You remember the “Climategate” story, don’t you? It was in November 2009 when a batch of private e-mail messages exchanged by climate scientists was stolen and diffused over the Web. The bruhaha that resulted was unbelievable and the messages were described as the “proof” that Climate Science was an elaborate hoax, a conspiracy created by scientists in order to gain money, prestige and influence.
The peak you see at the beginning of this post is a plot from “Google Trends,” it shows how the Climategate term literally exploded in the memesphere. Today, after nearly 10 years, we could legitimately scratch our heads at thinking what there was so interesting in this story that deserved so much time and so much discussion. Really, there was nothing interesting in those emails— on the whole, they were as boring as mail messages among scientists could be (*).
So much overhyped was the Climategate ‘scandal’ that the later attempts to resuscitate it were hit by the memetic curse of irrelevance. A new batch of e-mails exchanged among climate scientists was released in 2011, it was termed “Climategate #2” and it is barely visible as a blip in the Google Trends curve (see above). Then, a third batch was released just a few weeks ago, this time by the force of an FOIA directed at the University of Arizona.