have a case alerter?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jan 2011 @ 10:31 PM

  84. Filtering out paid denialist propaganda is a good idea. Look at how dotearth gets loaded with denialist propaganda beyond the point where a person who doesn’t know would get swamped. [Aside: I see Shell oil advertisements/messages on dotearth’s page. No wonder Andy Revkin is so “balanced.”]

    6 out of 10 comments so far are denialist and one of the others is on neither “side”. I could recommend only 3 comments. If you want people to be able to learn and understand climate science, you have to present a consistent message. The paid denialists prevent a clear message on dotearth. People who want free speech on YOUR web page may be paid denialists who want to prevent you from getting your message out. No doubt they already have their own web pages.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jan 2011 @ 10:48 PM

  85. Edward Greisch #83

    You’ll really need a lawyer who is admitted to the Supreme Court to file an amicus brief. Even then the science is secondary in this case. The bigger issue is if the state’s nuisance cases can preempt federal Clear Air Act legislation.

    I know it is off topic, but I can help another RC reader.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 3 Jan 2011 @ 11:24 PM

  86. 85 Joseph O’Sullivan: Thanks. It isn’t my personal case. It is everybody’s case. It is a case that RC should be involved in. I agree with you that, as stated, the case is about a narrow legal question, but look at that case that allowed corporations to put unlimited money into elections. It went way beyond the input question.

    Suggestion for RC blog: Add legal articles and watch for climate related cases. Some RC people are professors at schools that have law schools. Get law students and professors involved with RC on these cases. Get 10-174 expanded like that election commission case. What RC has to say is relevant because there is no supreme court after civilization collapses.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jan 2011 @ 12:40 AM

  87. New Year, new blog software but same old, same old, for the winter of 2010/11 in Iqaluit @N64. Daily mean 27C above long term average and a ho hum new daily record high only 3.7C higher than the old record. But don’t worry it’s local and thus just weather, not climate.

    Comment by w kensit — 4 Jan 2011 @ 3:16 AM

  88. Re: removal of the denier post from the thread in question and dumping it out of the way but not actually deleting it.

    I think that’s the way to handle it. Instead of allowing dead denialist horses to be re-beaten, replace the posts here with links to them, moved to a “penalty box” page somewhere else on the site.

    Comment by Martin Smith — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:40 AM

  89. @87 Martin Smith. “Instead of allowing dead denialist horses to be re-beaten, replace the posts here with links to them, moved to a “penalty box” page somewhere else on the site.”

    I hadn’t thought of this until I saw ‘Dunces Corner’ at Greenfyres. I’m not sure that name (or a similar one) would be appropriate here. The main issue is that with a site as busy as this, the mods would have their hands full just shifting and allocating the nonsense and the offensive remarks elsewhere.

    Everyone knows the rules. If people want to wander off to other sites bleating and wringing their hands over being “banned” from one site or another – let them.

    Comment by adelady — 4 Jan 2011 @ 7:58 AM

  90. The Dunces’ Corner idea is intriguing. Think of the potential value for concentrated comic relief.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2011 @ 8:37 AM

  91. 85, 86, 87:

    Jo Nova’s (obnoxious) site has an infuriating mechanism. People vote thumbs up/down on comments. When a comment starts to get a lot of votes (either way) it turns pink. If it gets a lot of thumbs up, it eventually turns yellow and stands out. If it gets too many thumbs down it becomes hidden, and you have to click on a link to see it.

    Of course, on her site, regardless of the veracity of a statement, if it disagrees with their orthodox religious view of no-AGW, then it gets automatic thumbs down from about 30 people. How many thumbs up a comment gets depends on (from my point of view) how inanely rah rah it is, rather than the quality or truth of the content.

    It’s rather insane, but is very efficient at stopping all debate and promoting her message to the exclusion of all else. That mechanism, and the fact that her posts and her fan club are revoltingly obnoxious, keeps most sane people away.

    Now, on the one hand, I think what she’s done is pathetic, and I’d never want to see that done here. What it does is to drive people away from her site (all of those except for the truly converted and pious), and you don’t want to do that here at RC. You want people to come and learn.

    On the other hand, it certainly works as far as burying the messages that she doesn’t want people to see.

    It’s certainly makes her personally come across better than what she used to do, which is to edit your message if you used the word “denier” (although “warmist”, “warmista”, “alarmist” and any other variation you can think of is just saying it like it is) or anything else she didn’t like. Now the censorship basically happens for her, untouched by (in)human hands.

    As a side note… I find it rather humorous that the deniers always whine about censorship, when I’ve been censored repeatedly by both Watts and Nova. Watts is particularly funny, referring to his blog as “his house” (as if he’s invited me into his pleasant little home for a soothing lemonade), where he and his buddies commit what can only be called outrageously childish bullying (but it’s good bullying, as long as it’s those evil warmistas being assaulted). It’s really pretty funny. But the Wattsers don’t see that side of the coin, they just see that after posting the same silly argument for the 50th time in a row on RC, without understanding the answers, that Gavin finally gets tired of it and says “enough, this is now OT on this thread” and they cry “censorship!”

    But I digress…

    If one had the time and the money, I’d like to see an improved comment/reply system. First, replies should post under the original comment (indented), as some sites do. Beyond this, the comments could branch into sub-threads by allowing a poster (or moderator) to change a “subject” line on a comment. Visitors could filter by subject line, and when sub-threads get too long, the software could automatically collapse comments beyond a certain point (“click here to see 1,574 more comments on the sub thread Reforestation of the Entire World as an Economical Means of Carbon Capture”).

    As far as voting/hiding, I don’t think hiding denial comments is good, because that’s actually part of the signal, not the noise. I think there are a lot of intelligent lurkers that see the denial comments, see the retorts, and things work out as they should — they learn and understand from the exchange, even if the commenter doesn’t. In fact. beyond this they learn how the denial side argues, and how often the denial side of the debate turns out to be just so much elaborate hand waving and distortion. This is demonstrated and emphasized by their repeated, unwavering, tiresome posts. They serve a purpose.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jan 2011 @ 9:08 AM

  92. I think your RC blog is running a lot smoother these days than it was even 12 months back. The articles are always interesting and thought provoking and overall you’re doing an excellent job in my opinion..keep it up! One little quibble..I sometimes forget to copy the recaptcha words at the bottom which results in the loss of my comments (I know! I should always make a copy) and also the letters of the recaptcha words can be a little ambiguous as well.
    Thanks guys

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 4 Jan 2011 @ 9:11 AM

  93. #91–I whole-heartedly agree. I’m trained as a scholar, but lack anything like the background to assess all the technical arguments thoroughly.

    But when you see:

    –subject-changing, or other forms of persistent unresponsiveness to valid arguments or relevant facts

    –rhetoric *substituted* for logic (instead of enhancing its impact)

    –lack of any sort of “literature search” (for me, this includes all “zombie arguments”)

    –cherry-picking or other forms of suppression of context

    then you are able to conclude that “OK, these folks are not operating in good faith; this is ‘debate’ in the pejorative sense.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Jan 2011 @ 10:21 AM

  94. Blog behavior: somewhere there must be social scientists studying this.
    They probably would do a better job at at than most of us, which is why I once built a group that was half cognitive psychologists.

    The reason I worry about bad S/N ratios is that I saw what happened over time to once-fine USENET newsgroups…

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Jan 2011 @ 12:46 PM

  95. The Dunces’ Corner idea is intriguing. Think of the potential value for concentrated comic relief.

    The Panda’s Thumb has had it equivalent, the “Bathroom Wall” forum, for a very long time, and it works well.

    [Response: We could call it the Bore Hole. – gavin]

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Jan 2011 @ 12:52 PM

  96. Your current comment structure (numbered, in chronological order, broken into pages) is the best format I have found on the web.

    Please, please, please, DO NOT go anywhere near threaded comments.

    These simply make it too easy for disinformers to drop their turds throughout the entire comment stream, rather than having to leave their steaming pile at the end of the queue for all to see.

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 4 Jan 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  97. > USENET newsgroups…

    When I first needed help on botanical restoration, in the 1990s, I got help from Spanish and Portugese forest biologists on Usenet. They told me that global warming had started affecting their areas, that they expected more large forest fires, and how to do contouring on slopes to handle the extreme rainfall and runoff after the inevitable forest fires. I did it, it worked really well. Local agency folks looked at the results and adopted them.

    I got that help only because I’d been very good with the ‘nn’ newsreader’s killfile. I didn’t ever see 95 percent of what got posted, because I could block by source, by subject, and by thread. Anything not helpful got killfiled and never seen again. It was great.

    Haven’t had anything that useful since.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 2:04 PM

  98. Dunce’s Corner, it the cases where Tim Lambert gives someone a thread, forbids them for posting elsewhere, are slightly different.

    1) As I noted earlier, sometimes productive posters end up feeding trolls, or people respond to questions that the same person has asked and been answered many times before.
    If I were a moderator, I’d want to nice all if that out if s main thread without any pejorative connotation. In some cases, it may be very good practice resoonding to comments, but may also degrade the S/N ratio if the main discussion.

    2) In addition to obvious trolls, some are more subtle, seeming to act reasonable, but somehow often injecting comments or questions that generate distraction.
    Some if this is just how people think, some may be incompetence, some is so persistent it must be deliberate.

    3) Consider a discussion in which people have contradictory views on some hypothesis, or on a decision robbed made. In a well-handled discussion, the evidence in support if different views is marshaled , comes into better focus over time. Well-exposed contradictions may lead (in research) to research that helps settle the issue, or perhaps generate better hypotheses.
    In business, it may generate action if the form “we have 2 opinions, and to make a decision, we need to get certain data.” I’ve worked for executives who were superb at drawing out opinions and sharpening issues. They also trained people to watch out fir people who had the opposite effect, either by nature or purposefully, who one does nit really want in discussions.
    It us not a question if disagreement, but that instead if articulating issues, they make them fuzzier. This is a well-known tactic in big organizations where people don’t want some decision up be made. It tends to get weeded out in startups, since they can’t afford it.

    Savvy managers know about this. One time, my bosses asked me to transfer an employee in, who seemed to have an unbreakable complexification habit, and see if I could help fix it. I tried, but it was ingrained, and we ended up telling them they really needed to look for another job.
    I’ve had to move people to other jobs, or get them out, or at least get them off task forces or committees, because they could easily waste everyone’s time, either accidentally or on purpose.

    Again, this is different from having intense disagreements and people working to constructively sharpen them. Back in USENET, the mere presence if certain people in a thread was bound to magnify confusion, and I’d stop reading right there. After a while, the experts who used to post mostly gave up. Maybe this is just entropy or Gresham’s Law of the Internet, but it will take work and better software to keep blogs from evolving along similar bad paths.
    This is just software: if a moderator already has an Accept/Reject choice, it should be fairly easy to give at least a 3rd choice, that takes no more effort to use.

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Jan 2011 @ 2:29 PM

  99. [Response: We could call it the Bore Hole. – gavin]

    Appropriate, since temperatures will tend to rise over time.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Jan 2011 @ 3:12 PM

  100. Just a few complaints:

    The magically-appearing paragraph-level permalinks seem like needless distraction to me (and don’t work around lists and blockquotes).

    And the Add-This plugin is probably the third-most annoying blog plugin ever, after Snap Previews and automatic context links.

    [Response: Can we get a vote? I’m not wedded to paragraph links, but I think some kind of sharing plugin is needed. – gavin]

    Comment by Doug — 4 Jan 2011 @ 3:21 PM

  101. > magically-appearing paragraph-level permalinks

    Can’t see’em at all. (Firefox 4.0b8)
    (I can see they should be there, viewing the page source)

    Users who don’t like them could probably filter them out with AdBlock or something like that if they have a recognizable URL.

    I would prefer to see them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:03 PM

  102. Oh, turning off all the NoScript, now I see a green pound sign just once after the original main post, and above that a “+share” window telling me to get “addthis for Firefox” — perhaps I’d need that to see permalinks? Dunno.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:08 PM

  103. OK, apparently for Firefox I have to voluntarily install the “addthis” extension to see the sharing/permalink stuff — and it says “…. Each option can be enabled or disabled separately from the add-on preferences.” So I’ll try that.

    People who don’t want to see the stuff should be able to disable it in a browser that lets them control their own computer; if yours doesn’t try Firefox….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:11 PM

  104. Thanks for a most needed website, writing about the most serious problem which ever hit mankind – and for too many of us living individuals feels just like a slowly creeping problem. That said for those which are not among the millions of people directly hurt in flooded Australian, American or Pakistani cities…

    I’ve got a question:
    The right column heading...: "Other Opinions"
    Should maybe been spelled: "Others Opinions"?

    The “Other” word give me the feeling that these links will lead to some fundamental other opinions? (like denialists…). Just like “other” pointing to “other meanings”, and not to “other peoples opinions” which I think is what the heading want to imply? Certainly we will also understand that other peoples opinions (or Others Opinions), as linked to from, still can’t be given any responsibility from the or its authors.

    Disclaimer: Since my native language is Norwegian, and not English – I may not be right in my interpretation.

    [Response: “Other” here does indeed means “not ours” but it doesn’t imply that we disagree. You are technically correct that we should say “Others’ Opinions” (note the possessive apostrophe) if we want to be clear that we are talking about the opinions of authors. The meaning is subtly different, and your English is very good, evidently!–eric]

    Comment by Kjell Arne Rekaa — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:18 PM

  105. hmmm, adding ‘AddThis’ extension and enabling WordPress doesn’t change anything I see. AddThis Prefs shows it changed my search settings to results it provides, and the button to reset search to the Firefox settings doesn’t seem to work. Ummmmmm.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:28 PM

  106. Yes!

    The Bore Hole!

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jan 2011 @ 5:57 PM

  107. 96, Brian Brademeyer: Your current comment structure (numbered, in chronological order, broken into pages) is the best format I have found on the web.

    On that I concur, fwiw.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Jan 2011 @ 6:01 PM

  108. @ Septic Matthew — 4 Jan 2011 @ 6:01 PM and others referring to prior posts.
    The number of a post may be changed as comments are added, but the name + date/time don’t. Brian Brademeyer’s comment might get bumped from #96, but it will always have been posted 4 Jan 2011 @ 1:49 PM

    I sometimes don’t follow topics for several days, and I like the option to open all the chain in one big page. I find that easier to scroll back and forth in than across multiple pages, and “find” will allow me to quickly follow one person or one idea through the entire thread. For instance, “Firefox” occurs in comments 4, 12, 17, 101, 102, 103, and 105 (as long as they don’t get bumped)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Jan 2011 @ 7:42 PM

  109. [Response: Can we get a vote? I’m not wedded to paragraph links, but I think some kind of sharing plugin is needed. – gavin]

    I’d like to hear others’ opinions, but in my experience, people who use social media sites like Twitter & Facebook already know how to share links on those sites. The pop-up window invariably blocks content that I’m trying to read.

    @Hank Roberts: The Add-This and paragraph permalinks are completely separate things and don’t interact.

    Add-This is an external JavaScript that your browser (via NoScript) probably blocks. You don’t need to have their plugin installed to see it, but if you install the plugin, you will have similar functionality on all websites, not just this one.

    The permalinks are completely controlled by CSS and use no JavaScript at all.

    @Gavin: From a user-centric perspective, things that flash or move or pop up command your attention. What do you want commanding your visitors’ attention, flashing octothorpes and social-media links, or your content?

    [Response: We could replace the pop-up with some buttons. Would that work better for people who use these services? – gavin]

    Comment by Doug — 4 Jan 2011 @ 7:58 PM

  110. For my money ;) the pop up as implemented here [on Opera browser anyway] is much preferable to the permanent allocation of screen real estate to a bunch of buttons, if one doesn’t wish to see the pop up, just avoid mousing over it. I prefer to watch the main page where the string of posts are listed, and the Add/Share widgets aren’t there [a good thing].

    Comment by flxible — 4 Jan 2011 @ 9:39 PM

  111. “I encountered another person who says we don’t have to worry about climate because “God” will fix it.” – 70

    Only 1? I encounter at least 4 of them a week.

    You really need to get out more.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 4 Jan 2011 @ 10:15 PM

  112. Is it possible to search a thread? If not, it would be nice if you could enable searches for the long threads. If it is possible, can you teach me how to do it?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Jan 2011 @ 11:31 PM

  113. Ok, for feedback, I see only one octothorpe, at the very end of the main post, after the AddThis thing. The URL behind the one I see is:

    which suggests there are probably three more of them earlier, I don’t see.

    [Response: Mouse over each paragraph to see. – gavin]

    [Further response: We’ve turned off this feature – it was kind of annoying. – gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2011 @ 11:43 PM

  114. Septic Matthew – To search whatever page [thread] you have currently in focus, simply use your browser “Find” function, on my browser it’s under the “Edit” dropdown.

    Comment by flxible — 5 Jan 2011 @ 12:28 AM

  115. I’ve been reading RealClimate for a few years and whilst the content of the posts is great, the font is not. I personally find it very unpleasant to read.

    I’ve tried looking at RealClimate using several different browsers and operating systems, the post font sometimes looks good (when it renders as Helvetica) but mostly it doesn’t.

    I downloaded the home page and I’ve been playing around with the CSS and the problem (when looked at through my browser, Firefox 3.6 on Windows XP) lies in the p,li,.feedback class, where Arial has to be listed before Helvetica for the fonts to display properly. If Helvetica is listed first (as is currently the case) the text renders in a very odd mashed and clipped sort of way. I haven’t got a clue why the order would matter so much though.

    I would greatly appreciate it if Arial could be listed before Helvetica in the RealClimate CSS.

    Comment by Anna — 5 Jan 2011 @ 7:04 AM

  116. Re: comment threading,

    I’m not advocating any change from the current system. But FWIW, I think the perfect compromise is one I’ve seen implemented on Movable Type-based blogs (presumably there’s a WP plugin to do the same thing, I dunno). Brief description:

    Every comment gets a “Reply to this” button. Starting a new comment as a reply equips it with a permalink to the comment you’re replying to, and some descriptive text, a la “This is a reply to troll76 at #434”. But the new comment appears at the end of the list anyway. All comments appear as a single chronological sequence on the page: there are no branches for disinformation-injecting trolls to hang out on. Still, you can follow subthreads backward by clicking on the links. Moreover, it becomes feasible to extract subthreads automatically, if a really interesting (or really off-topic) exchange takes place over long intervals.

    Comment by CM — 5 Jan 2011 @ 7:52 AM

  117. While we’re wish-listing here, the only relevant frustration I’ve had is that sometimes it’s quite hard to find old posts/comments. I’m sure they’re all there in the archives somewhere, but quite often I’ve not been able to locate specific comments that I or others have made.

    I don’t have a really well-formed idea for a fix, but the problem is that any search method I’ve tried so far only gets you to the right post, leaving you with the unfortunate necessity of manually scrolling through several hundred comments. The first couple of hits are listed, but to find subsequent hits in the post, you’re on your own–and you don’t even know how many hits there are in the thread.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Jan 2011 @ 8:51 AM

  118. Just tried flxible’s method to search threads. (#114.) Worked like a charm, once I figured out that you need to use the ‘previous/next’ buttons that pop up. Thank you, flxible!

    So the search becomes a two-step process: use the RC search function to locate relevant posts, then search them internally as flxible describes. Maybe this process could be incorporated in RC “how to navigate” notes somewhere; then queries could be pointed to them. (For all I know, this has been done already and I missed it.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Jan 2011 @ 9:08 AM

  119. Thanks Benson (@77) for your input about possibilities for carbon sequestration. There does not seem to be much political will for this, of course, and, of course, there are huge ironies in spending enormous resources on sequestering carbon while we are at the same time furiously UN-sequestering it.

    Meanwhile, I would very much like to know what people make of this recent presentation by Shakhova:

    This passage from slide # 34 seems particularly…troubling:

    “Interpretation of acoustical data recorded with deployed multibeam sonar allowed moderate quantification of bottom fluxes as high as 44
    g/m2/d (Leifer et al., in preparation). Prorating these numbers to the areas of hot spots (210×103 km2) adds 3.5Gt to annual methane release from the
    ESAS. This is enough to trigger abrupt climate change (Archer, 2005).”

    Comment by wili — 5 Jan 2011 @ 12:08 PM

  120. 114, flxible

    Thank you.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Jan 2011 @ 3:30 PM

  121. As there has never been a poll on who the science deniers think is organizing the global warming hoax, I was going to suggest RealClimate do one, but then I found an article here where anyone can vote:
    Currently the Lizard People are leading the poll, closely followed by Maurice Strong, Julia Roberts and Osama Bin Laden. Surprisingly the scientists are in the clear – Michael Mann and Phil Jones don’t have a vote between them!

    Comment by grunt — 5 Jan 2011 @ 4:30 PM

  122. I am grateful to all the maintainers and moderators of this site for what you are doing here.

    At the same time, when I read the articles posted here, I sometimes feel as though astronomers had identified a large asteroid that is hurtling towards the Earth with a 95 percent probability of a civilization-destroying, and probably biosphere-destroying, collision within a few decades; and I am reading a blog where scientists write about their investigations into the intriguing questions of the exact chemical composition, structure and history of the asteroid. And then the comment pages are filled with endless, repetitive arguments with cranks who maintain that the very existence of these things called “asteroids” is merely a speculative hypothesis if not a hoax.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jan 2011 @ 5:45 PM

  123. wili @119 — It seems (according to a blogger elsewhere) the IEA claims that, world wide, governments subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of half a trillion dollars a year. That sum would do nicely.

    As for methane expression, on a earlier thread a RealClimate climatologist suggested it is not (yet) a concern.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Jan 2011 @ 8:28 PM

  124. SecularAnimist 122 I’m afraid your analogy is quite accurate. This is what drives BPL’s fervour. For myself, I think that we (globally) will change our ways over time, and that then we will then learn, slowly but surely, and for many more of us, fatally, just how much damage we did. I also accept the premises that life is adaptive, complex, and impossible to suppress. Optimism and pessimism soup?

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 6 Jan 2011 @ 2:27 AM

  125. SecularAnimist & One Anonymous Bloke. I whole heartedly agree with both of you. I’ts as though no one is taking the issue nearly as seriously as they should be. Your analogy about the asteroid I interpret this way…there is a 95% chance that this will destroy the entire framework of life on this planet but a certain county who’s anagam is ASU says we’ll give that 5% chance the benefit of the doubt as an excuse to sit on our hands and do NOTHING! We will only act if ALL the world’s climate scientists agree that there is a 100% chance that the infrastructure for life will be destroyed within the next 2-300 years. IT seems to me this mentality is increasingly dominant. Dare I sound too conspirational and suggest that the leaders of the western world already realise as they have been informerd by agencies in the know that it is indeed too late for any meaningful reversal of the unstoppable juggernaut that is Global warming so why bother to invest in something that is economically detremental.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 6 Jan 2011 @ 7:18 AM

  126. #121–Evidently the question is being treated with the seriousness it merits.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jan 2011 @ 7:21 AM

  127. 125 (Lawrence Coleman),

    We will only act if ALL the world’s climate scientists agree that there is a 100% chance that the infrastructure for life will be destroyed within the next 2-300 years.

    I don’t think this would actually do it, either, the key being that the 200-300 year time frame leaves too much wiggle room for both the faux-intellectual argument that by then we’ll have devised asteroid vaporization technology. More importantly, however, on the emotional level, 200-300 years is just too distant for today’s selfish what’s-on-my-agenda-for-today-and-TV-tonight people of the ASU.

    I see two behaviors that irk me more than any other, because they are so quietly insidious.

    The first is that people, emotionally, don’t react to climate change because the real dangers are 30-50 or even 100 years in the future. Yes, they have children and grandchildren that they should care about, but they just can’t wrap their arms around a problem that distant. “So much could happen before then…”

    The second is when deniers say things like “the Arctic hasn’t melted yet — see, there’s no warming” or “the Amazon is fine — see, there’s no warming” or “crop production continues to increase — see, there’s no warming.” They not only aren’t looking ahead, but they’re using the long time frame of events to play to people’s own natural time-sensitivity. If it hasn’t done anything bad yet, then it’s not real.

    It reminds me in an unexpected way of the tale of the condemned man who convinced the king that he could teach a horse to sing, if given the chance. This earned the prisoner a year’s reprieve, with the remonstrations of his cell mate for his idiocy in thinking he could teach a horse to sing, to which he replied “A lot could happen in a year. The king could die. The horse could die. Or I could die. And who knows, maybe the horse will learn to sing.”

    In the climate denial version of this, the condemned prisoner has a choice between hard labor for a month, versus a year of leisure while trying to teach the horse to sing — with execution at the end of that year if he fails.

    And the deniers opt for trying to teach the horse to sing.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Jan 2011 @ 10:23 AM

  128. Lawrence Coleman 125, the “economically detrimental” argument is a red herring. AGW won’t be economically detrimental for the entrepreneurs who set up clean (ie carbon neutral) energy generation plants, nor those selling hydrogen for fuel (for example).

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 6 Jan 2011 @ 10:27 AM

  129. Benson, thanks again. I believe I also have heard the figure of 1/2 trillion for ff subsidies, I believe from Hazel Henderson, the iconoclastic economist (say that ten times fast!).

    This seems a vast understatement if you include the cost of oil wars–Iraq alone having already cost between .7 and 3 trillion dollars (results of first two entries that came up under google search.)

    The problem, again, of course, is that there are incredibly powerful forces insisting that these moneys be allocated in these ways. Essentially ffs are the power–physical and political–behind modern industrial society, and it is difficult to impossible to wrest power from power (especially for the relatively powerless scientific and environmental communities). I’m tending to agree these days with Nader’s recent partly-tongue-in-cheek book that only a coalition of the wealthiest individuals in the world can move us from our terracidal track at this point.

    On the methane thing, I followed that discussion here closely and found it to be the most disappointing thread I have followed on RC. Shakhova is perhaps the most involved researcher in this area, and it seems to me it behooves us to look carefully at her latest findings. I certainly hope I am misinterpreting her statement. Others’ further insights and interpretations would be most welcome.

    Here is the link again:

    Comment by wili — 6 Jan 2011 @ 12:43 PM

  130. I assume the the so**alism filtering is due to the Scunthorpe problem as applied to 3rd-8th letters of the word in question.
    Spe**alists are presumably also filtered. I hope that this can be fixed without letting a spam-flood through.


    Comment by Imbroglio — 6 Jan 2011 @ 7:37 PM

  131. That’s odd, what happened to my quotation marks? “Test”

    Comment by GFW — 6 Jan 2011 @ 9:59 PM

  132. The text has become very small in every comment after 104 – or is it something I’ve done somehow ?!

    I also agree with Barton Paul Levenson’s comment at 59 – his site is a useful addition to any other site that goes into detail on AGW. But perhaps you had to draw the line at a certain number of external links ?

    For the record, BPL’s Climate pages are here.

    Comment by JMurphy — 7 Jan 2011 @ 8:57 AM

  133. Thanks, JM!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jan 2011 @ 4:03 PM

  134. One problem I have is if I use any version of Javaconsole past 6.0.05 the comments pop-up doesn’t work. I’m using Firefox 3.6. Anyone have an answer for that?

    [Response: Odd. The ‘Comments (pop-up)’ link doesn’t use java, I’m pretty sure. Do you have any error messages on the console? – gavin]

    Comment by Dave Werth — 8 Jan 2011 @ 1:11 AM

  135. Another day, another complaint: The post-level comment feeds are broken.

    For example, the link for the comments feed on this particular post is

    Try it, and you will see that it redirects you to
    (which is a site-wide feed of all comments here.)

    This redirection is probably a “feature” of the FeedBurner WordPress
    plugin. You get great stats and other features from FeedBurner, but
    this redirection has two drawbacks for users: 1) It disables a
    valuable feature for users, namely the ability to subscribe to
    comments for a particular post. 2) It defies user expectations because
    the comments feed is still advertised in the post HEAD.

    [Response: I don’t think we ever had post-specific comment RSS feeds – it was always for all the comments. – gavin]

    Comment by Doug — 8 Jan 2011 @ 7:15 AM

  136. Echoing others, having links high up at the top to the current “chatroom” thread and the borehole would be handy.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2011 @ 11:15 AM

  137. Would a link to potholer54’s youtube channel be appropriate?
    One media outlet that does pretty well.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 8 Jan 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  138. The Bore Hole is a hoot.


    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Jan 2011 @ 9:56 PM

  139. Would you guys consider reducing the comment pagination? Right now if I want to see if someone’s mentioned “Z” in comments to a particular post, I have to search multiple times (multiple pages) for “Z”. And (AFAIK) pagination doesn’t yield benefits, since text is so cheap, bitwise – the only benefit to pagination is if you’re serving up ads, and want readers to be inconvenienced by them.

    Or if you can’t eliminate it entirely, could you make it, say, a limit of 200 comments/page rather than 50?

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 10 Jan 2011 @ 12:25 PM

  140. FYI/suggestion, the “comments popup” page (which does have unpaginated comments BTW, unlike the “post page”) doesn’t seem to contain a link back to the post that it’s commenting on; which has tripped me up more than once, when I wanted to see the post. It would be nice if it contained a clearly identified link back.

    And if your comments form does fancy footwork with links w/in a comment, eg by stripping out the “href=…” part of an HTML-ified link, it’d be nice if the Preview did so too (to warn the commenter), and even better if the form itself provided a warning – text or otherwise – that it does this, to keep de-linked comments like this ( from appearing.

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 10 Jan 2011 @ 12:56 PM

  141. Also it would be nice if clicking on RC’s banner image brought one back to its home page.

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 10 Jan 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  142. Anna – Not sure what your problem might be, but the banner here does lead me back to the “home page”, which is the main page of post beginnings, where I can still see the posts because the pop up comments only covers half the screen, might be the configuration of your browser . . . also no problem with links in the comment box, which will show in the preview if you’ve completed them, nothing stripped out …. maybe the best thing about the preview, which some apparently don’t take the time to actually read before posting – also makes it easy to copy your whole post in case you blow the CAPTCHA :)

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jan 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  143. Just perused the Bore Hole. I like it. All the paranoia, conspiracy theories, unsubstantiated opinions, confusing grammar and links to cooked graphs in one tidy place. Quite entertaining. Thanks, and a belated Happy New Year to you all (and Gavin, if I ever see you at a conference I’m going to corner you for a quick juggling session).

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 10 Jan 2011 @ 4:42 PM

  144. Anna is right about the second banner (_in_the_comments_popup, the black and white text “RealClimate” at the top of that ) — that just takes you to, er, itself.

    Note there are two ways to read a post:
    — with pages of comments (and page-up gets you back at the top to the text of the main post), OR, with a popup containing all the comments that’s linked immediately below the main post with “Comments (pop-up) (143)”

    Or if you ignore that and page down, you’re reading the comments page by page, which is indeed much more tedious to search.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Jan 2011 @ 8:25 PM

  145. WOW! Props to Mila on that guide to RC, and thanks for linking to it prominently, although it’ll no doubt be ignored by those who need it most [down there in the deep].

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jan 2011 @ 9:41 PM

  146. Probably worth losing the ‘borehole’ items from the “Recent” list, else they’ll aim to fill it up.

    And they don’t get added to a Google site search or credited as valid search results for RC, I hope.

    That stuff is amusing for a while, but if you keep the opportunity to land there available it will attract those who like that kind of thing. Keep too open a mind or blog, people will shovel it full.

    Suggestion repeated — give the bore a single button, set well apart from the good stuff.

    And again, suggesting “chat room” button link to the current open thread

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jan 2011 @ 6:09 PM

  147. Suggestion; lessen the visibility of the borehole, take those out of ‘recent comments’ and give it a new button off in the corner, less visible than a new button leading to the current open thread.

    While it’s a chance for prominence, people will aim to land in it hoping their posting pops up on the recent list and is more easily seen than if lost in a thread and ignored.

    I hope posts there aren’t being indexed by Google as good info from RC.

    [Response: I’ve filtered it from the recent comment listings. And there is a discreet link at the bottom of the categories list. The rest can come soon…- gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jan 2011 @ 6:11 PM

  148. RE: #134

    … any version of Javaconsole past 6.0.05 the comments pop-up doesn’t work.

    [Response: Odd. The ‘Comments (pop-up)’ link doesn’t use java, I’m pretty sure… – gavin]

    I found the problem by accident. It’s my ZoneAlarm Toolbar. When I disable it any version of java is fine. With it enabled any java version over 6.0.05 that I enable stops the pop-up comments from opening. I’ll inform ZoneAlarm.

    Comment by Dave Werth — 12 Jan 2011 @ 10:42 PM

  149. > visibility of the borehole
    Thank you Gavin.

    > the spam filter

    Google for lists and you’ll see why it can’t be relaxed — sites that publish their keyword list attract spammers who will use the lists to work around the barrier. It ain’t easy. I found that acquiring a list of commonly spammed phar ma ceuti cals is very helpful (google for one, don’t ask for it here).

    I’d bet the marketers come up with names for new drugs by taking science dictionaries and carving chunks out of words found there.

    I’ll predict new drugs called “aleo” or “atisti” or “pectrom” or “adiati” or “dimenta” on that basis.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jan 2011 @ 12:21 AM

  150. My own view is that the establishment of The Bore Hole is likely to be the most successful RC initiative in attracting an audience. Good on you for doing it.

    Comment by mondo — 13 Jan 2011 @ 4:11 AM

  151. Unforced Variations and especially the Bore Hole are great.

    Since a moved comment leaves behind no trace of where it went, newcomers may assume they got caught in spam filters or were censored. It might be nice to have a brief “Comment policy” somewhere that explains this, especially for newcomers who weren’t around for the discussion. I think it can be fairly simple, but Greenfyre’s Dunce Corner has some good thoughts as well.

    [Response: There is: “Comment Policy” – gavin]

    Comment by John Mashey — 14 Jan 2011 @ 12:40 AM

  152. Pedantry: in the comment policy, it should be “hominem”, not “hominen”.

    [Response: Indeed it should. – gavin]

    Comment by JBL — 14 Jan 2011 @ 12:16 PM

  153. re: #151
    Oops, yes, but you might consider visibly putting it on the top menu.

    Comment by John Mashey — 14 Jan 2011 @ 1:47 PM

  154. What does it mean, if I click “Say it!” for my comment, & the comment (immediately) disappears altogether?
    (Is it really gone? in moderation? if in moderation, should I see a “your comment is awaiting moderation” message?)

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 17 Jan 2011 @ 8:44 PM

  155. Bug report.
    I submitted a comment, from the Popup window. It disappeared altogether.
    I submitted another one, also from the Popup window, asking how I should interpret this disappearance (perhaps it was just awaiting moderation?) This one too disappeared altogether, along w/ appearance of a “you got the ReCaptcha wrong” message.

    Dear RealClimate webmaster – if I get the ReCapcha wrong, please don’t punish me by deleting my entire comment thus (if I’ve forgotten to save it elsewhere) making me type it in anew.

    xing my fingers…

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 17 Jan 2011 @ 8:48 PM

  156. Suggestions –
    1. Have a standing link on the sidebar, to a “Suggestions” thread.
    2. Also on the sidebar, endorse SkepticalScience as a resource for the layman. (Right now it’s in the list under “other opinions”, but the visitor’s not likely to take that as a ringing endorsement.)
    Look at it from the newcomer’s perspective – here a bunch of us are recommending SkepticalScience as an all-purpose debunkery, but how is the newcomer to know that it’s a reputable and particularly valuable site – one which they *should* be checking first?
    Right now, there are *no* cues that’d let them know that. But your site has cues, people can grasp that RealClimate’s a good resource since y’all are “Top Scientists”; so if you made it abundantly & blatantly obvious that SkepticalScience was part of your Network of Trust, it’d help considerably, and (I think) it’d be un-game-able by the antiscience game theorists.

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 21 Jan 2011 @ 1:16 PM

  157. Gavin, recaptcha are just making it harder to beat using OCR. The outlining appears to be a new distortion they have added recently.

    I imagine it’s almost impossible to reverse an edge detection algorithm applied selectively. The human brain is quite clever that way.

    [moved, OT]

    Comment by Didactylos — 21 Jan 2011 @ 2:21 PM

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