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How a climate skeptic asks for the time

Freedom of information: a jolly good thing, we can all agree. In the states, they're being used to try and get all of Mann's emails: the Washington Post had a recent editorial on it - followed quickly by WUWT lamenting the `bigoted' nature of the article. (The writer does at least seem to acknowledge that FOIAs can be used improperly, an argument that seems to apply only when people they don't like use it.)

The weird element to all this for me has always been the attempts to use FOI requests to actually gain data: as if academics were generally an awfully uncooperative bunch. I keep on having the following dialogue pop into my head...

How most people ask for the time:

p1: excuse me, do you have the time?

p2: yup, it's half past one.

p1: thanks.

p2: no worries.

How a climate skeptic asks for the time:

p1: (from some distance away, with a megaphone).

You! You in the street! Tell me the time!

p2: Errr. Half past one?

p1: What, exactly half past one? I find that very hard to believe.

p2: Well, it's actually one twenty-n...

p1: I KNEW IT!! You lying sonofabitch! Try to pull the wool over my eyes, would you? Who do you work for?

p2: What?

p1: Government, I bet. That watch belongs to the people. You can't keep the truth from us. Put the watch in a paper bag and throw it over.

p2: Look, it's now gone one thirty, do you think you could...

p1: Trying to change your story now, are you? Right, that's it - I demand to see all documentation relating to the purchase of the watch, and all your emails in case you've ever said anything to anyone about the watch.

p2: What? Why? How is that going to help you find out the time? Listen, there's a clock over there on the town hall building...

p1: Government clock! You guys are all synchronised, don't try and pull that one on me. Your watch is clearly a fraud. Only 450 million other government watches to go and the entire edifice of state lies will be exposed...

p2: Look, why don't you go and buy your own watch, then?

p1: Why would I do that? I paid for *your* watch.



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