Skeptical Science Firefox Add-on: Send and receive climate info while you browse
Posted on 28 October 2010 by John Cook
In February, the wizards at Shine Technologies broke new ground when they created the Skeptical Science iPhone app. Now they continue to go where no climate software has gone before, creating a Skeptical Science Firefox Add-on. The Add-on has two major features. Firstly, it lets you submit climate links to our database as you browse the web. Secondly (and this is the cool part), if you visit a webpage that has already been submitted (by you or someone else), the Add-on displays any skeptic arguments on that page, a short rebuttal from Skeptical Science and the URL of the full Skeptical Science rebuttal. Click here to download the SkS Firefox Add-on. If you don't use the Firefox browser, I suggest you switch to Firefox (take it from me, it runs rings around Internet Explorer).
Here's how it works. Go to the Skeptical Science Firefox Add-on page and click the Add to Firefox button. Once the Add-on is installed, you'll see two tiny icons appear at the top of the Firefox Browser: a View Report icon and a Create Report icon . If you want to submit a climate webpage, click the Create Report icon. The following window pops up:
The Article Title is prefilled (this is not always 100% accurate so occasionally you may need to edit it). Select the type of article (eg - blog, mainstream media, peer-review, etc) and the article's bias (proAGW, skeptic or neutral). Then select any skeptic arguments addressed in the article. To find the argument, start typing any word in the "Select an argument" box and this automatically narrows down the list of arguments to those that match your search. Click on an argument, hit Send Report and voila, the webpage has been added to the Skeptical Science database.
You can add more than one skeptic argument if the webpage addresses multiple arguments (some skeptic blog posts do like to be prolific). Once you've submitted an argument, you'll notice the 'View Report' icon changes. If you submitted a proAGW link, it will look something like this . Skeptic links have a red icon while neutral links feature both colours . The number represents the number of skeptic arguments submitted for that page. If you click on the View Report icon, another window pops up:
The View Report window lists all skeptic arguments that have been submitted for this page. If you click on any of the arguments, the window expands to show more information to the right. It displays a paragraph rebuttal to the skeptic argument plus the URL to the full Skeptical Science rebuttal. This can be handy if you wish to post a comment on the webpage (although I don't recommend copying and pasting the paragraph rebuttal verbatim - it's always better to write comments in your own words).
So download the SkS Firefox Add-on and let us know what you think. Feedback and suggestions are very welcome. And as you browse around, please do submit any climate links you encounter. All climate links (once checked by the moderators) get added to the Daily Climate Links email so you will be helping others in the Skeptical Science community keep up to date on the latest climate news, blogs and research. They're also added to the Global Warming Links page which is a growing and useful resource.
Thanks to the boffins at Shine Technologies who put the plugin together: Mark and Adam, who together generate the ideas and passion to make the software work to support the science, and Michael & Cameron who had the job of turning this idea into reality (not to mention dealing with my many requests & suggestions). I have to mention (as I'm sure some of you are wondering) that Shine Tech created this plugin, the iPhone app and Android app for free, with no funding, simply because the owners are passionate about climate. Their generosity is inspiring and I hope has a significant impact in helping the public understand climate better.