Spindle Time: Updates on Old Stories

Several stories we covered here in recent weeks and months need updating.

First, last summer we profiled Mike Adams, professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, in the Power Line 100 roster (which will return soon, I promise).  Anyone who writes a book titled Feminists Say the Darndest Things clearly doesn’t mind challenging orthodoxy.  And needless to say, this and other heterodox positions crossed the line, and Adams found himself under fire at UNC, his further advancement in academic ranks blocked.

Last week a federal jury ruled that Adams had been denied promotion primarily because of his political views.  InsideHigherEd has the details:

Adams sued in 2007 after being denied a promotion to full professor of sociology. He cited emails and statements from faculty colleagues taking issue with his views, which are outspoken and conservative. (You can find a selection of his columns here.) The Adams case was of particular interest to many who charge political bias in the academy because he is a political (and religious) convert. He presented evidence that his faculty colleagues liked him when he was an atheist Democrat, but started to have concerns when he became a Christian Republican.

The university maintained that it had legitimate, non-political reasons for denying his promotion, suggesting that he had not done enough research. But he presented evidence that he had published more than the number of peer-reviewed articles generally considered to make one “safe” for promotion to full professor at Wilmington.

The jury backed Adams through a two-part finding (that took two hours of deliberation). The jury found that his writing played a “substantial” part in the decision to deny him a promotion. And the jury found that the university would not have made the same decision absent those writings.

Second, our item here the other day about the American Physical Society appointing a subcommittee to review its position on climate change was inaccurate.   Following The Quadrant and columnist James Delingpole, I reported that the APS had appointed three well-known climate realists (Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, and John Christy) to a six-person subcommittee that included three well-known “mainstream” climateers.  It turns out the APS has only invited the three to be formal presenters to a workshop of the APS Panel on Public Affairs, which appears to have more than 20 members.

Still, it is significant that the APS has taken this step, and it will be difficult for the APS to ignore the arguments and analysis of these three heterodox scientists.  (I call them “heterodox” because all three would dispute being labeled as climate skeptics.)

Third, our series of stories about the Ivanpah solar power project in the California desert deserves a sequel, courtesy of the Daily Caller:

Airplane pilots hit by ‘nearly blinding’ glare from massive Calif. solar facility

Airplane pilots cruising over southern California have been complaining about a “nearly blinding” glare emanating from a massive government-funded solar thermal facility.

The Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County is the world’s largest solar thermal plant and has 173,500 large mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers in three 459-foot towers. A feat of modern engineering — to green energy advocates, but a flying hazard to pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) got two anonymous complaints in August that mentioned a “blinding glare” coming from the Ivanpah solar facility. One complaint came from a Los Angeles air traffic controller and the other from a small transport plane pilot that took off from an airport in Boulder City, Nevada.

“The FAA is aware of potential glare from solar plants and is exploring how to best alert pilots to the issue,” an FAA spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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