Category Archives: This Blog

Who am I to say?

When I started this blog back in 2013, I had several questions. The most prominent was how I, as an interested member of the public, could assess who is right and who is wrong. At that time, I also was looking for information on how laymen/interested members of the public could figure this out.

Initially, I played with the idea to tackle this question by using logic. I abandoned the idea rather quickly. Formal fallacies could surely distinguish between who is right or wrong, but these are not exactly the fallacies that one can readily find in the debate.

I also found some information that layman/interested members of the public had other ways of evaluating a subject, but I didn’t find much details back then. So now and then during the last six years of blogging, I contemplated on these two questions, but until recently these stayed unanswered.

Until I got this comment on a post dissecting the claim that there had been a “sudden rapid growth” of the number of registered all-electric cars in Flanders:

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Recovering my senses

In the beginning of October 2008, I was just a simple green person, minding his own business, voting for the Flemish green party since my early twenties, believing that there was an agreement between scientists that global warming is bad, that we are responsible and that we should do something about it. That seemed perfectly logical back then. Although I also had the impression that the scientists were exaggerating their case, I was convinced that they were basically right.

The issue of global warming surely interested me, but other things in life had priority and I never had a closer look at it. I felt strengthened by the fact that the scientists claimed that they had it all figured out. Heck, I was at the “right” side of the debate and that was a very comfortable position to be in. There was nothing left for me to do, just to trust.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2009 and I suddenly found myself deeply in the skeptical camp…

That is at the, gulp, “wrong” side of the debate.

How on Earth did someone like me get over there?

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Six candles to blow!

six birthday candles

This blog turns six!

When I started it back then in 2013, I couldn’t imagine that this blog would still be active for so long and that I would write more than 400 posts in the meanwhile.

There certainly was no shortage of inspiration. On the contrary, there were several posts that I started, but were not finished (because of a lack of time or something else came along or the topic became irrelevant in the meanwhile).

I still like the writing process, the researching and the figuring out of how things work, so I will continue doing that.

There are however some limitations that I ran into. Individual posts move out of sight when new ones are published. This can make it difficult to find back individual posts, but also it is easy to loose overview of posts detailing one specific topic. For example, there are many posts dealing with the consensus and they all have one piece of information. It would be nice to group all those thoughts together in one page per paper.

The same is true for the several posts I wrote on the Alice-in-Wonderland paper. Back then, I started to create an interactive version of that paper, in such a way that all issues are visible on one page. I abandoned the project and then forgot about it. This is a project that I might revive again.

This revealed another limitation: I start to miss the possibility of using scripts or the strength of a database. Some things could get presented in a clearer way using for example interactive graphs or other interactive elements like I started to do with the Alice-in-Wonderland project.

Not sure how to tackle all these things. If I can miss scripting/database ability, then I could smarten up my categories and tags or just make an index page. I could also make use of static pages, summarizing one specific topic in some more detail. If I want to make use of scripting and databases, then I could go for a self-hosted WordPress site or just create a webpage with supplementary materials for this blog. So many options.

Something that I also want to do is writing some posts in Dutch (my mother tongue). Not sure how to do that in practice, maybe a new blog dealing specifically with things related to Flanders/Belgium, keeping the more international/general topics to this blog. Or maybe centralize it together with the supplementary materials site. It is currently not very clear, so I think this could be for the (far) future.

When it comes to the closer future, I will walk down memory lane and write some posts on why I changed from believer to skeptic, what changed exactly and what I learned from it. I already started writing one of those posts and have ideas for some others, so these might arrive soon.

I am glad to see an increase in views recently. Including the number of views from Belgium. These were very low until a couple months ago, so apparently more Belgians seem to find their way to this blog.

Finally a very big thank you for those who liked my posts, shared them on social media or wrote comments. I really appreciate it.

Three candles to blow!

three years

It is three years ago since I started this blog. Since that time I wrote 283 posts (this being the 284th). There is no shortage of inspiration yet, only a shortage of time to write them down.

Some figures:

Thank you all for passing by!

Two candles to blow!

Today marks the second anniversary since I started this blog. In those two years, I managed to write 200 blog posts (this one is post 201), which works out to an average of an entry every three/four days. That is about double of what I envisioned when starting this blog.

Time to reflect on the past year.

After those 2 years I still like blogging and, surprisingly, I have never been at a loss for topics. My only problem has been finding the time to finish posts before something else interesting popped up. For that reason, several posts got abandoned before they were finished.

In the last year, views were on the rise, but got a incredible boost during my visit of the Cook and Mann talks in Bristol last year in September. At that time this blog got linked at WUWT and when it all settled, it gave me a five time increase of views. Thanks, Antony.

Twitter shares exploded from the second half of December last year. Before that, posts got around 20 – 30 Twitter shares, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Now posts with 60 – 70 shares are more rule rather than exception, there is even one post with 96 shares and still increasing.

When looking at the posts themselves, this is the top 5 of posts published during the last year:

  1. One analogy too far (it was linked by WUWT)
  2. Attribution certainty differences between AR4 and AR5 (I wrote this post in the first half year of blogging. Probably got attention again in the previous year in the wake of the official release of AR5)
  3. Climate communication: honest reporting or solution-based reporting?
  4. Do as we tell, not as we do
  5. Wind breaking all records … for as long as it takes.

Countries in which this blog is viewed most in the last years are:

  1. United States of America (33.5%)
  2. Germany (20.3%)
  3. United Kingdom (10.7%)
  4. Australia (8.9%)
  5. Canada (8.2%)

I really appreciate you all taking the time to read/follow/share my posts and hope you will like this blog for the next year.

The Mother Of All Hockey Sticks

My visit to Bristol wasn’t reserved for the Cook and Mann lectures alone. Some months ago, I was already planning for visiting this area of the UK, some undefined time in the future. Both lectures were the perfect opportunity to make this trip a reality, sooner than I was thinking. So I am more or less functioning in holiday mode right during my stay.

Today I went for a long hike in Clifton, Cliftonwood and the Old City. I combined two hikes and improvised an additional part. Accumulating quite some miles with my faithful hiking shoes.

It was a diverse route with beautiful lanes, cozy parks, steep hills with a view, a stroll along the river Avon and many boats, old and young, displayed along it. Above all the weather was real nice. Although the locals seem to be dressed much lighter than me. I guess they are used to much cooler weather. I even forgot to bring sun protection, I thought that “Britain and sun milk were not really compatible”.

Wrong. Wrong. Couldn’t be more wrong. Probably has to do with, ahem, global warming, or so.

Anyway, I will have a nice tan tomorrow 🙂

I arrived at the hotel in the early evening, took a well deserved hot bath and went for a bite. Refreshed and replenished I checked my email and the WordPress Dashboard. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw next in the stats:

stats 20140921

Woooooow, what’s that?!?! That is not even a hockey stick, that is The-Mother-Of-All-Hockey-Sticks! When I last looked at it in the morning, I counted exactly five views. That is on average the normal amount for this tiny little blog, so I thought that would be it for the day. Now after the hike my blog suddenly had more views in one day than I would have in two months! The same was true for the comments. And the day wasn’t even over yet (in the meanwhile when I am posting this it seems total views were well above 300-mark and had to rescue some comments from the spam folder).. It caught me completely by surprise.

Is it already enough to be in the same city as The Mann to notice hockey sticks all over the place?

The answer to the mystery was a bit more down to earth. Most of the traffic came from wattsupwiththat. Anthony linked to my previous post. Thanks, Antony. Thanks also for the many visitors for passing by and for the commenters who took the effort to write their valued thoughts or corrected me were needed.

You all made my day.

One candle to blow


Exactly one year ago today, on the 13th of February 2013, I published my first ever blog post. Since then 85 posts were written and published, this is number 86.

Time to look back to one year of blogging.

My initial intention was to have about one post per week. Even that I was not really sure I could manage. I tought being happy if I got to about 50 posts per year. Reality was a bit different. Indeed, it started a bit hesitant with 3 posts per month, but around post 35 I got the hang of it. It was at the time that the IPCC report came out and for a limited time I started to churn out posts almost daily. This eventually culminated in a steady pace of about 10 posts per month from October till now. I found a rhythm. Posting more frequent would be not practical, unless I make my posts smaller (I think I make my posts much too long).

I didn’t make it myself easy by writing in a language that is not my mother tongue and although I work in an international environment which demands switches from one language to another on a frequent basis, details can get lost. Although I use a spell checker to filter out errors, mistakes like quite/quiet, where/were will keep popping up. In my focus on the contents I gloss over them, so does my spell checker. I keep on finding such mistakes in older posts, even now. But on the positive side, it improved my knowledge of English spelling tremendously.

The number of views is nothing to write home about, but it is getting better. Since November 2013 there is a steady increase and February started rather strong. So there is hope this trends continues. On the other hand, I have the impression that not all visits are recorded. I sometimes find posts shared without being viewed yet or post with more shares than views. Readers probably view posts in the WordPress Reader and share and/or like from there.

Most popular post (besides the home page and About) were:

  1. The making of The Hockey Stick (April 17, 2013)
  2. (Over)blowing in the wind (February 13, 2013)
  3. Attribution certainty differences between AR4 and AR5 (September 30, 2013)

Most of the views came from United States. Somewhat more than half from United Kingdom. Half of that from The Netherlands. About the same from Belgium (but most are mine while exploring WordPress functionalities). The rest is far away from that, but Canada and Australia are rising strong in the last months.

I also see the presence of my posts in aggregator blogs like for example The Climate Cult, where visitors can view all my posts without having to visit this blog. There were also 3 reblogs of a post on other sites. So I have still some hope that there are more people reading my post than what I can see.

To my surprise, there are now 22 followers. Didn’t see that coming. The same thing with the number of comments. I never anticipated so many. Thank you all.

Also a big thanks for the likes. These were the most comforting when it got though in face of the limited views and they gave me the courage to go on.

For those who are reading, thank you for passing by and I hope you will come back in the future.