International Journal of Inactivism (now supplanted by Decoding SwiftHack)


On kangaroos and dodgers

cite as: F. Bi. 2008. On kangaroos and dodgers. Intl. J. Inact., 1:89–91

Watts’s kangaroo poll

OK, today there’s good news… and not-so-good news. The not-so-good news is that, Anthony Watts has been informed several times — by myself and others — that his poll on Hansen’s ‘try fossil fuel CEOs for high crimes’ remark is of highly dubious quality, and isn’t the kind of thing one should use for really serious matters. Yet Watts still knowingly insists on proceeding with the poll:

Ric Werme: The poll was never up to standards of good political polling, probably not even up to that of bad political polling. […]

Allister Duncan: I wasn’t familiar with PollDaddy’s security features, and I hadn’t come across it as serious polling software before. I’ve checked it out now, and PollDaddy seems to be a “just-for-fun” polling feature whose only discernible benefit is that it’s available for free on WordPress.

I’m afraid I have a criticism to put to you. If you’re planning to run a serious poll to submit to the U.S. Senate, the onus is on you to select the right tool for the job. Technical competence is an issue with these things.

Watts: Unfortunately, the fact that the blog exists on limits my ability to place quite a few things. This is the only approved polling software they allow.

That’s not even half a lame excuse. Yet it seems Watts will be proposing to use this bogus poll as a ‘basis’ for action — if someone ever tries to do that, it’s time to raise a really, really huge stink.1 Whatever the poll ‘results’ may be.

Climate conspiracies on 95bFM!

Now for the good news. There’s now a nice radio segment (4.7MB, 20′ 26″) by Matthew Dentith regarding climate conspiracy theories, on 95bFM! Towards the end there’s a refreshing take on Pielke Jr.’s conspiracy theory; anyway, listen to the whole thing. 🙂

I just have a few things to straighten the record on:

  1. Well, I didn’t really invent the term “inactivism” — I did come up with it independently, but the term had been used before in other contexts, for example by Goldberg.
  2. I’m not too sure that the conspiracy theories about Margaret Thatcher are trying to paint her as a “communist”. (At least, not in the versions of the theories I’ve found.) Stott for example used the theory as an example of how “the new myth” of global warming “was embraced by both right and left”. (And the implication, of course, is that Stott’s in the ‘balanced middle’ of the ‘debate’.)
  3. Pielke Jr. will no doubt vehemently deny believing that “there is no Climate Change”. Rather, his modus operandi is to repeatedly declare on one hand that anthropogenic global warming is real and very serious and we should take steps to mitigate it, and on the other hand continually present ‘results’ which undermine this conclusion. David Roberts described him as “playing footsie with denialists and right-wing ideologues”; more recently, Eli Rabett has uncovered yet another example of his dodging tactics.
  4. The title of Heartland Institute’s press release announcing “Heartland 500” list was in fact changed in the opposite direction (sort of).
  5. It’s the “Climatati”, not the “Climinati”. 🙂 Not that it matters much, since neither word really makes sense under Latin word formation rules as far as I can tell. (Blame that on Gavin Schmidt — or his evil paymasters…)

Also… Matthew, get well soon!


  1. Or some other sort of action, but I’m not sure what.

Update 2008-07-02: The poll is closed. Will Watts do anything with the meaningless poll ‘results’? What will he do, what won’t he do?

Update 2008-07-03: Looks like Watts just can’t let it go, and has decided to trot out the results of a “backup poll” based on surveying a blatantly non-random sample.



  1. I think ‘Climinati’ sounds better; it just rolls off the tongue the way ‘Climatati’ doesn’t… And when it comes to weird Latin word formation I think everything goes; we Romance language peoples have been mangling Latin and Greek together for centuries to neologise without mercy.

    In re 2; I have heard, in conversation, people claim that Thatcher didn’t really believe in anthropogenic Climate Change and thus the Hadley Centre must have been a front… I think it’s all part of the ‘My gods she’s so evil; nothing she did or believed in must have been right’ kind of thinking that doesn’t allow that bad people can do good things.

    Comment by horansome — 2008/06/29 @ 21:37 | Reply

  2. horansome:

    “I think ‘Climinati’ sounds better; it just rolls off the tongue the way ‘Climatati’ doesn’t”

    Well, to each his own. 🙂

    “‘My gods she’s so evil; nothing she did or believed in must have been right'”


    Comment by frankbi — 2008/06/30 @ 03:40 | Reply

  3. horansome:

    (Also, English isn’t a Romance language but a Germanic language, though it likes to borrow words from the Romance side (of Indo-European). But I’m just being pedantic…)

    And again, do get well soon!

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/06/30 @ 09:04 | Reply

  4. I’m just going to pretend French is my first language to excuse my silly faux pax. See, already with the foreign lingo.

    Comment by horansome — 2008/06/30 @ 09:21 | Reply

  5. horansome: There is no other language but French. (-:

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/06/30 @ 13:41 | Reply

  6. Bi: “English isn’t a Romance language but a Germanic language, though it likes to borrow words from the Romance side…”

    James D. Nicoll put it best: “We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

    (FWIW, my money’s on Climatati. It doesn’t roll off the tounge as nicely, but it’s more obviously linked to ‘climate’ instead of other words with the “climb” opening syllable, such as “climax”.)

    Comment by Brian D — 2008/06/30 @ 18:20 | Reply

  7. Brian D:

    I like that quote. 🙂

    “it’s more obviously linked to ‘climate’ instead of other words with the ‘climb’ opening syllable”

    That’s a point…

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/01 @ 04:07 | Reply

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