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Earth The Courts News

Virginia High Court Rejects Case Against Climatologist Michael Mann 420

ananyo writes "The Virgina Supreme Court on Friday tossed out an investigation by the state's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, into Michael Mann, the former University of Virginia climatologist whose work on the now-famous hockey-stick graph has become a lightning rod for climate skeptics. 'In a dense and conflicted 26-page ruling (PDF) covering a century and a half of case law — including references to kings as well as modern "functional incongruities" that divided the judges themselves — Virginia’s high court ruled that the university is not a "person" and thus is not subject to Cuccinelli’s demands under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.' The 'climategate' scientist has been cleared of wrongdoing by a number of investigations."
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Virginia High Court Rejects Case Against Climatologist Michael Mann

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  • Read Republicans (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @11:38AM (#39231233) Journal

    When was the last time a Rebublican read a science book? First, carbon dioxide is a heat trapping gas. It absorbs infrared and converts to kinetic energy. This is the basis of IR spectroscopy. Alternatively, read about the planet Venus. Then, burning fossil fuels will dump carbon dioxide that has been fixed by living things over the last 500 million years. That is why they are called fossil. Putting that together, things are going to warm up if we keep burning the fuel. I dont need a Phd to figure that out

  • Re:An agenda (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Saturday March 03, 2012 @12:13PM (#39231539) Homepage

    Watch this and ask if you still have a question. Nature of things, David Suzuki, 1 hr. We're 200 years into a 1000 year cycle of magnetic pol revrsal. This is why they keep having to change the numbers on runways periodically.

    CERN reproduced the findings which does explain the climate. Then the CERN lab director put a gag order on the results. Look this all up for yourself. []

  • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:58PM (#39232799) Homepage

    The problem with environmentalism isn't the actual facts.

    The problem is that once people try to use these facts to justify policies that will harm other people, the victims of those new policies will try to dispute the facts in order to discredit the policies that are harming them.

    Yes, exactly: a good deal of the criticism that is purported to be skepticism of the science (and the scientists) is actually aimed at discrediting the policy implications.

    The unexpected consequence is that, since it apparently much easier to cast doubt on the science than to rationally discuss policy, there has been almost no discussion of the proposed policies.

    Of course, policy discussions are so full of boobytraps and ideological landmines in the US, that's not surprising.

  • by Niscenus ( 267969 ) <> on Saturday March 03, 2012 @04:45PM (#39233573) Homepage Journal

    "As it is, governments do just enough to appear to be doing something." How it is that this is not a Sir Humphrey Appleby quote astounds me!

    Perhaps one of these quotes could work in its place:

    "Two kinds of government chair correspond with the two kinds of minister: one sort folds up instantly and the other sort goes round and round in circles."

    "'The Government's position' means 'the best explanation of past events that cannot be disproved by available facts'."

    "In government, many people have the power to stop things happening but almost nobody has the power to make things happen. The system has the engine of a lawn mower and the brakes of a Rolls Royce."

    "A Civil Service computer strike would bring government to a standstill if it were not for the fact that it is already."


    Topically speaking, I've notice the biggest problem to accepting a scientific understanding comes in the form of two anti-science options: 1) A scientifically sounding think tank or lobbyist's research seems directly in conflict with reality but fits well other people's preferred realities and 2) All scientific understanding is really an indoctrination technique, and only the ignorant can see reality.

    Of course, neither is particularly exclusive in any field.

  • Re:personhood (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:16AM (#39235951)

    I don't understand this argument, unless a corporation is a Borg-like entity to which the component persons surrender their individual rights and indepedent intention.

    The part you're missing is a century of caselaw that says that money = "speech." That's the real problem here, since it implies that any entity possessing money can have "speech."

    That is not the case in our society, so granting "free speech" rights to corporations gives the leaders of those corporations all of their individual free-speech rights, plus extra free-speech privileges through the corporate structure.

    Well, one could also argue that many people enter into corporations for the very purposes of "speaking" more loudly. For example, there are many non-profit corporations (like the ACLU, which was behind the Supreme Court ruling by the way) which exist primarily to "speak" for the viewpoints of those who are members of the corporation. Almost all political non-profit groups or issue groups (PETA, etc.) are corporations whose primary purpose is to "speak" for their members.

    Also, roughly 97% of corporations are ones with capital of a few million dollars or less. Many small local businesses are "corporations" only in name because of the variety tax benefits, etc. the legal status provides. Effectively, these "corporations" only represent the owner or perhaps a small group of partners. When the vast majority of "corporations" want to speak, they are effectively speaking with the same voice as an individual. All of these corporations were barred from free speech, not just the giant mega-corporations.

    Put another way, the government (which creates corporations to begin with) could regulate the ever-livin' hell out of 'em, and that wouldn't affect an actual human-person's free-speech rights one whit.

    Perhaps, and they do regulate corporations in a lot of ways.

    The problem that the Supreme Court identified -- which is a REAL problem -- is that in today's world of mega-corporations and huge conglomerates, one group of corporations do have completely unfettered speech in the political arena, namely so-called "media" companies.

    But why should Fox News get to run its propaganda before an election (just because it claims to be a "news" corporation), while the ACLU can't provide you with actual facts about candidates? The Supreme Court ruled that in this day and age there really isn't a good measure to differentiate between these so-called "media" corporations and some other mega-corporation with its own political interests.

    This is a real problem, and if you think about it at all, things were pretty ambiguous and unfair before. I don't think we solve the problem by the Court's ruling, because the underlying issue is the legal assumption that money = speech.

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.