Ads that drive content

Just for fun (well, we'll see if it is JUST for fun), I have added Ads by Google to the blog. There's one up there, between the title and the content, and then another down to the right in the bar. There's also an Amazon tag-cloud, but more on that another time. Google tries to target the adds based on the words on the page, which here will include clouds, climate, carbon dioxide, global warming, you see the pattern. Of course, there are only so many advertisers for climate-related topics, and also Google doesn't deal with the semantic content, just the literal words, all with the result that some interesting ads have already been reported.

One in particular is an add for something called the Douglass Report, which is a climate change denier site operated by Dr. William Campbell Douglass. The add takes you to a page that asks for your email address, in return Douglass sends you his report about how climate change is all a big hoax AND a you get a subscription to his medical newsletter.

The claims on that page are absolutely outrageous. Douglass drags out all the old, debunked claims that deniers always use. I don't often deal with these claims here because they've all been beaten to death elsewhere (cf., RealClimate's wiki). Let's just point out the two that really get my goat. First is,
"Scientists have reaped MILLIONS from their global warming 'research.' They've turned supporting global warming - despite what the science really says - into a cash cow!"
Oh, don't even get me started. One definitive answer to this canard is that if scientists are getting so much money from studying global warming, why would the vast majority of climate scientists be calling for intense investment in R&D of climate solutions, rather than additional funding for climate studies? If this is about the avarice of scientists, then they'd all be saying, "let's wait and see," but the truth is that almost no one who seriously studies climate change thinks waiting is a reasonable strategy at this point.

Second, is the tired argument that "these same scientists were trying to convince us the world was cooling just a few decades ago, when that's where the grant money was." No, actually that is just not true. There was discussion of a new ice age, but there was no serious concern that we'd precipitously enter into one, since that isn't how ice ages work. In fact, there was already quite a bit of serious concern about global warming by the mid-1970s. Read more in the BAMS article that tackles this issue in some depth. (See also (1) and (2).)

This guy is also apparently well-known as a medical crackpot, peddling snake oil and discouraging proper health practices. For example, he doesn't think that exposure to sunlight causes melanoma. He also believes that there is no evidence that cholesterol in any amount is bad for you, and that DDT (yes, the poison) might prevent breast cancer! There's more craziness if you do a quick search (example). And I kid you not, he's not only been a guest on Coast-To-Coast, but went on to talk about the health benefits of tobacco!!! (here). The bottom line is that this guy seems to be wrong about everything, and I have to now assume he is a brilliant satirist, as no one could believe all the garbage that comes out of this guys head. So kudos to Dr William Campbell Douglass.

Getting back to the ads on the blog. Here's the great thing. First, we've already gotten quite a kick out of the ads that have shown up, so that makes it all worthwhile. And second, if you can't believe what you're seeing, click it. Worst case scenario is that you make me a few pennies, and cost some terrible web site a few. Good deal.

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