Let’s start with eye candy.
This is an image looking over the balcony from the top floor of the Science Museum’s Wellcome Wing. The seemingly perfect positioning of the security guard caught my eye.
But enough with the photo frivolity, friends, there’s important things afoot! Today, a story broke about leaked internal documents from notorious denial institute Heartland. It’s one of those ‘oh, OK’ stories, in that it shows the direct link between funding from large organisations with vested interests, and the opinion columnists, ‘skeptical scientists’ and bloggers who champion anti-science perspectives.
There’s a couple of things that strike me, most of which are detailed in the post I’ve linked above. One is that they are keen to stifle opposing voices in outlets they feel they control, like Forbes – unsurprisingly, a hypocritical viewpoint, considering how much they whinge about their viewpoint being sidelined and stifled.
The second is that it’s a relatively small amount of money, overall, but it shows the strength of the strategy of sowing doubt, which plays into media norms and also the hands of politicians, who can make a living by doing not much because public apathy continues on the issue of climate change.
Anyway, it remains to be seen how much this goes through the media, because it’s kind of like many of the normal climate change stories – bad things are happening, which we already kind of knew about, but now we know more details!
EDIT: This is funny, from a prepared response by the Institute:
The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
They’re bonkers. Their response to their error (one of their staff sent these in an email) is to ask people to delete all reference to it, and threaten legal action? Then there’s this:
But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.
Yes. Because when YOUR documents get leaked, we should all sit back and think about the badness of the act. When the CRU emails were stolen and leaked, you told everyone to stop and think about the content, without ever mentioning the ethics of how they were obtained. And strangely, all of their news content from the dates surrounding that hack are now… gone? It’s almost like Heartland don’t want a record of their Climategate claims being dredged up again!