The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NSF: Letter "Fraudulent"

Regarding the Beeville hoax story:

Dear Michael,

Linda Slakey forwarded your message to me. We became aware of this
yesterday through an article in the Beeville, TX newspaper, and have
referred this matter to our Office of Inspector General.

The letter is not authentic, Linda had no knowledge of it, and it
amounts to fraudulent use of our name and logo.

We appreciate your concern about it.

Regards, Maria


Maria Zacharias
Acting Head of Media and Public Information
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
703-292-8454
Fax: 703-292-9087
http://www.nsf.gov

13 comments:

Orne Batmagoo said...

Kudos on your investigative journalism!

Whether the NSF will try to prosecute the fraud, or not, remains to be seen.

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks, Rich!

Andy S said...

Great stuff!

Once again "skeptics" prove to be both unprincipled and gullible

sdcougar said...

I would halve Andy's comment and simply state that skeptics are gullible [as are many on the other side of the fence].

No one knows who did this and it could just as easily be someone trying to embarrass the skeptics.

Andy S said...

Perhaps you're right, sdcougar. It does rather look like an Onion headline, now I come to think of it...

EcoTretas said...

I'm a skeptic and have been investigating it.

Skeptics are this: they investigate things, and find them wrong or right!

In this case, the most clear signal was that the temperatures in NASA's site didn't agree with the claims, as I've noticed on my blog.

Ecotretas

Tony Lee said...

Wasn't there an earlier instance of a teenage girl who published a "takedown" of climate science and briefly became a cause celebre of the sceptic community? "Look, climate science is so easily debunked that even a high school student can do it!"

As I recall, she focussed on the Maunder Minimum and made a lot of undergraduate level errors.

Steve Bloom said...

But she cleaned up on contributions to her scholarship fund, Tony! Hmm, perhaps that was the whole point.

I recall that Judy Curry was quite taken with her.

Steve Bloom said...

Had to switch back to comment moderation again, eh?

Bradley J. Fikes said...

As a global warming skeptic, I thought right from the beginning the story was too good to be true. No way would Al Gore expose himself to that kind of embarrassment.

Nothing about the story made sense. What made the hoax possible was an unscrupulous hoaxer(s)and a newspaper that didn't check the facts. The result: A victimized school and family.

keith said...

Nice job. Now it's on to unmasking the CRU hackers, no?

Seriously, this represents the best of the citizen journalism era.

EliRabett said...

It was kind of strange. Curry did offer to mentor the Maine girl and got blown off, which made it very clear what was afoot.

Tony Sidaway said...

Texas being Texas, this story might just as well have been about a project to "disprove" evolution, the age of the earth, or relativity.

The local newspaper that broke the original story now reports that the hoaxer has owned up and apologised.

In this case evidently there was no grand plan, just a reporter who took the story at face value (quite reasonable in the circumstances), a few bloggers desperate for anything to discredit climate science, and one nationally known political opinionator (Moranis) burned by his eagerness to get in on the act.

This really is beginning to look like creationism all over again. There are two sides: those prepared to permit the scientific process to guide their thought and those out to discredit the process because they find the conclusions unacceptable.