My Origin Story – And More! In Which I’m Interviewed

My Origin Story – And More! In Which I’m Interviewed


I was asked a terrific set of questions by Unbekoming at his Substack Lies Are Unbekoming. This being a slow on-line week—as it right and proper—most of you will be away. Those who aren’t and are stuck at work might find these an amusing distraction.

For instance, here’s the first one, which tells my origin story:

1. William, to start, could you please tell us a bit about your background and what led you to become a “renegade scientist”? What has your journey been like up to this point?
I started in the Air Force doing electronic cryptography. I always say Staff Sergeant was the only title I ever cared for. Didn’t start college until after the service, in 1989. This was when global warming was just becoming big, after global cooling was big in the late 1970s. I was convinced global warming was important, so I studied meteorology and atmospheric physics (BS then MS). I used climate forecasts in my work, specifically in integrating climate and crop models, which is important because the weather isn’t that important, but what it does (to things like crops) is. I wanted to know how good these models were.

It was a good thing I asked this question in meteorology, because answers on how to verify forecasts (models/theories) were common there. And my advisor’s (Dan Wilks, at Cornell) advisor (Alan Murphy, now dead) were the two top guys in the field. That led me to switching over to statistics for a PhD, in deriving new methods to examine goodness and badness of weather and climate predictions. Or any kind of prediction or theory, in any field.

Turns out weather predictions are pretty good, for maybe five sometimes even six days. And even short-term climate predictions, out a few months, had some small value. But for decades? Not good. And even unknown.

I didn’t know it then, but it turns out that a lot of what passes for (what we now call) The Science is crap. I just today read of a new “study” that claims “climate change” could “reduce the speech complexity and productivity of politicians”. Speech complexity! Their evidence consisted in correlating speech length and the like with temperatures. Now I ask you, how do you let yourself be that stupid. No question mark because it’s rhetorical.

You have to be a renegade to stay sane.

Go there to read the rest.

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  1. john b()

    “…claims “climate change” could “reduce the speech complexity and productivity of politicians”…”

    So it’s NOT dementia, it’s CLIMATE CHANGE!!!

  2. Jim Fedako

    Got the email.

  3. Briggs


    From the blog and not Substack?

  4. Brian (Bulauren)

    When I was in university, I decided to take a class in Symbolic Logic. The class was offered through the Department of Philosophy.

  5. Woodrow Matthews

    I received each posting from WordPress through 6/20/2024, then nothing for a few days, then a posting on 6/27/2024, then nothing since then.

  6. Briggs


    Thanks. That seems to be the deal. Working on with host and WordPress.

  7. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Nice shooting, Sarge. You put those 50cal. bursts in a tight circle. Then you put half-a-dozen darts bang-on the bullseye. Some horse shoes and hand grenades were close enough. And then you threw three hatchets -thwack!- right in the crotch, like Ed Ames. While wearing a Bogie white dinner jacket, and never breaking a sweat. Bust a move, dude.

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