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Gore's Staff Says He Was Misquoted On Hexametric Hurricanes 216

Posted by timothy
from the what-he-meant-to-say-was dept.
jamie writes "In a story on Thursday, Slashdot and its readers had a little fun at the expense of Al Gore, who was quoted as saying that the hurricane severity scale was going to go to 6. A correction was made the next day. The author of the piece that Slashdot linked now writes 'I retract the balance of my criticism.' Turns out Gore was misquoted. Luckily for Gore, this is the first time he's been ridiculed for something he didn't actually say. Well, except for Love Story, Love Canal, farm chores, and everyone's favorite, inventing the internet. (The original Slashdot story is here and its central link now includes the Washington Post's correction.)" From Ezra Klein's update on his earlier piece: "I'm out-of-town and so away from my tape recorder. So I asked Gore's staff about the line and they have Gore saying: 'The scientists are now adding category six to the hurricane ... some are proposing we add category 6 to the hurricane scale that used to be 1-5.' That doesn't offend my memory of the discussion and it's entirely possible I missed Gore's qualifying sentence while trying to keep up. If so, that's my fault, and I apologize."
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Gore's Staff Says He Was Misquoted On Hexametric Hurricanes

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  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @10:50AM (#44685945) Journal
    Does he really have a tape recorder?
    • Re:does he (Score:5, Funny)

      by edawstwin (242027) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @10:59AM (#44686097)
      He just verified the statement with the NSA.
  • Or to use the terms of a previous generation: "Those statements are no longer operative."

  • by idontgno (624372)
    Wake me when the National Hurricane Center expands the Saffir-Simpson scale [noaa.gov] so that it goes to 11.
  • Two peas in a pod (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaymzter (452402)

    The press nowadays is more a lapdog of the establishment than a watchdog. What about Gore's ridiculous claim that his propaganda film predicted the effects of Hurricane Sandy, or that hurricanes are more extreme now? Klein let those statements pass without a contrary word. Besides, no matter how you spin what he said, it's factually ignorant. There is no top end to a Cat 5 hurricane classification, so no need for a higher rating.

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @11:04AM (#44686163)

      There is no top end to a Cat 5 hurricane classification, so no need for a higher rating.

      This first part of that statement is factually true; the second part is your opinion. If hurricanes start becoming 4x as powerful, the category 5 is still applicable, but less useful. What Gore said was correct: there are scientists considering adding a category 6 to differentiate amongst the strongest of hurricanes.

      • by fche (36607)

        " there are scientists considering "

        A reference to an expert scientist would have been helpful.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @11:25AM (#44686423)

      When you ridiculously claim "What about Gore's ridiculous claim that his propaganda film predicted the effects of Hurricane Sandy", where is your evidence for that?

      "or that hurricanes are more extreme now?"

      Uh, 2-11% increase in the top end. Pretty simple mathematics: hurricanes are powered by the condensation of moisture as it rises above the earth. And the Cassius-Clapeyron formula has been uncontroversial for a century.

      PS when they say there is no top end to a Cat5, that is because they decided not to. They can absolutely decide that there needs to be a Cat 6.

      • by jaymzter (452402)

        When you ridiculously claim "What about Gore's ridiculous claim that his propaganda film predicted the effects of Hurricane Sandy", where is your evidence for that?

        I left my "evidence" out of the OP, but if you're too lazy to look up the interview yourself, here is what Gore said:
        "You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that dem

        • I left my "evidence" out of the OP, but if you're too lazy to look up the interview yourself, here is what Gore said:
          "You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that demagogic and absurd and irresponsible. It happened last October 29th, years ahead of schedule, and the impact of that and many, many other similar events here and around the world has really begun to create a profound shift."
          That's fine and all, but Gore also claimed large swaths of the earth would be underwater by now.

          So you're now giving us a quote. But saying that you don't have a problem with what he said in the quote, but with something else that he said, that you don't quote. So worthless then.

          The trend for major storms since 1851 is negative. See for yourself.

          Three problems there.
          1) You claim the quoted statement is about hurricanes and imply it's only about hurricanes. Without quoting the bit that establishes your claim.
          2) You can't simply link to a table of figures and say there's a trend.
          3) That table doesn't cover the last 10 years.

      • by khallow (566160)

        Uh, 2-11% increase in the top end. Pretty simple mathematics

        You do realize that we can get that sort of increase by chance from the small number of such storms. And what's with that huge uncertainty in the increase of number of storms? With that much range, 0% is pretty darn close.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      So why don't we just remove the top end from Cat 3, and get rid of 4 and 5 entirely. After all with no top end there would be need for higher ratings, right?

    • What about Gore's ridiculous claim that his propaganda film predicted the effects of Hurricane Sandy, or that hurricanes are more extreme now?

      If you want to make accusations about what someone said, you need to start with a direct quote. What have you got? After that we can discuss to what extent what he actually said, is right or wrong.

      At the moment it's just coming across as a hater spewing bile.

  • Shouldn't he be out fighting the forest fires out west spewing carbon dioxide without paying for it?

  • Namely,

    Generally, Gore’s characterization of the links between global warming and hurricane intensity is a bit fast and loose. Whereas Gore tells Klein hurricanes are “stronger now” due to manmade warming, the freshly leaked United Nations climate assessment is much more equivocal. Although the assessment says hurricane activity has become more intense in the Atlantic since 1970, there is “low confidence” of a human contribution.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      According to a leak unfinished reports based on a link that doesn't mention hurricanes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Al Gore authored the legislation that made Darpanet public, which created the internet thus making his comment which was "I practically invented the internet" correct. A lot of people don't remember Darpanet.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:10PM (#44687953) Homepage

      Of course he never said "I practically invented the internet". He said "I took the initiative in creating the Internet", which in a political sense was completely true.

      Sure, he wasn't writing code for the TCP/IP stack, nor does he have a single RFC to his name, but the people who were doing that work have always been very clear that Al Gore was the first and for a while only politician to really understand the value of what they were doing. After the legislation you just mentioned (called the "Gore Bill") was passed, and Gore became VP, he continued to push the Clinton administration to make the Internet more ubiquitous. He also remains the only VP with a photo-op of him putting Cat-5 cabling into a school.

      So yeah, he totally did that.

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        Nicely stated, but we can also refer to an acknowledged expert:

            "He is indeed due some thanks and consideration for his early contributions," said Vint Cerf [wikipedia.org].

        'Nuff said, far as I'm concerned. Snopes [snopes.com] has a nice writeup.

      • by Rakarra (112805)

        Of course he never said "I practically invented the internet". He said "I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

        That's the same damned thing.

        Sure, he wasn't writing code for the TCP/IP stack, nor does he have a single RFC to his name

        And that makes a big difference. He didn't design or implement it. He cannot claim inventor status. Now, I think it would be quite fair to say "I shepherded the Internet from infancy to adulthood." Maybe without his funding it could have been a forgotten experiment. Without his help the Internet may have been delayed for years. But that is a far, far cry from inventing or creating it.

    • by Rakarra (112805)

      Al Gore authored the legislation that made Darpanet public, which created the internet thus making his comment which was "I practically invented the internet" correct

      That's bullshit. The people writing the code, the people doing the design, the project managers, and maybe even the guys laying some cable, those are the people I would say created the Internet.

  • ... nothing more definitive than some journalist saying "that doesn't offend my memory".
  • by squidflakes (905524) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @11:25AM (#44686411) Homepage

    The Saffir-Simpson scale is pretty antiquated for the exact reasons mentioned. Just measuring wind speed gives a very poor idea of how dangerous or destructive a storm will by, and gives no indication of relative size.

    The better scale that the AMS is starting to lean toward is the Hebert-Weinzapfel scale, which has a much easier to spell name as the Hurricane Severity Index, or HSI.

    With the HSI model, the speed of wind and the size of the wind field are taken in to account so a storm that is moderate intensity but very large in footprint, like Katrina, has a similar rating to a hurricane with a high intensity and very small footprint like Andrew. Both were similar in the amount of destruction they caused but Katrina was only SS Cat 3 at landfall, where Andrew was SS Cat 5.

    But hey, lets just make jokes about Al Gore instead, cause Al Gore. Am I right here people?

    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      Both were similar in the amount of destruction they caused but Katrina was only SS Cat 3 at landfall, where Andrew was SS Cat 5.

      Hurricane Ike produced a similar situation a few years ago. It hit Texas as a very large Category 2, causing far more damage than one would expect from the wind speed.

      • Yep, I rode that storm out in Houston. It was a Cat 2 but HSI 45 while in the Gulf and low 30s at landfall. Katrina was mid-30s at landfall. Most of those points were, of course, for size.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      But hey, lets just make jokes about Al Gore instead, cause Al Gore. Am I right here people?

      That never happens.

      I wonder how history will judge this generation of leaders.

  • My hurricane scale goes up to 11!
  • Next you'll be telling me that "manbearpig" wasn't really his cause. Yeesh.

  • by Psion (2244) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @11:40AM (#44686629)
    Al Gore also claimed the temperature of the core of the Earth is "millions of degrees" on Conan O'Brien. [youtube.com] Unfortunately, that one went out on national television, so no one on his staff can make the claim that he'd been misquoted.
    • by shokk (187512)

      Gore is trying to be the next Tesla. Excuse me while I use by Gorebook Pro to get on the Gorenet and buy some more of these Gore carbon credits to power up my house before Hurricane Albert hits us at category 28.25.

      Using Category for hurricanes is as useless that fucking red-orange-yellow-green terror alert from the early-to-mid 00s. Why don't we recognize that having a category 2 to cover range of 3 mph is patently ridiculous.
      Just measure the hurricane by how fast the winds are! 250 mph winds? That sounds

  • Gah (Score:2, Interesting)

    Hmm, maybe if you are constantly having to engage in a lawlerly defense of your claims, then the problem might not lie outside of yourself ...
    • In the case of someone who is repeatedly attacked for things he didn't actually say, by idiots with an agenda, it sometimes does. Al Gore isn't a scientist, he isn't always right, but there's a whole cadre of people who feel the need to make things up in order to justify their points.

  • Thank God we have a person like Al Gore among us. His efforts to confront the problem of global warming may enable the saving of many lives. This is a man we desperately needed as president who was cheated by the corrupt slime of the right wing. And mentioning hurricanes has public value as well. Wind speed alone does not inform the people at risk to the degree they need to be informed. We also need some sort of local tag that can inform people as to other dangers from a particular storm. For exam

  • by Fubari (196373) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:06PM (#44687903)
    Gore seems better than most politicians to me; he is smarter than the average, or at least more well read than average. In the popular media it seems a bit like the nerdy kid that everyone enjoys picking on back in school

    As for the hurricanes: consider this 2006 article from abcnews: Category 6 Hurricanes? They've Happened [go.com]
    Excerpt:

    In fact, say scientists, there have already been hurricanes strong enough to qualify as Category 6s. They'd define those as having sustained winds over 175 or 180 mph. A couple told me they'd measured close to 200 mph on a few occasions.

  • I must be missing something here. The Washington Post originally claimed Al Gore said, "The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6." A correction was issues that claims he actually said, "The scientists are now adding category six to the hurricane....some are proposing we add category 6 to the hurricane scale that used to be 1-5." OK, but so what? Don't both statements essentially mean the same thing, even if the quote wasn't correct? Even worse, aren't both still false, as Chris Va

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jeff4747 (256583) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @03:46PM (#44689735)

      You're trying very, very hard to be confused.

      The original quote said they were adding a 6. Full stop. 6 is coming. There's no debate.

      The amended quote says some scientists are proposing to add a 6. There is a debate over whether or not to do so.

      If you can't see the difference between those two concepts, you are deliberately trying to be confused.

      Further, your third quote only refutes the first - It is only relevant if Gore says they are absolutely adding a 6. But he didn't.

  • ... and there's already enough discussion of 11 . . .
  • I smell bullshit.

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