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Dr. Robert Jacob

Dr. Robert Jacob


Mathematics and Computer Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 S. Cass Ave
60439 Chicago, IL, United States

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Latest Blog Posts

  • 17.05.2012: Getting credit for scientific software

    While reading an NSF "Dear Colleague" letter on data citation in the geosciences, I came across this quote from the American Geophysical Union,

    ..the scientific community should recognize the professional value of data activities by endorsing the concept of publication of data, to be credited and cited like the products of any other scientific activity, and encouraging peer-review of such publications.
    I agree completely!    Now what would it take for AGU, or any other physical science society, to say:

    "the scientific community should recognize the professional value of scientific programming activities by endorsing the concept of publication of code, to be credited and cited like the products of any other scientific activity, and encouraging peer-review of such publications."

    The data citation movement is really a great development for geoscience.   Like code, data products often have many hands involved in them, more then the number of authors on a typical climate paper.  They undergo revisions and can be used and reused for years.  If the community can figure out things like what a "first author" means for a data product, what the "impact factor" is for a data product and get citations of data accepted in tenure cases co-equal with other publications then its a short step to doing the same for code.

    Source: climatespin

  • 23.02.2012: Peter Gleick is still a good scientist

    (A raging climate-blogosphere story is a great excuse to start posting again!)

    As I read many of the stories on Peter Gleick's pranking of the Heartland Institute (see this Guardian story for a pretty good summary), I find I mostly agree with Joe Romm who basically says that this is peanuts compared to what Heartland and their ilk are doing to our future planet with their obfuscation campaign.

    Indeed I can't believe how many people are rushing to their fainting couch over this.

    Peter Gleick is a trained scientist but amateur journalist.  His general-interest writing on water and climate issues is actually quite good.   Doing science and doing journalism are two different things.  If Dr. Gleick committed some kind of ethical lapse in his journalism exploits, that shouldn't have any impact on his standing as a scientist.

    Scientists should not let themselves be boxed in as perfect beings who apply the ethical standards of science in every activity of their lives.  That's not a standard that human beings can meet and scientists are indeed human.

    Source: climatespin

  • 26.11.2011: Another Year

    I'm glad the traffic for this page hasn't died down completely. Many things to post about, just no time. My twitter account is more active. Besides the ClimateSpin daily, I will sometimes livetweet a conference. Still hope to provide some content here in the future. Thanks for looking.

    Source: climatespin

  • 04.11.2010: One year later...

    One year and a few days since my last post. My how things have changed.

    A decent climate-energy bill passed the house but never got a vote in the Senate.

    I believe a new Congress means all un-acted on bills have to be re-passed. No way a good climate bill gets passed in the House now. That means 2013 before there's any significant action in Congress. Of course, there's that new EPA authority to regulate CO2 that could be used by the Obama administration. But will they?

    Source: climatespin

  • 27.10.2009: Recent global cooling isn't in the statistics

    A nice article from Seth Borenstein, one of the better climate science reporters, tries to explain how, statistically, there is no such thing as recent global cooling.

    The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It's been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather's normal ups and downs?

    In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

    "If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.
    I love the idea of the AP asking 4 statisticians to just analyze a time series without giving the source of the numbers.

    I don't know why the satellite data is labeled by Borenstein as "preferred by skeptics". They used to like it when an incorrect analysis suggested it contradicted model predictions. Not so much after the mistake was corrected.

    The gist of this article is that, in statistics, you can't just throw out the data you don't like. That's what deniers are doing when they choose to only look at the last few years or so and say: "the data says the globe is cooling". But they have no way of knowing if that is temporary or permanent. The honest thing to do is to look at all the data and that data says its warming.

    Source: climatespin

  • 30.09.2009: Now on twitter

    I'm joining the twitterati. Hopefully micro-blogging will be easier then actual blogging.


    Source: climatespin

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Geosciences, Climatology