Announcing the inaugural Climate Prat of the Year Award.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but notables of the green persuasion seem to win a lot of awards from various green organisations. They give prizes to each other, occasionally with a nice bit of money as well; sometimes with a very very nice bit of money. You may also have noticed, they never actually award us realists any prizes. As I thinks upon it, no one awards us any prizes. Actually, that’s not quite true, the skeptic blogs made a complete clean sweep of all the science Bloggies this year, so I suppose that’ll have to act as some small measure of consolation.
However, getting back on point and rising above that rather venial pettiness on their part, I thought it would be a nice ecumenical gesture, if us realists awarded them a prize.
Okay, okay, stop right there, I haven’t lost my mind. Seriously. I mean it. Just gimme a moment to explain before you do anything rash. The way to look at it, and you’ll have to bear with me just a teensy weensy little bit on this one, is as an olive branch thrown into that desolate wasteland between that great divide in the climate wars. Think Christmas 1914, the trenches of WWI and offering the Germans a game of football. For goodness sake, let’s do a little bit of human kindness here and anyway, we can always get back to shooting at them afterwards.
I realise this might be a slightly divisive initiative but I honestly think we should respond to similar moves from the other side. Blessed are the peacemakers and Pointy the Peacemaker does have rather a neat kinda ring to it. … hears the faint cheering of crowds, a slight halo starting to appear and a guarded phone call from Norway out of the blue … Shakes head, naw, forgedda about it, ’tain’t never gonna happen Pointy. Anyway. Sure, there are those hard-hearted individuals amongst us, who doubt that the various alarmists’ attempts to engage with us, and win our hearts and minds, might not be that sincere.
We should be a bit more open. One or two of these approaches might possibly have been sincere, with some of them even learning not to compare us to holocaust deniers, or at least not to our faces, which has to be looked upon as a positive sign of progress on their part. I’ll admit that mostly, these attempts have been short-lived, with them running back inside their bunker at the end of the brief exercise, proclaiming they’ve tried to engage with us mentally ill deniers and all to no effect. Of course, sometimes they run back inside because they’ve just managed to cock it up themselves or failing that, one of us has finally ran out of patience with them and thoughtfully obliged them with a rolled up copy of their own peace plan, forcefully inserted into the appropriate orifice. With a history like that, it’s no wonder their peace plans tend to be quite terse documents nowadays.
There are even some deeply un-christian elements on our side, who think of them as, how shall I put this tactfully, rodents repositioning themselves off an ocean-going vessel that’s involuntarily transitioning from the surface down to the seabed. In an effort to reassure my fellow resistance fighters, and keep what’s left of my reputation as a hawkish maquisard of the realist side, I can only say I’m determined that my efforts at rapprochement will be equally as sincere as the alarmist’s.
Picking an appropriate name for the award was the first problem to be wrestled with, not because I couldn’t come up with one, but because so many strong contenders suggested themselves. The Gore’s Gob award, the Gleick Self-inflicted Wound award, the Laden Keep Digging award, the Blanchett Buy Beachfront award, the Muller Mendacity award and so on. In the end, I went for the Climate Prat award, because it’s a non-specific catch-all name, describing them all to a tee. If you’re unfamiliar with the term prat, you can find a rather scholarly exposition on it here.
Obviously, every competition has to have rules and this one will be no different. As a further concession to them, I’ll run it strictly along the lines of climate science. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to do post-normal science but remember, this is a gesture of reconciliation, which might even result in a game of football around Christmas time, which is when the prize will be awarded. Need I point out that despite what a number of people may think, football is still a contact sport? I’m certainly not advocating anything here in terms of an overly physical style of play, but I would bring to your notice that in the unlikely event that such a game were to come about, I would try my hand at a bit of refereeing. The ref being on our side for once, would be a novel experience.
Chris “Chopper” Monckton cutting the legs out from under George “Twinkle Toes” Monbiot would be a sight to see though. Chopper’s got a slide tackle that would put the great Nobby Stiles to shame. If Nobby means nothing to you, think Mean Joe Green of the Steelers or studs up Ty Cobb sliding in on third.
You can nominate up to five people by simply adding their names as a comment on this post. The field is wide open in terms of potential nominees but it has to be a person and in recognition of their actions or utterances this calendar year. It can be pretty much anyone; a politician, scientist, celebrity, blogger or even a journalist. If they’re slightly obscure, it’d probably be best if you included a few words or a link demonstrating why we shouldn’t overlook them. I will understand of course, if the best you can manage is just their name, hissed between gritted teeth. Think calm, think calm and unclench those fists.
I’ll collect your nominations as a result of this piece and after there’s enough, add a polling thingy to the blog, containing the first round draft picks. There’ll be five names, which you can then vote for using the poll form. You can vote for more than one person but only one lot of voting please. My developer, Harry, assures me that the voting mechanism is bullet proof, so don’t even think of voting early and often.
I’m starting to worry about Harry. He’s a bit frazzled and although the details are hazy, I think he had a bad experience working at some university and is on the come back trail from it. I like the guy, we share an interest in photography, but the appearance of a password protected README file in the development folder is a cause of some concern. I can’t understand that, since I’ve already told him who the winner is going to be. That’s how post-normal voting works.
The voting will run from now to Christmas, which gives us lots of flexibility, allowing for the sudden appearance of an exceptionally gifted prat in the coming months. Feel free to subsequently nominate anyone whom you think has demonstrated a superior capacity to be a prat and if I agree, I’ll swap out the one with the lowest number of votes.
The big question is, does it come with a bit of money? Obviously, it’d be a lot more desirable if it did. In the best traditions of climate science, any money involved here sure as hell isn’t going to be my own, so I’ve been looking for funding. Having decided on an appropriate prize amount, the first stop was that shadowy organisation known only as Skeptic Central. Pleading poverty, they referred me on to Big Oil, who referred me on to Big Coal, who referred me on to Big Meerkat, who referred me on to Big Pharma, who then referred me to Big MaxGentleman, which I couldn’t quite understand. In a rare moment of inspiration, or should I say desperation, I got in touch with the Koch brothers.
Slightly better news with the latter, I’m happy to say. A terribly charming person there has promised to ring me back one day, some day, real soon about perhaps opening preliminary discussions on the slight possibility of some sort of limited type of one-off sponsorship, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard anything. They’ve been extremely slow getting back to me. I’m getting a bit worried actually. I’d chase them up but I don’t want to seem too pushy, if you know what I mean.
Quite honestly, I’ve had a terrible time with the sponsorship and am now on the brink of giving up on it entirely. For goodness sake, I know we don’t have much in the way of money, but don’t tell me that we can’t at least scrape together a lousy 6.66 Confederate Dollars. Maybe if I go for 6.66 Euros, I’ll have more success. Then again, the Euro might not be with us by Christmas. Never mind. I’ll keep plugging away but it doesn’t look too good, I’m afraid. If all else fails, I do have a few supermarket coupons I’m unlikely to use. They’re for discounts on things like Spinach, which I can’t abide anyway. They’ve been in my wallet for ages. I suppose I should check up on the expiry dates.
The next thing to think about is the design of the actual prize. Given the bleak outlook on the prize money, it would be prudent to restrict ourselves to something quite modest, like a fancy certificate with lots of copperplate writing. Between us, can knock together a few suitably glowing words for it. Alternatively, we could go for some sort of custom logo.
As the voting progresses, you’ll be able to see the numbers but please remember it’s just raw data. Before any final decision can be made, certain adjustments and homogenisations must be done, to account for things like the Blog Heat Island effect. I won’t be giving you any further details in this area because you might just use the information to find fault with the methodology.
Okay folks. I think I’ve covered all the bases, so the floor is now open for nominations. Gimme those names. The quicker I get them, the sooner the voting can begin and may the best prat win.
Update 1: Nominations closed.
We’ve more than enough first round nominations to start the process. Apart from a few of the usual suspects, no big front-runner is apparent, so rather than arbitrarily pick five miscreants out, I’ve put up all nominations for an elimination round of voting, which should cull it down to the desired number. The voting form is located at the top of the right hand column, on every page.
Update 2: Finalists selected.
The nominees have been now culled down to six contenders. See Time to cull the prat nominations.
Update 3: Blinder Prat option exercised.
By popular request and via the blinder prat option, Bono has been replaced by Stephan Lewandowsky.
Update 4: Voting fraud detected.
The one vice I’m not partial to, is gambling. This isn’t for any ethical reason, indeed I have a few pennies invested in the gambling industry myself, but because I know too much about betting odds. Mr. House always wins in the end but I see no harm in people having the occasional flutter. However, that doesn’t preclude the odd modest wager and I’ve got one going with a friend in the Carolinas, about who’ll eventually walk off with this prestigious award. Being as his candidate was hotly in pursuit of the leader, he’s been monitoring the numbers very closely.
He told me something odd had happened to the voting over the weekend and going over the numbers, I’m forced to agree. The total votes cast, leapt from 640 to 2,211 in two days. Obviously, someone has been running an automated script, and as the three beneficiaries of this wheeze all hail from Australia, the finger of suspicion is definitely pointing in an Antipodean direction.
Yet again, so much for Harry’s wonderful “bullet-proof” voting mechanism. I’m beginning to wish I’d some bullets to test on Harry. I was quite angry over it actually. I was just working myself up to firing his ass, when he went into full on grovel mode. I’ve found out it’s virtually impossible to give someone the boot, when they’ve grabbed your ankles and are blubbering all over your shoes. It’s also extremely embarrassing. We’ve patched it up, but he knows he’s now in the Last Chance Saloon.
Yes, I know I said it’d be run along post-normal science lines, and yes, I appreciate how high feelings are running down under about what passes for a Prime Minister of Australia these days, but honestly, have you no shame? Even under post-normal rules, that’s just plain outright cheating. We have a field of world-class prats in competition and they all deserve their fair chance at glory.
Since it appears to be beyond the powers of man, and certainly Harry’s, to adjust the numbers, I’m obliged to do something radical, in order to get everyone back to the relative positions they were in, as of last Friday.
To the best of my recollection, Gleick the Gormless was in front, closely trailed by Timbo the Dimbo, HRH Gillard the Great, Hansen of Dementia-sur-mer, Oreski the Ommadawn (a knowledge of Gaelic helps with that particular word) and Bono the Bonehead coming up the rear, though as far as I’m aware, there’s never been any suggestion he’s any way that inclined. Bonehead got swapped out in favour of Lewpaper, via the Blinder Prat option.
By the simple expedient of swapping around the names, everyone should end up back in the relative position they were on Friday. This is a rather neat solution, though I say it myself, the only downside being that Dimbo is now about 150 votes behind Gormless, instead of 20, but I’m sure there are enough voters in Oz to help him carry the national standard past Gormless. At least it gives the team a defensible excuse to do some sophisticated normalisation and homogenisation of the data, before the winner is announced in December.
Right. No more naughtiness from you crowd of Ockers down under. This time, Harry’s job is on the line. Not even an Übergrovel will save him if there’s a next time.
Update 5: Blinder Prat option exercised.
By popular acclaim and via the blinder prat option, Tim Flannery, who ran out of steam, has been replaced by Michael Mann. I may yet get to write my shorest blog ever.
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