24 Hours of Unreality

We are on the eve of “24 Hours of Climate Reality,” Al Gore’s latest propaganda effort.  It is just too easy to make fun of Al Gore (and I’ve had lots of fun doing that in the past), so I’m not going to do it in this post.  


What I’d like to focus on is the international media’s uncritical reporting of Gore’s efforts. For all intents and purposes, they simply reprint whatever Gore’s organization distributes. Here are a couple of examples,


International Business Times

Former Vice President Al Gore plans to renew his 30-year campaign to convince skeptics of the link between man-made pollution and global warming this week in a 24-hour global multimedia event.

Called “24 Hours of Reality,” the campaign, known as the Climate Reality Project, will broadcast a new presentation about climate change every hour for 24 hours across 24 different time zones from Wednesday to Thursday. 


Reuters

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore will renew his 30-year campaign to convince skeptics of the link between climate change and extreme weather events this week in a 24-hour global multi-media event.

“24 Hours of Reality” will broadcast a presentation by Al Gore every hour for 24 hours across 24 different time zones from Wednesday to Thursday, with the aim of convincing climate change deniers and driving action against global warming among households, schools and businesses.

Virtually identical wording. In other words, they simply reprinted Gore’s press release. Reuter’s even uses Gore’s offensive term, “deniers.” 


According to Reuter’s own “Trust Principles,” it is supposed to conform to: 

  1. That Thomson Reuters shall at no time pass into the hands of any one interest, group or faction;
  2. That the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Thomson Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved;
  3. That Thomson Reuters shall supply unbiased and reliable news services to newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters and other media subscribers and to businesses governments, institutions, individuals and others with whom Thomson Reuters has or may have contracts;

“Unbiased”? “Integrity”? Uncritically printing Gore’s press releases hardly seems consistent with Reuter’s own principles.

Keep this bias in mind if you read or hear any coverage of Gore’s event the next couple of days.

In the meantime, Gore’s group has released this “promo” for the upcoming event. Can hardly wait.

There Are Plenty of ‘Big Ideas’ Out There

The New York Times says there are no “big ideas” these days. This is a bit esoteric, but I agree 100% with the author:

And we modern physicists are more ambitious that Einstein.  We put forward Theories of EVERYTHING, theories that explain ALL forces and particles. Einstein was trying merely to unify gravity with electromagnetism.
And our reality is infinitely bigger than Einstein’s. We modern quantum physicists claim that reality is not a mere universe, but an uncountable infinity of universes just like our own. Don’t tell me that this is not BIG idea!

I never like to talk about “the good old days” but in the 1960′s and ’70′s, science was “cool.” To cite one example, the late astronomer Carl Sagan was invited on talk shows and had great gigs on PBS.

Today, we hear about Lady Gaga. About the only ‘science’ covered with any consistency is ‘global warming’ and much of what the popular press writes about climate science is of dubious quality.

Don’t despair. There are plenty of excellent scientists going great and exciting work.

UPDATE: One reader comments via email, that it wasn’t all that “cool” for Dr. Sagan to be on PBS. I should have mentioned that he was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. 

Google: Being Evil?

Not content with messing up their blogging software, Google appears to be intentionally biasing its core search engine business to keep people away from web sites that express skepticism about global warming.

Google’s “Code of Conduct” says:


Code of Conduct

Preface

“Don’t be evil.” Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally — following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.  [emphasis mine]

Google is a publicly traded company and if I were a shareholder I would not be pleased about intentionally biasing results when the company states its results are “unbiased.” Sounds like potential grounds for a shareholder lawsuit.

I have no idea whether Google losing my postings has to do with my stance on global warming (open-minded skepticism, but highly critical of the apocalyptic predictions from some pro-GW people) but now that I see they are apparently tinkering with other sites (Anthony’s, Ann’s) that express similar views, I’m going to start monitoring Google more closely.

The CBS News Interview

Since the interview was preempted by the golf runover in a number of markets in the central and eastern time zones, a link to the video is here.

They gave Warnings a nice plug!

And, I wish to salute Missouri Gov. Nixon again. He gets how important the warning system is.

Thank you, CBS and Tony Guida! 

North Carolina Update

Yesterday, my assistant sent out the following press release to journalists across North Carolina. It is my goal to help educate the public in how the weather warnings system will save many lives and protect property. The media is a very important part of this warning system. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be in North Carolina this week to present on extreme weather. I always will be available to any of the media to share information on the up to date extreme weather warnings systems. I truly believe that by sharing information and creating partnerships with the media sources that many lives will be saved during extreme weather incidents.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: Mike Smith
Mike Smith Enterprises
(316)204-9969
www.mikesmithenterprises.com
http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com

Tornadoes are NOT unpredictable! Extreme Weather Expert, Mike Smith presents on Tornado warnings in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC April 18, 2011 – In the wake of the killer tornadoes that hit the Carolinas this week, Mike Smith, award-winning meteorologist will be presenting cutting-edge information on accurate tornado forecasting. Mr. Smith’s presentation focuses on saving lives and will dispel last week’s national news story that tornadoes are too unpredictable to accurately forecast.

“We are getting to the point in America that the issue is not so much whether there will be an advance warning but making sure that everyone who needs to receive the warning gets it.” states Mike Smith concerning why the North Carolina Tornadoes resulted in fatalities. Mr. Smith is currently developing a national safety agenda to ensure that all cities and especially rural areas have access to up-to-date weather warning systems.

On April 21, 2011, Mr. Smith will be presenting information to the Risk and Insurance Management Society in Charlotte. Mr. Smith will be covering both tornado and hurricane warnings and how to save property and lives in the event of extreme weather. Mr. Smith is the recipient of the highest awards in meteorology, holds 15 patents and has authored the book “Warnings” the true story of how meteorology has saved lives.

For more information, contact:
Mike Smith Enterprises
Mike Smith, President
e-mail: speeches@mac.com
phone: (316) 204-9969

- END –

North Carolina journalists, please let me know how I can help you to help your readers.

An Unfortunate Headline

I opened my newspaper this morning and found the headline below. Turns out, it has been in newspapers and online throughout the nation.

I can’t say whether a given headline writer might have been personally “surprised” by the storms but the advance forecasts — more than 24 hours before the first tornado touched down — were excellent. I document just how good the forecasts were (and they were excellent) below. Just scroll down or click here.

Meteorologists, in frustration, sometimes comment to each other that the sentence, “the ___________ (fill in the type of storm) struck without warning,” seems to be preprogrammed into journalists’ word processors.

The fact is that modern weather science is providing life-saving and economy-boosting service to the nation every week. It would be nice if the media occasionally acknowledged that fact.

Welcome Washington Post readers. Thanks for the link, Jason! Please feel free to look around the blog while you are here. There is a tornado threat developing in Missouri and Illinois Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

CNN Loses It

Here is what is wrong with the U.S. media in a nutshell: CNN’s Nancy Grace is interviewing my friend and colleague Bernie Rayno of AccuWeather. She not only has all of her facts wrong (there was no “state of emergency” due to radiation nor alert of any kind), she is rude and arrogant. Bernie was and is correct. There is zero threat to the U.S. from Japanese radiation.

I don’t understand why the U.S. media is so determined to make the “radiation” story far, far bigger than it really is.

You can watch the tape here.

UPDATE: Wednesday morning. AccuWeather received this feedback:

“AccuWeather,
On behalf of the Hokkaido Branch of the Association of Japanese Exchange and Teaching (HAJET), I would like to applaud your meteorologist Bernie Rayno and the journalistic integrity he displayed recently on Nancy Graces show airing on CNN (see link below) while reporting on the continuing crisis in Fukushima, Japan. This is truly an uncertain time which will most certainly have global ramifications in the coming years. This said, I never thought it would be a meteorologist who would play such a crucial role in delivering factual and unbiased news to American viewers. Mr. Rayno showed great care with his word choice and the manner with which he answered the talking heads questions and baseless counter-point.
HAJET is a branch of the National Association of Japanese Exchange and Teaching (AJET) that works directly with the Japanese governments Council of Local Authorities and Foreign Relations (CLAIR). HAJET represents over 200 foreign nationals from English speaking countries all over the world, all of whom are employed directly by local school boards and regional school districts in Japans Hokkaido Prefecture. We feel as though the need for clear and factual reporting on Fukushima around the world at this time is essential not only for international dialogue and understanding, but also so that our families and friends may be kept abreast of the facts.
Mr. Rayno is a credit to your organization. We hope AccuWeather will continue to hold its meteorologists to the highest journalistic standard whenever possible.”
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Media Priorities

The Royal Wedding countdown clock, photographed from NBC’s Today show this morning. 



Meanwhile…
“CNN alone will have a team of roughly 400 reporters, cameramen and crew assigned to the wedding. The network has 50 people on the ground working on the breaking news in Japan.”

More here

Gearing Up for Tornado Season 2012, Part 3

Fortunately, the weather maps indicate little or no tornado activity in the U.S. the next two weeks. Nevertheless, tornado season 2012 is coming up. 

Did you know the Tornado Safety Rules have been revised? I have posted them below.

Before you read the rules keep in mind that a tornado watch means to watch approaching weather and monitor the latest weather information. A tornado warning means a tornado is an immediate threat and that safety precautions should be taken immediately.

Here are the new safety rules, from the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service:

The National Weather Service and the American Red Cross share a common goal of protecting lives through public education. Regarding tornado safety, we both agree that the best options are to go to an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. We have been giving this advice for decades, and it is recognized as the most effective way to stay safe in a tornado.


The National Weather Service and Red Cross also agree on the critical importance of preparedness and quick action when conditions are right for tornadoes to develop like during a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado watch. When a tornado warning is issued, immediate action is required. Preparedness begins by identifying a safe location well in advance of any severe weather and having a way to get weather alerts wherever you are, such as from a NOAA weather radio. When a watch or warning is broadcast, people should already have a plan on what to do and where to go. They should take action immediately and never wait until they actually see a tornado.


The National Weather Service and the Red Cross continue to agree that if no underground shelter or safe room is available, the safest alternative is a small windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building, such as an interior bathroom. We also recommend that residents of mobile homes go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter if a tornado threatens.


The Red Cross and Weather Service believe that if you are caught outdoors, you should seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:

o Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
o If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.


Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.


The important thing to understand is that if you find yourself outside or in a car with a tornado approaching and you are unable to get to a safe shelter, you are at risk from a number of things outside your control, such as the strength and path of the tornado and debris from your surroundings. This is the case whether you stay in your car or seek shelter in a depression or ditch, both of which are considered last resort options that provide little protection. The safest place to be is in an underground shelter, basement or safe room.

The American Red Cross and the National Weather Service are working to ensure that our publications are updated to reflect this new tornado safety messaging. These changes were formulated using evidence-based research. The American Red Cross and the National Weather Service will continue to work together to assess new research findings and future improvements to our Nation’s tornado safety messaging.

There is one item that I believe may need more research and that is whether it is better to have the ignition on or off. Based on some internet research I have some, in some cases some or all of the airbags will not deploy if the ignition is off. If I were in a car being moved by a tornado, I would want the airbags available. That said, does having the ignition on increase the chance of fire?

Of course, it would be better not to be at that point of desperation at all. By correctly monitoring the weather during threatening conditions you should be able to get to a nearby shelter in time.

Which beings me to mobile homes. Tornado season 2011 conclusively demonstrated that mobile homes are no place to be during a tornado. The new “short form” tornado safety rules say,

Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. Abandon mobile homes and go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately. 

I agree 100%. I suggest that readers who live in mobile homes figure out now — during this period of quiet weather — where they would go during a tornado warning in 2012 and beyond. Storm season is not that far away.

Hat tip: Chris Maier, National Weather Service

Nobody Here But Us Rubes III

For the third time in six days, The New York Times feels obligated to hit us over the head with how stupid/uniformed/naive/fundamentalist people are in the Central U.S.

Today, they take on the good people of Indiana. Of course, Indiana is the home of two great universities, Notre Dame and Purdue. It is also home of the vibrant city of Indianapolis.  Having been to Indiana — numerous times — I can attest that virtually all of the people I have met are intelligent and friendly. But, you would never get that impression from the article.

I’m not going to take the time to outline all of the things factually wrong with the global warming coverage in this story (see Rubes I and Rubes II and you’ll get the idea). I believe the real agenda of this story is given away by the fact it is a story classified under “Politics” (look at the very top). Interestingly, Roger Pielke, Jr., hardly a global warming “denier,” has an article about global warming science/politics/and the media on his blog today.  His posting concludes…

The scientific community, particularly as related to climate change, continues to struggle with an authoritarian impulse, characterized by continued efforts to serve as gatekeepers to public debate and efforts to delegitimize views that they disagree with.  …  In fact, if the media has made mistakes in the past, it has been in being too deferential to those in the scientific community who seek to limit debate and discussion.  

Exactly!

There was a time, not so long ago, when the NYT kept its news and editorial coverage separate. Based on these three stories, that seems to be a thing of the past.

In Rubes II, I pointed out that the NYT company’s stock price is down more than 70% in just the last five years. If they keep publishing these offensive articles, I predict they won’t see a recovery in their stock price anytime soon.

UPDATE:  Apparently, the Wall Street Journal agrees. See second item.