NOAA sends hidden messages in forecast discussion

The desperation is the message… 

NWS_pay_US_AFD

Source: http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?dir=next&pil=AFDAFC&e=201310032155

Nice to know that the NWS is an essential service during the shutdown. What we get from NWS (for free) is probably the best bargain in government services.

h/t to Jess Ferrell

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73 Responses to NOAA sends hidden messages in forecast discussion

  1. PaulH says:

    Ha! Do they have a “donate” account with PayPal? :-)

  2. DirkH says:

    Maybe the NWS services are critical for the assessment of Golf course conditions.

  3. Luke Warmist says:

    Coupled with the ACA information phone number, we’ll all be playing “Where’s Waldo” in any new government communication.

  4. Corey S. says:

    That is hilarious! What are the odds of that happening by pure chance?

  5. DirkH says:

    Corey S. says:
    October 5, 2013 at 8:15 am
    “That is hilarious! What are the odds of that happening by pure chance?”

    Assuming equal distribution of 26 letters of the alphabet
    (1/26.0)**11 = 2.7245398995795435e-16

    This estimate needs improvement though; an equal distribution is not realistic.

  6. Phillip Bratby says:

    Perhaps Big Oil will pay them.

  7. CD (@CD153) says:

    “Nice to know that the NWS is an essential service during the shutdown. What we get from NWS (for free) is probably the best bargain in government services.”

    Totally agree. Even though I am quite libertarian-minded myself, the NWS is one government service (among others) that I would keep along with the National Hurricane Center.

  8. dp says:

    You learn much about the character of the leadership by how they prioritize affected services during a shutdown. Use what you learn when you next cast your vote.

  9. OldWeirdHarold says:

    DirkH says:
    October 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This estimate needs improvement though; a equal distribution is not realistic.
    =====
    The work’s already been done. See: Huffman encoding.

  10. ZT says:

    Please pay us – we don’t have too much time on our hands – oh no.

  11. Michael says:

    Is this the new version of ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ when the “scientist” run out of petrol to run the generator or is this the scene when New York is flooded?

  12. Mike M says:

    Decisions decisions… should the OMB pay NWS personnel to stay on board or pay for more rangers and barricades to keep WW2 veterans away from the WW2 Memorial that was built with private donations?

  13. geran says:

    17 degrees F drop on my patio since daybreak this morning, as the massive cold front moves in.

  14. GlynnMhor says:

    LOL…

  15. DirkH says:

    OldWeirdHarold says:
    October 5, 2013 at 8:28 am
    “The work’s already been done. See: Huffman encoding.”

    Sure. But I won’t go so far as to compute it. Somebody else gotta make that happen. It’s a non-essential service.

  16. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    DirkH says:
    October 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Corey S. says:
    October 5, 2013 at 8:15 am
    “That is hilarious! What are the odds of that happening by pure chance?”

    Assuming equal distribution of 26 letters of the alphabet
    (1/26.0)**11 = 2.7245398995795435e-16

    This estimate needs improvement though; an equal distribution is not realistic.

    Especially not at the beginnings of words which are also at the beginnings of lines.

    I’ll bet the NSA could come up with a pretty good estimate, but they’re not talking …

  17. Gunga Din says:

    8-)
    But they put the period at the beginning of the “sentence”.

  18. JimK says:

    Propaganda by any other name.. Methinks they have too much time on their hands already.

  19. Paul Vaughan says:

    It seems the US government has finally found a way to shut down climate skeptic operations. Today I went to get updated sunspot numbers (needed for new calculations) and found this:

    =
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Due to the Federal government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web and ftp
    sites are unavailable.

    Only web and ftp sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained.

    See Weather.gov for critical weather information or contact USA.gov for more
    information about the shutdown.
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    =

  20. Greg says:

    “Perhaps Big Oil will pay them.”

    You’re joking, they have no cash left after all they’ve been pumping into funding the climate denial industry in recent years.

  21. juergenuie says:

    This is man made. Government shutdown .. no pay..

  22. littlepeaks says:

    Ahhh — the power of the subconscious mind.

  23. John S. says:

    What we get from NWS (for free) is probably the best bargain in government services.

    My tax attorney and Chinese bond holders may disagree about the ‘free’ part.

  24. J Martin says:

    The US debt is increasing at a rate of one trillion $ a year. I wonder how much the shut down is saving, probably not much, and I wonder just how extensive a shut down would be required to even level off the debts, never mind reduce them. Is it even possible.

  25. J Martin says:

    They should be happy. The shut down has reduced their “carbon” footprint.

  26. RACookPE1978 says:

    Well, the most common letters used in English are in the phrase “AND THREATENS” so, it is appropriate a government employee in a government pushing the catastrophic death of CAGW energy controls issues such a statement.

  27. nohbody says:

    Looking at the previous report, Id say it had to be deliberate, as several synonyms were substituted in for words in the (presumably auto generated) previous report.

  28. John G. says:

    Interesting, exactly the same probability as shutdownnow.

  29. David says:

    As an Alaskan who travels all over the state for my job using air, truck, occasionally a 4 wheeler or snowmachine I am glad the site is still up. For many of us it is a safety issue, not a matter of what coat I will wear but will I get on the road or sit tight because it’s not worth the risk.

  30. Mike McMillan says:

    OldWeirdHarold says: October 5, 2013 at 8:28 am

    The work’s already been done. See: Huffman encoding.

    Huffman encoding uses letter frequency, but it’s primarily for compression, such as. Its use in jpeg images.
    Wikipedia has one list of frequencies.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency

  31. u.k.(us) says:

    I love it.
    When I dig down into my local NOAA forecast (storms are predicted), the uncertainties are broadcast widely.
    Their Met’s produce some good stuff.

  32. Janice Moore says:

    Clearly such meaningful, ordered, complexity was NOT an accident. Hurrah! A sign of hope! There is SOMEONE at NOAA with that surest sign of intelligence:
    a sense of humor.

    Hm. Maybe that’s why she or he has been assigned to the Alaska desk…. (wouldn’t surprise me given the propaganda coming out of NOAA these days)

    Hang in there, buddy!

  33. Janice Moore says:

    David,

    Be careful up there! When in doubt, sit tight. Good to hear from you.

    Janice

  34. Ed Mertin says:

    This shutdown stuff sure isn’t helping your popularity.
    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_rep.htm
    Could have just shut your pie holes and let Obamacare implosion get you votes.
    Nooooooo… we gotta shut ‘er all down!!!!
    You better hope like ‘ell we don’t get a terror attack or plane crashes with FBI, CIA, CDC closed and only 2/3 of the controllers needed to keep air traffic safe.

  35. Mike M says:

    Ed Mertin says:

    That poll is obviously bogus. The approval they show back on Oct 3, 2010 lists as only being 24% so HOW was it possible that a month later the republicans retook the House with an unprecedented number of seat reversals? BZZZT! (plus a lot of the democrat wins were very very slim in 2010 compared to 2008)

  36. Mike Jonas says:

    Whatever happened to “The buck stops here“???

    The president is the head of the nation. It is his job to look ahead and anticipate and deal with problems. Yet we now have two related problems that he has failed to anticipate, or at least to deal with, and he is blaming the Republicans. Both relate to overspending, with the first one (blocking supply unless certain new spending is deferred) being much less important than the second (the debt ceiling). What is happening to people from the first problem coming to a head is just a foretaste of the chaos that could come from the second. Now it is certainly the case that the president could have been caught off-guard by the first problem, and it can be argued that the Republicans triggered it. Sure it’s his job not to be caught off-guard, but these things can happen to the best of them. What is totally inexcusable is that he has wilfully and irresponsibly ignored the second problem – the debt ceiling. The responsible course for the president would be to anticipate well in advance when the debt ceiling would hit, and either reform to stay within it, or negotiate with Congress (the ones who set the debt ceiling) well in advance in order to get the ceiling raised.

    Now it is – or may be – true that Congress has been playing games too, but it is at the President that the buck stops. It is horrendous for the president to push his luck to the limit, refuse to negotiate even at the 11th hour, and then blame Congress. That is the exact opposite of what a responsible president should do, namely anticipate the problem, negotiate early, and if necessary then use his oratorical and any other powers to get a whole heap of pressure put on Congress.

    I used the word ‘horrendous’ on purpose, because for some people, like the NWS employees now and perhaps many others later, the result is horrendous : through no fauit of their own, they are being forced to work for no pay. How this can happen in a constitutional democracy is mindboggling.

    Note that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of weather forecasts, or the quality of climate models or past presidents for that matter. I feel very deeply for those people in this situation. They may be no better or worse than people whose employer goes bust, for example, but the result for them is in the short term more devastating. When a company goes bust, the employees are at least free to move on. These poor unfortunates are being forced to supply slave labour. In a supposedly free democracy. I hope for theirs and everyones’ sakes that both problems get resolved very quickly. At least with the first problem hitting first, there is a chance that it will get enough pressure on everyone to stop being bone-headed and get the second problem resolved. The next step surely is for the president (the buck-stopper) to stop posturing and start genuine negotiation.

  37. Mike M says:

    (Putting on tin foil hat…) Maybe all the other columns are anagrams of top secret information?

  38. wrecktafire says:

    Re: the odds of happening by chance. Doing this by letter frequency in average English is not the right approach.

    The right approach would be to take all the previous communications of this type, and see whether the ordering of the sentences (by topic), the choice of word to lead off each sentence, word frequency distribution, and the sentence structure in this message have been seen before (there may be more factors, but that should get somebody started! :-).

    In other words, the same way they tell Shakespeare from a forgery, or a plagiarized work: pattern recognition.

  39. Janice Moore says:

    Mike M.,
    Another fine insight!
    Never underestimate the powers of petty minds.
    N’ot bright, but, they have “the dull cunning of the snake.”
    Slow-buT-de-A-d – l- Y, Half Of the-M Eat worms, half insects.
    I’m serious. Look at the data.
    Questions are answered disingenuously while they blithely lie for a living.
    6 to one, half a dozen to the other, they equivocate with a purpose.
    3 can easily be turned into an 8 or a B; they like 3’s.

  40. Kasuha says:

    Mike Jonas says:
    October 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    Whatever happened to “The buck stops here“???

    The president is the head of the nation. It is his job to look ahead and anticipate and deal with problems.
    __________________________________________

  41. Greg says:

    what is even more increadible is if you take the second letter of each line and read it backwards, it spells UNELEXTEDIMPOSTER.
    Amazing.

  42. Greg says:

    In an attempt to alleviate the national debt crisis Pres. Obama has announced there will be no “kill list” this week. He was also reported to have tried to auction his Nobel Medallion but was told Nobel Peace Prizes were not worth anything because they give them to anyone.

  43. Hot under the collar says:

    Did nobody see the other hidden message? If you turn it upside down and read it backwards it reads; “there is no anthropogenic climate change, it is due to natural variability”.

  44. Hot under the collar says:

    OK, I made it up, but I wonder how many looked for it? (I bet you played the Beatles records backwards to check for hidden messages as well) ; > )

    If NOAA employees had left my suggested message, I may have paid them myself!

  45. Janice Moore says:

    Greg and Hot Under the Collar — LOL. #(:))

    Backmasking Exposed (heh):

    I think the software, “Audacity” is really just a climate model. Operates pretty much the same way. Input: real data (I use “real” because “data” is being used incorrectly so often these days)
    —-> Output: humorous.

  46. Steve D says:

    Byron York earlier tweeted (‏@ByronYork): Asked a Senate source. Answer: based on CBO/OMB data, about 83 percent of government spending goes on. http://ow.ly/pwHrP

  47. Robert of Ottawa says:

    I want to know who first found this and pointed it out? Perhaps a NOAA Black-Op?

  48. Robert of Ottawa says:

    This so-called Government Shutdown in the US is a most petulant, childish hissy-fit, not worthy of adults.

  49. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Ed Mertin, it was Bambam that instituted the fake “shutdown” for political theater.

    OK No more politics from me on this thread.

  50. Igor Karlić says:

    Quick calculation without taking into account the letters density in English language gave me the probability that this happened by pure chance is 1 to 3670344486987776.

  51. _Jim says:

    Odds makers – what are the odds that the healthcare phone number “1-800-F**KYO” came up on a random ‘draw’ from a pool of numbers?

    .

  52. Blade says:

    Corey S. [October 5, 2013 at 8:15 am] says:

    That is hilarious! What are the odds of that happening by pure chance?

    Even more microscopic than the telephone anagram for President DingleBarry’s Obamacare … 1-800-F*CKUO. And that one’s for real, without that asterisk.

    Janice Moore [October 5, 2013 at 11:43 am] says:

    Clearly such meaningful, ordered, complexity was NOT an accident. Hurrah! A sign of hope! There is SOMEONE at NOAA with that surest sign of intelligence: a sense of humor.

    Disagree. I see some leftist climate bureaucrat playing propaganda games on the taxpayer dime, on taxpayer computers. Fire his ass. P.S. They actually do NOT have a sense of humor, trust me.

    DirkH [October 5, 2013 at 8:20 am] says:

    Assuming equal distribution of 26 letters of the alphabet

    (1/26.0)**11 = 2.7245398995795435e-16

    This estimate needs improvement though; an equal distribution is not realistic.

    Well that character set exceeds the 26 letter alphabet even restricting it only to uppercase. Right there in that press release we see both integers and punctuation. I would bet it is 64 characters wide at the minimum which pushes that probability down to about one or two cat whiskers above zero.

  53. Blade says:

    Arrrgh. Typo. Should have been …

    Even more microscopic than the telephone anagram for President DingleBarry’s Obamacare … 1-800-F*CKYO. And that one’s for real, without that asterisk.

  54. Blade says:

    Ed Mertin [October 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm] says:

    This shutdown stuff sure isn’t helping your popularity.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_rep.htm

    Could have just shut your pie holes and let Obamacare implosion get you votes.

    Nooooooo… we gotta shut ‘er all down!!!! You better hope like ‘ell we don’t get a terror attack or plane crashes with FBI, CIA, CDC closed and only 2/3 of the controllers needed to keep air traffic safe.

    What’s that, an appeal to popularity?!

    Hopefully you had equally concerned messages to the (D)ummycrats that pushed Socialized Medicine all throughout 2010 against overwhelming anti-popular sentiment and then capped it off with Congressional games to get it to “pass” by a handful of votes. This bill didn’t even originate in the house!

    Anyway, even to this very day you would lose any popularity measurement for this latest welfare plan called Obamacare. Yet you suddenly now discover the concept “popularity” and express concern, *after* the bill was rammed down our throats, in order to preserve it?!

    Are you experiencing any cognitive dissonance at the present time? Just wondering, because if you are not then hypocrisy is in your genes and you just might be a leftist.

  55. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Understandably Frustrated Blade,

    You likely DID understand my post at 11:43, but, your journalizing of it, placing your quote of me just below your discussion of a vulgar phone number, makes this clarification necessary (for my peace of mind). For the record, my 11:43 am, today, post, refers to the PLEASE PAY US message (not the phone number).

    Wow, Blade, yeah, these are serious issues, but WHAT IN THE WORLD happened to your sense of humor? Those WUWT guys you are so harshly snarling at ARE YOUR FRIENDS.

    I hear you, Blade, about the e-vi-l puppet in the White House (and all the demonocrat schemes like taking over the healthcare industry). You have a FRIEND in me (too).

    Now, if you would, please tell us a joke so we know the real Blade is back, okay?

    Janice

  56. Janice Moore says:

    Never mind, Blade. I wrote too hastily. I now realize that your bluntness and irritation were directed only at me and Ed Mertin not multiple W-U-W-T people. Please forgive my mistake. Thanks. J.

  57. Walter Dnes says:

    > Paul Vaughan says:
    > October 5, 2013 at 9:12 am
    > It seems the US government has finally found a way to shut down climate skeptic operations.
    > Today I went to get updated sunspot numbers (needed for new calculations) and found this:

    Have you tried http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/greenwch/spot_num.txt or is that not the data set you normally use?

  58. Blade says:

    Janice Moore [October 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm] says:

    Never mind, Blade. I wrote too hastily. I now realize that your bluntness and irritation were directed only at me and Ed Mertin not multiple W-U-W-T people. Please forgive my mistake. Thanks. J.

    No sweat. But be advised I didn’t mean to send *any* bluntness or irritation to you at all. I strung those three comments together separate from the other one completely on purpose. None of the those three were I criticizing.

    In your case I was just disagreeing with you that there was any sense of humor from the embedded leftists in federal agencies. It’s only my opinion but it is born out from the countless libs I have lived among for countless years. It is a rare one indeed that has a real sense of humor, they have no time to enjoy life because they are single-minded in their pursuit and worship of Socialism, which is another way of saying – my money.

    I actually have a wicked sense of humor myself, but on this issue with the IRS now empowered to collect this “tax” quite possibly at gunpoint, it is no longer a laughing matter, well, unless one happens to be on the other side of the “argument” – the welfare culture of bums and illegal aliens who are now entitled to spend our money while screwing up our working system in the process.

  59. Janice Moore says:

    Hey, Blade, thank you.

    I agree completely with all you wrote about libs. They really are warped. There is NO helping them see the truth — they don’t WANT to see it. If you have to deal with them chronically, then you certainly MUST have a very good sense of humor — or you would have gone crazy long ago. “Rock is heavy and sand a burden, but the provocation of fools who can bear?” (I think it’s in Ecclesiastes).

    Nice to connect with you.

    Your friend and ally for truth and LIBERTY,

    Janice

  60. Blade says:

    @Janice … Dittos!

  61. exNOAAman says:

    If other NWSFOs aren’t seething with jealousy…..
    Well played, Anchorage.

    I think it’s time to look at past issues for other messages.

  62. Zeke says:

    Shutdowns are customary when there are computer updates.

    Obamacare became effective on Oct 1.

    The NSA is absolutely nothing compared to the Affordable Care Act data hub information compiled on every American. Files from many government and state agencies are being combined to implement Obamacare. Activist agencies are then given access to these files, ostensibly as facilitators.

  63. Ric Werme says:

    Blade says:
    October 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Even more microscopic than the telephone anagram for President DingleBarry’s Obamacare … 1-800-F*CKYO. And that one’s for real, without that asterisk.

    Not quite – there’s a “1” somewhere in there too. Dial what you wrote and all you’ll connect to “We’re, but we cannot complete the call as dialed.”

  64. Ric Werme says:

    I mentioned this on Tips and Notes a few days ago, I guess this is a good
    thread to mention it too.

    NOAA’s ENSO data is not being updated, so the ENSO meter on the right side is stuck on the value from mid september, conveniently enough 0.0.
    http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=oiv2.ctl&ptype=ts&var=ssta&level=1&op1=none&op2=none&day=24&month=aug&year=2013&fday=6&fmonth=oct&fyear=2013&lat0=-5&lat1=5&lon0=-170&lon1=-120&plotsize=800×600&title=&dir=

    Australia’s BoM must be relying on something from NOAA, as http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/nino_3.4.txt reports:

    20130826,20130901,0.04
    20130902,20130908,0.12
    20130909,20130915,0.09
    20130916,20130922,0.04
    20130923,20130929,0.00

  65. p@ Dolan says:

    As a previous post said, as a Libertarian, I would be ok with continuing NWS. For those who commented to the effect, “Too much time on their hands” and other sour notes, without trying to insult anyone, lighten up, guys. It’s clever, and in fun, and probably didn’t take all that long—so they’re hardly the waste of money that paying Hansen was at NASA—and it’s certainly entertained the lot of us! I can use a laugh, now and again.

    However, I use this site for my weather…perhaps I’m a bit biased after 20 years in the Navy, but it’s the best there is (NOAA wishes they were this good, and if NRL has any pesky alarmists in the soup, I haven’t heard of them…). And though I retired just over a decade ago, I have a sailboat on the water and I live in the Mid-Atlantic Coast of the US. June to November, I spend a great deal of time gazing at satellite imagery.

    Oh, and this one is still fully functional, and has tutorials. Enjoy the finest wx-guessing tool on the net:

    http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/sat_products.html

  66. Jocko says:

    As a retired NWS forecaster who wrote hundreds of these discussions, I can tell you that this product was most definitely planned to spell out the phrase. For one thing, it was entered into the system around 5 AM in the morning, so the person had plenty of time on the night shift to compose it just right. Although this example is a little more political than most I’ve seen in the past, the practice of fooling around with forecast discussion product has been ongoing ever since I began in the NWS in 1980. One person I knew was especially adept at getting the right side of the discussion exactly lined up vertically by choosing words so that the line ended in the same place. Another person liked to get the space between the period at the end of a sentence and the first word in the next sentence lined up so that they formed diagonals or straight lines. And before all of these discussions became public (mid 1990s) and were strictly internal products viewable only by NWS staff, it was much wilder with people frequently creating pictures with the text, like pumpkins for Halloween and Santa faces at Christmas!

  67. High Treason says:

    They should put out the message-pay us or we will tell the truth about global warming. That will get them back on the payroll. Perhaps an encoded “its all BS” or “IMPEACH OBAMA”- good to see that it was deliberate.

  68. Rob says:

    Went through two and never noticed. Gotta watch those Midnight-8am shift dudes-Lol

  69. Gunga Din says:

    Janice Moore says:
    October 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Hey, Blade, thank you.

    I agree completely with all you wrote about libs. They really are warped. There is NO helping them see the truth — they don’t WANT to see it. If you have to deal with them chronically, then you certainly MUST have a very good sense of humor — or you would have gone crazy long ago. “Rock is heavy and sand a burden, but the provocation of fools who can bear?” (I think it’s in Ecclesiastes)

    =======================================================================
    “Missed it by that much.” 8-)

    Proverbs 27:3 Stone is heavy and sand weighty, but a fool’s [unreasoning] wrath is heavier and more intolerable than both of them. Amplified Version

    (And just for the fun of it ….
    Proverbs 27:3 A nagh ghaH ‘ugh, je sand ghaH a burden; ‘ach a fool’s provocation ghaH heavier than both. Klingon Language Version 8-)

  70. Janice Moore says:

    Oh, Gunga Din, thanks. I was too lazy to look it up using a concordance. Love the KLV. That would be fun to hear read from the pulpit, heh.

  71. Gunga Din says:

    Janice Moore says:
    October 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Oh, Gunga Din, thanks. I was too lazy to look it up using a concordance. Love the KLV. That would be fun to hear read from the pulpit, heh.

    ========================================================================
    8-) You’re welcome.
    Since you know what a concordance is I assume you study the Bible. You might want to add a few PC based tools to your “toolbox”. I use BibleWorks. It’s a great program but it’s expensive. PowerBible is a good program and cheaper. There are also free online tools such as Crosswalk.com. An advantage to some of the PC tools is that a search can be tied to the original language word rather than just the English word. They often also allow you search for a phrase.
    (I think I better stop now before I exhaust the Mod’s patience.)

  72. mikerossander says:

    re: “That is hilarious! What are the odds of that happening by pure chance?”
    Assuming equal distribution of 26 letters of the alphabet
    (1/26.0)**11 = 2.7245398995795435e-16
    This estimate needs improvement though; an equal distribution is not realistic.”

    I get 1.37624 e-16 after adjusting for the distribution of first letters of words in English. The equal distribution assumption was right to within an order of magnitude.

    Interestingly, if you’d adjusted merely for the frequency of English letters without regard for place within the word, that would be an improvement to the model (since it takes more factors into account) yet you’d have gotten a much worse answer – 3.513 e-15. Another example of how incremental improvements to a model can actually make the results worse.

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