I wander around sometimes in the bad part of town because there are so many colourful people to meet and talk to. I carry with me a tape recorder so that I can play back the conversations later and enjoy them all over again. On a recent one of these trips I encountered in rapid succession a mugger and an IPCC climatologist. Upon playing back the conversations, I noticed a remarkable correlation between them and so reproduce them here for easy comparison:
The Mugger and the Climatologist; FOLLOW THE MONEY
Mugger; Gimme your money.
Mugger; Because if you don’t, bad things will happen to you.
Me; Like what?
Mugger; You will get hurt.
Me; By whom?
Mugger; By me.
Me; Sorry, but you don’t look big enough.
Mugger; I’m armed.
Me; Sorry, but I don’t see a weapon.
Mugger; I was hiding it in my pocket, see? I’ve got a gun.
Me; uhm…. that’s a toy water pistol.
Mugger; It’s loaded with acid.
Me; Sure it is. You know that acid eats through plastic, right?
Mugger; No it doesn’t. I’ll shoot you and you will melt and it will be your own fault.
Me; Well you don’t have a lot of credibility on that so far, but forget that for a moment. What are you going to do with the money?
Mugger; Buy food for my wife and kids.
Me; Hey, I recognize you. You live a couple of doors down from me, you’re my neighbour’s kid. You don’t have a wife. Or any kids.
Mugger; Uhm… well its for my friend’s wife and kids.
Me; I see. Sort of a charity thing. Not keeping anything for yourself?
Mugger; Well… I thought a small management fee would be fair.
Me; There’s something stuck in the end of your gun, take a look.
Mugger; I don’t see nuthin’.
Me; Try pulling the trigger.
Me; Good thing it wasn’t full of acid, huh?
A few blocks later, I ran into this fellow who said he was an IPCC Climatologist. Personally, I found the conversation fascinating:
Climatologist; Gimme your money.
Climatologist; Because if you don’t, bad things will happen to you and the whole world.
Me; Like what?
Climatologist; Like you’ll melt, or starve due to crop failure, or get killed in a freak storm.
Me; Why would those things happen?
Climatologist; Climate. The climate will hurt you.
Me; Well I don’t know, the climate seems OK to me. You got data to back this up?
Climatologist; Better! I got graphs. Lookit my graphs! Hockey stick graphs! Do you know what happens when you get hit by a hockey stick graph?
Me; Wow. That’s some graph. But I really would like to see the data.
Climatologist; Well we already did the graphs. Some of the data didn’t fit so we threw it out and got some more data. That didn’t fit either, so we’re taking just some of the first data and splicing it together with just some of the second data. You can see it when its done.
Me; Well you’re not doing well on the credibility thing, but forget that for a minute. What are you going to do with the money?
Climatologist; Give it to poor people.
Me; How will that settle the climate down?
Climatologist; Well that way poor countries won’t have to develop their economies like the rich countries have in order to raise their standard of living.
Me; So they get to have a standard of living like me, but they don’t have to work hard like me?
Climatologist; Well not quite like that….
Me; Sort of a charity thing. Good for you. Not even keeping anything for yourself?
Climatologist; Well… there’s a small management fee…
Me; Hey! I recognize you! You live a couple of doors down from me, you’ve got a kid about this tall?
Climatologist; Uhm, yeah.
Me; He takes after you.
Climatologist; He does?
Me; For sure. He lacks your level of refinement, but he’s got the same basic approach. You should be proud. Hey, I’ve been looking at your graph, you’ve rolled the data up wrong, that’s why it doesn’t fit the hockey stick.
Me; Yup. You can tell by rolling the graph up into a cone shape. Yup, like that. Now hold the pointy end real close to your eye and take a look.
Me; Sorry, didn’t mean to shove you like that. Good thing it wasn’t an actual hockey stick, huh?