Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lucky we live Maui

Since I live in Maui, where weather forecasts have only slight utility and I don't often look at them, I was unaware until today (hat tip: Little Green Footballs) that there are malicious weather sites that, apparently, bamboozle and frighten the bejabbers out of millions of people.

Why? The story does not really explain why, although the subject running the hoaxes seems to share a number of characteristics with sovereign citizen and Tea Party types.

Nut graf:

 False weather forecasts do real harm to the public as they degrade trust in trained meteorologists who produce valid, accurate forecasts. When the public sees a hoax about a major hurricane or catastrophic blizzard that doesn't exist, the vast majority of readers don't think to corroborate it with other sources and check the validity of the article in question. They take the hoax for face value, blame real meteorologists when it doesn't pan out, and their trust in scientific forecasts drops. Kevin Martin is at the forefront of the hoaxer movement, and his actions are single-handedly responsible for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people receiving false weather information on numerous occasions.
What, people read nonsense on the Internet and swallow it whole? Say it ain't so! (Although, if you recast that paragraph from meteorology to climatology and make the false claim the one that we are having more and bigger storms, then the heartfelt plea on behalf of scientific integrity loses its oomph.)

Well, there are lots of crazy people out there, and while RtO most often points at the rightwing ones, it is well to remember that there are other, even crazier kooks out there.

I was reminded of that yesterday when I went to the post office to mail a box of rocks (no, really). As I left, a respectably dressed man about my age held the door for me, announcing a "free doorman service." He seemed a little unclear on the concept: I could have used a doorman as I walked in with the rocks but didn't need it going out emptyhanded. But the reason became apparent.

He was one of a small group of protesters? activists? patriots? something or other? offering to recruit me to a mighty movement to forestall the coming war between America and the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, China, India). I hadn't even heard we were going to war.

A label on his placard explained all (well, much): Are they still a thing? Apparently they are.

"I think you're crazy," I told him, and, pointing to the label, "and I know he is."

"You're crazy," he said.

It was a standoff.

As I drove off, I saw his compadre's sidewalk display, with posters indicating that Obama is another Bush (and I thought Jeb was the other one) but offering hope if America would turn to the 3-point program of LaRouche. The first two points escape me, but the third was "nuclear fusion."

Is that still a thing?

It's difficult to label the LaRouche movement. It is fascist in its embrace of the fuhrerprinzip, but unlike conventional fascists not in Catholicism or monarchicalism. So it is not left, but I would not call it rightist either.

But for sure crazy.


  1. malicious weather sites that, apparently, bamboozle and frighten the bejabbers out of millions of people ...

    Millions? Really?

    I rather suspect you have destroyed another hat.

  2. This particular one is based in So. Cal. and apparently some of his statements have been amplified by major information sources. You would only have to penetrate 4% of So. Cal. to get to millions, so, yeah, millions.

  3. You would only have to penetrate 4% of So. Cal. to get to millions, so, yeah, millions.

    You really should produce some evidence that any website in the universe gets millions of people from Southern California.

    None forthcoming? Much as I suspected.

    Another hat blown out.