On male pattern baldness and global warming

Global warming doesn’t cause baldness in men. At least, I haven’t seen anybody claiming this. Yet.

No, I’m talking about the little-known theory of intelligence and hair length. For a long time, really since biblical times and the legend of Sampson, scientists thought that with hair came power. A full head of hair was associated with sophistication, creativity, and brilliance. Look at Einstein, scientists used to say, full of hair and clever ideas.

Leading scientists of our own time know about this theory, of course, and carefully tend to their tresses in an attempt to maintain their intellectual prowess. Think of Stephen Pinker or that guy who wrote Blink.

However, it turned out that the theory was only mostly true. It was discovered in 1982 that men who possessed a variant of the gene arylacetamide deacetylase-like 5 would lose hair as they aged and that, surprisingly, hair loss was directly associated with intelligence because of quantum physics. As pattern baldness developed in these men, their heads would, naturally, become less protected from a specific kind of cosmic radiation.

This radiation, no longer blocked from getting inside the head, seeps in and impacts synaptic junctions, breaking them down. The effect is cumulative: the more radiation you are exposed to, the dumber you get. Men with this gene literally lose their hair and their minds.

A case study is the following scientist. To preserve his anonymity we will call him “Dr. X.”

Bald Dr X

You can see that he has lost most of his protective covering. This man, when he had his hair was an eminence in his field and one mean physicist. However, with the parting of his hair, came the inevitable.

For example, one of his colleagues relates the story that he went looking for Dr X after a seminar but he couldn’t be found anywhere. The colleague admits that it was his turn to watch after Dr X and that Dr X would occasionally wander off if not supervised, but he was as shocked as everybody else when, several days later, Dr X turned up in an English courtroom! Even more bizarre was that Dr X was there to support six Greenpeace members who vandalized a building of a private company they didn’t like (many Greenpeace members are also bald).

The story doesn’t end there, unfortunately. In the courtroom, Dr X was able, by painting a bleak and apocalyptic scenario, convince the jury that the criminals, while guilty, should go free. Sadly, the jurors did not know about the relationship between hair and intelligence were frightened by Dr X’s tale of woe. They thought it better to give him what he wanted lest they upset him unduly.

This saga becomes personal because it turns out that my friend Anthony Watts knows Dr X and has publicly called for Dr X to be fired. If you know Watts, you know he is a perfectionist and wants everybody to perform at top level, so his plea is understandable.

But I think firing is too harsh. After all, what has happened to Dr X is not his fault; he is not responsible for his actions. Certainly, his colleagues should pay closer attention to where Dr X goes and what he tells outsiders, but he has done a good and long service and so should be taken care of because of this. Besides, Anthony, while you still have your hair, you might also possess arylacetamide deacetylase-like 5, so look out!

Oh yes. Those men who have another variant of the gene—about 1% of the population—might also experience male pattern baldness, but in their cases the cosmic radiation actually strengthens their brains. I think this is happening to me, but just in case, I always wear a hat.

Update: A person whom I respect chided me, as he probably should have, and asked why I was being so hard on certain people.

My friend deserves an answer. This is what I told him

Most probably [I am too harsh because of] a character flaw or some other weakness in my personality.

In this case, maybe not. Dr X testified for the defense in a criminal trial. A trial of admitted criminals, that is. He did not testify that the accused were not at the scene of the crime, or that witnesses were mistaken in their identify, or that the six were out of their minds. He instead excused their crime because the earth might get too hot.

Since Dr X believes these six should be allowed to get away with their crime, it is only natural to ask what other crimes would he excuse. Defacing private property? Destroying public or private property? Physical intimidation? Violence?

My view is that Dr X, who is aware of his celebrity status, acted inappropriately. If he wanted to use the trial as a means to promote his views without actually taking part in the proceedings, then I would not have objected—I have nowhere said that people should not express their opinion on this or any topic. But his views on global warming are absolutely irrelevant to whether the six were guilty or innocent.

Dr X opened himself to ridicule by overstepping his bounds. I have never said, and do not say, that Dr X’s theories are mistaken or outside the bounds of possibility. I do say, and often say, that he is too certain of himself, as are many other experts and scientists. Naturally, these scientists do not think themselves too certain. Ordinarily, this would not be especially harmful, but in the case of global warming, well, people are beginning not to be able to see straight.

But if I hurt Dr X’s feelings, then I apologize.


  1. tesla

    Another tell-tale symptom of balding induced radiation psychosis (BIRP): claiming to be silenced and muzzled while appearing in hundreds of interviews and news articles.

  2. Kevin B

    Another strange symptom of this sort of cosmic ray damage is that the sufferer can lose all sense of temporal stability.

    Thus, sufferers sometimes believe that the present affects the past in some strange way.

    For instance, I know of one sufferer who thinks that if the average temperature rises in, say April 2008, then the temperature in May 1937 will fall. (Or have fallen, or always have been lower, or higher, or something.)

    No amount of argument by his colleagues can convince him that this simply cannot be, so now they just shut up and leave him alone.

  3. What a fine precedent for the UK.

    I can only imagine what will happen when a Greenpeace team gets access to a turbine house at a coal or nuclear plant with a few buckets of metal shavings. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that? People won’t freeze to death if the power is lost to an area, they can gather in large communal groups to stay warm in the winter and it’s better that they lose that silly independent streak, iddnit? What serves the collective is most important, after all.

    I’m sure E.ON and other power companies will be beefing up security at their sites to prevent such a thing from occurring, and now that Greenpeace has a get-out-of-jail free card so long as they’re picking on the naaasty power companies (we hates it, we hates it forever!), the scale of their monkeywrenching cannot but increase. At some point there will be a physical confrontation between Greenpeace activists and security personnel, and someone will be hurt.

    At this point, there is only an established right to destroy property in defense of “the planet”, one wonders if Greenpeace members will be able to claim self-defense in the service of the the planet in the future. The UK is hardly a hot bed of self-defense, the operative theory regarding self-defense seems to be “the victim started it by retaliating”.

    A sad and stupid day. Hansen should definitely be fired.

  4. Bernie

    I do not know whether James Hansen should be fired or not. It depends on the NASA rules governing this type of explicitly partisan behavior. I do believe that excusing this type of primitive destructive behavior is morally problematic and smacks of the same deficient moral sense of fanatics for other causes. At the same time, since I have not seen exactly what he said am I not sure how strongly to condemn him.

    On the other hand, almost regardless of what he said, Dr. Hansen has compromised his ability to manage the critical GISSTEMP database. None of Dr. Hansen’s allies would countenance the notion that the fossil fuel industry should control and manage a key climate or carbon database.

    Michael Crichton in State of Fear seems to have been somewhat prescient.

  5. Wade Michaels

    Wow, so the defense argued nullification and not only did the jury buy it, but the judge let it go? Even Law & Order wouldn’t let that fly!

  6. MDM

    Since Dr. X considers himself a crusader, let’s put some eye-holes on that mask-out and call him Dr. Z (which is short for Dr. Zorro).

  7. Ray

    Wasn’t he against global warming before he was for it? He was working with one of the advocates of global cooling in the 1970s and when the wheels came off that bandwagon he nimbly leaped onto the global warming bandwagon. Now it looks like the wheels are coming off that bandwagon everybody is trying to get on the climate change bandwagon. That way you are always right if it either warms or cools and you can keep scaring people and keep the funding going. Just remember, no fear=no funds=no job.

  8. Briggs

    Ray, You might be thinking of Dr S.

  9. Vinny Burgoo

    Psst! Wanna see a Greenpeace baldie being gaffed aboard an Israeli coastguard inflatable?

    Wanna see it again – and again and again?

    (Is it a gaff or is it a noose? If a gaff, is the hook embedded in baldie’s skull? I can’t tell. Greenpeace has said that nobody was seriously injured during the arrests, which were on Monday, but that doesn’t automatically mean that baldie wasn’t gaffed through the brain.)

  10. Vinny Burgoo

    OK. Fair enough. Spam trap.

    The pix are worth seeing, though. Just go to any Greenpeace site and look at what they were boasting about most noisily immediately before the Kingsnorth verdict. And typing Israel in the search box might help. And I think the skull-gaffed baldie might be a French photographer called … can’t find it. French, anyway. And bald.

  11. Doubter

    The consensus is the cosmic rays don’t have any effect, and not the sun either, everything is due to CO2 pollution. It’s a dangerous addiction that leads to mental illness.

  12. Joy


    Sounds like wishful thinking on each of your points in turn.
    “the victim started it by retaliating”
    What are you trying to say?

  13. Joy

    Where’s James Bond? He looks like a Bond villain.

  14. Walter Dnes

    Dateline March 32nd, 2009

    Fox TV proudly announces a new member of their stable of daytime judges shows. “Judge Joe Brown”, “Judge Alex”, “Judge Mathis” and “Judge Judy” will be joined by “Justice Jim”, a recently fired NASA employee, who has gone into TV as a second career. In part 1 of a blockbuster double-header series opener, Justice Jim sentences a corporate CEO to 10 years of hard labour for “Thought-crime”, i.e. publically dis-believing global warming. In part two, Justice Jim finds a vandal who blew up a coal-fired power plant not guilty.

  15. barking toad

    I have hoons screaming down the street in their cars at 3am.

    This wakes me and ups my blood pressure consequently adding to global warming as does the heat from the exhaust of their cars.

    When I’m arrested for hurling bricks through their windscreens, thereby causing the vehicle motion to cease, and consequently stopping some warming, I’ll be pleading the Jimmeee defence.

  16. Eco-terrorism is often defended on the grounds of “free speech,” as if vandalism, arson, and public endangerment were forms of speech. Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” The message in this case is that industrial sabotage is legal in England.

  17. Richard S Courtney

    I do not Know if this is pertinent to the situation of Dr. X but under the subject heading of
    “Complaint at improper involvement of a NASA employee in English Law”,
    yesterday I posted the following to NASA.


    Dear Sirs:

    I am a British Subject resident in England and I am writing to request that NASA distance itself from actions in an English Court of Law by a NASA employee, Dr James Hansen, by issuing a public statement and by taking disciplinary proceedings against Dr Hansen.

    Reasons for this request are as follows.

    Members of Greenpeace, an activist group, scaled the chimney of Kingsnorth power station, England, and painted graffiti on it. Eon own the power station, and they sued the activists for recovery of the ~$60,000 it cost them to remove the graffiti. Greenpeace did not dispute the damage or its cost, but argued in Court that their activists’ actions were justified under English Law according to the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

    This Act says that it is a “lawful excuse” to cause damage to a property as a method to avoid greater damage; e.g. fire fighters have a “lawful excuse” to smash a door to gain access to a building when that is action needed to fight a fire.

    Greenpeace argued that their activists had such a “lawful excuse” to damage the power station because they were seeking to prevent even greater damage being caused to property by climate change induced by power stations. This damage from climate change includes flooding from rising sea levels and damage to species.

    The main witness that Greenpeace had to support their case was Dr James Hansen. His authority for this was his position working for NASA. And he had already placed his views concerning Kingsnorth power station on record when, in December, he wrote an open letter to the UK Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, to urge him to prevent plans for coal-fired plants that do not capture CO2 emissions. Eon wants to build two new coal-fired units at Kingsnorth to replace the ageing plant, and UK Government is considering whether to approve the planning application for the replacement.

    In the Court case, the jury found in favour of Greenpeace by a majority verdict. The statements of Dr Hansen must have been a major contribution to this result because he was the key witness for Greenpeace.

    And this result has serious consequences. It has set a precedent in English case law that permits damage to the English power supply system using as a “lawful excuse” that the damage is intended to avoid climate change.

    Such attacks are not restricted to grafitti. A few months ago activists stopped a coal train supplying a power station and they spread its coal over the surrounding countryside. Indeed, any act of terrorism aimed against coal-fired power stations in England and Wales now has a “lawful excuse” that will exist unless and until the UK Parliament changes the law.

    I was employed as the Senior Material Scientist of British Coal (aka the National coal Board: NCB). It was clearly recognised by all that as an employee of the NCB I was responsible to UK Government. And I would have rightly suffered instant dismissal if – when in that employ – I had sent a letter to the US President similar to that which Dr Hansen sent to the UK Prime Minister: my employment defined that any such letter was being issued by the NCB and UK Government. So, I fail to understand how Dr Hansen’s letter was not issued by NASA and the US Government. And this understanding of the source of that letter is supported by Dr Hansen’s employers permitting him to travel to the UK and to put the views in that letter to an English Court of Law.

    Clearly, the jury in the Court had similar understanding to myself.

    And the results are serious. As I said, any act of terrorism aimed against coal-fired power stations in England and Wales now has a “lawful excuse” that will exist unless and until the UK Parliament changes the law. This result of a US Government employee is so serious that some could consider it tantamount to an act of war.

    Hence, I write to request that NASA issue a public statement and takes disciplinary action against Dr James Hansen for his actions in an English Court of Law, and thus to distance NASA from those actions.


    Richard S Courtney

  18. Alan Bates

    Always be careful what you say. There is nothing so ludicrous that it cannot be blamed on global warming. (See the list produced by Emeritus Professor John Brignell – http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm)

    Global warming may not (yet) be linked to male pattern baldness but it has been associated with loss of prickles on hedgehogs – a phenomenon referred to as hedgehog global balding.

    It would appear that the warmer winters are disrupting the hibernation of hedgehogs and this is leading to prickle-loss.


  19. Wade Michaels

    Jury nullification could be a very serious issue going forward regarding environmental crimes. Essentially 12 (or whatever the number in the UK) jurors can change the value of a law at their whim, and their views are substituted for the legislative process.

    In theory, some laws may be over the top and/or wrong in some juror’s eyes (say, capital punishment), but for something such as vandallism…. I’m just not sure how the judge let this fly. It was a civil case, and while not in a U.S. court, the judge could’ve ruled non obstante veredicto.

    I can’t even move on to what Hansen did because I just can’t get past the ruling. It’s completely shocking.

  20. doesn’t this web site has other languages support??

  21. Briggs


    What kind of problems are you experiencing? Maybe I can fix it.

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