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Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 1) 282

by Obfuscant (#46792499) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

So the goal is to allow a guy who made baseless claims to go hunting for a base?

No. The goal, as I said, is to allow the person being sued to defend himself. You want to take a public squabble to court and have a judge rule on it, you have to accept the side effects. You don't want those issues raised, let the character of the person making the statements you don't like speak for itself. Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone in the climate science field would put much weight behind anything Mark Levin says, so it would be hard to prove there is much damage from it. I also find it hard to imagine that anyone will change their mind about Mann whether he wins or loses.

You're worried that whatever is discovered might be taken "out of context" or twisted somehow? Well, you're already going to court over the matter, it's not like you have to find a lawyer and file suit over that. It will be part of the proceedings THAT YOU STARTED.

Whether the claims that were made by the defendant are baseless or not is not entirely clear, and are a matter for the courts at this point. But also as I said, the fact that this is about AGW makes it a fascinating story but is really irrelevant to this issue.

Here's a bit of information that might shed light on the baselessness of the claims. I recall an email from a handful of years ago, after the initial appearance of the hockey stick, from NCAR scientists who were quite giddy with glee that they had been able to modify some of the parameters of the model to obtain a much more significant upturn in the rate of change. It was pretty clear from that email that the goal was not to accurately represent the physical processes involved but to get a scarier result. No, I don't have that email anymore so I can't quote it, but I do remember the message it conveyed. It wasn't "we understand the physics better and here's the new results", it was "we changed the parameters and got a higher rate of increase."

Now, I assume that Mann was on the NCAR mailing list that came out on, and I'd say that were I him, I'd really not want that email showing up in a trial.

Take that as you will.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 282

by Obfuscant (#46791733) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

And yet, for decades after that original publishing of the US Constitution, those very tos and fros of negotiating were slowly trickled out, leading to some of the most foundational Supreme Court rulings which have preserved our country's freedoms.

This. It is called "original intent", and it is often the crux of cases before SCOTUS. What did the legislators intend? The only way to get that is to look at the work product and not just the final published result. The Federalist Papers are one bit of the puzzle, but not the only part, and limiting the determination of original intent to that one document is limiting oneself to one man's opinion of what was intended. And, of course, the FP cover only the founders and the Constitution, ignoring completely the legislation created over the last 240 years.

What were the arguments about the law in question? What were the compromises? What was never considered?

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 1) 282

by Obfuscant (#46791657) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

The goal here was to destroy the reputation of a scientist that came to conclusions that someone did not like.

The goal here is to allow someone to defend themselves against a lawsuit filed because someone who has made himself a public figure didn't like what some other public figure said about him in public. In this case, the person who filed the lawsuit is a scientist. The person who didn't like what was being said was the scientist.

Now, if you admit that releasing the scientist's email would destroy his reputation, that's a pretty damning statement about that scientist, I would say.

But as has been pointed out by another, the fact that this deals with AGW makes it interesting reading but has no relevance to the legal issues involved.

Comment: Re:Plenty of speculative finction to consider (Score 1) 150

Heh, tell that to the 39% of survey respondents who apparently believe teleportation will be "solved" by 2064.

And tell that to Jules Verne and his whacky idea that people could to to the moon, or to the nitwit who came up with the fictional idea of "waldoes".

Comment: Re:Personal Drones (Score 1) 150

"X is absurd" is a statement that X is false in an extremely obvious and ridiculous way. "Babies should be issued handguns for self defense" is absurd because it is such an obviously false and ridiculous statement. Or "Slashdot needs yet another car analogy" -- ditto. Therefore:
  1. As a consquence of this rule you've proposed X is true.
  2. X is absurd
  3. Because X is absurd, it is also false.
  4. It is also absurd that X is true and false at the same time.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 282

by Obfuscant (#46791061) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email
Actually it isn't sarcasm, it's reducto ad absurdum. "The final product is published, there is no reason to look into the thought behind how it was achieved" is the current argument. Scientists publish their work in journals, there is no honest reason to look into the process or thought behind how the results were produced. No scientist could ever fudge anything, so it is a waste of time looking. And if one does look, they'll just start colluding and conniving in private, which would somehow ruin a good communications medium for no gain.

Well, apply it to any other area where FOIA applies and see if we can't get rid of the pesky FOIA altogether. But wait, we immediately find an application where we do NOT want to get rid of FOIA, so maybe the goal isn't worthy after all.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 282

by Obfuscant (#46790421) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email
Set a precedent of publishing emails between legislators and the result is they just move any such incriminating conversations to other media, or to face to face meetings.

You ruin the use of a valuable communications medium fishing for something that's unlikely to be there anyway. It's not very likely that anyone would offer a senate seat vacancy appointment to someone as a payback, so why bother looking?

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 2) 282

by Obfuscant (#46790405) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

There is lots of administrative stuff, human resources details, meeting arrangements and much more in daily mails, which all belong to your work, and none of them belongs into the public.

Yes, you've said that before, and your example is why there are HR exemptions to FOIA. That's why open meetings laws also exempt some kinds of meetings. But discussing the interpretation and use of data is not an HR issue and does not merit an exemption, and the fact still remains that his private email is not the issue at all. (And "meeting arrangements" don't merit HR exemptions, either. Nor do the nebulous "much more" which is part of your argument.)

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 2) 282

by Obfuscant (#46790207) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

His private emails are not "publicly funded academic research".

The issue is not his private email, but email sent and received as a public employee working at a public institution. Were this about his private email, UVA would have no standing in the case and could not claim an exemption.

Comment: Re:If only (Score 1) 212

by Obfuscant (#46788849) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

I mean, you might think a little thing like the Constitution is perfectly clear when it lays out the rules for regulating interstate commerce.

Anyone who has read the Constitution would know that it is certainly not perfectly clear in laying out the rules for regulation of interstate commerce. Why would anyone think that it is?

Comment: Re:Possibly Worse Than That (Score 1) 212

by Obfuscant (#46784457) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Second, you do not have to have the opportunity to modify terms period, let alone before exchanging money. Terms may be offered on a "take it or leave it" basis;

Which is an opportunity to modify the terms which was refused by one of the parties. The act of "tak[ing] it" is the agreement upon the terms; the act of "leav[ing] it" is the rejection. But even the party that is told "take it or leave it" has the opportunity to offer other terms, it's just very unlikely they will be accepted.

The point was, of course, is that both parties are aware of the terms and have agreed to them, whether or not the terms are a compromise.

Comment: Re:Possibly Worse Than That (Score 3, Insightful) 212

by Obfuscant (#46783343) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

I know that it's said that ignorance of a contract is no excuse for breaching it.

Of course ignorance of the existence of a contract is an excuse for "breaching" it. What you're probably thinking of is "ignorance of the law is no excuse". But just because GF says "buying a box of our cereal creates a contractual relationship" doesn't make it so.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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