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NOAA Adopts New Net Policy 204

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has adopted a new policy which applies to provision of all National Weather Service environmental information, including forecasts, warnings, and observations. In June, /. reported that NOAA was taking comments on the proposed policy. Hundreds of Slashdotters responded. And it made a difference: NOAA will make its data and products available in internet-accessible, vendor-neutral form and will use other dissemination technologies, e.g. satellite broadcast, NOAA Weather Radio, and wireless, as appropriate. Congrats to the Slash community for making a difference and helping to set US Govt policy.
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NOAA Adopts New Net Policy

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  • free weatherbug? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:51AM (#10971763) Homepage
    Does this mean someone could write a free version of weatherbug that doesn't include the annoying spyware and registration? That'd be nice.
    • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:55AM (#10971782)
      Just get yourself the WeatherFox extension for Mozilla Firefox to use instead. That way not only is the code of it free (as in beer and freedom), but also the updates come from the Weather Channel and not the Weather Channel rejects that end up working for WeatherBug.
      • actually... (Score:3, Informative)

        It's called ForecastFox now because of trademark issues with The Weather Channel. You may download it at
        • I don't know how you can trademark "weather". The combination of "weather" + "firefox" is brain dead obvious. The scum sucking lawyers should have been told to piss off -- I doubt they'd have a case.
        • One word for those guys: generic.
          • AFAIK the weatherfox developers aren't doing any trading so no one can have a trademark dispute with them.
          • There are no trademarks for `weatherfox' in the US or EU.
          • `Weather' is only registered in the field of "Cosmetics; hair care preparations; non-medicated skin care preparations" which last time I checked didn't cover software.
          • Even if it was registered `weather' might just be a generic term in the field of weather forecasting.
      • Just get yourself the WeatherFox extension for Mozilla Firefox to use instead. That way not only is the code of it free (as in beer and freedom), but also the updates come from the Weather Channel and not the Weather Channel rejects that end up working for WeatherBug.

        Here's a link: []

      • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:2, Informative)

        by wworf ( 217597 )
        If you're using windows, I'd suggest using Weather Corner Alert []. It's unobtrusive and accesses METAR data from NOAA. Why would you want something that accesses a commercial (though free) source if the whole purpose of this story was to gain more free access to public data?
      • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:5, Informative)

        by randyjparker ( 543614 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:17PM (#10975032) Homepage
        I just corresponded with Jon, the developer of ForecastFox. I work as a contractor at The Weather Channel, and was surprised that they had objected to the name 'WeatherFox'. Jon explained that it was the owner of the domain name that objected, not TWC.

        TWC is actually a huge supporter of open source software, to the point of providing full time employment for a FreeBSD kernel developer. We've directly funded some other open source projects too, and try to give back in lots of ways.

        • Excellent news. This means that it is very unlikely that 'The Weather Channel' would attempt to control access to the data that forecastfox uses.

          Of course, there is no guarantee that it won't happen in the future.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:01AM (#10971810)
      Sure, I'll write one but it'll use Clippy. "You seem to be getting hit by a PYA hurricane."
    • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward r.asp [] Weather Watcher is far better. Try it - it's fantastic. No ads, no nagging. The author accepts donations.
    • What do you mean could? wm[w|W]eather [] has been around in various incarnations for 5 years.
    • You mean like gweather [], which has been part of GNOME for what 5 years now?
    • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mrgreenfur ( 685860 )
      There's already several. Here's one for firefox: []
    • #!/usr/bin/expect

      spawn telnet
      expect "Press Return to continue:"
      send "\n"
      send "bdr\n" # replace with your own 3-letter city code
      expect "Press Return to continue"
      send_user "\n"
      • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dcigary ( 221160 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:06AM (#10972769) Homepage
        Dude! That's awesome! Just another reason why I love The Weather Underground! I looked high and low for a simple weather page with a radar image that I could display on my Treo 600, and I found it [].
        • How about this one []? You can use the "public API" URL template:

<ZIP>&si ze =0

          or the URL rewritten by the server to include local city names at image coordinates:

 r= <GMT>&cell=<MAP-CELL>&dir=1&size=0&citycount=3&cit y3=New%20Haven&x3=220&y3=117&city2=Hartford&x2=237 &y2=38&city1=Bridgeport&x1=202&y1= 129

          The smallest image is 300x400pxls, but t
    • I solve my weather needs in another way. Pick a webpage with the N-day forecast for my city (not living in USA, so must support international weather), with a script download it once a hour or so, trim the downloaded page to have just the weather report (with very simple regex) and include the resulting html snippet in my browser homepage (where also have the most current visited sites, interfaces with search engines and so on).

      Is very browser/os independant, works even if im not at home/my computer and s

    • Dude - I've written something like that already.

      I was approached a while ago about building a small module for a website to pull in temperature and humidity (factors which affect concrete drying times, apparently). My geek nature kicked in and I hunted down a means for obtaining all the weather info without having to rip off a or similar site.

      I was able to FTP to NOAA servers for free/anonymous, download the most recent file (once an hour is all I bothered with), and parse it into a database.
    • Tab 1 [] + Tab 2 []

      There's my weatherbug. Honestly, what does weatherbug have to offer that a simple bookmark in mozilla doesn't, besides another potential problem for your computer?
    • Try Weather Watcher, found at

      no spyware, no popups, no ads, no cost. Just desktop weather.
  • Good stuff! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Joel from Sydney ( 828208 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:52AM (#10971768)
    It's good to see a Government agency actually doing something proactive with technology! Props all round.
    • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:13AM (#10971869)
      This is scary stuff. If the terrorists got their hands on weather reports in the USA there is no telling what trouble they could stir up. I imagine this kind of thing should remain secret and proprietary.
      • This is scary stuff. If the terrorists got their hands on weather reports in the USA there is no telling what trouble they could stir up. I imagine this kind of thing should remain secret and proprietary.

        Does anyone else remember Cobra's Weather Machine? I blame the resurgence of Cobra for the four hurricanes that smacked Florida this summer. Crazy environmentalists are paying him and he's using our new culture of fear to make a name for himself again.

        ... unless Cobra is actually a woman.

    • No kidding...hell must have frozen over. It seems rare anymore that the government actually does something cool AND does not have it cater entirely to Big Business (with Dubya in office, no less) for use to their own ends. It seems as though the weather industry must not have a whole lot of money to "donate" to (*cough*buyout*cough) our polititians. Does anyone know if this is true or not?
  • The system works!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:54AM (#10971775) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot even got an honorable mention [] in the NOAA writeup (third paragraph)!

    I'm happy because my concerns were addressed. I was afraid that the proposed policy was going to give commercial interests the ability to reqeust the NOAA discontinue a service without review, meaning that if didn't like the ability of the NWS to issue point forecasts they could behind-the-scenes ask for it to be ended. The modified policy now states they will "Establish... orderly processes for seeking input and suggestions to create, modify, or discontinue products and services".

    It's a cool feeling to be a part of a process that actually seems to have worked to our advantage for a change.

    • by Forbman ( 794277 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:15AM (#10971882)
      At least will let you see the fleshed-out NWS scientist commentaries on the weather forecasts, along the lines of "two of the models predict X, but Model A predicts not X, and it seems to be more accurate this time of year, so I'm going with the Model A.", etc.

      The NWS/Accu-Trak/TWC reports are what the weather puppets on TV/Radio read anyways. Not too many actually bother trying to interpret things on their own anymore. Tom Skilling @ WGN comes to mind.

      If you remember in the old days, this was probably the most awesome weather information site available (also had, etc.). Well, the atmospheric sciences people I think got tired of hosting these public wx sites ($$$), and they went non-public in the DotCom days, but now it's in a commercial form of's stuff just sucks.

      • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:50AM (#10972006) Homepage Journal
        You can find this stuff pretty easily from NOAA if you take a look around. I'm a broadcaster, and I look at these every day when I'm preparing my forecasts. We get prepared weather from a commercial provider, but I find it to be severely lacking, because the community my station serves has weather that can be quite different, depending upon where you are. During the winter, you can go from just rain to a foot of snow within 40 miles.

        Here's the site [] I visit every day. Take a look at things like the "Area Forecast Discussions." While they're a bit cryptic to read, they give you a better picture than the limited local forecast.
        • by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @04:49AM (#10972358) Homepage
          Yup, I can vouch for that. While I am not a broadcaster, I am a hardcore weather nerd. I visit the local [] forecast discussion daily. It offers the details that you simply cannot get anywhere else. During the spring/early summer months, the forecast discussion pages offer a *gold mine* of information on where the severe weather will be. Depending on how closely the models agree with eachother, I can usually get enough advance notice to make an eight hour drive to see some action.
          • Yep - the discussions are great - I also check the Forcast Systems Labs Mesonet data (I also run a station that submits to the mesonet). Run a station, get your skywarn training, and you might be surprised (well YOU won't be, but some reading this will be) you may even get to know the forcasters at your local NWS office. Then when things get strange, you might even get a phone call, or call them. I've had them call me and ask for some local conditions
        • Are you in Buffalo, by chance? :)

          NOAA data is excellent, I'll agree with that... Only having pulled tons of it for nationwide map display, and of course I'd love to just have a nice GIS layer of every piece, but what's there is sweet enough.
      • Well I guess in markets without remarkable weather you might have airheads reading reports, but in "lake effect" Cleveland almost all of the channels (except FOX) have a couple actual meteorologists on staff for the weather department. Weather here is fleeting but often brutal, as the saying goes "if you don't like the weather, wait around it's sure to change". Personally I've used for about a decade. Recently they added a cool feature which got me to pay for daytime radar, they now
        • It's often fairly easy to distinguish the airheads from meteorologists on the news.

          On a day when severe weather is expected, watch closely. If the weatherperson is clearly excited but trying not to sound too excited (since people hit by the storms might take offense), you're watching a meteorologist or at least a genuine weather geek. Otherwise, they'e likely just reading a report without understanding what it really means.

          Bonus points if they use appropriate modes of the nexrad to point out storm featu

      • Holy cow, Skilling was (is?) awesome. Back in our college days we'd try to catch the evening forecast every night. They gave (still give?) him like 15 minutes to talk about the weather in detail. I learned way more from him in a few nights about weather than listening to the useless talking heads on any other station for years.

        We were (are?) such geeks.
    • Heh, it says even though it takes you to the same site as .org.
  • by TimmyDee ( 713324 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:55AM (#10971781) Homepage Journal
    This just goes to show that not all hope is lost in participatory government. I know I get frustrated at times with how much clout corporations have in government operations, but every now and again I get a little glimmer of hope.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe all the "But I'm helpless..." posters should print this story out, and put it on their wall.
    • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:42AM (#10971986)
      Ironically, the bureaucracy apparently listens better than actual elected officials!
      • Which only makes sense. Elected officials are looking where the real money is coming from. And it sure as heck is not from us the taxpayers. Well not direct anyways.
      • Thats common many places. The bureaucracy tends to have strict rules about how to handle consultations and how to handle questions and comments exactly because they are not elected and so their only way of ensuring there are no questions about the legitimacy of their actions is to hide it, follow orders from elected officials, or keep everything scrupulously to established procedures and document every step. Elected officials on the other hand can usually play the "I was elected, so I represent the will of
    • This should also remind people that there is a helluva lot more to participatory government than voting once every four years. Democracy should be about people participating in the decision making process, not simply rubber stamping decisions made by the elites.

      In a lot of ways, Democracy is what we all make of it. Which, when you look at the state of it in much of the West, is actually pretty sad.

  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl@e x c> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:59AM (#10971802) Journal

    Least they listen every once in a while. Still, it's good to see that at least ONE agency remembers that the people are supposed to run the government, not the other way around.

    • at least ONE agency remembers that the people are supposed to run the government

      Agreed. Or, at the very least, they realize that when it comes to the weather, information literally saves lives. Remember, the guys at NOAA are largely scientists out for one cause: protecting life and property. It's no accident that NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce...

      In any case, this is a prety major victory worthy of celebration!
    • It's still government that holds the keys. The people may influence government, but by the very definition of government (*), the people and the government are two very distinct groups.

      (*) Government is the organization which holds the unique right to initiate force as a means to an end; anyone else who does so is a criminal. That is the only absolute, universal way to define government.

      So no, the people cannot logically "run" the government. At best, they can influence government's decisions on where, wh
      • The Founding Fathers, by the definition of the laws at the time, were criminals. Breaking the law does not necessarily mean that what you are doing is ethically wrong, especially if the law is oppressive. What most governments who decide that they can ignore the people find is that the people, once sufficiently pissed off, can quite well apply force right back, whether it's legal or not.

        • Breaking the law does not necessarily mean that what you are doing is ethically wrong, especially if the law is oppressive

          I'd be the first to agree with that. Morality and law are completely seperate and distinct concepts which rarely intersect. The only unambiguous, consistent, and universal way to define morality is in terms of human interaction between two or more parties, by the principle of non-aggression.

  • Hundreds (Score:2, Interesting)

    'Hundreds' is right! I searched their "comment" pdf for slashdot and had to tell it to stop at around 500 and I'm sure it would have kept going for quite some time.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:00AM (#10971808)
    So, since "Hundreds of Slashdotters responded..." and NOAA both kept functioning and was able listen to the comments, would it be safe to say that they weathered the storm?
  • I'm posting this for my brother who works out at the NOAA as an advanced research analyst.

    --- Begin ---

    Hi there Slashdot, yes, I'm a total weather freak and as such I was really glad to help serve you guys and field your comments, questions, and complaints.

    What really hit home for me was how passionate many of you are for our services and that they be delivered in an open, fair medium. As technology advances, some of us tend to go for the first choice, and Microsoft, Oracle, and other closed-source larg
    • by swiftstream ( 782211 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @04:45AM (#10972347)
      Before anybody accepts this immediately as true, I'd just like to point out that this guy has posted lots of things about his personal achievements and his accomplishments, so much that you have to be a bit skeptical. Besides being the brother of an NOAA analyst, he claims all of the following... (taken from 59811 [])

      Ken Jennings was my roommate freshman year at Brigham Young University

      I worked for NASA for 8 years straight out of MIT undergrad.

      I'm an editor for Tom's Hardware Guide

      I worked for a particular company that denied another company a lucrative contract just because that company's CTO had bullied my company's CEO when he was in high school

      I have TWO friends who work at Bungie

      I work on LAMP software and deploy to customer's websites.

      I obtained a preview release [of GIMP 2.0]

      Forgive me for being skeptical, but I have trouble believing all that. A child of the post pointed to above says that the parent poster is a known troll, and a check of his recent comments shows many rated troll.

      So perhaps this shouldn't be 5, Interesting?
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:04AM (#10971831)
    all the hot air in DC?
    Can we get some action on that?
  • See? (Score:5, Funny)

    by HoneyBunchesOfGoats ( 619017 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:07AM (#10971848)
    Not every *AA is evil!
  • by Forbman ( 794277 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:07AM (#10971849)
    this lasts.

    All it will take is someone from TWC or some of the other commercial repackagers of NWS information who happens to have been a good RNC/TeamW contributor to put a whisper in Karl Rove's ear that NOAA is out of line here, that those commie freeniks should have to pay for the information, and it will then fall under some blanket of the US PATRIOT Act, National Security, DMCA, etc., so that their handle on the data from NOAA/NWS is impenetrable for the untermenschen (ie., the rest of us).
    • Exactly so.

      Someone here at /. should start a pool on
      just how long NOAA will hold this position.
      In today's political climate, it is not
      very difficult to imagine that all that
      taxpayer-funded weather forcasting (and
      research) will wind up being commercialized,
      and "public" data being held hostage to
      secrecy and the DMCA (under the guise of
      "national security"). As if anyone with
      a barometer, a wet bulb, and a window
      wouldn't eventually figure out the weather.
    • Wasn't it TWC that paid for the DRI Radeon8500 drivers? I think your tinfoil hat is too tight.
  • NOAA & EAS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:08AM (#10971852)
    It can never be emphasized enough how utterly valuable a SAME [] equipped weather radio can be. They do not just allow you to get up to the minute weather reports, but they also act as your first warning of any kind of serious emergency in your area.

    Warning sirens are only intended to notify people outdoors, and TVs and radios are only useful if you are awake, the unit is on and you are within earshot and paying attention at the time.

    When NOAA or an emergency management agency (NOAA allows them to utilize the system without running the transmissions by them first) sends out a warning message, it is proceeded by what sounds like intermittent static. In fact, the system is sending out a burst of number sequences that are decoded by SAME equipped radios that compare the number sequence to that which the user has previously entered. If they do not match, the radio ignores the message, if they do match however, a generally ear-piercing alarm sounds while the radio interprets the alert code and displays the corresponding text message before the computer voice announcement (or real person if the situation warrants it) from the NOAA station begins to broadcast. The process takes about 10 seconds (this is to give you a chance to get closer to the radio before the voice warning begins).

    Here is a complete list of all of the emergency codes []

    They are not as cheap as a clock radio, but they are worth every penny. I'm still astonished when I come across people who live in tornado-prone areas who don't buy them despite their financial ability to do so and their fear of dangerous weather.
    • I completely agree. Even if you don't live in a tornado-prone area, tornadoes can strike with little or no warning. In fact, I was a small child when the somewhat-famous Manitou Springs tornado [] hit. Manitou is a MOUNTAIN resort town, so naturally tornadoes are rare, so say the least...

      Luckily noone died in that tornado, but imagine my fright as a small child running inside not knowing what that thing roaring up the road was... On the plus side, I have become a hardcore weather nerd as a result, even a s
    • I live in a tornado-prone area, but the trailer park a block away from where I live already has been wiped off the map. No more trailer park, no more tornadoes...
  • NOAA!

    You talkin' to me?

    It's Slashdot, NOAA.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight! Who is this. . .really?

    • NOAA! I want you to make a first post that includes Natalie Portman!

      Riiiight . . . What's a first post?

      Never mind, NOAA. I want you to go out into the world and collect a cluster of beowulfs, and load them up two by two.

      Riiiight . . . am I on JenniCam? How come you want me to do all these weird things?

      I'm going to destroy the world.

      Riiiight . . . how you gonna do it?

      I'm going to post the URL on the front page of Slashdot, and crap-flood 'em all right out.

      Riiiight . . .

  • Now.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doormat ( 63648 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:20AM (#10971900) Homepage Journal
    If we could only get that kind of voice on the issues of copyright and patents!!
  • The big problem with NOAA is getting the data out the door. Even their NWS field offices only get a small piece of what's available, and they have very tight bandwidth limitations. For example, it would be great to get all of the GFS ensemble member grids in real time, but they're largely unavailable; and it's really a small ensemble compared to what the future (should) hold.
    • YUP! I would take this opportunity encourage everyone to sign up with your local NWS [] office as a spotter. All it takes is usually a rain gauge, a phone, and a few training classes. And let me assure you, your calls are invaluable to the people at the field offices!

      Every time I call in, no matter how minor the event, they are always appreciative. The greater the density of people who call in, the more accurate the forecast, and the more warning time in a severe weather event.
  • by tweedlebait ( 560901 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:00AM (#10972026)
    We should write them some nice 'thank you' letters!

    I missed this story and acting on it, but if someone with some political savvy could direct myself and others to the people who listened (and those who didn't) to ./'ers input and made decisions with our ideas in mind it would be great!

  • *AA (Score:2, Funny)

    by tangent3 ( 449222 )
    First thing that came to my mind seeing the NOAA acronym....

    Say "NO!" to *AA!
  • "NOAA will make its data and products available in internet-accessible, vendor-neutral form and will use other dissemination technologies, e.g. satellite broadcast, NOAA Weather Radio, and wireless, as appropriate"
    Has been internet accessible for years [], and if you crawl around enough you can find where they put the raw data feeds and make an app that reads them (seem to be the same ones that go to the automated 'voices' that broadcast NOAA Weather Radio, yes, the Weather Radio network
  • by lpangelrob2 ( 721920 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:25AM (#10972114) Journal
    In addition to having written a weather warning widget [] with the information they provide, I've noticed that their system usually takes beatings nicely whenever widespread severe weather occurs. Based on the interactions I've had with the website in creating the widget, their backend consists of the PHP/MySQL duo... they also run Apache 2 and Red Hat according to Netcraft []. Their warnings are in both RSS and XML feeds. So it's been nice working with what they've been willing to provide, especially when you consider the large audience they serve.
  • by eean ( 177028 ) < minus threevowels> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:35AM (#10972157) Homepage
    It is true that a lot of power in Democracy (and probably other forms as well) is given to those that show up. It looks like Slashdot did. But before we pat ourselves on the back, I found an interesting comment when I was scanning the FairweartherComments3.pdf, page 332, it was from the Director of Sales-Media of Accuweather Inc who was also in support of rejecting the changes, citing that it would break a 60 year understanding on the line between what work was done by the private and publich sector.
    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:59AM (#10973517) Homepage
      an interesting comment when I was scanning the FairweartherComments3.pdf, page 332, it was from the Director of Sales-Media of Accuweather Inc

      Actually that comment is almost difficult to miss, considering that it appears no less than SIXTY FOUR TIMES! Accuweather engaged in a spam campaign.

      They apparently gave their employees a form letter to send in. The form letter appears to have been minorly revised from the initial comment to the final round of submissions, but the letter remains essentially intact. Virtually all sumbmitted the form letter intact, I think only one or two submitters bothered to add on a personal note. A number of them even comically wound up copy/pasting it with ">" at the beginning of each line, as email commonly does when quoting. Chuckle.

      It first appears in comment 227. It then appears as comments: 1120 1211 1213 1215 1217 1219 1220 1223 1224 1225 1226 1227 1229 1230 1231 1232 1235 1236 1237 1286 1307 1322 1334 1336 1339 1340 1341 1344 1346 1347 1348 1349 1352 1353 1355 1361 1367 1368 1369 1371 1372 1373 1390 1399 1401 1403 1409 1411 1411 1412 1414 1417 1420 1422 1428 1451 1454 1455 1458 1459 1464 1565 1469.

      Most of them are officially signes with an "AccuWeather employee" tag, but undoubtedly every single one derives for AccuWeather.

      As far as I can see their only arguments are
      (1) they want the old policy to remain
      (which isn't really a reason to retain the old policy)
      (2) The new policy will "disadvantage the American public" because "It can negatively impact job growth and corporate stability".

      I would say "job growth" is a bad thing and harmful to the economy when it is accomplished through supression of information and duplication of work.

      Nor is "corporate stability" itself a valid goal. Business live and die on actually satisying unmet the needs of the public. You do not artifically create or maintain an "unmet need" restricting existing publicly funded information. If Accuweather wants the government out of the "weather business", then fine, they should be denied any government funded, government created, or gorventment gathered information as well. Let AccuWeather launch their own satallites and operate countless ground stations themselves.

      The increased availablility of information information increases the opportunities for new businesses to crop up and utilize that information and to add value to that information. Corporate instability is a good thing, survival of the fittest constantly struggling to actually fulfill NEEDED work, rather than surpression to artificially create a need.

  • As a weather nerd... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @04:41AM (#10972337) Homepage
    ... I would like to say.. YES! This is not only a victory for us weather nerds but for the entire population of the U.S. After all, it's all about the warning time! Imagine, all the media outlets having to pay a licensing fee to Accuweather for issuing a tornado warning... OK, I know that's pushing it but the basic point remains the same. It's our information and it should stay that way!

    Also, as a trained weather spotter, I have been in contact with my local weather service office (KPUB) about this issue and they completely agree that the information be as accessible as possible.

    Chalk one up for us!
  • Thank you NOAA (Score:3, Informative)

    by ttys00 ( 235472 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:41AM (#10972541)
    I'm an Aussie who uses the free NOAA weather data services extensively in my travels around the globe. I don't pay for this service, nor fund it with my tax dollars, but I can still access it for free and without restriction.

    Thank you NOAA, for making the right decision for everyone on the internet, not just those that fund you.
  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:20AM (#10972819)
    To whomever identified this point, whether it was a commenter or NOAA staff member:

    "Mission connection: NOAA's information services will support the NOAA mission. As a government agency, NOAA recognizes its core responsibility to protect life and property."

    The responsibility to protect life and property trumps all other concerns. Providing for the security of citizens is the primary responsibility of government. Supplying the data only to commercial entities would be improper delegation of that responsibility.
  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:40AM (#10972888) Journal
    There were a total of 1473 comments, of those 490 were submitted by Slashdoters, according to the linked-from URL. This is 33.26%, which on the surface seems like a significant impact, but when you look a little closer you'll see that the #s are not quite as impressive as they seem. Here's the breakdown

    63 - In Soviet Russia the weather updates you.
    19 - Notices that this service is already provided by
    3 - Requests to add a feature that notifies you anytime Natalie Portman comes within 50 meters of hot grits.
    16 - Pondering what a beowulf cluster of these might be like.
    48 - Blasting the NOAA because Microsoft is secretly behind bad weather.
    27 - Claimed the request was a dupe and cited existing services provided by the NOAA.
    16 - Only old Koreans use the weather.
    19 - Claims that "1 0wnz d4 w34th3r cuz 1m s0 133t"
    193 - Users suggesting the NOAA needs to rely on perl, python, BSD, Linux, MySQL, PHP, emacs, vi, haskell, or ruby for all future development efforts.
    1 - Comment suggesting the weather should be properly called GNU/Weather (thanks RMS!)
    11 - Requested a change for notices about clear sunny days. The new notice will read, "Nothing to see here. Move along."
    13 - Requesting that the raw weather data and weather forcasting software be sent as part of an ebuild that they could emerge and compile the report anytime they wanted, because they've got their Gentoo system totally tweaked out for this type of application.
    27 - Asked for help getting WeatherBug to work correctly on Linux w/ Wine.
    9 - Posts about how Netcraft had confirmed it, weather is dead.
    1 - Comment with made up statistics about how important changing was.
    1 - Comment with made up statistics about how important not changing was.
    32 - EA employees asked for pictures, b/c they've never seen the light of day, a blue sky or snow lit by daylight.
    1 - Comment that read...

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Thanks, this is a great idea. Go for it. You guys rock. I've only been here a few days now, but I'm glad I could give my 2 cents, check out my blog (excluded). Also, I was thinking about going into programming because I took a class on C++, and I wrote a program that would randomly guess the weather, but since you're going to do this maybe I need to consider not studying IT in college... any suggestions?

    Josh Milsken
    Sophmore, Wuleska High School
    Topeka, KS

    P.S. - My birthday is next week... gonna be 15... gonna get my learners permit. Woohoo!

    Quite an impact.

  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:13AM (#10972990) Journal
    Be sure to attend The FTC workshop on P2P networks [] If you read the adgenda, you would think FTC is trying to convince people that P2P is a threat to consumers. It would make sense to use a spurious issue that pushes congressional hot buttons if you wanted to slap restrictive laws on P2P since protecting copyrights doesn't get out the votes.
    Oh, yeah the weather. I bike to work in new england: a very detailed forcast is critical to my saftey so this little victory is a serious win from my perspective. I already paid taxes for this damned if I'll pay twice for it.
  • Get, Weather Watcher [].

    No ads, no spyware, just works, and works well.
  • For a couple decades now NOAA has been on the conservative's hit list for abolition. One reason is because much of its research is into the environement. Another reason is that some small governement people believe that the government should outsource most, if not all research to universities, think tanks and companies.
    I live near the the Boulder UCAR/NCAR/NOAA centers. Every year in recent years their proposed fudning gets whacked 25-50%, only to be restored last minute. But the restoration may not c
  • Has anyone else had problems with NOAA's graphics causing their computer to lock up? It does this on several of mine. I don't get a BSD, or anything that will give me a clue what the problem is. It just locks up.
  • Thanks NOAA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fbg111 ( 529550 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:21PM (#10977048)
    Congrats to the Slash community for making a difference and helping to set US Govt policy.

    And thanks to NOAA for being receptive to non-corporate opinions.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.