back to article Guardian super-blogger flames Reg boffinry desk

Globally popular Guardian science correspondent Martin Robbins has initiated a public flame war with the Reg. This is our response. Earlier today, under the page title "The Register misrepresents climate science", the Guardian ran this piece by Robbins, who blogs for the Graun under the title "The Lay Scientist" and who …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Big joke.

    Maybe the paper can stop trying to scare people and look at both sides of the rock.

    these scare stories are getting pathetic.

    Global Warming? Seems frickin' cold to be honest.

  2. Real Name

    Whats more pathetic?

    The paper not allowing two sides of a story, or the paper publicly slating The Reg for doing nothing but reporting and quoting boffins?

  3. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Up

    Hear hear!

    Publish the facts and let the truth fall where it may.

    1. Paul Rubbert


      That's the whole problem. Apparently we wouldn't understand the facts so they 'fake' them. Given that the available information on AGW always appears so biased it's no wonder that there is no common consensus.

      Anyway, the 'facts' always fall where the politicians (lobby groups, self interested QUANGOS, Big green Co's , etc...) want them too. The only real fact is that we are pouring (wasting in my opinion) billions into something we have very little understanding of.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I'm a global warming skeptic because I never see the impact of dust being discussed. Lots of dust comes from burning oil for heat and power, especially if its done inefficiently. Dust falls out of the atmosphere quickly. Since we're certainly running out of "free oil", I expect the dust impact to be negligible within 10 years. Open and Shut, as they say...

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      Dust, soot and smoke have a slight cooling effect, IIRC. As people stop burning 'dirty' fuels (such as peat and coal), this will reduce, at which point we are even more screwed, as the warming effect of greenhouse gases becomes more apparent. Well, apparent to everyone except Lewis.

      1. Mal Franks

        Water Vapour?

        What about water vapour? I expect there's a lot more of that in our atmosphere than CO2.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't be so sure...

      Listen to Nebulous, S01E03, for further details.

      Remember - they wouldn't let it on the radio if it wasn't true.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor choice of title?

    The article may have been accurate and unbiased - I didn't read it, so I don't know. But I do remember reading the title, and taking it as meaning that the sun was the main factor in global warming. I assumed 'recent years' might mean the last 30 or so.

    In other words, the title of the article gave me the impression that it was a heavily biased "it's all just the sun after all' article, which is why I didn't bother reading it (I don't read the doom-mongering green propaganda either, or any other extremist crap). If other people took it the same way, no wonder it didn't go down too well.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      poor choice of comment title...

      you comment may have been pertinent and unbiased, I haven't read it so I don't know. But I did look at the title of your comment and took it to mean that you had read the article and agreed with the gruniads criticism of it.

      In other words, I'm just a bit bored so thought I'd comment on something I know nothing about!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've got your comment right here...


    1. Olafthemighty

      @ Spooky person

      Thanks - my thoughts exactly and I desperately needed a good chuckle today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Can almost here you :)



      So just for the sake of clarity, is it or isn't it ok to buy a massive 4x4 for the school run now?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        if you get a REALLY BIG one, to put the current one in, so you can take it on the school run safely, because WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE 4X4's!??~#

  7. Paul E

    So if you at reg agree with the article....

    "Over the three-year study period, the observed variations in the solar spectrum have caused roughly as much warming of Earth's surface as have increases in carbon dioxide emissions, says Haigh."

    Then you finally agree that carbon dioxide emissions are causing some, if not all, of the global warming?? After all it says "as much as" not "instead of".

    On a general note I do find this picking and choosing research that fits with your view of global warming a bit silly. I generally like reading El Reg but if there is one thing that puts me off its the climate change denial of a number of the regular hacks...

    1. Steven Knox

      One Rule for All

      Well, I think this quote from the response pretty much sums up whether "El Reg" believes that carbon dioxide emissions have an effect: "We've got no argument with the idea that CO2 in an atmosphere has a greenhouse effect: that's just a fact. "

      Having said that, I think you've highlighted a serious problem at this publication. I've read enough articles on this site to see that the various reporters have (and are even sometimes allowed to express) different opinions on issues like this.

      Furthermore, most (if not all) of their opinions have the annoying trait of not simply being "yes" or "no", but carry that hallmark of activist journalism: unchecked analysis. How dare they ask questions and demand "explanations" and "figures"? The editors of this site need to clearly identify to their hacks which boffins are correct, and rein in their wild, logical speculation.

    2. blackworx


      Surely picking and choosing research that fits with the "required" view of global *climate change* is exactly what everyone else (i.e. Le Graun et al.) is doing too?

      Personally I don't know what to think about climate science (I do know one thing - humankind is very busy shitting where it eats right now, and that's down to overpopulation) but to criticise the Reg for bias, when 99.9% of everything you will ever read anywhere about climate change right now is biased, seems more than a little disingenuous.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Climate change dogma.

      "Then you finally agree that carbon dioxide emissions are causing some, if not all, of the global warming?? After all it says "as much as" not "instead of"."

      Why do the dogmatic always confuse a healthy scepticism over the contradictory evidence with climate change denial?

      I guess it's the "if you're not with us you must be against us" stupidity so readily shoved down our throats by politicians and tabloids.

      1. Shakje

        Re: Climate Change Dogma

        The problem is that it's not a healthy scepticism. Healthy scepticism would be questioning the evidence then coming to conclusions based on that evidence, in the case of El Reg the general view has been to cherry-pick its stories to frame climate change science in a negative light. Also, while science never proves anything, there are points where it's sensible to accept the generally held consensus in view of overwhelming evidence, the theory of gravitation for one. Scepticism tells us that the theory isn't complete, but it does describe our observations. There is a tonne of bias on here towards the anti side of things, and as such there's a far larger number of stories that suggest an anti stance than there are which report on findings for the pro stance (something that's completely the reverse of the balance of publications). Further to that it seems quite ok to make appeals to authority like the one in this article, while using derisive language against people who they don't agree with (although boffin isn't one of those words). It's a shame because a lot of the reporting is very good, and they have some very good writers. It seems that there's a decent portion of readers who agree with the first poster as well given the upvotes.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        What about climate change Dogpas too?

        "Why do the dogmatic always confuse a healthy scepticism over the contradictory evidence with climate change denial?"

        Perhaps because it is a debate conducted largely on the back of personal attacks and creating/inventing personal stakes (e.g., who watches the watchperson's wages?). Still its always a good sign for the comments when an appeal is made for healthy scepticism; I may get a chuckle and some interesting points as I wade through the froth and bile.

        [Pinches nose shut and dive bombs on in]

    4. aelfheld

      Where's the proof?

      All 'global warming' *whoops* 'global climate change *whoops* global climate disruption is predicated on computer models that, using historical data, can not accurately represent current conditions. It's a scientific fraud dependent on gullible fools with no more knowledge of science than my cat; that the terms invented to 'describe' the phenomenon keep changing is an indicator of the underlying deception.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Personally someone who is a member of a team that The Register has accused of being "boffins" in the past, I hate the term. It is redolant of all the laddish, lager-swilling intellectually crippled twatbasketry of The Sun, or Inquirer's Nick Farrell. Do not want. Better nouns are available.

    Anon, for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Thats the big advantage to nicknames, you don't get to choose them you just have to lump it.

  9. Arkasha

    Random use of CAPITALS

    You missed pointing out that tabloids don't use capitals randomly either. They use them to put emphasis on certain words indicating some concious effort to use them in particular places rather than randomly.

    If TheY usEd thEm randomly thEIr arTicLes WouLd loOk somethinG like THis.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Indeed. This poor Martin Robbins chap (or, a fat, glare-y John Barrowman?) will probably implode if he ever reads a comment by amanfrommars in that case!

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Where is he anyway.

        I've missed him.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @Peter Gathercole

          Who, John Barrowman? Not sure but I'm sure he'll be solving a problem like Maria or some other claptrap soon.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            @AC re: @Me. Yes, I know. Bad me.

            Since being able to directly reply to a comment, I have developed a bad habit of assuming that it will be obvious what I'm replying to. But this is not a threaded forum (thank goodness) so this is not always clear. This is not the first time this has happened, and I'm annoyed with myself for it.

            I meant amanfrommars, of course. I may be reading the wrong comment trails, of course, but I don't think I've seen a comment by him for several weeks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's a bit rich

      I can't help but smile at the irony of a Grauniad hack criticising someone else's spelling and typesetting

      1. Paul M 1

        It's an old joke I know

        ...and the oldies are the best. But I think you'll find that since they, along with the rest of Fleet Street went with digital typesetting that their spelling is no worse than the others'.

  10. Mike Smith

    Glass houses, stones

    After having a look at some of the other twaddle this chap's written, I would respectfully suggest that if he gets in touch again, you politely ask him to describe the back of his teeth.

    Because his head's so far up his arse that he can see for himself.

  11. Dave Bell

    See what the boys in the back room will have...

    And long may the boffins continue.

  12. Mr F&*king Grumpy

    omg, we're all gonna die

    Actually, "Beaker" (as in Muppet) is much more likely to wind up scientists than "Boffin".... (I speak from experience)

  13. Neil Paterson

    Initiated a flame war?

    Smoke, meet fire...

    1. Doshu


      But all in all Robbins still seems to come off as an arrogant, self-important twat with absolutely no formal training. Looks to me like he's doing more lobbying than actual reporting.

      1. oldredlion
        Thumb Up


        "Robbins still seems to come off as an arrogant, self-important twat with absolutely no formal training"

        Well, he does work for the Graun, so what do you expect?

        There is no paper finer for patronising the "little people".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So who fancies going over there and sorting him out

    Through the comments section of the article of course.

    Personally I see no problem with the word boffin which has positive conotations in terms of British ingenuity etc.

    But if I want to check that, or opinions on global warming reporting out I'll go and read the "Bad Science" articles and website.

    What Robbins ought to watch out for is language with negative conotations for his "profession" - "hack", "scribbler", "journo", "Guardian blogger".

    On a more personal note, that's a terrible picture they've got of him, and he can't spell "labelled"

  15. Jim_aka_Jim


    Journoes from 2 different publications not liking each others work. What has the world come to?

    Point 1) Martin Robbins needs to remove his head from his bottom

    Point 2) Please don't make claims about not caring what someone else thinks after writing them a long response, it's embarrassing

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      On the contrary

      The response was first a step by step debunking of the drivel that Robbins posted, before delivering the final fuck-off punch.

      I found it great.

  16. Giddy Kipper
    Thumb Up

    Bravo Team Reg.

    That is all.

  17. jake Silver badge

    The title "Boffin" considered to be negative?

    As a guy who has had the title "Boffin at Large" on his business cards (they wouldn't let me use my preferred "Chief Cook & Bottle Washer" at Bigger Blue), I kinda suspect that anyone who dislikes the term can and should be summarily ignored.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    That bloke...

    The one who looked a bit like John Craven. You know? The one in charge of that America country. Who was that again? Bill Something. It was such a long time ago - two thousand and something, perhaps - or even earlier than that.

    If you're going to use the term "recent" to describe something which was at most six years ago, and then apply it to things that have been around "forever" in human history, the changes in which are most contentiously discussed in relation to the last couple of centuries, then you really deserve a flaming from boffins of all kinds. Even if the article balances out or even contradicts the headline, it looks like click-bait at best, which is fair enough if you're dealing with the latest soap opera in Apple's complaints department, but isn't very nice when you're playing around with someone's hard (and frequently life-long) work.

    But back to that bloke. After all, if "recent" is just pandering to the readership's obviously deficient capability to reflect over longer than the last few shiny years, we can't remember who he is now. Strange, then, that people keep harping on about his sidekick, Al Gore, like he's personally taken a dump on the bonnet of their BMW.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      I arrested a chap just the other weeking for taking a shit on the bonnet of my Merc, not BMW, and he swore his name was Al Gore (at least he swore). Typical journalistic standards there Mr AC.

      Anyway, have you ever looked at the top of El Reg's web page? You know, the RED bit, at the TOP, I rest my case.

      And may I state, for myself at least, that the word boffin has entirely positive connotations regarding the intellectual capacity of the recipient, though possibly not so positive in the personal relationship and tie choice front.

  19. Dr. Mouse

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Nice response!

    I like it down here at the "random-USE-of-CAPITALS end of tabloid journalism".

    The articles make more sense than anything I ever read in the Guardian, and generally contain a more balanced view... as well as putting a smile on my face

  20. Caff

    more please?

    Can we have a flame war section... maybe set up some journalist vs blogger boxing matches?

    1. npupp 1


      (or nth'd depending on how the moderation queue is looking)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To secretary:

    RE: Robbins

    File under baseless twoddle

  22. Marky W

    I used to read the Register... a phrase that's repeated amazingly often in the Graun comments. Why, it's almost as if they were written by the same person!

    I especially liked this:

    "One wonders what they think they are doing over there, and why they think there's value in a news outlet that appears to have been written by 12-year-olds."

    Because, as Reuters reported in June this year:

    "Operating losses [at Guardian Media Group] before exceptional items narrowed to 53.9 million pounds for the year to March 28 from 65.2 million pounds the year earlier." Value indeed....

    1. Z 1


      Your last line says it all. I for one have had enough of the churnalism put out by the grauniad and their reprinting of AP, Reuters and other PR press release merchants

  23. Rogue Genome

    This is an Outrage!!!!

    Requires an image of boarding the outrage bus.

  24. Andy 97



  25. Dan S
    Thumb Down

    Why the swipe at psychology?

    Why end an article about media representation of climate change with a swipe at psychology and business studies?

    If you want to know *why* different media outlets are presenting 'the science' differently then some kind of social scientist might actually be the right person to ask.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      social scientist

      An oxymoron shirley?

  26. CADmonkey

    this, from the rag that gave you, ONLY YESTERDAY:

    The HOT news that the latest version of Windows Mobile would at last have a touchscreen, and apps.

    Don't go contradicting them, now!

    Guardian readers untie! FWT!!!!!


  27. DaWolf

    unbiased opinions

    "For the record, your correspondent simply doesn't know whether they're right or not."

    not according to the opinions you present, which are unrelentingly sceptical.

    1. Martin 19
      Paris Hilton

      'Not knowing' == sceptical

      Unless of course you equate not being sure about the strength of a theory with being an enthusiastic supporter of it?

      "Contemporary skepticism (or scepticism) is loosely used to denote any questioning attitude,[1] or some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted" : Wikipedia article for 'Skepticism', 1st line.

      /Paris, because she is a master of scepticism

    2. Anonymous Coward


      ...i heartily encourage you to check out the definition of the word "sceptic", because it doesn't mean what you obviously think it does.

      Greetings from Poland, by the way.

    3. SDF1586

      @unbiased opinions

      As the vast majority of the rest of the media - press, telly AND radio - lean in the opposite direction The Reg offers a refreshing balance to that torrent of bias.

      (No random capitals were used in the writing of this response).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      unbiased opinions

      Er, when did being sceptical become a bad thing?

      I'd quite like somebody to question what we're being told - far too many people dumbly believe whatever their rag/channel of choice tells them. Scepticism doesn't imply disbelief, it's just an intelligent reaction to questionable data. Give us better data that is incontrovertible and I'll stop being sceptical.

      1. John Hughes

        When did skeptical become bad

        When it came to mean "refusing to base my opinions on facts".

        A true skeptic examines the evidence and decides.

        A "global warming skeptic" has already decided and cherry picks the evidence that they admit to considering.

        1. Luther Blissett

          Decides what?

          What does evidence decide? Essentially, whether a conclusion is reasonable given the evidence in favour and/or against it, that is to say, whether it is reasonable for a person (more exactly, a rational being) to draw that conclusion, and to believe it. A conclusion follows from the evidence, being implied by it (or not, as the case may be) -- one might say the evidence drives the conclusion.

          But the relationship between empirical evidence and a conclusion is not the same as the relation for example, in maths, where the conclusion is either justified or it is not. Factual evidence typically supports a conclusion more or less strongly. A range of possibilities exists: evidence can be suggestive, strong, overwhelming, compelling, resistible, etc. Skepticism merely draws attention to the fact that an inference or argument may not be buttressed enough to be believable, and therefore cannot and should not be believed by any rational being.

          When climatological boffins advocate fabricating evidence to support a conclusion, and Hulmes quite shamefacedly advocate lying to fabricate narratives for manufacturing social consent for policies, they are perverting the notion of rational beings. But then IMO many Gaia worshipers and AGW fanatics came to their conclusion not through a process of rational inference, but by scaring themselves with their own fantasies.

  28. RKS

    Title of your article was misleading

    Why can you not accept that?

    When you say "much" of the warming was caused by the sun's activity I understand it to mean the majority or more than other factors. You should accept that instead of writing some stupid excuse "Much of recent global warming - as much as was caused by human carbon emissions, anyway". That would mean they are equally responsible. One is not MUCH more of the cause.

    As to all the recent issues on climate change I am still waiting for good authoritative research. Papers that study 3 year periods or even 100 year periods are inconclusive and not representative in the grander scale of things that happen in our solar system. To talk about what the sun is doing now is not fact as to how it was behaving 10,000 years ago. It is not a machine with specific output, it is subject to a lot of physics and evolves over time.

    We also need to understand the causes of the past ice ages and meltdown, without which we will not know if this is part of the same cycle. There is so much more to this than just human, of that I am fairly sure but stand to be corrected.

    Then we have the 'Lay Scientist' proclaiming "Either way, it has little effect on the reality of man made climate change" is another type of assertion I vehemently dislike. Where is the reality? Has it been proved beyond all doubt or objections? And are we the ONLY cause of this change?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I Love you

      If I could up-vote you 50 times I would. You hit the nail on the head about 'reality'.

      To my mind, 'much' means a substantial proportion. I'd say even 50% is a substantial proportion (i.e. if it was 'as' responsible) so I'm not sure I agree that the title was misleading. It's certainly open to interpretation though.

      For the record, I used to read the Guardian but found waiting an hour to change train was more intersting if I didn't bother!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Am I to understand then..

      that we now just all get to decide for ourselves what a word means, rather than using dictionaries and boring crap like that? Awesome!

      But, if this hasn't happened, then I'm confused. Because the word "much" doesn't mean "the majority or more than other factors.". It really doesn't matter what you decide you're going to understand it to mean. If you "understood" the word "much" to mean "99.99%" or "bananas" then that alone wouldn't make it so. If you "understood" the word "bellows" to mean "automobile" or "freakishly long legged Tiger ridden by a drunk midget" again, that doesn't make it so.

      See, I "understand" the word "much" to actually mean "a great quantity, amount, measure or degree" in this context. Yes, "great". Not "greater". Or "greatest". Just "great". There is no comparative nor superlative indicated in the headline. The title was not misleading to anyone other than non-English speakers, and the slow of thinking.

    3. Luther Blissett

      Understanding indefinite quantification

      Much != most

      Most == >50%

      ergo, much <= 50%

      OTOH 'recent' would seem to be a relative concept. Conclusions based 3 years activity relative to the age of the sun would need to be scrutinized carefully, to say the least.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Stopped reading the Grauniad when they decided to support 10:10 and the despicable, disgusting, de-humanising film "No Pressure".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Pressure

      That film is nothing more than the climate change extremists version of stoning heretics.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Balance - the downfall of reporting

    Unfortunately, most news desks require balance these days in order to avoid being called "wrong" or "biased". They thus equate in the reader's mind, both side of the story as if they are equal, even if they are weighted 100:1 in favour.

    So for example, if 100 scientists support global warming theories and only 1 voice dissents, most news outlets will give both sides of the story equal weight. So in most people's minds, global warming has a 50:50 chance of being bollox.

    See "Flat Earth News" by Nick Davies for details.

    Fortunately, a lot of the Reg is primarily tongue in cheek and so manages to avoid all this. Hurrah!

    1. Neil Paterson


      I was about to mention "Flat Earth News" by Nick Davies. Should be required reading for anyone posting opinions relating to ANY online news outlet, especially those criticising newspapers...

      Lowest common denominator now rules *aLL* journalism. (Prove me wrong here Reg, do some original investigative journalism about how much more accurate online is than trad. journalism! Probably not using AGW as your case study, though?)

  31. Richard IV

    Journalists over-interpet things shock!

    Nature: "Declining solar activity linked to recent warming"

    Grauniad: "Sun's role in warming the planet may be overestimated, study finds."

    El Reg: "Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun"

    Both articles spin the damn article. The real, not very interesting story is that the bits of the climate models dealing with how the sun warms the earth up are a bit wrong and further research will be needed to update the models to be more accurate. It could be like finding that Mercury's orbit deviates a bit from what's predicted by Newton. Or it could be like finding that truly objective reporting on climate change actually exists.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      @ Richard IV

      So Nature used "recent" in their headline too?

      I can't wait to see the Graun flame them for being a bunch of pseudo-scientific denialist'll be very, very funny.

      Incidently, just what role does a paid "lay scientist" play? Is that the same as "professional bullshitter"?

  32. Stefing

    Man versus THE SUN

    I think that Man having as much effect on the climate as the Sun is reason for alarm - not complacency or The Register's usual Clarkson-like bloke-down-the-pub denialist wishful thinking.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I dunno....

      There's 1 sun and billions of us, I reckon we could have him!

      Must be 'ard if he's matching our collective effort tho

      Beer cos it leads to fights (at least according to some)

      1. zenp

        ...exactly...'s been a YEAR since we BOMBED THE MOON, and have ANY of the other planetary bodies given us ANY trouble SINCE? I think NOT. We RULE this solar system. Bring it on Sol, you're SO ancient history...

        (...grenade, cos we bring 'em to a gun fight...)

        1. The Other Steve

          See Icon

          See Title

  33. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    The Reg needs to make a poll.

    The poll would check how badly the term "Boffin" makes readers feel. Options should be colorful.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      I hear "boffin" I think..

      Alan Turing. Back in the day he was referred to as such. It was a term of endearment. I also picture the man in blue to my left.. :-)

  34. AlistairJ

    I used to read the Grauniad

    On Thursdays, back when they used to have a proper science and technology section. They ditched it with the excuse that science belonged in the main paper, not a sectional ghetto. Since then science coverage has disappeared and I no longer buy it.

    Go Reg!

  35. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Lewis, the angry 12 year old

    We didn't misrepresent the article, so there!!! Only in the title, and anyway the IPCC said some bad things too and they did it first.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well done Lewis

    I am glad that it was an article written by Lewis that was subject to this unwarranted defaming, and most proud of the admonishment he has returned.

    However, Martin Robbins does have an advantage over most of the other Reg hacks - he can produce articles that are not riddled with errors!

  37. Bryce Prewitt

    His "humorous" spoof article.

    Not sure it's really all that brilliant or funny considering Charlie Brooker did a far funnier and biting (not to mention concise) spoof nearly nine months earlier.

  38. The Other Steve

    And this from the Graun ? Colour me tickled.

    Martin, may I refer you to the reply given in Arkell vs. Pressdram ?

    And I note that the Graun has still not bothered to report on Harold Lewis resignation screed. Partisan much ?

  39. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    NO FLAMING!!!!

    It adds to global warming

    Can we have a fire extinguisher icon please?

  40. Anonymous Coward


    Just wanted to make you aware, down here in certain parts of the West country, 'boff' has a quite different connotation. Far from inferring that an individual has mastered a natural science or an esoteric branch of mathematics, the term suggests mastery of a rather more base level, c.f. "I'm seeing me bird tonight and givin' her a right good boffin'!"

    Good article otherwise. I'm with the Reg.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Went and had a look at the Graun page. Couldn't be arsed to sign up just to post the obvious;

    "Either way, it has little effect on the reality of man made climate change"

    Reminds me somewhat of the recent criticism of using 'incontrovertible' in scientific papers.

    Man made climate change is _NOT_ a reality, it's a hypothesis that has not yet been empirically proven.

    From my POV this is a really strange belief. Most scientists would criticise those who believe in a deity because you can't prove his/her existence. They scoff when the religous groups respond with "well you can't disprove his/her existence, so he/she must exist". Yet here we are with Climate Change, which has miraculously become fact just because it can't be disproved. Whether it exists or not is irrelevant because it hasn't been proven.

    Prove to me, with full datasets and transparent repeatable methods, that Man Made Climate Change is real and then I may tolerate the use of 'reality'.

    Lay Scientist isn't a bad description, much like 'armchair general'. Neither group has a f*cking clue about the truth.

  42. Mr Young
    Thumb Up

    Ha, ha - FIGHT!!!

    Whoever makes the rules should allow hair pulling and eye scratching for this one!. Anyway, I'm sure we'll get the hang of this climate control guff sometime soon? I mean - even I can guess it would be a problem if the SUN DISAPPEARED LAST NIGHT! OMG!

  43. James Hughes 1

    What we need is a sense of proportion.

    For example, the proportion of man made vs natural warming would be good for a start...

  44. Bunglebear
    Thumb Up


    I am quite fond of the term boffin and as a research scientist I fall into that category. Its not the term itself thats the problem, its how people use it. El Reg use it in a tongue in cheek way which is fine, a chav uses in a disparaging way which stems from their own intellectual inferiority and is meant to be offensive.

    I am on the fence about climate change, but the slightly hysterical responses from green activists when pressed on these important scientific issues does them, and their cause, no credit.

  45. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Blogger != Journalist

    Neither does blogging on science make you a scientist. Mr Robbins seems to have achieved the unenviable position of falling between the cracks of both disciplines, but being master of neither.

    At least Mr Robbins has one thing correct of himself : his moniker of "lay scientist". This couldn't possibly be more apt.

    1. Luther Blissett

      Apt, but hyperreal

      Factoring in the social milieu of postmodernism, we need to read through the hyperreal appellation of 'lay scientist' to 'lay preacher'.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    i always took

    the use of the word 'boffin' and the like on these pages to be a title of distinction. If a journo in any of the hopefully soon to be extinct seudo-political-brain-washing-biased-arse-cleansing print media used the term I would consider it derisive.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    So it was the Sun Wot Warmed It?


  48. a cynic writes...

    For accuracy , I like New Scientist's take...

    "Solar activity flies in the face of expectations" going on "IF NEW {sic} satellite data can be trusted, changes in solar activity warmed the Earth when they should have cooled it."

    The overall effect was about 0.05C apparently.

  49. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    Haha love this comment

    Haha I like this comment on that blog from a commentard called "blighty".

    "No matter how inconsequential the story is, if it in any way mentions nudity, sex, reproductive organs, stupidity it will make it onto the site, and even then they struggle to find more than a few stories every week."

    That's why I and many others read the Register - for the sex, nudity and reproductive organs! Mixed in with IT news! Duh!

    However his/her comments about struggling to find stories is balls. I visit the site probably about 5 times a day and there's always new stuff about knobs and jubs to read each visit!

    Oh and this climate-change/gate stuff is so boring to me now. Oh and that blog was so boring and stinks of trying to hard. People moan at me about grammar but over there on the Gruanianaiaianengrua its another matter all together! He needs to learn to limit the use of the comma key!

    Paris of course - for the jubs!

  50. Efros
    Thumb Down

    I used to read the Graun

    but they refused my Boffin STaTus. BaStArds.

  51. bill 36

    root cause analysis

    Would someone else like to do one? Another techie perhaps? Because i reach this conclusion based on CO2 emissions, which i don't believe either just for the record.

    Assuming CO2 is the reason for global warming then CO2 emissions must be reduced.

    What drives consumption of fossil fuels and thereby CO2 output? Humans do.

    So the root cause is that there are too many humans on the planet and the numbers get larger everyday.

    But this is way too controversial isnt it. So until somebody has the balls to stand up and say it we will never reduce CO2 output.

    Or have i got it wrong somewhere:>)

    1. Efros

      Start the cull

      Watching reality TV will probably qualify you to fulfill the UK quota.

    2. Adam Williamson 1

      hold it, maverick

      "So the root cause is that there are too many humans on the planet and the numbers get larger everyday.

      But this is way too controversial isnt it. So until somebody has the balls to stand up and say it we will never reduce CO2 output."

      Sorry, but you're not some kind of maverick trailblazer. Lots of people have had this thought, someone reliably comes up with it in every story about climate change ever, and it's actually in all the official reports if you bother to look at them. I mean, think about it - it'd be impossible to come up with anything vaguely like an accurate study if you don't factor in population numbers, and how are you going to spend months accurately factoring population projections into your report on climate change and *not* think 'hey, this would be an awful lot simpler if people would just fucking well stop breeding!'? No, really, everyone knows it.

      The point is that it's a fairly useless thought because, practically speaking, you're never going to convince the entire world population to stop having kids in a 100 year span, or even to slow down appreciably. The only country that's ever had the tiniest scrap of success in implementing population control is China, and look at the effort that entailed (and, well, the stinky ethics of it).

      The other point is that it's really not that simple: what's mostly driving CO2 emissions is the rapid pace of industrial development in several parts of the developing world, notably China. As a lot of nations are being really quite successful in bootstrapping themselves up to the level of resource usage of 'developed' nations - China, India et al - their energy usage and carbon emissions per head are skyrocketing. And, as noted above, China is the one country which is actually able to manage any kind of population control. And good luck convincing the Chinese that they can save the world if they just stop building factories and cities and improving their quality of life and instead choose to spend another 1,000 years holding a buffalo on a piece of string (thanks, Terry). You wouldn't do it, why should they?

      1. bill 36

        very amusing

        I think you missed the point entirely, but hey you are not alone which is why this argument will last a long time.

        Quote "what's mostly driving CO2 emissions is the rapid pace of industrial development in several parts of the developing world"

        Do a root cause on that statement and you might get the point.

        1. Red Bren

          You asked for it...

          "what's mostly driving CO2 emissions is the rapid pace of industrial development in several parts of the developing world"

          "Do a root cause on that statement and you just might get the point."

          Western economies have systematically outsourced their heavy industry and manufacturing to the cheap labour pools in the far east, such as China. While this has had a positive impact on the standard of living for the local population, it hasn't yet raised it to western levels. The vast majority of China's output is still destined for the West, so it is the West's pollution that China is generating by proxy.

          It's not over-population in the developing world that's the problem, it's over-consumption in the developed world. Telling people who aren't the problem to stop breeding will fix nothing.

          1. bill 36

            @Red Bren

            Actually i agree with you! BUT

            "Telling people who aren't the problem to stop breeding will fix nothing.

            Thats not what i said!" or implied!

            "it's not over-population in the developing world that's the problem, it's over-consumption in the developed world."

            That my friend is a symptom, not the cause and demonstrates precisely why root cause analysis of a problem is fraught with difficulty and why so many get it expensively wrong.

            To move along a bit, CO2 is a major issue, almost everyone agrees. Some American researches who were studying ice bores from the Antarctic regions last year concluded that warming of the planet in its various phases could be tracked quite accurately and because of the ice formations concluded that levels of CO2 had risen dramatically AFTER the warming event. That is also a fact!

          2. The Other Steve

            No it isn't

            "it's over-consumption in the developed world."

            No, it's the 'pollution' generated by the manufacturing process. Not the consumption itself.

            And BTW I think China probably uses some of it's electricity to see in the dark and stuff, so only a portion of the emissions would fall undet the banner of the 'ours by proxy' argument.

  52. Dale 3


    Oh go oh, somebody mention Hitler.

  53. Watashi

    Assorted nuttery

    The crap spouted by particular El Reg "journalists" on the matter of Climate Change is a large part of the reason why I don't visit anywhere near as much as I used to. Climate change deniars who have no idea what they're talking about come pretty high on my sh*t list.

    Of course, the Guardian isn't much better, having had a funny turn after the whole East Anglia university email scandal. It seemed for a while as if the electronic version of the newspaper suddenly lost the ability to think rationally and turned deniers themselves. I think they've come back to reality recently, as it has become obvious that the main offence committed by the East Anglian scientists was one of smearing their opponents rather than lying about their pro-climate change evidence.

    For all the "scientific" denial, I've still yet to see anyone in the address the basic physics behind CO2 caused global warming. CO2 + sunlight = heating. Simple. There may be plenty of other heating and cooling effects, but the above equation is a fact, whether you like it or not.

  54. Tom Paine

    I agree with Robbins

    What I Reckon*:

    The Register's coverage of climate change is profoundly embarrassing. I love El Reg, I've been reading it daily since the very early days. However my heart sinks when I see another climate-related headline turn up in the RSS feed, because I know it will have me grinding my teeth in impotent frustration at the misunderstanding of really basic science. In the case of Andrew Orlowski's pieces, they often descend to the status of propounding ludicrous pseudoscience.

    *Mitchell and Webb,

    Climate change is important; and there *are* real remaining controversies, poorly understood or characterised phenomena and areas of honest disagreement between professional researchers in the field. Instead of giving us the thoughtful and insightful survey as it would with any other topic, the impression is rapidly given of a saloon-bar bore of the red-faced Telegraph-reading species.

    (I would also be very happy to accept that a /huge/ amount of BS about AGW is promulgated by people you might suppose to be "on my side". Bad journalism and sloppy thinking is everywhere, and "OMFG we're gonna die next week when seas rise 500 feet!!1!" is a headline that will get clicks and reads just as much as "Climate Lies Exposed!"* will. For a while I wondered whether it was deliberate page-view trolling on El Reg's part, but on reflection I don't think that's the case. I think Orlowski and Lewis are sincere in their apparent belief that, apparently "physics dun't wurk like that". Sadly that has spoiled my enjoyment of other stuff they write. Lewis *seems* to me, an uninformed observer, to be a credible and well-sourced reporter of matters military; but, as I have no personal knowledge of the topic or way to check his assertions about e.g. MoD procurement fiascos, I can only weigh it up his credibility by assessing his coverage of a topic I _do_ know something about. This process does not give me much confidence in his other pieces.

    Thanks for finally running something on this topic; a shame it took a piece in the Grauniad to prompt you to do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Written like an Arts Graduate

      "at the misunderstanding of really basic science"

      Perhaps you could provide links? I haven't read anything here that denes the basic physics of the greenhouse effect for example. This does not advance your argument that human emissions are the most significant factor inrecent climate change.

      Your post reads like another smear of writers (Lewis, Andrew) who don't agree with you.

  55. SDF1586

    Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun

    Quite frankly when I read the above headline my immediate response was "Surprise, f@cking surprise!"

    1. John Hughes

      Well it is a surprise

      Why do you think it isn't?

      Oh, because you don't have a clue.

      For your information the surprise is that falling total solar activity may be producing warming because the visible/infra red part of the spectrum may be rising even though total activity is falling. Nobody predicted this, so it's a surprise.

  56. Ben 38


    I'd always assumed it was a term of endearment and felt proud to be one while browsing el Reg. Now the chavs are using it as an insult?! Was it always an insult!? Scared and confused boffin here...

  57. danbobs


    Lewis: the charge of being misleading stands. Try re-reading this article. I guess you think it's a solidly reasoned and deliciously witty rebuttal of Robbins complaints. Think again. It's a scrambling, post-hoc rationalisation of a clumsy attempt to overstate the studies conclusions. Attributing the headline to refer to something other than the studies conclusions is wilful sleight of hand on your part. You got called out on your climate denial agenda today, but your sophistry in trying to back it up shows contempt for the intelligence of your readers. In future, I'd advise more time spent in considering your response to very pertinent criticisms of your writing. Petulance got the better of you my friend.

    No disrespec' intended to El Reg and it's otherwise day to day awesomeness.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    case of shouting "FIRE" in a crowed rom

    this is case of if Professor Joanna Haigh should have shout "FIRE" before she is 100% sure of it,

  59. Adam Williamson 1

    Logic, Reg

    The Reg has a rather big problem with logic here. Your logic appears to run:

    Scientist A is respected for work within his or her field of endeavour; therefore, what Scientist A has to say about climate science is significant and must carry a lot of weight.

    This is just not true. Yes, Professor Haigh is a respected physicist. He's also not a climate scientist. Neither is Freeman Dyson.

    Roger Ebert is a highly-respected film critic, but I wouldn't necessarily ask him for advice on setting up my home theatre. It's much the same situation. Just because someone is in some sense smart and has achieved undoubtedly good things in some field of scientific endeavour doesn't mean they really have a clue what the hell they're talking about in some other field.

    "Then too there are all the embarrassing blunders made by the IPCC lately, in allowing totally unverified claims regarding glaciers, rainforests etc to filter through from hardcore green activists to official UN descriptions of the scientific state of play.

    All in all, then, we'd say that our reporting is a lot more accurate than most on the environment beat. But we would say that, wouldn't we."

    Yeah, you would and there's a serious problem there, too. The Reg's climate science reporting strategy is to wait until someone makes a mistake and then report on it extensively and repeatedly. Even if every piece you run is 100% factually correct, this is still not a good approach. Strictly speaking, it's 'accurate reporting', but it's not *balanced* reporting and it provides a misleading picture to your readership.

    Everyone makes mistakes. I dunno, let's say - the military makes mistakes. If your military reporting desk (and I'm still not entirely sure why the hell the Reg has one, but ah well) had been around in the 1940s, it could have spent all its time waiting for the Allied forces to screw up, then reported at length on the screwups. This would have been 'accurate reporting', and anyone reading the Reg's coverage would have been under the impression that the Allied forces were losing / had lost the war. Would that be good coverage of WWII? No, it really wouldn't.

    Slightly esoteric example, but hey, it applies to anything. You could report on nothing but bugs in software, and the logical conclusion from your reporting would be that no software is any good for anything at all, all it contains is bugs. I could go on, but hopefully the point is clear now: faithfully and accurately reporting only one side of the story is not good journalism, it's what Fox News does on its worst days.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      That's because

      Mistakes in climate science are news. Climate is a global policy issue and politicians should not base their policies on flawed or incomplete science, which is what they have done. Journalists should hold them all to account.

      A picture of a polar bear is not news.

      1. Adam Williamson 1


        I didn't say they're not. But reporting *only* on studies and flaws in studies which support your side of the argument is not good journalism.

        Do you believe that there may actually be valid climate science studies out there which tell us useful things about global warming?

        Has The Reg ever reported on one of these (except to point out errors in some of them)?

        Do you see the problem now?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @Adam Williamson

      "Professor Haigh is a respected physicist. He's also not a climate scientist."

      I'm pretty sure he's also a woman.

      Anyone for a spot of misogyny? Don't worry - the birds won't see us.. They're all in the kitchen.

      1. Adam Williamson 1


        y'know, I actually briefly wondered about that, and then was too lazy to go to the huge effort of going back three pages to check.

        (why no, since you ask, this certainly isn't the first time being incredibly lazy has bitten me hard on the ass.)

        apologies to all concerned :)

  60. Anonymous Coward

    But the Sun is to blame

    The Sun does heat up the Earth, compare the day and night sides of the moon.

    Also the Sun provided the energy to create all the fossil fuels (plants, sea creatures etc millions of years ago) so is indirectly responsible for the carbon dioxide now being released.

  61. Bill Fresher
    Thumb Down

    Hush now

    I believe that Mr. Robbins is an ecologist, working in industry (ecology is an industry?). Could anyone be better qualified to decide the cliamte debate?

  62. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Mark Twain quote:

    "There is something fascinating about science. You get such a wholesale returns of conjecture from such a small investment of fact. "

    And since no-one actually _knows_ what the effect of the Sun or CO2 is, this one will run and run.

  63. James Pickett

    Warming effect

    "solar warming probably has little effect on the Earth's temperature"

    Zat so? I think even the Grauniad would find it noticeably cooler without it.

  64. graeme leggett

    Where the register went wrong..

    Was in the title of the original piece. It should have

    "Grrl Boffin says solar warming theories may be arse-about-face."

    1. PirateSlayer
      Thumb Up


      Awesome. Thanks for that.

    2. Luther Blissett

      Or even...

      "Grrl Boffin moons solar warming" ???

  65. blackworx


    Frankly I don't care about the rest of this guy's whining, you can argue the climate change toss until you are both blue in the face for all care, but his attack on your use of "boffin" smacks of over zealous PC-brigade wankery. If this guy knew the first thing about The Reg he would never have gone there.

    In conclusion: I call twatdangle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Tw@dangle is my new favorite word.

  66. Mike Moyle
    Thumb Up

    "Boffin" is Boffo!

    ...As Hollywood's "Variety" magazine would doubtless have it.

  67. Terry H


    Congratulations El Reg! You've made it onto the hit list of mainstream corruption and evil. You're in the big time now.

    I'm so proud. I knew you when you were just a little techie site.

  68. raving angry loony

    spin spin spin.

    Interesting. ONE scientist comes out saying it's the sun being brighter or what-not, and the "I don't want to believe in climate change" brigade jumps on it like a starving puppy on a meaty bone. I'd call that "desperate" really. "Sad" comes to mind as well.

    I'm seeing a lot of misleading reporting on both sides of the "debate", but much more from the "nothing happening here" camp. Not that it really matters. What it looks like to me is that journalists who should fear to tread in a science debate are jumping in blind. Seems they're more interested in pushing agendas or in racy headlines than in actual science. Just one paper and it's getting spun so hard by both sides you could power continent if it was at all magnetic.

    Science is built on patience, deep understanding of the facts, knowledge, and accuracy. Something today's politicians and journalists (and I include El Reg in that number, oddly enough) don't seem capable of or interested in. At all.

    When it comes to science reporting, it looks like most papers (and the journalists behind them) are more at the "Daily Mail" or "Sun" level of exposition. Including El Reg and the Guardian. Perhaps they should leave science reporting to more specialized journals where those writing actually have a clue? Reading El Reg or the Guardian for my science news is like reading Vogue for my technology news, and about as useful.

  69. Anonymous Coward


    Well the Guardian are closely linked with the 10:10 "No Pressure" eco campaign group. Their attitude to non-believers is to blow them up. I suspect that some of their extremism has rubbed off on him.

  70. 42

    What do they expect

    Any regular reader knows that the Reg prints anthing that contradicts Anthropogenic climate change.

    Every time some scientist who is not a climate scientist expresses a negative opinion they rush

    to post it. Of course anything in favour is ignored.

    If you want jounalism your in the wrong plce here, this is a entertainment and opinion site. Facts are largely irrelevant.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You cut and paste anthropogenic from your word processing package. It's not a noun.

  71. Adrian Esdaile

    Hang on...

    I thought Globalular Warmificationalism was due to Lack Of Pirates, therefore is Due To Pirates.

    I'm RMAA agrees.

  72. heyrick Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice retort

    Perhaps a bit like poking a snake with a stick, but as you say - there are well known <s>boffins</s>scientists and there's a guy that writes for a newspaper and thinks he's all that and then some.

    Fact is, there are so many variables and so much bullshit that nobody on the planet can stand up and say "I know how this works". I don't buy the current "accepted" theory, this is why I get called a "denier", but people that actually take the time to listen realise I am not denying something is definitely up with the climate, I am denying that changing lightbulbs and adding extra taxes is going to do the slightest damn thing.

    Anyway, I like to think I'm fairly clever, but I'm no boffin. If I was, and I was reported in El Reg as being a boffin, it would be quite the compliment...

  73. streaky

    Climate Nazis

    Time to break out the trusty Godwin's Law?

  74. neil 15

    It is actually quite funny

    when Mr. Page tries to write about climate change, or should I say paraphrase badly written sceptic websites (great investigative journalism there). It is blatant he does not have the necessary background training in the subject to read scientific papers and so jumps to his less than informed opinions. The articles are all the same, start off with boffins, and end up with a link to the paper behind a pay website that he has not read either (some of us in academia do have access to them and can read for ourselves), I assume this is done as some sort of vilification for the article, but usually is the opposite. Here is a hint, read the article, not just the abstract and some biased and ill informed website for research, or just stick to ranting about how shit UK military kit is.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Academic you want the plebs to keep funding your research (to keep you in wank mags and scare stories), but you don't want anyone to comment or try to understand it? We'll just take the views that say we're all very naughty and doomed from you and ignore the other people who say any different (or deviate from what your opinion is). I love it when you guys in certain academic institutions (normally the ones fabricating their evidence) call this a 'debate' insult to the word. Dogmatic isn't a strong enough word.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        On the contrary...

        ... what would be very nice indeed is if 'the plebs' and others would actually bother to put some effort in and try to understand the science first, and then comment. Instead, what we get is comments first, without the understanding, and wholesale regurgitation of quotes and horseshit from people who patently have no clue whatsoever or, worse, an agenda to obscure and cast doubt on the science. El Reg is a good example of this where Orlowski and Page have no clue whatsoever, demonstrably so with each and every article on climate science they write. It would seem from their articles, which are unremittingly negative about AGW, that they also have the agenda to sully the science too. IOW, the Guardian is factually correct - El Reg does mislead and misreport climate science.

        For example the "Much of recent global warming actually caused by the Sun" headline could just as easily have been written as "Much of recent global warming actually not caused by the Sun" as both statements are true depending on which part of the solar cycle you wish to cherry pick. Why? Because the other logical deduction from the Haigh article is that prior to 2004, the opposite was happening in the current 11 year solar cycle: that is, that there was much less warming caused by the sun than had previously been thought.

        1. The Other Steve

          Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

          Your assertion appears to be that anyone who 'understands the science' will be in complete agreement with your personal version of reality.

          This is, of course, complete and utter balls.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            If they understand the science then they understand reality...

            It is quite simple isn't it? Unless you belong to the lunatic camp that believes that the findings of science aren't reality?

            Fwiw, there is no 'personal' version yo it. It is either reality or not. The science tells us one thing and one thing alone - that global warming is occurring, that it is happening at an unprecedented rate that is unlikely to have occurred in the past, that this is most likely due to emissions of greenhouse gasses and that much of it is due to human caused emissions of those gasses.

            If you can point me to some good quality, well thought out, thoroughly investigated and rationalised science that shows the opposite then please do, but it is extremely unlikely as so far, it doesn't exist.

  75. Mips
    Jobs Halo

    Why wait?

    As it happens I live just below high water mark so I have a vested interest in global warming. Fortunately there is a nice friendly earth bank which is just enough for now to keep the sea from visiting us. This is the situation for many people all over the world.

    I do not want to wait the results for your grand experiment to prove that carbon dioxide is causing global warming because by that time I will be living in a pond and lots of other people will be refugees.

    We want YOU to do something about it NOW and not to say later: Oh I am sorry, it seems I was wrong.

    The sun output will wax and wane but carbon dioxide keeps on rising. It's time for YOU to do something about it.

    1. The Other Steve

      Move to higher ground

      Adapt or die. That is all.

  76. John Hughes

    You just don't have a clue, do you?

    "At least, if you believe Professor Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London."

    No. There is no "belief" involved.

    You mean "If her findings are correct".

    Later you go on to say:

    "Then, even James Hansen of NASA himself - the man who more or less invented the idea of carbon-driven warming"

    No. It was Arrhenius who discovered it, in 1896.

    Finaly "But in fact the article title accurately reflected her comments to Nature"

    No it doesn't. "Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun" could have been written "Half of recent global warming actually caused by Sun". But you didn't write that, did you.

  77. Flood

    @ Lewis Page


    I've never been particularly good at expressing my thoughts all too clearly and English is also not my first language.

    One thing I know for sure is that after reading the said blog post by the person at The Guardian I am very, very upset.

    He misrepresents The Reg, attempts to discredit you, Lewis, and your journalistic integrity.

    In the past, oh, five years - I don't know - or so that I've been reading your articles I have always felt that you delivered all facts and that when you offered your opinion it was clear that it was indeed an opinion.

    I don't know what you do behind the desk but by the time your article is published it is clear that your findings are backed up with links to your sources, names, alternate points of view, tools to help us understand what your source is saying, additional explanation to help us make sense of highly technical material, you REPORT and you pratically never rehash, unless it is to add something constructive. You INFORM, Lewis.

    And you often Break the news.

    What the hell else could one possibly want from a journalist/reporter?

    Has this Guardian blogger not ever sampled the barfingly simplistic, pre-chewed, over-vulgarised, petacrap of censored information that pollutes the online world of news today? By big names such as CNN, for example, to name only one?

    I come here and I know that I get the facts. It is delivered to me in a witty style that appeals to my multi-layered brain that is very capable of reading between the lines of cynicism when it finds it and revel in the humor - which is always light-hearted, often incisive and never abusive BTW - that pepers your stories.

    Furthermore you are as journalistically professionnal, fair and accurate as they come and as I have ever seen online.

    I am so upset by what I have read from that Guardian blogger.

    I guess what angers me the most about that person is the way he tosses those tid bits of misinformation around with the usual disregard that must accompany them to the potential damage it can cause to someone's reputation; it is almost an attack on your character and it's unbearable to just stand by and watch happen.

    The last thing that either yourself, Lewis, or The Reg has ever done is misrepresent anything - albeit I haven't read every single article you have ever published; but I have read many articles over many, many years, on topics such as Security, Software, Science, Hardware and have been reading The Reg articles probably for more than 13 years.

    I can tell you that the above are points of view that are shared by many in my circle of friends and co-workers who are familiar with The Reg.

    And finally... Whomever has not understood that your use of the word boffin in your articles was more flattery than anything else is... lacking...something I cannot put into words... somewhere... I cannot put my finger on...

    The respect you have for science and scientists oozes out from your articles, and you're also keen on catching and underlying the absurdity of some of it where it is appropriate.

    Even scientists themselves will often admit the complete wackyness of either their entire field or their latest findings/experiments. Same as a geek or a nerd will admit to the geekyness and nerdiness of what they are doing or of what they are into, even though they recognize that the words can carry a very negative connotation; depending on the context.

    It's almost 3 AM over here and so therefore I'm not going to drag this on, though I deathly want to. Let's just say that we need more journalists like you, Lewis Page, and less bloggers such as Martin Robins, more news like that from The Reg and less from the likes of The Guardian.

    I suppose it does add to both sides of the debate however...


    Keep up the exceptionally good work Mr. Page.

    One more thing is that I have compiled - and shared with a few people I know - a pretty exhaustive list of your humorisitc references to DARPA going up to 2009/02/02 - I've been slacking but there have been so many - and we've admitted to each other that when we want a good laugh we sometimes pull up that list and read through it and LAUGH TO TEARS; I do so myself litterally still quite often.

    Propellor-hat friday lol.... that's probably my favorite one.



    Daniel Lambert

  78. zebthecat

    Face it - The original headline was misleading

    Having said that Mr Robbins was an idiot for engaging in a flame war with somebody who approaches the climate change issue with same intellectual rigour as Jeremy Clarkson.

    Amongst climate scientists it is only a debate in the same way that Evolution vs. Intelligent Design is a debate. The only climate scientists casting doubt on man-made climate change are those funded by the fossil fuel and automotive industries.

    Make of that what you will

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Come again? "amongst climate scientists...[specious argument]", then conceding that there are climate scientists who you mean 'amongst climate scientists who have the same opinion'.

      Where's your evidence of this conspiracy?

      is there no room for scepticism in your world?

      Here's another conspiracy: universities need public money to continue their do this they need to spew scare stories and demand more money to further their careers. Make of that what you will.

  79. gene-boffin

    don't get flustered

    People do take themselves and their convictions too seriously, haha.

    Stay skeptical, Lewis, and keep the boffins on their toes!

  80. The Other Steve

    Fuck off graun commentards

    Please go back to touching yourselves while looking at pictures of Monbiot and Milliband, and leave us alone to our pointless bickering about Microsoft.

    PS yes, I know who you are. Apart from anything else, continuing to insinuate that anyone who disagrees with the point of view you have been spoon fed is a Telegraph reading Tory - as if there were something inherently wrong with either of those - is a dead give-away.

    1. Red Bren

      The opposite is also true

      Please go back to touching yourselves while looking at pictures of Littlejohn and Thatcher, and leave us alone to our pointless bickering about Apple.

      PS yes, I know who you are. Apart from anything else, continuing to insinuate that anyone who disagrees with the point of view you have been spoon fed is a Guardian reading socialist - as if there were something inherently wrong with either of those - is a dead give-away.

      Your comments are usually worth a read, even when I don't agree. Let's not sink to silly name-calling?

      1. The Other Steve

        Little who ?

        "Let's not sink to silly name-calling"

        I thought you said you had read some of my comments ?

  81. Tom 13

    Lewis Page,

    Your response article is simply brilliant.

    This icon's for you.

  82. Jesthar

    I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?

    I really, really should know better than this, but here goes...

    I, for one, like the fact that El Reg posts climate change articles with sceptical overtones (with a side order of tongue-in-cheek humour). It makes such a a refreshing change from the usual on-with-the-hair-shirt-and-ram-it-down-the-throat-whilst-castigating-the-unbelieving-heretics approach favoured by many other news outlets. I may or may not agree with any particular article, but at least I don't feel like I'm expected to go gird myself in sackcloth and find a nice pile of (carbon-footprint-enhancing-rainforest-destroying) ashes in which to wallow in penitance during self-flagellation once I've finished reading.

    Regarding my position on climate chance, I suspect I find myself in one similar to many people - accepting as logical that the various CO2 producing activities of man affect the planet, but warily unsure as to what extent due to the general hype and what we strongly suspect is associated profiteering. Not that we'd ever admit this in person, of course (or that we're heartily sick of the phrase 'Carbon footprint' and it's associates to the point where we're starting to consider boycotting companies repeatedly labouring such points in their advertising), as we fear being mown down by the 'how can you not understand this is a CRISIS!?!' brigade - or, at least, deafened by their megaphones.

    I don't expect to be fully able to understand the details of the complex science of climate change as I'm a BOFH, not a boffette. Come to that, on the evidence of even just this article and counter article, it would seem a strong probablility that no-one really does. After all, I seem to remember a time from my younger days (and I am not far into my third decade) when the boffins were worried about global cooling and whether there was a real possibility of another Ice Age if we weren't careful. What I would like to see, though, is the basic facts and figures presented in a non-biased, unhyped, non-agenda pushing way, but I strongly suspect that isn't going to happen (thanks to EITHER side, please note). Of course, if anyone knows different, links are welcome!

    Anyway, I long ago decided to throw away the hair shirt and just carry on doing all the little things I can, if only to stop the greedy utility companies from getting their hands on more than the just-under-£40-a-month they currently extract from my bank balance...

  83. The Other Steve
    Thumb Up

    Yes, yes you are.

    You aren't allowed to be sensible, you have to become all hysterical and shouty and adopt an extreme position. And then cling to it in the face of any inconvenient incompatibilities with reality.

    This is apparently mandatory.

    Unfortunately, since you haven't, you can now expect to be attacked by foaming idiots from either extreme. I still don't know why. If someone would forward me a copy of the minutes of the meeting where we decided those were the rules, I'd be most grateful. Tx.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Pear reViewd sCiense by BOFFINS...

    erm....sorry but here's another paper. In press so its part of peer reviewed science according to the IPCC and jones et al, that states that " least 60% of the global warming observed since 1970 has been induced by the combined effect of the above (planetary influences) natural climate

    oscillations.The partial forecast indicates that climate may stabilize or cool until 2030–2040."

    put that in your pipe and smoke it....

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