Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Al Gore - Inventor

Good old Al Gore.

He invented the internet!

He invented Love Story (Well he was supposedly the inspiration for same).

He is a man who conceded the 2000 Presidential race to George Bush, went back on his word and then after losing the race never had the grace to admit defeat. He has gone into Arab territory and claimed that our country abuses Arabs.

I think of Al Gore, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But now we turn to the issue of Global Warming.....Al Gore may not claim to have invented Global Warming, but we now find that he and the Associated Press have invented a scientific concensus for the claims in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”


From the U S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

June 27, 2006

The June 27, 2006 Associated Press (AP) article titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises some serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology.

AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted.

The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President. In addition, Correll’s reported links as an “affiliate” of a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides “expert testimony” in trials and his reported sponsorship by the left-leaning Packard Foundation, were not disclosed by AP. See

(Excerpt: "Let's see, over the past couple of weeks we've had speeding glaciers (give 'em a ticket, don't they know they're speed limited?), Greenland ice shield collapse (even though it's gaining mass), ice subliming off Kilimanjaro (can't be melting because the temperature hasn't risen out of negative territory, so the 'problem' is a lack of precipitation rather than an increase in temperature) African drought and looming water wars (see below), all blamed on 'global warming'. And still people are reluctant to commit economic suicide, much less stop using energy! So what next? Oh well, haven't recycled Antarctic meltdown recently - perhaps because most of the place is cooling but what the heck, details like that aren't really relevant, are they?")

The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week’s National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann’s often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. See Senator Inhofe’s statement on the broken “Hockey Stick.”

Gore’s claim that global warming is causing the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro to disappear has also been debunked by scientific reports. For example, a 2004 study in the journal Nature makes clear that Kilimanjaro is experiencing less snowfall because there’s less moisture in the air due to deforestation around Kilimanjaro.

Here is a sampling of the views of some of the scientific critics of Gore:

Professor Bob Carter, of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia, on Gore’s film:

"Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

"The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science." – Bob Carter as quoted in the Canadian Free Press, June 12, 2006

Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, wrote:

“A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.” - Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal

Gore’s film also cites a review of scientific literature by the journal Science which claimed 100% consensus on global warming, but Lindzen pointed out the study was flat out incorrect.

“…A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.”- Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal.

Roy Spencer, principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, wrote an open letter to Gore criticizing his presentation of climate science in the film:

“…Temperature measurements in the arctic suggest that it was just as warm there in the 1930's...before most greenhouse gas emissions. Don't you ever wonder whether sea ice concentrations back then were low, too?”- Roy Spencer wrote in a May 25, 2006 column.

Former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball reacted to Gore’s claim that there has been a sharp drop-off in the thickness of the Arctic ice cap since 1970.

"The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology,” –Tim Ball said, according to the Canadian Free Press.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge!


Hawkeye® said...

You can fool some of the people some of the time... but you can't fool US, eh Radar? Good article. I just love it when pompous, know-it-all, internet-inventing, "lock-box" types like Al Gore are refuted left-and-right by REAL scientists! Ah, but the fun comes to an end.


Anonymous said...

"Good old Al Gore.

He invented the internet! "

Oh, come on, now. . . you know the tired old claim - "Al Gore said he invented the internet! Ha ha ha! What a liar!" was just a media-driven urban legend, right?

Of course, you can argue - as the Snopes entry points out - that he was puffing himself up a bit. Because, of course, presidential candidates never, ever do that.


I haven't seen it yet, and I'm no scientist, and I would be surprised if it was perfectly right about everything (remember, we're talking science here, and he is a politican, not a climatologist -

but this is just petty and absurd. And - for some important background, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is chaired by Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a rabid anti-global warming guy. I mean, we're not talking honest skeptic about fine details or somthing - he was running around claiming it's all a hoax, just a theory, etc., etc. As the wikipedia entry basically points out, the oil companies got what they paid for . . .

Folks pulled pretty much this exact same shtick over the ozone hole . Amazing.

"You can fool some of the people some of the time..."


-Dan S.

highboy said...

*Al Gore walks into a movie theatre. Screams "Fire!"*

You've just seen the script for the whole movie.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in the Oreskes/Peiser lit search issue, this makes a very interesting read, even including original research, such as it is . . .

"When faced with a controversy like this, the great thing is that you can do your own research. If you suspect Oreskes or Peiser (or both) might be biased, you can look at the data yourself."

And they did. Go, see what they found.

Of course, even arguing whether - ohmigod - a literal handful of articles out of hundreds oppose the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming (and it turns out that - well, go see for yourself) - short of making Oreskes look a little sloppy, unless these specific articles contain some sort of well-supported new evidence that drastically changes our view . . . well, does this seem a bit silly to you?

Ah, good, here's a response to the Inhofe piece you quote via Drudge. I'll look around to see if there's another, even meatier one.

Radar, why are you helping propagate this? It's not about mocking the eminently mockable, painfully earnest Gore (although that's certainly a side benefit for the people involved with getting this view out). Indeed, it does seem likely (as far as I can understand the issues, and without seeing the movie yet) that Gore - a politician - did make some minor scientific errors - and of course, I think that these sorts of decisions should be driven by the best information available. That's not what this is about.

What is this about? It's about a well-funded industry campaign of global warming denial. Radar, you weren't born yesterday. You've seen the battles over lead and abestos and mercury and car seatbelts and pesticides and tobacco (I may be mixing decades in one or two cases, and thinking you're somewhat older than you actually are, but you caught at least some of these!) This is the same thing! There are legitimate disputes about the most effective policy responses, but it was never - is never - about that. Why are you helping them - the folks who care more about short-term industry profit than what sort of world your (and their) kids and grandkids grow up in? You want to say that Gore is a big poopyhead? I don't agree, but there are other ways.

As you said elsewhere, with freedom comes responsibility. While our little voices, individually, will have very little effects, we still have that responsibility.

Another response to the Inhofe piece.

Here is the actual National Academies of Science press release, with a link to the full report:

"Date:  June 22, 2006
'High Confidence' That Planet Is Warmest in 400 Years;
Less Confidence in Temperature Reconstructions Prior to 1600

WASHINGTON -- There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers, and other "proxies" of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new report from the National Research Council.  Less confidence can be placed in proxy-based reconstructions of surface temperatures for A.D. 900 to 1600, said the committee that wrote the report, although the available proxy evidence does indicate that many locations were warmer during the past 25 years than during any other 25-year period since 900.  Very little confidence can be placed in statements about average global surface temperatures prior to A.D. 900 because the proxy data for that time frame are sparse, the committee added . . .

... The report was requested by Congress after a controversy arose last year over surface temperature reconstructions published by climatologist Michael Mann and his colleagues in the late 1990s.  The researchers concluded that the warming of the Northern Hemisphere in the last decades of the 20th century was unprecedented in the past thousand years.  In particular, they concluded that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year.  Their graph depicting a rise in temperatures at the end of a long era became known as the "hockey stick."

The Research Council committee found the Mann team's conclusion that warming in the last few decades of the 20th century was unprecedented over the last thousand years to be plausible, but it had less confidence that the warming was unprecedented prior to 1600; fewer proxies -- in fewer locations -- provide temperatures for periods before then.  Because of larger uncertainties in temperature reconstructions for decades and individual years, and because not all proxies record temperatures for such short timescales, even less confidence can be placed in the Mann team's conclusions about the 1990s, and 1998 in particular.

The committee noted that scientists' reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent.  The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or "Little Ice Age," from roughly 1500 to 1850.  The exact timing of warm episodes in the medieval period may have varied by region, and the magnitude and geographical extent of the warmth is uncertain, the committee said.  None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.

While certainly not an across-the-board endorsement, this is rather more complex than "discredited" or "dispelled". They say this model looks pretty much dead-on for the last four centuries (not too shoddy), that we don't really have enough info - yet - to be as confident about the previous six centuries - although it's plausible, and Mann and his buddies were just playing silly buggers* about individual decades and years.

To the best of my understanding - which, let me warn you, is extremely limited - reaffirming the existence of "of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age" does not actually discredit the "hockey stick" model. (In fact, what the NAS bit says in relation to this is, again, that "scientists' reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent. The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or "Little Ice Age," from roughly 1500 to 1850." In fact, this is indicating - if I understand correctly - that the different approaches and proxies are giving pretty similar results). said, back in 2004:
"The term "Hockey Stick" was coined by the former head of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Jerry Mahlman, to describe the pattern common to numerous proxy and model-based estimates of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature changes over the past millennium. This pattern includes a long-term cooling trend from the so-called "Medieval Warm Period" (broadly speaking, the 10th-mid 14th centuries) through the "Little Ice Age" (broadly speaking, the mid 15th-19th centuries), followed by a rapid warming during the 20th century that culminates in anomalous late 20th century warmth . . . "

So Al Gore includes a widely generally accepted model that is judged to be highly reliable for the last four centuries, but less so - so far - for the previous six in a study released after the movie was made. In addition, the general picture - that there is, to the best of our knowledge, an unprecedented warming trend towards the end of the 20th century (if there are anything like recent precedents, we don't know about them) that seems only explainable by reference to human activity (see Temperature Variations in Past Centuries and the so-called "Hockey Stick" - is in no way challenged by any of this, even if a few of the very specific details (1998 - what were they thinking?) may be mistaken (or just not yet sufficiently proven).

Inhofe and friends don't care about this. They don't (as far as one can tell) care about making sure that the public knows the best evidence supporting human-induced climate change, and the various possible minor flaws or uncertainties. They want (again, as far as one can tell based on words and actions) people to think it's a hoax.

Why would they want this? Well, y'all tell me.

"*Al Gore walks into a movie theatre. Screams "Fire!"* "
Which would be a pretty silly thing to do.
Unless, of course, there actually was a fire.

(It is hard to believe that this movie isn't extremely boring, but people do keep saying it's not . . . )

* Is this something Peter would make Valentine and Ender play? (this makes no sense? don't worry.)

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

I have to retract a false statement I made above (that's what I get for typing faster than I can think!). Inhofe doesn't want to convince people that global warming is a hoax - in fact, that would probably be pretty difficult; even Bush has admitted that global warming seems to be happening (for what that's worth).

No, I was wrong. Inhofe just wants to convince people that the idea that global warming could be harmful is a hoax, and getting worried about it is just craaazy-talk.

More on the Medieval Warm Period/Little Ice Age claims - from back in Jan. 2005, working links in original:

" Inhofe relies upon novelist Michael Crichton (see here and here) to support his contention that

"We are also in the midst of a natural warming trend that began about 1850, as we emerged from a 400 year cold spell known as the Little Ice Age."

Scientific studies come to the opposite result. All published scientific investigations of the causes of 20th century warming have consistently found that natural factors alone cannot explain the warming. Model simulations of large-scale temperature changes in past centuries , for one, can only reproduce the post-"Little Ice Age" warming through the inclusion of non-natural, anthropogenic forcing. The IPCC concluded in its 2nd asessment report that "that there is a discernible human influence on global climate", based in fact on a variety of different techniques, including so-called "Detection and Attribution" studies. These studies involve detailed analyses of the spatial patterns of the observed 20th century changes, which differ for different causes of warming (e.g. anthropogenic factors such as increased greenhouse gases or industrial aerosols, or changes in land use, and natural factors such as changes in solar output or explosive volcanism), each of which have their own unique spatial pattern or "fingerprint". Another simple reason that natural causes cannot explain recent warming is that none of the natural factors which could potentially cause warming (e.g., the combined solar+volcanic forcing or even the somewhat more dubious hypothesized forcing by cosmic ray flux changes) show a trend since the mid 20th century.

Inhofe then launches into a slew of criticisms of the "Hockey Stick" reconstruction of past temperature changes in this speech, touching on every one of our documented "myths". Consider, for example, his reference to

"the well-known phenomena of the Medieval Warming [sic] Period--when, by the way, it was warmer than it is today"

All quantitative paleoclimate reconstructions of the past millennium published in the scientific literature have come to the opposite conclusion. They consistently find that late 20th century warmth is anomalous in the context of at least the last 1000 years for the Northern Hemisphere on the whole. Though certain regions appear to have exhibited mild conditions during the so-called "Medieval Warm Period", there is no credible evidence we are aware of that average temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere or globe were as warm as (let alone warmer than) the late 20th century.

Note this last finding was specifically reaffirmed by the NAS report (see above)

-Dan S.

radar said...

Guys, there is no concensus on this issue.

Yes, Gore makes a tempting pinata, easy to hit and smash. But I think environmentalists get it wrong on a regular basis.

Cows contribute far more to global warming than do people. My 'carbon footprint' is infintesimal in comparison to this huge planet which does a darned good job as a recycling center.

Kyoto, while signed by many, has been largely ignored because the economic fallout is too much to bear.

We will find that, as usual, capitalism works well here. As carbon fuels become more costly to find and render usable, there is more and more monetary incentive to find alternatives. You see it happening today in the ethanol market. Wind power (but then tree-huggers try to ban windmills, geeze louise!) can now be harnessed more efficiently. Atomic energy is far more efficient than a generation earlier. Hybrid cars are here now, better technology will make electric cars practical down the road......need I go on?

Liberals push to apply socialistic principles not only in government, but in every walk of life. But capitalism + freedom = the friend of discovery.

PS - If you checked on my links, there is no doubt that Al Gore actually made the dual faux pas concerning the internet and Love Story, whether you consider that of importance or not.

Anonymous said...

"Guys, there is no concensus on this issue."

Except there is.
I mean, you can say there isn't, but that's not true. We could even keep this up until one of us - probably me - starts up with that old chant about rubber and glue, but it boils down to this: there is.

100% consensus? No, there are a few working scientists who are global warming skeptics (many generously funded by industry).

(If 95% of astronomers said that a fair-sized asteroid was headed towards earth (not mass-extinction size, or even end-of-civilization size, but major catastrophe-size), and might hit us - would you worry? Or would you point out that 5% of 'em disagreed?)

What sort of evidence would convince you that there is a consensus in relevent fields of science on anthropogenic global warming?

"Cows contribute far more to global warming than do people"

Who raises cows?

Which isn't a call for mass vegetarianism - instead, we should buy hybrid cattle!

Seriously, a bit of puttering around on the internet turns up various research demonstrating ways to reduce methane emissions from cows - a little involving breeding, but mostly feed and such. If anybody's interested - well, it's easy to find, but I could dump out some links . . .

But is your statement correct? Well . . .

Methane has a larger effect than CO2 in terms of forcing warming (simplified), but it goes away a lot quicker (about 12 years, compared to a 50-200 for CO2. As the EPA points out,
"Most of these [greenhouse gas] emissions [for the US], about 82%, are from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our cars. The remaining emissions are from methane from wastes in our landfills, raising livestock, natural gas pipelines, and coal, as well as from industrial chemicals and other sources."

Wikipedia has a lovely graphic that depicts, for 2000, the "sum [from various sources] over all greenhouse gases, weighted by their global warming potential over the next 100 years. This consists of 72% carbon dioxide, 18% methane, 8% nitrous oxide and 1% other gases"

If I understand correctly, this 18% figure takes into account methane's greater global warming potential (over 20 times that of CO2, by mass, over 100 years - more in the short term). Note also that when broken down by gas, only 40% of methane emisions come from agricultural sources (including other livestock, rice paddies, etc.), and almost a third from fossil fuels. For the US, according to the EPA again - given the figures, if you add together ruminant digestion and manure management*, it does top landfills and natural gas systems, but not by a whole lot.

* as in giant lagoons of pig poop - just spreading it on fields doesn't do much at all, emissions-wise)

(You might also note that this page mentions various voluntary programs. Well, it's better than nothing. For the most part, these seem (glancing briefly) to be mostly outreach rather than incentive programs, - if so, the companies that voluntarily take action would probably be putting themselves at a disadvantage compared to non-participating competitors, short-term-wise. Gov't regulation at least creates a level playing field.)

"My 'carbon footprint' is infintesimal in comparison to this huge planet"
- on average, for the US, , 6.6 tons of global warming gases emitted per person yearly - but calculate your own here

Anyway - yes, it is. However, since there are about six billion of us globally and about 300 million of us just here in the states, that's a slightly silly statement.

"which does a darned good job as a recycling center."
Iin general, yes. However, science says this isn't the case here - after all, each year we're dumping back into the atmosphere enormous quantities of (for example) CO2 that was deposited as organic remains over millions and millions of yea . . oh. Huh. Ah, I see.

"Kyoto, while signed by many, has been largely ignored because the economic fallout is too much to bear."

To the best of my understanding, the countries that ratified it are not in fact ignoring it. The US, on the other hand, is ignoring it, despite being the largest source of mammade greenhouse gas emissions.

"We will find that, as usual, capitalism works well here."

Capitalism certainly has a role to play here. However, it's kind of silly to put the burden on it alone - that's slow, inefficient, disorganized, etc. We can wait around for the invisible hand to take care of things, except that the longer it takes, the harder things will be to fix - in fact, it might be too late. In the real world, most major modern technological advances and changes have involved a big dose of government involvement. From the interstates to the internet (and of course anything related to the military, including all sorts of completely random stuff that managed to latch onto the teat of Cold War defense spending), major government involvement was an important factor. And global warming - as the name implies - is a matter affecting the entire planet!

Some folks have odd ideas that this is all some kind of opportunistic scam to spread socialism or make Americans adopt a third-world standard of living. On the sensibility scale, this seems to fall somewhere between "floridation is a Communist plot!!" and opposition to any measures aimed at controlling the exploding deer population because of "Bambi." Not just the goverment but governments have to provide frameworks, incentives, etc. so that capitalism (or socialism, or various hybrids, depending on the country) can work effectively.

-Dan S., warmed over

Anonymous said...

"have involved a big dose of government involvement."

Ugh. I don't believe I wrote that.

[Scowls, shakes head]

I'm wondering if that 18% figure is in fact actually factoring in gwp - maybe not? Anyway, everything I can find seems to indicate methane is behind CO2 - though certainly a big factor. Thing is, it's a good bit easier to deal with, both politically and physically.


Dave Neiwert has a very interesting post up on this issue, specifically the idea that it's all socialism, etc., and where that comes from:

" . . . But Stossel really means it. Because it's becoming increasingly clear that he's adopted a view of the environmental movement that springs directly from the far-right Patriot movement: that it actually is a cult-like "religion" that has been whipped up as a front for a cabal of socialists intent on ruling the world.

. . . But Stossel has elevated this to a whole new level. Though of course, it's actually an old one. He's essentially adopted the militia theory of the environmental movement.

The first militia meeting I ever attended was at a small meeting hall in Maltby, Wash., and the subject was environmentalists' plans for western Washington. Bob Fletcher of the Militia of Montana got up and told the crowd -- with the help of some pie charts and maps -- that a proposal for an internation ecospheric wilderness was actually part of a U.N. front for a plan to start herding Americans into concentration camps that they were secretly building even then. He referred to environmentalism as a "cult" and a "religion," and suggested that "ordinary citizens" had become expendable in the view of the "cultists."

MOM also used to hawk books about how the Greens were secretly "Red" underneath. And then there was the video they used to sell with Helen Chenoweth.

[quoting from video] . . ... But you see, of greater significance, and in more frightening detail, that manifesto went on to lay out a series of sequential steps by which this would be accomplished. Among the many goals that the Communist Manifesto predicted was the abolition of property and land and the application of all rents of land to public purposes. Today we call it taxes. The abolition of all rights of inheritance. That's a constant battle that we're waging. ...

You see, what the environmental movement is doing is breaking down state and national boundaries. And so with that one enactment, and the listing of that one species, we encompass northern California, Oregon and Washington. The unfortunate thing is that it breaks down the sovereignty of states -- and you see acid [rain]is no respecter of the national boundaries between Canada and America. And that’s part of the way we begin to globalize and break down the sovereignty of this great nation . . .[end quoting from video]

But of course acid rain isn't a respector of national boundries. Ecological processes tend to ignore political lines drawn on a map, whether demarcating townships, cities, states, or nations. Midwestern factories pollute, it affects the East Coast. Development and such in upstate New York starts fouling up the Catskill/Delaware and Croton watersheds (and see here), and New York City has to build a water treatment plant in the Bronx and a whole bunch upstate. Etc., etc., etc.

Neiwert's also reposted a post from 2000 about Gore's supposed lying. Liar, liar, pants on fire:

"-- Gore claims he 'invented the Internet.' Actually, Gore never laid any kind of claim to invention. What he in fact said, during a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer on March 9, 1999, was this: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." This is a clumsy rendition of a factual event: Gore was a key player in Congress in moving the network that became the Internet from the realm of the military and academia, where it originally was devised, and into the public realm, where it became the mass phenomenon it is today.

Vincent Cerf, the man widely credited as the actual "father of the Internet," in fact argues that Gore should get a great deal of credit for his seminal role in creating the legal foundation for the Internet. And even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- no ally of the vice president -- agrees: "In all fairness, it's something Gore had worked on a long time," he recently told a Washington gathering. "Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet."

-- Gore claims he was the role model for 'Love Story.' This tale originated with a 1997 story in the Nashville Tennessean -- an interview with the book's author, Erich Segal, in which the reporter wrote that Segal indicated that Gore and his wife, Tipper, were the role models for the book's main characters. Then, in December 1997, in a light, late-night conversation about favorite movies with a pair of reporters from Timemagazine and the New York Times, Gore briefly mentioned the story, accurately, as a humorous aside.

Later, after the tale had blown up and was distorted into one of Gore's "fabrications," theTimes contacted Segal, and he told them the Tennessean was wrong: Gore in fact was one of the models for the Oliver Barrett character -- along with his roommate, actor Tommy Lee Jones -- but Tipper had nothing to do with it. Nonetheless, despite theTimes' correction and the insistence of the original Time reporter, Karen Tumulty, that the remark wasn’t a boast of any sort, and was factually correct -- "He said all I know is that's what he [Segal] told reporters in Tennessee" -- the fabricated "fabrication" remains a standard of TV and newspaper pundits.

And three other supposed lies - and where they came from, and why they spread.

If you notice, the first Wired link points out (quite correctly):

"03:00 AM Mar, 11, 1999
. . . Preliminary discussions of how the ARPANET would be designed began in 1967, and a request for proposals went out the following year. In 1969, the Defense Department commissioned the ARPANET.
. . . [It's eight more years until Gore becomes a freshman U.S. Rep . . .]
By that time, file copying -- via the UUCP protocol -- was beginning. Email was flourishing. The culture of the Internet was starting to develop through the Jargon File and the SF-Lovers mailing list.

In other words, the proto-internet was the domain of pale, gawky lab-living university students and researchers, sci-fi fans, comp-sci folks, techies, super-early adopters (some overlap there . . . ), bearing almost no resemblance to the Internet as we know it today, the world's premier source for baby and cat pictures, free porn, offers of anatomy-enlarging mortages that help you lose weight if you give your personal info to random Nigerians, more economic activity than the entire previous 10,000 years, and debates over evolution.

Ok, I don't know for sure about the 10,000 years bit.

Note also that the Wired article quotes somebody from the "conservative Progress and Freedom Foundation." Frankly, I take this as an unrecognized sign of what was to come -because conservative (or liberal) think tanks are where you go for tech history, right?. Sheesh.

Speaking of which - re: my previous comment - I'm pretty ignorant, but the picture I have of the early growth of what would become the internet, it was pretty much a government/military/university show. Once this framework was in place, business jumped on, from Prodigy, Compuserve and AOL to the very first ad with a funny string of letters and dots and slashes at the bottom . . . No?

It's hard to imagine what would have happened if it had been all left up to the free market.

Sigh . . .remember when it was possible to see everyone's homepage in a hour or three? There are kids in high school who have literally never lived in a world without a web browser.

I feel so old!

Oh, one pretty little factoid:

"Mosaic, a graphical browser for the WWW, was developed by a team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (NCSA-UIUC), led by Marc Andreessen. Funding for Mosaic came from theHigh-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, a funding program initiated by then-Senator Al Gore's High Performance Computing Act of 1991."

(If anybody's not sure why this is all pretty, go here.)

-Dan "if I made a web browser I would call it eohippus" S.

highboy said...

"Who raises cows?"

Should we kill off the entire species to prevent global warming?