"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Morano is Out; I'm Still Hanging In

According to Wonk Room, Morano is out. (I don't think I had anything to do with that, but I sure have to wonder what happened.) He will likely continue his career of erm, what it is he did to me (and, apparently, to John Kerry, so I'm in good if unfortunate company) but at least he won't be doing so from a Senate office on public funds.

Also my blog traffic is up.

And I've gotten all kinds of support from all sorts of people.

So it was a very emotionally stressful week but not all bad. Perhaps people are starting to think of the implications of the fact that "mortalities on the order of a billion are not excluded" who hadn't considered the implications of such a possibility before. That would be a worthwhile contribution.

That said, honestly, if I had it to do over I wouldn't.

I would especially like to express my sincere and profound regrets to the University of Texas community for being instrumental in their wholly undeserved public embarrassment. I would have gone to great lengths to have it some other way had I been given the choice.

As I mentioned recently in comments, these events do have me wondering if my biggest prospective contribution to the world is in a conventional scientist role. I am interesting in corresponding with anyone who has ideas for how to structure a career as a writer/content provider, mostly on the internet. I would need to be able to support myself modestly.

I've mentioned this prospect a few times in the past, but I'm inclined to get serious about it.


James Annan said...

I'm sorry I have been a bit busy - was going to blog about your excellent nailing of RPjr but see to have pretty much missed the boat. But I don't see what you have to beat yourself up about. Getting the bogusphere on your back is more a mark of success than failure. I would be horrified to hear that anyone official at UT gave a toss about it. If my experience is any guide, the name recognition will far outlast anyone actually remembering where and why they heard it :-)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some people are starting to think of the implications of the fact that "mortalities on the order of a billion are not excluded".

I truly hope so. On the other hand, certain other people are probably thinking about how successful they were in garnering attention...

Michael Tobis said...

James, I'd be very happy to hear your take on this saga. Late is better than never. Please and thanks.

EliRabett said...

If you are going to go into policy, you have to learn to ditch the modifiers. Take the no allegedly pledge.

Dano said...

I am interesting in corresponding with anyone who has ideas for how to structure a career as a writer/content provider, mostly on the internet.

Yeah, me too, but not on The Internets.

Nonetheless, excellent outcome. Altho you don't have the stomach for this sort of thing, you have the brain for it and made da playas look silly. What James said. Sorry you lost sleep over it but the outcome will be what is remembered in the future, and your angst will be lost.



Anonymous said...

Michael, nice to read this. Wonderful takedown on RPJr. By the way, I was at a committee hearing about six months ago, in the Senate. It was something on climate change or energy can't remember.

Everyone was milling about talking before the hearing began when in walks this odd fellow with this smarmy, turd gobbling, cat who swallowed the canary grin on his face. He then started passing out fliers to everyone who would take one.

I knew I recognized him, but couldn't remember who he is was. It then dawned on me, "Oh, it's Marc Morano."

So sorry to see him go. (okay, that last sentence is lie).


Michael Tobis said...

Regarding The U of Texas, Beck's presentation was quite directly aimed at the same people the alumni office targets. Mostly retired and very conservative folk, some of whom have made or inherited a lot of money.

Any such critique of a "U of T scientist" could conceivably cost the university a lot of money. The fact that the critique was absurdly wrong is not lost on the alumni office, I expect, but it is not especially relevant to their mission.

Even one well-to-do alumnus who is misled by Beck to being angry at the presumably radical extremist climate scientist among the Longhorn faithful could conceivably amount to more institutional funding than I could ever possibly come up with. It may not be fair but that doesn't make it go away.

It's not just that Beck went after me. It's that he went after me as a representative of the University. That was not just mortifying for me and embarrassing for the University, it was quite likely financially consequential.

Michael Tobis said...

Eli, I moved the text from "allegedly" to "apparently" in the interest of felicity of writing. I don't think this changes the meaning substantially. I don't totally trust most single-sourced web info. I don't want other people taking me as confirming things I only have heard from sources outside my own network of trust, especially when it damages the reputation of a third party, especially one with as broad a profile as the esteemed Mr. Morano.

That problem is, actually, at the crux of replacing journalism with blogging.

Fortunately the state of the daily press is such a mess that a competing model can be far from perfect at first.

Meanwhile I try very hard, like any scientist, to include appropriate qualifiers without obscuring my meaning.

David B. Benson said...

Do hope the Wonk Room is right about Marc Morano and I do hope your role, skillfully handled I will add, played a part.

Stay cool.

Hmm, that probably has a triple meaning for a climatologist in Texas...

Dano said...

Morono isn't going anywhere except out of the public employ. No one here really thinks that he is going to stop histrionic press releases to Drudge, do they? Come now. (Wordpress agrees, as my verifier is 'swanical')



Hank Roberts said...

In today's NYT, Revkin's article on the Heartland thingummy attributes something to Morano and identifies him as still working for Inhofe. Dunno if that's news or not.

Michael Tobis said...

Yeah, I saw that. Apparently there is confirmation at E&E News behind a pay wall, that Morano will leave later this month.

Nosmo said...

Hope you can get health care if you quite UT.

tidal said...

hey... nice - and deserved - recognition on RC...

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael...I'm always looking for good blogs and thanks to your '15 minutes of fame', I found yours (from a RealClimate referral), and after a browse or two, you are bookmarked. Nice to have found this site.

Daniel J. Andrews (Dan)

Anonymous said...

MT: if you moved into full-time/survival-line journalism, would you maintain contact with the climate science community? i.e. would you continue your work on the sideline?

I feel that journalism from active climate scientists is taken far more seriously than general science journlist, and "ex-climate modeller" definitely has a bad ring to it (probably because of the connotations of "ex-environmentalist", which may not be true, but are still ugly.)