Why I no longer subscribe to Popular Science

“Why I no longer subscribe to Popular¬†Science” (2012-110-03). Anthony Watts reminds us that he holds grudges. Popular Science is still on his long list of subversive publications with which he will have no truck. National Geographic and Scientific American are also on his list.

What re-warmed the fire in Anthony’s belly?¬†Popular Science reported on the controversy of a denialist Wikipedia volunteer Ken Mampel spending a week feverishly¬†expunging references to climate change from the Hurricane Sandy Wikipedia page. The PopSci article was really about the randomness and wildly varying credentials of Wikipedia editors, but it’s the wiki page subject that woke Anthony up.

Where’s PopSci’s coverage of the William Connolley Wikipedia controversy? Equal time! Credentialed climate scientist versus “Joe Blow”!

6 thoughts on “Why I no longer subscribe to Popular Science

  1. Can’t have ALL recognized publications, that actually DO science, be credible in Ant’s eyes, now, can we? He is, first, last and foremost, an ignorant putz.

    [Well, they report science rather than resent it. A terrible fault for Anthony who is, by now, well exposed to the science of climatology. Sadly he is completely blinded by his politics. – Ben]

  2. Remember the Star Trek [episode] where Picard is put on trial by the witch-hunting–witch? Ant reminds me a LOT of her…;)

  3. Heh: ALL one needs to know about the denialistas, Ant included, was this shining gem of idiocy…

    “I stopped reading the magazine when the emphasis shifted to POP from SCI. ”

    As I said earlier, can’t have *SCIence* be the end-all and do-all of an ostensibly SCIence-based magazine, now, can we?

    The D-K is awe-inspiring at WTFUWT!

  4. Ben, feel free to repost this to a possibly-more accurate thread, but I think it fits, broadly, here: It’s a quote by SkS regualr contributor Bernard J, and it fairly sums up the ever-increasing lukewarmer games.

    “On the matter of denialism itself, as embodied by Minchin, Palmer and so many others, it’s like this…

    …There’s a corpse, formerly known as Ms Ecosystem, lying on the ground, and the corpse has a CO2 bullet in its head – a bullet fired at point-blank range from a Coalington-Oilchester rifle.

    There’s a medico autopsying the corpse, a Dr Climatologist, and she concludes that the cause of death was an AGW brain injury resulting from the impact of the dissected CO2 bullet, now lying in the bloody kidney bowl.

    Watching the autopsy is a member of the NRA, a Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr, who (although he has no experience in medicine) variously asserts that:

    1. there is still a scientific debate about the capacity of CO2 bullets to inflict serious damage to brains
    2. well, OK, bullets might cause small bumps, but something else caused the corpse to actually die even though the autopsy showed no other plausible factors
    3. that the corpse isn’t really dead anyway
    4. that CO2 bullets are good for the brain
    5. alright, so maybe the bullet did kill Ms AGW, but if you control firearms, my life will fall apart, it just will.

    Nothing that Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr asserts has any objective relationship to the science that determined the cause of death. Several are ideological knee-jerks in response to the implications of the investigation, but these knee-jerks do not alter the fact of cause and effect.

    The debate isn’t about the cause of death, no matter how strenuously Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr attempts to make it so. The debate is simply about Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr’s unfettered ability to continue to do what he’s always done, no matter that control of this activity would result in less harm in the future.

    If Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr wanted a genuinely honest discussion, he’d openly admit that CO2 bullets will kill most, if not all, of Ms AGW’s family if they are all thusly shot, and he would argue that his right to shoot those CO2 bullets at these folk outweighs the rights of Ms AGW’s family not to be shot at.

    Of course, that is a much harder argument to win, so Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr is going to avoid it at all costs, even if he can never admit it even to himself…”

  5. If it’s of any comfort or validation for those of you desiring equal time for a credentialed scientist vs. the (uneducated) opinion of ‘Joe Blow’, let me offer it here.

    Ken Mampel (aka Ken or ‘KP’ Manning) was an unemployed disc jockey with a Bachelor’s Degree in Radio & Television broadcasting from what was formerly Florida Technological University (now UCF – University of Central Florida aka ‘U Can’t Finish’).

    Ken’s first ‘job’ was selling AMWAY…later, Olde World soaps and detergents and then Vorwack vacuum cleaners. The territory they gave him in the Palm Beaches – not long after he married – turned out to be a dry hole. He returned to the Daytona Area a beaten man.

    I met Ken in between these ‘pyramid marketing schemes, not long after he graduated college.

    I roomed with Ken off-campus for a year as an undergraduate in 1978-79.

    Ken got me my first part-time job on the radio a year before, and was a funny, happy-go-lucky guy, on the surface. But once you scratched the surface, you realized there wasn’t anything underneath.

    ‘Odd-penny Ken’ would literally split the bills for everything, down to the penny.

    This peculiar trait was at least tolerable (if not a little weird).

    Ken valued no opinion other than his own, and only took a position if it met with this ‘acid test’; it had to agree with his very narrow set of political beliefs.

    He saw climate change theory as a ‘democrat thing’.

    Everything Ken had was better than you or yours’.

    I remained friends with Ken through the years, but he distanced himself from me when I went back to school for a degree in engineering.

    When I graduated and started making a decent starting salary, he would avoid speaking with me.

    Ken got too old to be a ‘radio DJ’ for the 12-24 year old demographic with whom he’d earned some ‘fame’ in the mid-70s; but he had no real depth of experience with the more sophisticated crowd of rock enthusiasts in his own age group, which became more the dominant format with his contemporaries in the 1980s.

    He also refused to manage an easy business his mother bought for him…counting all those quarters and maintaining a dozen commercial washing machines – and the built-in accounts that came with the turn-key business – was too much like ‘work’ for Ken. He abandoned it to ‘chase his dreams’ of fame as a broadcaster, breaking his poor, old immigrant mother’s heart in the process.

    He preferred staying out all night listening to his police scanner in the car, eating trash snack food, and being on hand to video the aftermath of a bloody car wreck/DUI arrest/whatever-else was happening overnight, and then sell his homemade video to the local TV stations as a stringer.

    He never made much money doing this; attested to by the beat-up, ’81 Accord he was still driving, well into the 2000’s.

    The stringer money dried up as more and more unemployed and displaced workers in the Daytona Beach area – a ghetto for unskilled or uneducated white people – bought digital cameras that provided as-good or better resolution than his antiquated VHS gear.

    In his last year or two in this world, Ken tried to make a living as a DJ at a low-power FM station near Ormond Beach, in Palm Coast. The owner had it taken away from him after repeated warnings to operate the station at licensed power levels, and to limit commercial use of the station to ‘underwritten’ programs.

    With his meager savings from the sale of the business dwindling, and watching his kids grow up in poverty, Ken woke up to the utter failure of his life too late.

    The internet provided a perfect medium for him to give voice to his impassioned, argumentative style; he politicized references to global warming on the Hurricane Sandy Wiki, because the proponents of global warming were quoted, had jobs and made money with their education.

    They were successful. At that point in his life, Ken was an utter failure. And it was clearly someone’s fault; other than his own.

    Like others, he got sucked into the daily political re-education as offered by Fox ‘News’ and Bill O’Reilly…they ’empowered’ him…made him feel like he was important, even though their politics never benefitted him. It was the Democrat’s fault…and that was the party pushing for action on climate change, while ‘his’ party chose to deny it.

    By the time Sandy hit, he had no money, no health insurance and no collateral; his house was in foreclosure. Ken always had a congenital heart problem, which could have been managed with regular care. He really needed to get a job in middle age. But it was never his ‘style’ to work for someone else.

    Getting on the Wiki to deny references to global warming – setting a record in the process – was typically Ken…he had to have the last word…was determined to be right, even though he was dead wrong.

    In a way, it was like watching a drowning man go down for the third time.

    When his heart problems got worse and started affecting his daily life, he was turned away by doctors and the hospital because he couldn’t pay and had no insurance.

    He died a couple of years later, when his heart finally quit; without his kids around to comfort him, and in abject poverty.

    A tragic life? I think not. More a warning for people like him who are more ego than intellect.

    Though you might get short thrill as a ‘media’ personality, this is not a lasting thing. It’s a hallmark of people who lack sense.

    Ken got religion in his last days and loved to quote the Bible, though his repertoire of verses was limited by his unwillingness to sit down and study anything worthwhile.

    He never learned this one from the Book of Proverbs: “He who pursues vain things lacks sense.”

    A fitting summary of a life misspent.

    [What a sad backstory! – Ben]

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