Environment Forum

Bacteria hoax briefly fools climate sceptics

November 8, 2007

logo.gifIt must have seemed almost too good to be true to climate sceptics who doubt mounting evidence that global warming is man-made — finally, a report showing that nature is to blame.

Only one problem — it’s a hoax.

Why someone went to the trouble of creating a previously unknown “Journal of Geoclimatic Studies” based in Japan, is anyone’s guess.

The study says bacteria naturally living in sediments of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans emit 300 times more carbon dioxide than industrial activity — one of very few reports to challenge findings by the U.N. climate panel that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are “very likely” to be the main cause of warming.

The pranksers even provided obscure details of “benthic bacteria” or “sample invariants from diachronically sectioned quadrants in the western Atlantic: towards a pneumatic equation for bacterial mass”. And if that wasn’t hard enough evidence, here’s a sample of an equation for the mathematically minded…

161 x Λ³Жญ5,6,1,8Φ-4 = {(ΣΨ²Њyt3 - 14๖P9) x 49}

2β x ⅜kxgt -§

Gothenburg University in Sweden, where two of the four authors were listed as working, told me it was a hoax, saying it had never heard of them. Other scientists also said it was a spoof. Sceptical bloggers who had rushed to embrace the findings — there isn’t much research challenging growing evidence that fossil fuels are a main cause of warming — quickly deleted them…

“This could not be more damaging to man-made global warming theory,” wrote one sceptic in a blog. “I somehow doubt if this is going to be on the BBC news.” Another U.S. commentator said it was a “blockbuster” report.

One blogger who saw through the hoax gleefully said it “put the fun back into lying about science.”

“We’re just the website design company,” said David Thorpe at Cyberium in Wales, listed as the administrator of the site. “I don’t know anything about the content. We were just asked to put the website up.”graph showing bacterial emissions and carbon dioxide levels

Phone calls to the owner of the site, listed as being in Japan, went nowhere and e-mails have bounced back.

…So who is behind this? Any ideas?

Comments
18 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The owner of the website domain is not in Japan. It (the website) only says it’s in Japan. As you are discovering, that is also (very probably) fake.

If you knew what you were doing, i.e. how to check facts on about internet sites, you could determine the probable real owner in about 3 seconds. And, in this case, get a (probably valid) snail-mail address and phone number, as well as a (probably valid) e-mail address. Whether or not that is the person behind the hoax is unclear (currently unknown), which is why other than pointing out the information exists and is trivially and legally available, I’m not saying how to obtain it. But here’s a hint: Ask your IT experts.

 

A little surfing for David Thorpe suggests his denial may be part of the hoax. His website (http://sympathyftm.blogspot.com) describes him as “a prize-winning novelist and environmental journalist.”

 

Thanks — this link shows who runs the site (courtesy of a colleague) http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/re sults.jsp?domain=geoclimaticstudies.info
the registrant name is “hiroko takabe” or “hiroko takebe” (it is oddly spelt two ways) but e-mails just bounce back…David Thorpe, who insisted he was merely “acting on behalf of a client” and said he would forward my questions about the journal, is listed as the administrator and the person who gets the bills.

Posted by Alister Doyle | Report as abusive
 

This article is a hoax itself.
No blogger said “This could not be more damaging to man-made global warming theory,”. The blogger was quoting the e.mail.
Your news are hoaxes. Dont blame othres to copy-paste. You dont just copy-paste. You manipulate.

Posted by yourownoax | Report as abusive
 

I’m not aware that anyone was fooled by this for more than a microsecond. We are skeptics after all.

As a paper, it pushed all the wrong buttons for how scientific papers are laid out and how they are argued.

The mathematical formulae are recognizeably made up garbage.

Real scientific frauds, like Hwang woo Suk, get their papers published in double quick time and peer review is no help at all in detecting them.

All in all, a poor effort at a spoof 1.5/10

Posted by John A | Report as abusive
 

Meta-skeptic alert for John A., who wrote

\”I\’m not aware that anyone was fooled by this for more than a microsecond …\”

Such lack of awareness requires not looking. I started noting the lag times here:
http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/?p=2310#co mment-204865
One hour for Benny Peiser, timestamps there;

Three hours and counting for a blog noted there;

Clock running for Rush Limbaugh, I hear; is anyone clocking him on time-to-retraction since he broadcast it, if he does retract?

To start the meta-awareness record (how long it took for someone to become aware that anyone was fooled), use the time stamp on the John A post above.

Enjoy.

Posted by Hank Roberts | Report as abusive
 

In the lead sentence, the writer describes the evidence as “mounting.” What, exactly, does he mean by this? And what, if anything, might it tell us about any bias he might harbor?

Just axin’…

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive
 

Limbaugh retracted and put himself on suspension for being too gullible within the same show he first quoted the scam.

Posted by Rogue | Report as abusive
 

Rush pronounced this a hoax immediately following a commercial break only moments after mentioning the article. He then “suspended” himself for a day as self-imposed punishment for being hoaxed. Friday, he served his punishment! Sorry inkstain, you should have been listening. Or, were you? So just click off your clock, you missed the whole event!

Posted by Dhole | Report as abusive
 

Rush pronounced this a hoax immediately following a commercial break only moments after mentioning the article. He then \”suspended\” himself for a day as self-imposed punishment for being hoaxed. Friday, he served his punishment! Sorry inkstain, you should have been listening. Or, were you? So just click off your clock, you missed the whole event!

Posted by Dhole | Report as abusive
 

For what possible reason is my comment awaiting moderation?

Posted by Dhole | Report as abusive
 

Rush talked about it and went to a break. He corrected immediatley after coming off break. Time for correction from Rush was about 90 seconds.

Posted by T Sinclair | Report as abusive
 

Spin your spin but it’s obvious the “mounting evidence” against man-made global warming is the real cause of this massive Gore-ism — that would mean “lie” for those of you in Rio Linda. Its an act of desperation by members of the global “environmental socialist” movement — plain and simple!

Posted by johnm | Report as abusive
 

#13: johnm
What do you think is the mounting evidence against AGW?

Serious scientists think it’s the other way:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_ opinion_on_climate_change
http://www.logicalscience.com/consensus/ consensusD1.htm

Are you a climate scientist with peer-reviewed research to look at? If you’re sick, do you consult medical doctors or astrologists? If you want to know about climate science, do you consult real climate scientists or medical doctors?

Nobody else mentioned Gore before in this thread. What does he have to do with any of this?

The “environmental socialist movement”? Does that include (just it pick a few):

- Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of NYC
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of CA
- John McCain (R, AZ)
- (many) Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists

- Ron Oxburgh, the ex-Chairman of Shell
- the UK Royal Society

They might be amused to be so labeled…

Posted by John Mashey | Report as abusive
 

Well, praise the Lord. Rush retracted his the false story immediately and is not as big of an idiot as I had thought he was. But then there are his listeners.

This hoax and fall-out is really amusing.

Posted by con | Report as abusive
 

Johnm writes:

> “lie” for those of you in Rio Linda

Who or what are you talking about?

Posted by Hank Roberts | Report as abusive
 

John Mashey is exactly right.

Climate Change is real and caused by humans and these facts cannot be altered by any sort of twisted logic or name calling. It’s about time we started to address the problem.

Posted by Bill Malkin | Report as abusive
 

The headline would have been more balanced had it read

CLIMATE SCEPTICS SPOT ALARMIST’S HOAX IN 70 MINUTES, NOBEL COMMITTEE YET TO SPOT LIES IN GORE’S FILM

 

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