The Facebook algorithms run amok?

I just had the following comment blocked from FB for violating community standards for hate speech, in reply to a comment that Fox News was blaming renewables for the Texas outages:

And CNN is blaming climate change. It’s no wonder ‘Muricans! are so ignorant.

I’m assuming this was some automatic thing, but if one of you reported it I would appreciate you sending me a note so we can discuss …

I filed an appeal with the following commentary:

It is not clear to me what about this comment constitutes “hate speech.” This reply was in response to a user comment who was attacking a particular news outlet. In context it was a perfectly reasonable political commentary, and the term “ignorant,” meaning per the dictionary “lacking knowledge or awareness in general”.

If the term “ignorant” is automatically considered hate speech in all contexts, I’m astonished, and would be happy to provide you with dozens of academic citations and surveys that show that the American People are woefully uninformed (dare I say “ignorant”) regarding the basic facts of science, engineering, and world events. The primary reason for this lack of knowledge is the entertainment driven “news” media that values dramatic, politically driven conflict and sound bites over content and information.

The term ‘Murican!’ is widely used to refer to Americans in general and the overly nationalistic, jingoistic worldview that permeates Fox News viewership. By pointing out that CNN is guilty of the same thing in reverse, and the juxaposition of the term ‘Murican!’ with CNN viewers, it was designed to trigger the thought that perhaps they aren’t as different as their supporters would like to believe. In this case, combining these two terms seems perfectly reasonable and was not an attack on any individual, but on the media that has placed the American People in the position of “lacking knowledge or awareness in general.”

Soon Hurricane Zeta? (Sun Evening Update)

That’s what NHC is now cautioning … that Zeta will be a hurricane before landfall in Yucatan: Key Messages regarding Tropical Storm Zeta (en Español: Mensajes Claves). The Mexican Government has issued hurricane warnings for Cancun and northern Yucatan. The storm is strengthening, although most of the convection is still displaced south of the center of the vortex itself:

There is a lot of spread in the longer term forecasts for the US landfall, still expected mid-week. It could be anywhere from Lake Charles to Pensacola, with intensity between hurricane force and a weak tropical storm. Hopefully there will be some clarity as things consolidate overnight … will do another big post/analysis in the morning.

For GA/SC – same as this morning, not likely a significant factor in our weather …

Tropical Depression 28

The US National Hurricane Center has started advisories on Tropical Depression 28 (AL282020) as of 5pm today (Saturday). Here are NHC’s Key Messages regarding Tropical Depression Twenty-Eight. It’s starting to get a spiral of clouds on the latest satellite images …

InfraRed on the left (cloud temps), Visual on the right.

The current forecast has it becoming a Tropical Storm (Zeta will be the name) as it approaches Cuba – the government there has raised tropical storm warnings. The forecast tracks are starting to stabilize now that there is a real storm to lock on to, and are for the storm to enter the Gulf then turn north towards where way too many storms have gone this year, the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. Although the forecast calls for TD28(Zeta) to become a hurricane mid-Gulf, the official forecast is for it to be tropical storm strength at landfall on Wednesday. I’ll have impact maps in the morning.

For those in GA/SC, the notes from earlier today still hold – the storm will probably be tracking inland across Georgia before heading out across the mid-Atlantic states as a transitioning extra tropical system. We may or may not be on the fringes with some rain and gusty winds – at worst inconvenient but not dangerous.

TD13 now Tropical Storm Laura

The aircraft investigating TD13 found it has dramatically improved in organization over the last 6 hours or so and NHC has now upgraded it to Laura. Here’s a satellite view …

Six hours ago it was almost not a storm any more?! Click to grow larger.

It is a lot further south than expected, so expect changes in the track, etc. at 11am. For those following on social media, please consider signing up for the blog for alerts when there are new posts (it’s free, although contributions are appreciated, and you can get specific email alerts customized for your location) …

#Atlantic #Storms Friday Morning Update (AL13 and AL14)

It’s a very uncertain situation this morning. The US National Hurricane Center forecasts are filled with “If’s” … Key Messages regarding Tropical Depression Thirteen (en Español: Mensajes Claves) and the forecast discussion for TD14 (no key messages due to the uncertainty). Neither storm is very organized this morning. As noted before, some models just degenerate them (assuming they are even organized at all right now – at 2am TD13 may in fact already be an open wave – and now (9am) the hurricane hunter aircraft found a closed circulation and tropical storm force winds!). The problem facing the NHC forecasters is a tough one. There is potential for either or both storms to spin up into storms – even hurricanes – and they are close to land. This is a classical case of the “forecast of least regret” starting to come in to play, so in both cases they are using the upper end of the guidance for both storms, even though that scenario is increasingly unlikely. Here’s the impact swaths based on the official forecast:

Really? 2020 is just having way too much fun at our expense.

So what do you do? Nicaragua/Hondurase are getting rain, Yucatan Peninsula will also see a lot of rain and maybe tropical storm conditions (from TD14 – but the NHC forecast is pretty generous on the wind). The Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Cuba, and The Bahamas should also be ready for rain and tropical storm conditions, although again more than likely it won’t be that bad.

For the US, it’s still a wait and see game, and check in Saturday Morning to see what’s going on. The situation Monday through next Wednesday is so murky at this point, if your hurricane plans are in place, and Cheeto stash undepleted by the pandemic, that’s about it.

I’m working on a post discussing the potential for interactions between the storms as they enter the Gulf – that should be posted later today, stay tuned!

Evening Update … 20 August 2020

Small track shifts, but the bottom line is not a lot has changed. We have two tropical depressions that have some things going for them, but also some thing going against. TD13 (the one headed towards the Leeward Islands) still isn’t all that organized. While it should be entering a more favorable environment, it may also skirt the big mountains of Hispaniola and not be able to take advantage of that. Likewise, TD14, down by Nicaragua, is closer to land than originally forecast, and so may not have much chance to strengthen before landfall on Yucatan. The Caribbean coast of Mexico and Central America should be ready for heavy rain (and the dangerous flash floods and mudslides they cause). Same for PR and Hispaniola; Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas should be prepping as well. NHC forecasts both to become minimal tropical storms before landfall (or drive-by, in the case of AL13 and the Leeward Islands). As for the US, it’s really hard to say at this point. It will probably be Saturday before there is a clearer picture how strong these storms will be when they get here (or even Sunday for AL14). If the forecasts hold, both storms will be in the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, which will be “interesting” from an interactions standpoint (most likely one will start to tear up the other). Full analysis in the morning …