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For Overstated Claims, Gore, Tesla Upbraided By NWS, NHTSA Respectively 195

Posted by timothy
from the my-hubris-meter-goes-to-12 dept.
barlevg writes "In a recent interview, former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore made a bold claim, that man-made global warming was causing hurricanes to be formed of such severity that 'they're adding a 6' to the hurricane scale, going on to say that 'The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events.' In response, the National Weather Service has responded that they have no plans to add a 'doomsday Category 6' to their rating scale: 'No, we're not pursuing any such change. I'm also not sure who VP Gore means by "they,"' also noting that 'Category 5 has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157 mph and higher.' Furthermore, a recently leaked United Nations climate assessment claims only 'low confidence' of a link between human activity and increased hurricane severity and that this is likely due to increased human settlement in coastal areas and other regions vulnerable to natural disasters." Along similar lines, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that Tesla's Model S, no matter how safe it is, doesn't get any special grade inflation: there's no "5.4" score (as the company did in a press release this week), because that's just not how the NHTSA keeps score. (Hat tip to reader cartechboy.)
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For Overstated Claims, Gore, Tesla Upbraided By NWS, NHTSA Respectively

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    incomprehensibleheadline
  • by Captain_Loser (601474) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:31PM (#44647913)

    I'm surprised that the inventor of The Internet would make such erroneous claims.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @06:13PM (#44648409)

      I'm surprised that the inventor of The Internet would make such erroneous claims.

      Of all places, Slashdot really ought not to fall victim to such an erroneous meme.

      What Al Gore actually said: "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

      "In all fairness, it's something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet."
      - Newt Gingrich, 2000 [ajc.com]

      • Of all places, Slashdot really ought not to fall victim to such an erroneous meme.

        It hasn't fallen victim. It just takes great glee in perpetuating that erroneous meme.

        When friends of friends call me to complain that "the Internet isn't working right", I tell them to "blame it on Gore".

        "He invented it, after all."

      • I'm surprised that the inventor of The Internet would make such erroneous claims.

        Of all places, Slashdot really ought not to fall victim to such an erroneous meme.

        What Al Gore actually said: "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

        Yes, I was watching the interview where he said that, and he did say it. The problem is that he uses the idiomatic phrase "took the initiative". One cannot "take" a Congressional initiative. The phrase literally means "I did this".

        http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/take+the+initiative [thefreedictionary.com]

        "take the initiative (to do something)- to activate oneself to do something even if one has not been asked to do it."

        He was saying that he created the internet. I agree with Newt that Gore was a major early contributor to

      • Fucking bullshit. Teenagers like me wanting easier access to porn invented the internet. When we found out we could get porn without an embarrassing trip to the gas station, pay-per-view bills or the local smut shop, the fucking doors flew off the BBS's. The entire information came to be because hordes of horny 16yr olds wanted to masturbate in their basements in peace.

        And now they can. Technology is great.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          I was "censoring" a coworker's access to Usenet by not subscribing to certain adult newsgroups. Not too long after he left and started up one of the very first ISPs in the country with a shell account and full Usenet access. So in a sense, I helped incentivize the internet.

      • by antdude (79039)

        Swoooooooooosh!

    • He didn't invent the Internet, he invented the Algorithm!

    • He isn't making erroneous claims. He is inventing; the important people in the fields just don't realize the truth yet.
    • by DiEx-15 (959602)

      I'm surprised that the inventor of The Internet would make such erroneous claims.

      Probably spent too much time on 4Chan...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, there can be bigger hurricanes and they should have a higher Cat 6 level. More water vapor and more CO2 can influence these storms by how much thermal energy and pressure differences there are in the atmosphere.

    Tesla's Model S is just hot. Why would you want to crash it?

    Nice trolling submission.

  • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:34PM (#44647961)
    My category scale goes to 11
    • by gagol (583737) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:46PM (#44648103)
      That's nothing, on my laptop the volume goes to 255!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Em Adespoton (792954)

      My category scale goes to 11

      64 should be a high enough category for any hurricane.

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        If we use a linear best fit:

        Cat "11" - winds in excess of 439 km/hour. Unless you're Superman, flying is probably not recommended.

        Cat "12+" - the highest wind speeds ever recorded on Earth occur in tornadoes; doppler radar has measured speeds exceeding 500km/hr in the tornado's trunk (speeds at the tornado's base are difficult to measure due to its tendency to destroy the instruments).

        Cat "16" - the highest wind speeds ever recorded on a planetary body clock in at 620 km/hour, in Jupiter's "Little Red Storm

        • by Sabriel (134364)

          replace "speed of sound at Earth's current sea level" with "speed of sound on Earth", sorry.

  • I'm happy with Tesla claiming a 5.4 ... as long as the same scoring is reported for other cars. I haven't heard a peep about what competing vehicles got when scored the same way. Maybe i missed it, but it sure seemed like none of the 'reporters' were willing to even do the mildest amount of investigation to give the public an honest comparison and that's where the real problem is.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @06:30PM (#44648589)

      I'm happy with Tesla claiming a 5.4 ... as long as the same scoring is reported for other cars. I haven't heard a peep about what competing vehicles got when scored the same way. Maybe i missed it, but it sure seemed like none of the 'reporters' were willing to even do the mildest amount of investigation to give the public an honest comparison and that's where the real problem is.

      Apparently, it's capped at 5. However, that doesn't mean a car can't score higher, it's just it's reported as 5.

      The reason for the "5.4" is that they keep the raw scores - they occasionally have to reset all the scores because cars were basically passing the current criteria. So they reset the meanings to make 5 a harder goal still. Of course, since you can't compare a 5 from the past to a 5 today, they reassess all the scores and give them new ratings based on what the current rating system is. So yesterday's 5 might be today's 4.

      They keep raw values because you can't obviously re-test obsolete vehicles, but you still need to be able to compare.

      The other way, of course, is to add further ratings - so 5 stars today is 5 stars tomorrow - you see this with some ranking systems, e.g., Windows Experience Index where the max value is raised (5 in Vista, 7.9 in 7, I don't know what 8 has).

      It's just that today, Tesla's Model S exceeds current safety ratings (they had to "cheat" to get it to roll over because there was no standard test maneuver they could do to roll it over, and I think on the roof crush test, it broke the machine).

      Of course, tomorrow when people make even safer cars, the Model S might score a 4 with the new criteria.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Requiring reporters to do investigations is asking them to do work, which is an insult to the traditions of their profession.

  • Once we start colonizing other planets category 6 may be needed. Until then it's just political pedantry.

    I'm a little confused though.. is this article about Mr. Gore exaggerating climate change to fit his agenda, or is it about the UN dismissing the signs of climate change to fit their agenda? "People and organizations promote their agendas to the exclusion of truth, news at 11. Also, stay tuned for corrections about previous stories."

    It must be another slow news day.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      or is it about the UN dismissing the signs of climate change to fit their agenda?

      I'm sorry, what? The UN doesn't have an agenda that benefits from dismissing "signs of climate change". How can the smaller countries rake the big developed ones over the coals if the coals aren't creating an impending disaster that the big countries need to give the small ones money to solve?

      • Any sentence that begins with "The UN doesn't have an agenda ..." is patently absurd. The UN is a group of countries, both big and small, that have come together to push their agendas. The only way it does anything is through that process.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Any sentence that begins with "The UN doesn't have an agenda ..." is patently absurd.

          Any reader who stops after 6 words in a compound sentence is patently absurd, and anyone who reads what I wrote and comes away with the idea I said that the UN has no agenda is insane or illiterate or both.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hey, now i agree we do need to cut back on pollution, cars are not the problem,

    look up super tankers you know the big boats, that have cargo boxes on them.
    ^they put out more crap then all the worlds cars

    i am annoyed by sound pollution, nobody ever talks about that, its like choppers and rice go faster when loud?

    In one day a volcano could burp, and spit out more toxic gases than from the entire industrial rev. to now, look it up
    i dont have a phd in geology

  • Is this the car where a reporter failed to make a simple journey and Musk published misleading charts which didn't even take account of the wheel diameter, then a big deal was made out of a repeat which was done in substantially different conditions, then when another group of bitter owners tried (again without reproducing original conditions), one car wouldn't charge until it had received a "firmware update"?

    I don't think the internal combustion engine has much to worry about just yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only reason the review showed the car failing is because the reviewer INTENTIONALLY didn't recharge the battery enough for the last leg of the trip (as the on board computer data logs showed quite clearly).

      Take an ICE engine that gets 30 mpg, put one gallon in it, and it'll also not make a 100 mile trip (or whatever the distance was).

      Go figure.

      • 1) Except that that's not the reporter's account, and it's getting pretty boring to hear Tesla+fanboys try sooooo hard to discredit someone simply because he was driving like anyone would normally drive a car and he found out that one car isn't quite suited for driving like that;

        2) Even so, when you're doing an independent test, you rely on independent logging.

  • They're driven by the heat gradient across latitude, and increased temperature overall will reduce that gradient.

  • Open ended doesn't mean there isn't room for another category. Category is based on damage to a home. SO Cat 5 means 'highly likely to destroy a house'.
    also takes out most the windows in a high rise building..

    But what happens when they start making high rises uninhabitable and need to be torn down?
    That would mean they would need to add a category.
    It's science. If new data or events start to happen the science with adjust to fit the data.

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/sshws_table.pdf [noaa.gov]

    • The Enhanced Fujita Scale-- which estimates wind speed on the basis of damage assessments, not on measurements, has an EF-5 category-- steel reinforced concrete structures are critically damaged; high rise buildings sustain severe structural damage. An Ef5 tornado is believed to have winds in excess of 200 mph.

      Hurricane Camille had sustained wind-speeds of up to 190 mph.

      So there might be some usefulness to a sixth category, but it hasn't happened yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Professor Pielke recently testified to congress on these matters, there is no increase in hurricane strength or frequency.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/21/pielke-jrs-follow-up-qa-from-the-senate-epw-committee/#more-92033

    2) Dr. Pielke, do you agree with comments made during the hearing that the weather here in the U.S. has fundamentally changed as is evidenced by an increase in hurricanes, droughts, floods, and tornadoes? Do you agree there is “strong evidence” that extreme weather events in

  • That's two different subjects.

    Editors: is this a news aggregation site, or are we now making new articles here?

    • Yes the aggregated 2 unrelated stories into 1, They are trying to make s smaller footprint so a hurricane will cause less damage . . .
  • I am asking: what is the point?
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @06:26PM (#44648553) Homepage
    How frustrating that the NHTSA caps at 5/5, as if that makes a car perfectly safe. There's ALWAYS room for improvement, and as far as I can tell, Tesla extrapolated the 5.4 score to reflect measurable stats that the NHTSA provided.

    It reminds me of 20 watt CFL light bulbs which have an 'A' rating. At least in the UK, it stops there; you can't get better than an A no matter how well a device performs (11 watt LED bulbs are apparently almost twice as efficient [amazon.co.uk] at 11 watt compared to 20). It's an artificial limitation which limits product innovation and efficiency. If you are going to use letters than at least go from A forwards through the alphabet, or even better, report the actual efficiency as lumens per watt rather than a blind, backwards system which can't imagine that the future could get any better.
    • Just because there are flaws in measurement methodology doesn't mean the solution is to extrapolate the resulting measurement. The correct solution is to revise the way the data is collected and the resulting measure is calculated. You don't somehow extend the flawed measurement to try to recover some meaning that might have been lost. A procedure that is limited in its ability to quantify some property of interest, but is essentially valid within its stated scope, is still preferable to trying to extend

    • by gaspyy (514539)

      Not sure about UK, but elsewhere in Europe home appliances were also rated from G to A initially. Then they had to add A+ and even A++

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      How frustrating that the NHTSA caps at 5/5, as if that makes a car perfectly safe. There's ALWAYS room for improvement, and as far as I can tell, Tesla extrapolated the 5.4 score to reflect measurable stats that the NHTSA provided.

      The NHTSA caps it at 5 because that's the current limit of the measurement.

      You can score above it. In fact, periodically, as cars get safer, the NHTSA re-scales all the ratings. Now, using the raw scores, they can recalculate all the scores for every car they tested - yesterday's

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        Yes, the third idea is obviously best, since manufacturers which aim above a 5* rating won't be needlessly capped.

        It also allows comparison between old cars and new cars. For example, if someone wants to upgrade their old year 2000 car, they can compare the safety in a much more consistent manner.

        Basically, it's much more elegant, and I'm a little in awe why they haven't already made it like that.
  • And a hurricane has more personality than him.
  • I don't know about all of the ones in the summary (and certainly the Al Gore one is absurd), but when it comes to overstated claims, I know this one website that claims to have "News for Nerds; Stuff that Matters".
  • This article neatly sums up my feelings [ucsusa.org] aboutwhy I felt it was important to submit this story to slashdot:

    Politicians and others can be effective communicators of climate science and guide us toward policy action, but they risk creating confusion and eroding public confidence in science when they make misrepresentative statements.

  • ... whether it's Al Gore or Bill O'Reilly, the world prefers to get it's information from clowns. The clown's antics serve the message, if not so much the facts. The throng-de-jure suscribes to the message of its choice and the facts will just have to get in line; afterall, real science is too hard.

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