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Climate Change Minister Resigns "Because Of The Extremities Of The Climate"

On the irony scale, what has just happened in Scotland is on the par with if not better (worse?) than the record cold in Cancún during COP16: because Scottish “beleaguered Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson” has resigned after an extraordinary bad series of moves making the recent “Arctic blast” hellish for thousands of people.

Wait a moment…”Transport” Minister? Not exactly. Hidden away in the BBC report, that’s where the irony strikes: Mr Stevenson‘s job was “Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and…” (YES YOU GUESSED IT RIGHT!) “…Climate Change“.

A sign that “weather” is more important than “climate”? That’s irony #1.

It goes further. You’d think the person officially in charge of an issue that is officially already bringing “more extreme weather patterns in Scotland” might have been preparing his country a little about an extreme weather pattern. Well, apparently, he hadn’t (irony #2). Neither had the person officially in charge of dealing with transportation and infrastructure issues in Scotland, including what to do in case of an early snow.

Actually, that’s the one and same person spectacularly failing in a wondrous triple-act. That’s irony #3.

And now for irony #4. In Climate Change circles, Mr Stevenson might be mostly remembered for “shepherding the Climate Change Act through the Scottish Parliament” containing “the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world“, plus a series of perfunctory speeches on the topic, a now-lost opportunity to attend the Cancún Climate Change Summit aka COP16 and a bizarre (and rebuked) attempt to talk to the USA on a par-level (so much for being world-leading).

Trouble is, even First Minister Alex Salmond, still making excuses after the news about the resignation came out, might have not fully recollected the responsibilities regarding Climate Change action he himself had bestowed upon Mr Stevenson (around 0m32s in the video):

At the end of the day, you know, no man can tether time nor tide, and certainly you can’t control the elements. I am very sad that a decent man, a competent minister has been forced to resignation because of the extremities of the climate

(the same concept is repeated in Mr Salmond’s reply to Mr Stevenson’s resignation letter)

I can sense a bit of schizophrenic Governmental behavior in there so let me dare ask: Dear First Minister: either the climate change minister HAS to resign because of his inability to deal with extremities of the climate _OR_ you should finally agree with yourself that no man, and no Government, can tether time, tide, or climate. And if “urgent action is needed to cut emissions which cause climate change“, even MORE urgent action is needed to deal with the climate (changed or otherwise) we experience in the here and now.

English Science

How to Easily Fix Peer-review

(comment originally posted at “The Predatory Gastropod“)

Here’s how to easily-fix peer review. Distribute via the web everything that the authors want to publish, alongside the reviewers’ comments. Clearly mark what has been approved by the reviewers (eg print on paper only what the Editors indicate as worthwhile…but that’s what’s happening anyway, as articles approved by reviewers may still be discarded by Editors).

It’s caveat emptor and all that.

I would keep out of “scientific” distribution only the most egregious nonsense, such as papers arguing about the Moon being made of green cheese. Everything else has to have the opportunity to see the light of the day in a commented manner, and if people start publishing flawed result after flawed result, well, their reputation will crash faster than a PhD graduate’s making fraudulent claims in peer-reviewed articles.

Likewise for reviewers’ reputation. This will also stop the nonsense of reputable scientists wasting time by trying to stab each other in the back in order to prevent “competitors” from being able to claim to have been peer-reviewed.

I do hope we are at a threshold similar to when the “one” Church discovered it didn’t have the “monopoly of the Truth”. Despite what some people thought at the time, having a plurality of Christian denominations hasn’t meant the demise of Christianity, to the contrary, it has helped improve the lot. Likewise, publishing scientific papers that aren’t fully peer-approved won’t mean the demise of Science, it will likely help make findings and theories stronger.