Saturday, July 03, 2010

Michael Mann: First Targeted, Now Vindicated

Nobody who has been following the attacks on Michael E. Mann before and since the CRU Hack last November will be surprised that he has been cleared of all scientific misconduct charges levelled against him by climate skeptics.

What may be of broader interest, however, is the fact that that the hack itself seems to have been very largely a deliberate and specific attempt to gather material pertaining to Dr. Mann.

Back in February tech reporter Charles Arthur of the U.K. Guardian examined the stolen emails and realized that

...this is not the entirety of the CRU's emails: there are none of the routine administrative messages about fire alarms, holiday reminders and so on. Therefore the emails have been filtered.

Arthur promised a concordance analysis "examining what the common words or the...documents". This was to be a tool for making hypotheses about the hackers ultimate motive by studying how they had searched through the emails and filtered those they were not interested in. This analysis has been, unfortunately, removed from the Guardian website, and its graphic representation, though promised, never seems to have appeared there at all.

This is where blogger Frank Bi comes in. In June, he wrote a quick-and-dirty program to analyze the frequencies of pairs of words in the e-mails. You can view the entire set of results through the link, but suffice to say the second most common word pair in his results are the various permutations of "Michael E. Mann" ( that is 507 occurrences of "Michael E. + 509 occurrences of "E. Mann"). Which is to say that the hacker was quite interested in emails about or by Dr. Mann, though he was not one of the scientists employed by CRU.


Holly Stick said...
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Fred from BC said...

Cleared of all charges by the university that he works for? Wow, what a surprise...