Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You've got mail, skeptical mail

Last week, my colleague Hisham Zerriffi and I each received an envelope full of photocopied articles, from the Wall St. Journal and other sources, and various scribblings all attacking the scientific evidence that humans are primarily responsible for recent climate change.

Receiving mail from an ardent skeptic of climate change is not unusual for us scientists. Over the years I've got small envelopes, large envelopes, handwritten notes, phone calls, all-cap e-mails and no shortage of nasty online comments. I'll guess that Hisham and I were not the only people studying climate change to receive copies of this particular material (let me know in the comments).

This package was unique, however, in one important way. The return address - no name was given - was "One Physics Ellipse" in College Park, Maryland.

A retirement community for physicists, you ask? Well, sort of.

One Physics Ellipse is the Corporate Headquarters for the American Institute of Physics. The AIP, like most scientific bodies on the planet, has as policy endorsed the scientific evidence that humans are contributing to climate change.

While it is true that not all of its members agree on that statement, scientists and certainly physicists are not exactly pros at speaking in one voice, I do find it odd to receive a package of "skeptic" material, much of which was downright silly (CO2 emissions don't "rise"), from the actual headquarters.


Hank Roberts said...

Quite a few other organizations share that "One Physics Ellipse" street address (American College of Medical Physics was the first I found).

Did the package had a postage meter stamp, and printed addresses?

If so, an office manager at one of the several organizations at that street address might like to know those details.

Could be some staffer or janitor is using their office equipment after hours to rebunk stuff from the recycling bin.

Simon Donner said...

Thanks Hank. We knew it was the AIP address, but didn't know it was shared. No name or metered stamp.

EliRabett said...

Was it metered mail?

Simon Donner said...

Nope, just stamps of the Statue of Liberty. Postmarked on Dec 31st, so I think of it as a New Year's present.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

The American Center for Physics appears to be the umbrella organization which is housed there.

John Mashey said...

I got one in later June and another September, from two different post offices, one in Southern MD and the other in Washington, neither the same as the one Eli showed.

Note that APS is there also, and there are a few APS folks who do not view me with favor, given APS Petition.
The first package arrived a few weeks after Science ran a profile, including :
'Will Happer, a physicist at Princeton
University who questions the consensus
view on climate, thinks Mashey is a
destructive force who uses “totalitarian tactics”—publishing damaging documents online, without peer review—to carry out personal vendettas. Whereas Mann lauds Mashey for “exploring the underbelly of climate denial,” Happer says Mashey’s tactics are “contrary to open inquiry.”'

But, I'm pleased to see the wealth is being spread around, not just to me.

Anyone else? Someone has been busy. Some of the photocopies seem to have hand-added commetns in green ink.