Lefty Australian academic Tim "fact-check boy" Lambert is a self-styled "fact cop": the Lancet Iraq study is his speciality – perhaps obsession is more accurate; he's up to 71 posts. He is, without a doubt, a stickler for detail, especially when it comes to numbers.
Lambert has another well known obsession: Tim Blair. So, it's no suprise that Lambert recently focussed his finely honed fact-checking skills on the hopelessly misinformed Blair (copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/12/dumberer/):
I wrote earlier about a particularly dumb argument against global warming–the argument that an unusually cold day shows that global warming just isn’t happening. Well, there doesn’t seem to be an argument dumb enough that someone can’t make it dumber. Take it away, Tim Blair:
Comical protest news from Montreal:
Thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming.
Was it unusually cold that day in Montreal? Well, no. December 3 was slightly warmer than the average December day in Montreal.
Wait, there’s more!
Global warming protests cure global warming. Further scientific evidence of this phenomenon from Montreal, which lately was host to 10,000 global warm-mongers:
Record snowfall overnight forced the cancellation of 200 flights at Montreal airport, school closures and caused havoc on roads.
More than 41 centimetres of snow fell on Friday, Andre Cantin, a spokesperson for Canada’s meteorological service said.
The storm will go down in history as one of the biggest snowfalls in a single day in Montreal in December, beating a record of 37.8 centimetres (15 inches) on December 27, 1969.
As it happens, December 16, the day of the snowstorm, was also warmer than average for December. Oops.
Well, it just goes to show you it's not a good idea to go to the blog of a Bulletin
news editor with a sick sense of humour if you're looking for factual science. If Lambert had a sense of humour he'd see that the main point of Blair's posts was to draw humour from what he saw as incongruous events.
But, enough about Blair, let's take a look at the sleight of hand Lambert uses in his pathetic attempt to discredit Blair. Lambert notes that December 3rd, the day of the protest Blair poked fun at, was warmer than the average for December: the average temperature for December
is -6.6, whereas the average temperature for the day of the protest
was -4.9. This is, however, meaningless because the 3rd is very early in a month that gradually gets colder. (For illustration the average temperatures for Nov, Dec, and Jan are 1.6, -6.6 and -10.4 respectively.) Thus, it is only reasonable to expect that a day early in December will, on average, be warmer than the average for the month.
If Lambert wanted to discredit Blair he should have looked at the average temperature for the day of the protest to see how it compared to the average. The best I can figure the 50 year average temperature for Dec 3rd is, at -3.86 degress, significantly warmer than the -4.9 day Blair poked fun at. So, Blair got it right after all.
But there's more. Lambert makes the following observation in comments:
Blair was trying to make a joke about how the global warming conference made it colder because he thought all the snow meant that it had been extra cold. Except that as any Canadian will tell you, you get less snow when it’s really cold. So, you know, the joke didn’t actually work.
Is that right? Here are the temperature and snowfall figures for Montreal's main snowfall months:
The colder the month, the greater the snowfall. So, you know, the joke's on Lambert. Too bad he won't see the humour in this.
In an earlier post Lambert suggested readers visit Blair's blog to view some supposedly silly comments but warned (copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/02/bolt2/ ):
Read the comments and marvel (but don’t disagree because you will be banned).
It's really funny that Lambert is critical of Blair's comments policy because Lambert bounces my links, has stealthily removed some of my comments, frequently disemvowels my comments, repeatedly calls me a troll and replaced my site link with this
But, there's even more. In the thread about temperature and snowfall discussed at top Scott Church comments:
..Blair has a long history of being abusive toward those who point out his scientific errors, including threatening to pursue lawsuits at times. The one specific example I have was when he threatened Tim with some sort of legal action for having written about some of his errors at an earlier post here. I still have to find which post it was that discussed this incident. Tim, can you refresh my memory?
Blair threatened Lambert with a lawsuit because he corrected some of Blair's mistakes? Lambert really should clear this up but isn't about to because he's gutless
. The fact that he's running scared from a puny little hobby-blogger like me proves it.
Update: Lou Minatti
has suggested that Lambert either apologize to Blair or retract his allegations (scroll to #37 at http://timlambert.org/2005/12/dumberer/comment-page-99/ ) . Minatti also provides a link to the daily average December temperature for Montreal
Update II: In a desperate attempt to sidetrack discussion, Lambert expresses concern about the sexual preferences of Blair's readers (see # 42 at http://timlambert.org/2005/12/dumberer/ ):
Since Tim Blair did not say that Dec 3 was warmer than the average Dec 3 in Montreal, you cannot say that he was right to say that. And since I didn’t say that Dec 3 was colder than the average Dec 3 in Montreal you can’t say that I was wrong to say that. Hope that clears things up for you.
And umm, it’s nice that you consider yourself to be one of Tim Blair’s groupies but I have some bad news for you—I’m informed that Blair is straight.
Jeez, for all I know Blair and all of his readers are flaming queens but what the Hell does that have to do with anything? I mean, who cares? And, is it just me or is Lambert making less sense than usual.