The National Weather Service Sends Hidden Message To Congress In Forecast

from the please-pay-us dept

You may have heard that the federal government is shut down. Some have been sent home, while others are still working — though many of those still on the job aren’t getting paid. They’re getting IOUs for payment once the government finally starts back up again. Apparently, some folks at the National Weather Service are still on the job, and they’ve used their forecasting notices to send a secret message to Congress, as first noticed by meteorologist Mike Masco:

Glad they have a sense of humor, though slightly disturbed as to how they’d create the forecast to work that way…

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Comments on “The National Weather Service Sends Hidden Message To Congress In Forecast”

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74 Comments
LDoBe says:

Re: Re:

That has to be bad for workplace morale.

It’s only as bad as slavery

It’s not even an exaggeration. YOU MUST GO TO WORK. WE WILL NOT PAY YOU. what does that sound like?

I’ve worked some very bad jobs in my time. Doing retail where my “personal goals” are dictated by the District Manager. But at least they were hiding it under a modicum of deception. At least they tried to divert my attention. At least I knew they were trying. Even though I knew they were lying.

It makes me literally vomit. You will work (very hard jobs) for free, no further comment.

Now I must take out the trash.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:It's only as bad as slavery

With all due respect, it is in no way similar to slavery.

They can quit, anytime, and go get another job. Slaves can’t.

To call this “slavery” is to belittle the very real and very horrible sufferings of real slaves – as if slavery were just some stupid administrative thing about paychecks.

Slavery is a Whole Other Thing. Slavery is serious.

Don’t call this slavery.

Anonymous Coward says:

While every one is all happy in Washington to keep people on the job without paying them, it doesn’t stop the needing of gas, the paying of bills like auto insurance, or paying for parking spaces every day, and all of that adds up. Continue this insanity for long enough and it won’t matter if you have a job, if you can’t afford to get there and can’t afford to pay your rent and utlilites.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers(R) says “The thing is, I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.”

http://projects.newsobserver.com/node/28476

Funny how she makes at least 2 to 3 times more than most people and needs that paycheck but according to Washington, every one else can put their lives on hold waiting for them to shit or get off the pot.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Now there’s a thought, make it so in any instance where this sort of thing happens, and the government temporarily stops paying various services, congressional and senate paychecks get cut first.

After all, if they’d been doing their jobs, such drastic measures wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place, so it’s only fair they get hit first.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is a constitutional safeguard that prevents that, one Congress can’t pass laws about their own it must be approved by the next.

Meaning this congress doesn’t have the power to cut their own salaries, what they do have the power to do is to pass a law reflecting your proposal to be approved by the next one at the moment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

However, there is an opportunity here for some of those in Congress to actually build good will with the public separating themselves from those who actually are the cause of this. 1. They could push for such a bill that would fix this problem in the future even if it would not be applicable to themselves. 2. They could band together, start a fund and personally donate from their salaries to it to compensate those that are affected by this.

Moop says:

Weather forecast outputs...

Presumably “slightly disturbed” was tongue in cheek in the first place, but just to note the supercomputers essential in current weather forecasting, last I checked, don’t themselves somehow output the next forecast in words like soothsayers, they just (“just”) run a complex weather model numerical simulation spitting out giant lumps of data. The data are then postprocessed and visualized with various 2D and 3D graphical tools, such as Metview. The ECMWF manages a weather forecast model widely used in Europe).

It’s the sort of thing Fortran was made for…

How the simulation output is interpreted and described in words is largely up to the humans looking at the output and obviously one can just carefully pick one’s words (No I didn’t bother to do it in this post) for a hidden message.
Though I suppose AI tools that could look at the output data and wordify it to some extent would be possible, a human would do a better job.

The software involved in meteorology is pretty specialised, some of it is open source, some is very much not, perhaps most is in that weird limbo of “academics don’t and don’t want to have to understand software licensing” and is often accidentally, sometimes by design, “source available but not open source” under current horrible copyright law defaults.

William says:

Re: Weather forecast outputs...

Actually, they use about 5 models and compare them to see the results and use the ones that agree the most using THEIR brain pans because one model might have a tropical storm forming in Oklahoma. Not really, but a lot of their input is needed to study the models, agree on most likely add their own predictions models can’t foresee and report to work during dangerous weather situations on their days/nights off. Severe weather doesn’t have a schedule like congress!

Anonymous Coward says:

Is at times like this that I look to the past for answers.

http://people.howstuffworks.com/amish.htm
http://www.padutchcountry.com/towns-and-heritage/amish-country/amish-lifestyle.asp
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

The Amish are capable of living in a 18th century lifestyle that is comfortable and fulfilling(to them at least), why others can’t?

Many here say they couldn’t do it, well that is probably true because most of you just don’t know how and never bothered to learn how to live with less. Life is full of up and downs, when the down comes most just don’t know what to do, please don’t despair look at those you made fun all these years that are living comfortably without much and have the courage to ask how they do it.

Life will go on, even if this government goes belly up we will create another one that is what we do today. I hope some day we find a better way to govern ourselves in the meanwhile, observe and learn from the people who have nothing and are thriving in a hard set of conditions that most of you think it is impossible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What would happen to your Amish Nation inhabitants of the gulf coast regions when a cat 3 or higher hurricane hits without warning?

It’s nice to reminisce about the “good old days” but there were no such days. Living in the 18th century was no walk in the park, even for those who were well off. Rather than dream about a “simpler time”, one might consider expending resources on planning for the future. It is not a matter of if – but a matter of when the next disaster will occur.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is my experience that people who have the knowledge to make things are the people who less suffer in those occasions.

Those are the people who know how to filter water, build a shelter, make a composting toilet out of a bucket and have the machinery that doesn’t depend on electricity to make it through(e.g. manual washing machines, manual blenders, stoves etc).

Additionally, we are not at 18th current levels of knowledge we know much more about stuff than we used to, we can do better than 18th tech today without using much of it.

After a disaster the amount of raw resources on the streets is just mind boggling, people think of it as trash, I see it as unprocessed material(i.e. metal, wood, glass, soil, paper, etc).

It is not about loving the past, is about knowing what worked in the past and updating that knowledge for the 21
th century.

The first dental drill was foot powered, today we can have air tanks be filled by windmills and use that to store energy that can be converted into electricity or used in pneumatic tools, at the very least people can hand crank air pumps to fill it and use as needed.

Can you build your own or will you pay others to built it for ya? will you wait for the charity of others? when thousands are having a hard time too?

Can you make a window farm?
http://www.windowfarms.com/build-your-own/

Does your community have a vertical farm anywhere that they can rely on for food on emergencies?

Do you know what is available to you in your environment in an emergency?

You can chose to be ignorant about all those things is your choice. I will go learn how to make a sofa from pallets.

http://scraphacker.com/pallet-sofas/

Before that I was looking at growing mediums for plants.

http://www.bio-world.com/categories/3_43_288/Plant-Media.html

Looking for agar based media, did you know you can plant things in gelatin? I am experimenting with worm tea compost as the hydroponic liquid, it works really well and costs nothing and I still buy normal hydroponic liquid from stores but if I don’t have it I can do without it.

Do you have any stories about something that you lost access to it and you found a way to DIY?

When disaster strikes that is exactly what you will have to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The point being, in the absence of reliable weather prediction, weather related injuries/causalities raise dramatically. This is most prevalent along the gulf coast during hurricane season. If you wish to live in the past, you are certainly free to do so, however do not expect others to accept your decree that is shall be so for all to “enjoy”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You do know that the world has more than one weather agency and they all post on the internet right?

Aside from that you can access weather satellites streams directly.

software to decode APT and WEFAX signals from weather satellites
http://www.wxtoimg.com/

http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-tutorial-receiving-noaa-weather-satellite-images/

http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~map/weather/notes/buildyourown/

Weather Satellite Receiving Station
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2684

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You do realize that the topic of discussion is that the NWS would like to be paid for their efforts – right?

In addition, with a government shutdown other agencies are also adversely impacted. For example NASA & NOAA. Employees with critical skill sets difficult to replace. Schedules for future missions to replace aging satellites are impacted, etc. You get the idea.

Other weather prediction services do not have our interests in mind, nor do they have the models used or historical weather data, etc. It is rather naive to assume this is not an issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The NWS will not get paid, they don’t have a choice in the matter, what should they do?

– Complain some more?
– Find another job in this economy?
– take from others by deception or force?
– Make it themselves?

I am fond of the fourth there, you see life taught me that there are controllable and uncontrollable factors.
If you are employed by others you have no control of your employment it is uncertain, even if you was self employed there would be uncertainties, the one thing you can control is how much you know and can make for yourself.

Would you be so scared if you could tighten the belt and eat only what you can produce?

Would you be so scared if you knew that others are doing science on their own?

That weather data is replicated by universities around the globe, why do you think the signal was made open?

Emergency Alert systems will not shutdown.

What will happen in the worst case scenario is that scientific research could slowdown, but that is really our fault for allowing an incompetent, corrupt, lying government to handle it.

For the workers, that have no choice in the matter what they could have done it, was to have the knowledge to make the things they need, it would make their lifes today easier, it certainly made mine when the hard times came knocking.

I don’t feel it is the end of the world to lose a job, I don’t fear losing a home, I know I can make it without any of those things and what gives me that peace of mind is the knowledge to make things.

I acquired the know how and I can rebuild, like the Amish.
If you lost everything what would you do?

Complain some more, get angry and go hit or murder someone?

I tell you what I will do, if I lost everything, I make a hammock find some trees to hang it, have a good night of sleep and start rebuilding the next day, I wouldn’t waste my time complaining or getting angry, things are what they are and if I can avoid that same outcome I will.

For that end the only way I see is to reduce the area that the government touches society.

We should all be looking at ways that we can replace the government and not allow it to do it for us completely at the very least have an alternative. In other words learn to make the things we need by ourselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I am sorry that is not the point, the real point here is the fear of losing something, being a paycheck, home, security or whatever.

The point is that you can’t move away from that which causes you pain. You don’t know how and so you are scared.

Would you like to pay $8 per month in utility bills?
This public servant is doing it.
Youtube: A look inside the tiny house movement

Want to grow lettuce without electricity.
Youtube: Growing Hydroponic Lettuce Outside with No Electricity

But making just food and shelter seems to be lacking some ambition, how about we make some x-rays?

Youtube: making a miniature X ray tube

Youtube: DIY X-ray CT scanner controlled by an Arduino

How about sending our own weather satellite and others to space?
http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/

The problem is simple, you have an entity that is causing you great pain and you don’t know how to move away from it. Piracy here gives us a glimpse of a world where that power dynamics are inverted, people got the know how to provide the services for themselves and there is nothing the government can do about it, is them complaining about dirty pirates the pirates don’t care.

Which position is more desirable?

I rather know how to make stuff then to have to beg others to help me out.

By being able to produce what I need, instead of sending a message “please pay me” I’ll be in a position to say “screw you”, just like pirates do, just like the Amish can do, just like Amazon Indians and other people who know what to do make what they need to live their lifes.

What are the technologies that will enable you to build your own future and take charge of your own destiny?

If you don’t want to be part of it, that is fine, complain to the government how bad they are, pay more taxes make use of every trap they throw at you(i.e. entitlement programs) and don’t learn to do anything useful for yourself, that is your choice just don’t expect me to feel sympathy I will not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Forgot something important, by knowing how to survive longer I can also wait the shitstorm out and use the political process to vote them all out without getting desperate and being forced to accept the faith decide by them for me.

Although I find that option a bit unattainable, we don’t have the infra-structure to organize the people to make a difference on elections.

The Tea Party was the most organized effort in the US they just lacked a plan, they got the network up, but lacked a unified view of what needed to be done. No I don’t particularly like the Tea Party, but I do acknowledge that they got a level of organization rarely seem in the public these days.

So again the only thing I have control is my own level of knowledge, that I can do, that I can control and with that I can make my life better without having to worry too much about what the government is doing, this is not the 80’s, this is not the middle ages, today we got the internet and it showed us the power of networks, the power of crowds and how much we can achieve if we just try.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Self sufficiency is good and all, but stopping your shitstorm might be something worth pursuing.

The Tea Party was perhaps started as “grassroots” but soon became astroturf. Don’t forget – corporations are people my friend.

“without having to worry too much about what the government is doing”

Until they wake you up from your dreamland stupor.

grabacontroller (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Well, if the government quit stopping being turds, and not add to the 16 trillion debt, they’d be able to pay workers. Also, what’s up with all of these government agencies? Why do we have so many? Doesn’t it complicate things more? Everyone must be dumb in the government if they have to have an agency for everything.

Anonymous Coward says:

William Addis was imprisoned for causing a riot, in prison he is said to have produced the first mass produced toothbrush in the world out of animal bone from his meal and bristles he got from the guards.

Today you can buy handmade/ecofriendly toothbrushes.

Bogobrush

ecomarket: Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush eco friendly

Looking at those, you can make your own.

Recipes for DIY toothpaste are everywhere, you can also find shampoo recipes, soap and more everywhere on the internet, when the hard times come you be better prepared to cope with the situation and when things get better you can start asking others to do it for you by buying from them again.

You never be poor if you have the knowledge on how to do stuff.

The reason we have jobs is to sustain ourselves, if others can’t give you a job, it is your full time job to produce the things you need.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The reason we have jobs is to sustain ourselves, if others can’t give you a job, it is your full time job to produce the things you need.”

This adage might play well in reference to days gone by, centuries ago, but in the modern world it might become problematic when everyone is out hunting for their next meal. Population density dictates a more ordered methodology in the implementation of resource management. Proper governance strives to influence said management for the better well being of society. It seems things have gone astray lately.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is why in every disaster scenario people say cities become death traps, with million of unprepared people competing for really scarce resources in a very small area.

For cities the solution is probably vertical farming, bring the production back to where it is needed, but none the less acquiring skills to produce things if not solve your problems can alleviate the pain or help you, everything you learn and can do it for yourself is something you don’t need to waste scarce resources to acquire from others.

Instead of buying all your food from the supermarket how much can you save, if you plant vegetables on your window? with that savings what can you acquire that could improve your life?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Perhaps you are a bit confused.

John Boehner is speaker of the house, and it is John Boehner who is blocking a vote on a clean bill to fund the government.
Recent estimates indicate such a vote would pass.

(there are plenty of sources, no need to list them)

So, tell me again – who is “holding up everything”. Tell me again how one person should not be allowed to “hold funding for the entire US government”.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Is this the thread to ask why private enterprises haven’t heroically rocked up to save us all, John Gaunt-style? I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked and dismayed at the lack of “Aww yeahs!” from the Minarchist community.

Seriously, though, I was once informed by a straight-faced Minarchist that private enterprise would predict the weather, etc., for us, and indeed, that all the functions currently provided by government would be taken over by private enterprises. I told him it’d never happen if there wasn’t profit in it. Besides, most of them are too expensive for the average Joe to afford. Therefore only businesses would pay for them and only if they felt they needed them. Ergo, vacuum would ensue.

Am I right in suggesting that many of the Tea Party Republicans are of the Minarchist/Large L Libertarian persuasion?

Because, if they are, it explains why the usual Minarchist/Large L Libertarian trolls haven’t dropped in here, a-whuppin’ and a-whoppin’ all over the comments in outright glee. No, they’ve realised what the smarter commenters have been saying for years: the work of government is to govern and provide essential services to the people.

Weather is an essential service, and the sooner those folks are paid and governance is properly funded, the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

This whole shut down is an engineered problem, not one that just happened. Both sides are at fault. It’s being selectively used for political gain. It is known by the name of Washington Monument Syndrome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Monument_Syndrome

The idea is to inconvenience as much of the public as possible so that pressure comes to bear on lawmakers to get on with it and pass a budget.

Confirming that this is an actual strategy, news accounts quote a Park Service employee saying “We?ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It?s disgusting.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Oh please, your weak attempt at apologist hand waving would even make Fox News blush.

This partial shutdown has real impact – right now, it is not simply a WMS.

You can make jokes about the park service all you want, but it does not add credence to your claim that it is just a political stunt. You think that not paying NWS is not a big deal? How about the capitol police? There are multitudes of folks performing essential duties while knowing they will not be paid on time, if ever. Is it a big deal when they may miss a mortgage payment? It probably is to them – so much so that they may leave and seek employment elsewhere. Then who is going to perform those duties?

And yes – it is disgusting. Funny how the only ones not doing their jobs still get paid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Apparently the tag needs something to tell you I am not making apologies for what I think are needless stunts.

Evidently my words as to how much I despise this game playing with people’s livelihood while Washington attempts to make political points goes over your head.

If you think that is a joke, go read the friggin’ source link provided. Which comes complete with park ranger quotation followed so there is a clue to you that it was not made up somewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh look, here is another fine example of the Washington Monument Syndrome. Who does this judge think he is anyway, trying to make things as bad as he possibly can.

Federal Judge Smacks House Republican For Demanding Exemption From Republican Shutdown

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/10/05/2737401/federal-judge-smacks-house-republican-for-demanding-special-exemption-from-shutdown-he-helped-cause/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, responsibility is very much lacking – in DC, in States and locally. This is nothing new, although it has become much worse.

In addition, it is plain to see that certain “representatives” are not actually representing their constituents. This is not how our government was intended to operate.

There are some representatives that do reflect their constituents desires, opinions, etc.

Saying they are all the same is quite simplistic and … well – lazy.

No need to use a gun says:

Re: Re: Capitol Police

Um, I totally agree that federal workers should be getting paid, but the Capitol Police are a very bad example. They just got through murdering a mentally ill woman who was unarmed and posed no real threat to anyone – and they killed her while her child was in the back seat watching.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2445271/Capitol-Hill-shooting-Miriam-Careys-sisters-say-There-need-gun-used.html

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