Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga: a Book Review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:46 PM GMT on November 21, 2012

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With a name like "Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga", a book with a title like that compels one to pick it up and see what the heck the author is talking about. And Joe Romm's new book on how to communicate doesn't disappoint--it's a thoughtful and compelling look at the techniques used by some of history's great communicators to help persuade. Joe Romm is author of the climateprogress.org blog, the most visited climate change blog on the Internet, and the main blog that I use to stay current on climate change and energy news. Romm defines Language Intelligence as "the ability to convince people of something both intellectually and emotionally, at both a conscious and unconscious level." He goes on to say, "If facts were sufficient to persuade people, then experts in science would rule the world. But facts are not, and scientists do not. We filter out all the facts that do not match our views." At the heart of great communication lies great story telling, and Romm give us these tips on how to tell a story people will want to read:

- Write a great headline: Newspaper readers read 56% of the headlines, but only 13% of the stories are at least half-read. Headlines are even more important on-line, since they are what show up on Google searches and tweets. An example of one the most re-tweeted headlines Romm used in 2011: "Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1" (Romm uses a pun and personification to help create an eye-catching headline.)

- Short words are the best words.

- Slogans sell.

- If you don't repeat, you can't compete. Repetition and rhyming help people remember your message.

- The golden rule of speech-making is: "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em; tell 'em; then tell 'em what you told 'em."

- Repeated distortions and smears are as effective as repeated truths, so beware of these sorts of attacks.

- If you want to de-bunk a myth, you need to focus on stating the truth, not repeating the myth.

- If you want to be more noticed and remembered, use more figures of speech (metaphors.) Examples of metaphors I've used include comparing our melting Arctic to the attic of a house that is on fire (Earth's attic is on fire: Arctic sea ice bottoms out at a new record low) and comparing the impact of global warming on extreme weather to the impact steroids have on a baseball slugger (Extreme events of 2011: climate change a major factor in some, but not all).

- Create an extended metaphor when you have a big task at hand. Countless books and articles underscore that extended metaphors are at the core of human thinking.



Video 1. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Dr. Jerry Meehl uses a metaphor to explain how climate change's impact on extreme weather is similar to how steroids affect a baseball slugger's ability to hit a ball out of the park.

At 183 pages, the book only took me about two hours to read, and I was very glad I did. It was very entertaining and informative, and anyone involved in public communication can learn from this book. I give it my highest rating: four stars out of four. Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga is $9.67 from Amazon.com.

Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday, everyone, and I'll have a new post for you on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting eyeofbetsy:


Would like to put a piece of that ice cream pie on top of my mississippi mud.
I was thinking about posting the recipe.....I just cant do it..lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22646
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
John Lennon put himself in that category many decades ago.
I do not recall Lennon comparing himself to Jesus. He was a proponent for peace. I guess Jesus and Lennon had the same idea
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22646
Quoting hydrus:
I bought real butter this year for the veggies and mashed. Man I cannot wait..And home made ice cream pie.......Guaranteed one of the most delicious things that has ever existed...Thank you for post# 38..:)


Would like to put a piece of that ice cream pie on top of my mississippi mud.
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I love oyster dressing.. mm mmm
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Quoting Neapolitan:
That doesn't seem like very solid logic. It's a little like saying, "Marlboros actually aren't that unhealthy. At least not as unhealthy as the other major cigarette brands. I think if it was built up such a tremendous legacy of causing things like cancer, emphysema, and stroke, not as many smokers would smoke them as they do to get their nicotine fix." The popularity of a thing is not necessarily an indication of how good, or valuable, or trustworthy, or healthy that thing is. Ya know?

Anyway, back into the kitchen. Three more pies in the oven, and, in the meantime, I'm rising two of the three kinds of bread that I'll be crumbling for dressing once they're out of the oven. (Corn- , French-, and sourdough bread, along with sausage, apples, cranberries, a few mushrooms, and pecans. Oh, and butter. Lots and lots of butter. Just this once.)
I bought real butter this year for the veggies and mashed. Man I cannot wait..And home made ice cream pie.......Guaranteed one of the most delicious things that has ever existed...Thank you for post# 38..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22646
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
John Lennon put himself in that category many decades ago.


Actually he was expressing his bafflement that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. He was amazed by fanaticism of Beatles fandom. He was not being self-aggrandizing, although many Christians (in their own form of fanatacism) chose to misunderstand and misquote him at the time and now this myth has been carried on in perpetuity. I remember the public book/record burnings back then and I still shake my head at the stupidity.
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All of this talk of food is making me hungry.
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Edit: Oh yeah, and the Environment Agency flood warnings interactive map:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisu re/floods/142151.aspx


can't get that link - page not found
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i'm making sourdough and banana bread for tomorrow. the roads are jammed and it's 70 degrees. life is good.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
38. Neapolitan 7:20 PM GMT on November 21, 2012

Fox News actually isn't that bad. At least not as bad as the other major networks. I think if it was built up such a tremendous legacy of lying, not as many viewers would tune in as they do to get their news.
That doesn't seem like very solid logic. It's a little like saying, "Marlboros actually aren't that unhealthy. At least not as unhealthy as the other major cigarette brands. I think if it was built up such a tremendous legacy of causing things like cancer, emphysema, and stroke, not as many smokers would smoke them as they do to get their nicotine fix." The popularity of a thing is not necessarily an indication of how good, or valuable, or trustworthy, or healthy that thing is. Ya know?

Anyway, back into the kitchen. Three more pies in the oven, and, in the meantime, I'm rising two of the three kinds of bread that I'll be crumbling for dressing once they're out of the oven. (Corn- , French-, and sourdough bread, along with sausage, apples, cranberries, a few mushrooms, and pecans. Oh, and butter. Lots and lots of butter. Just this once.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13802
Quoting washingtonian115:
Nea cooks?.Well didn't see that coming.


nea is a renaissance person.
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Happy American Thanksgiving, y'all!
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Speaking of metaphors...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx14Z2TmPaA
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
38. Neapolitan 7:20 PM GMT on November 21, 2012

Fox News actually isn't that bad. At least not as bad as the other major networks. I think if it was built up such a tremendous legacy of lying, not as many viewers would tune in as they do to get their news.

Link

You're forgetting a lot of people are uninformed..
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Yes tomorrow, but I'll be cooking all day and will miss the intellect of all you weather people! Hope everyone has a great day.
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Beautiful weather here in the Panhandle of Florida today and for Thanksgiving tomorrow also with highs in the low 70's!!
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"Attic" si, basement...no.
On thing we cannot be thankful for is the FDA.
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Nea cooks?.Well didn't see that coming.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17816
I see some other WUers are cooking.

Just stopping in myself to see how everyone's doing on Thanksgiving eve.

About to start the 24 hour fruit salad. One of my favorites. :)
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Quoting AztecCe:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Mayans not incorperate daylight savings, the extra .256363004 day or leap years into their calender? If this is true then isn't the actual date they predicted already behind us or in the future? I don't think the Mayan ancient caldender and the roman calender are in sync...


{tongue goes in cheek}
Awww geez...does this mean that I have to re-schedule my "End Of The World" party?

I always try to NEVER let facts get in the way of a theme party.
{tongue back to original position}
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I just popped another trio of pies in the oven (six down, 11 to go) so I thought I might take this moment to respond to stratcat. I would take the time to--once again--respond in depth to each one of the many individual tidbits of misinformation given, but in the spirit of the holidays (and in deference to getting my pies out on time), I'll spare the forum by forgoing all that and instead summarize.
Quoting stratcat:
If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it.
This is true. (See: Fox News)
Quoting stratcat:
Using just surface data is insufficient evidence.
Who uses "just surface data"?
Quoting stratcat:
There was a mini-ice-age in the last millennium that has been receding, and still may be receding due to natural causes, not man.
Source?
Quoting stratcat:
The most common, effective greenhouse gas is water vapor.
True. Does that mean CO2 has no effect? The most common fluid in your body is water. Does that mean that a few drops of cyanide won't hurt you?
Quoting stratcat:
The IPCC picks and chooses the warmest reading weather stations (near water), about 35, to generate their data, and ignore the other 600 stations in the arctic circle.
False. Source?
Quoting stratcat:
The variations of CO2 are too miniscule to have any effect on weather.
Completely false, and proven so hundreds thousands of times.
Quoting stratcat:
Ice core samples have shown that CO2 levels went up after global warming, not prior to it in the ice ages.
Not entirely true. (Check your "sources").
Quoting stratcat:
What caused the ice ages to disappear anyhow? What caused global warming before them?
Milankovich (and other) cycles.
Quoting stratcat:
The idea of man-made global warming doesn't wash.
It may not "wash" with some lay people, but it certainly "washes" with the vast majority of credible climate scientists--around 97% of them, in fact.
Quoting stratcat:
Why are climatologists in such a hurry to show where glaciers and ice caps are melting and not showing where they are expanding?Quoting stratcat:
I thought this blog had to do with tropical weather, not global warming, so I was sort of forced off-topic..
No, this blog has to do with whatever the blog's author (and site's founder) wants it to do with.
Quoting stratcat:
I could go on...
Please don't; it's a holiday. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13802
Quoting AztecCe:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Mayans not incorperate daylight savings, the extra .256363004 day or leap years into their calender? If this is true then isn't the actual date they predicted already behind us or in the future? I don't think the Mayan ancient caldender and the roman calender are in sync...


For that matter, I'm pretty sure they also forgot to anticipate the effect of earthquakes on day length.

Hopefully it was clear I was joking about the end of the world thing. That said, there's a certain wisdom to living AS IF the world might end in a month...
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Quoting stratcat:
If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it. Such is the case of man-made global warming. Using just surface data is insufficient evidence. Satellites for global observation have only been around since 1979. There was a mini-ice-age in the last millennium that has been receding, and still may be receding due to natural causes, not man. The most common, effective greenhouse gas is water vapor. The IPCC picks and chooses the warmest reading weather stations (near water), about 35, to generate their data, and ignore the other 600 stations in the arctic circle. The variations of CO2 are too miniscule to have any effect on weather. Ice core samples have shown that CO2 levels went up after global warming, not prior to it in the ice ages. What caused the ice ages to disappear anyhow? What caused global warming before them?

Many facts and a few questions, Dr. Masters. I am looking for all the facts not just what is politically correct. Sorry. The idea of man-made global warming doesn't wash. Why are climatologists in such a hurry to show where glaciers and ice caps are melting and not showing where they are expanding?
I could go on, but you probably think I'm a kook working for fossil fuels interests anyway. I'm not, you know. Further, I thought this blog had to do with tropical weather, not global warming, so I was sort of forced off-topic.

One thing about that book you recommend... as far as Jesus is concerned, reading the Bible would do a whole lot more good than reading on how to persuade people. Thank you.
You are probably trolling, but I will have to go against my better judgment to address your stupid comment. If you think for a second that people believe lies because some idiot repeats it numerous times, you obviously have a soft spot for liars. You speak on the subject of global warming as if you know what your talking about. Surface is where we live and most of the atmosphere exists there. Sure we can elaborate on the small percentage of glaciers that have expanded, and the record lows that have been observed, but if you really look at the numbers, its clear that the Earth is warming whether or not we as humans are responsible for 000.1% or 50% of it. Suffice to say, politics play a roll in everything in this country, whether or not the issue is true or false. A warmer climate would at the very least be a co-factor in any tropical weather discussion, here or any place else. Your statement regarding the Global Warming Debate as being off topic is at the very least incorrect.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22646
Ummmm, Ummmm, Ummm.......throwing a book report like that into the blog was like throwing a hand grenade into a room full of people and closing the door. Nobody volunteered to jump on the grenade, so everybody got hit with opinionated shrapnel !
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Quoting imipak:
In other news...

Here in the UK we had a heatwave and drought over the winter of 2010-11. That was finally broken by another "summer" of steady rain which has left reservoirs full and the ground saturated. As a result, when it started raining heavily here in the West Country yesterday afternoon, continued overnight and much of the morning, the result was pretty predictable:

News piece with a bit of video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20425112

Video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-204 27970
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-204 29051
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20427497

News report from my particular neck of the woods:
http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/home

Edit: Oh yeah, and the Environment Agency flood warnings interactive map:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisu re/floods/142151.aspx


Tell me about it My Local weather station in Ireland offical results for the summer were that it was the coolest wettest Summer for 40 years .Horrible summer It's official: summer was dull and wet Irish Times article
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Mayans not incorperate daylight savings, the extra .256363004 day or leap years into their calender? If this is true then isn't the actual date they predicted already behind us or in the future? I don't think the Mayan ancient caldender and the roman calender are in sync...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
In other news...

Here in the UK we had a heatwave and drought over the winter of 2010-11. That was finally broken by another "summer" of steady rain which has left reservoirs full and the ground saturated. As a result, when it started raining heavily here in the West Country yesterday afternoon, continued overnight and much of the morning, the result was pretty predictable:

News piece with a bit of video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20425112

Video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-204 27970
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-204 29051
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20427497

News report from my particular neck of the woods:
http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/home

Edit: Oh yeah, and the Environment Agency flood warnings interactive map:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisu re/floods/142151.aspx
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Wow, the doc caught a couple people in a grumpy mood today. Lighten up folks, the world ends in a month... :)

Will we spend our days spreading love and tolerance or hatred and mistrust?

It's a beautiful day in Colorado:


(Live webcam image from Nederland, Colorado).
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Quoting ARiot:
because of our (collective) refusal to accept overwhelming scientific evidence, nothing of measure will be done.

that dosen't mean we shouldn't try though.

if you could teleport deniers into the future 50 or 100 years and show them evidence of AGW, they would still deny it to your face and ask to be teleported back.

the only way the serious denial machine can be stopped is when they are out of money and zombie followers...

Sad but true.
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because of our (collective) refusal to accept overwhelming scientific evidence, nothing of measure will be done.

that dosen't mean we shouldn't try though.

if you could teleport deniers into the future 50 or 100 years and show them evidence of AGW, they would still deny it to your face and ask to be teleported back.

the only way the serious denial machine can be stopped is when they are out of money and zombie followers...
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Quoting stratcat:
If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it. Such is the case of man-made global warming. Using just surface data is insufficient evidence. Satellites for global observation have only been around since 1979. There was a mini-ice-age in the last millennium that has been receding, and still may be receding due to natural causes, not man. The most common, effective greenhouse gas is water vapor. The IPCC picks and chooses the warmest reading weather stations (near water), about 35, to generate their data, and ignore the other 600 stations in the arctic circle. The variations of CO2 are too miniscule to have any effect on weather. Ice core samples have shown that CO2 levels went up after global warming, not prior to it in the ice ages. What caused the ice ages to disappear anyhow? What caused global warming before them?

Many facts and a few questions, Dr. Masters. I am looking for all the facts not just what is politically correct. Sorry. The idea of man-made global warming doesn't wash. Why are climatologists in such a hurry to show where glaciers and ice caps are melting and not showing where they are expanding?
I could go on, but you probably think I'm a kook working for fossil fuels interests anyway. I'm not, you know. Further, I thought this blog had to do with tropical weather, not global warming, so I was sort of forced off-topic.

One thing about that book you recommend... as far as Jesus is concerned, reading the Bible would do a whole lot more good than reading on how to persuade people. Thank you.


Yeah.
Repeat the above (bolded) to yourself several times.
I'm sure you will be fine.
You already believe.....
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27. red0
Since it's probably going to be slow around here for a few days, I thought maybe a little link-dump might be welcome.

http://gmao.gsfc.nasa.gov/research/aerosol/
- Massive 684MB HD video of a computer model of atmospheric aerosols from August 2006 to April 2007.

http://hint.fm/wind/ - Wind Map

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/ - Quick access to NWS discussions about strong storms throughout the US.

Member Since: June 8, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 30
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42146
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42146
Thanks Jeff. A guide on word choice, on this blog, go figure...
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Quoting NEwxguy:
What a title for a book to grab your attention.
Putting Lady Gaga in with Jesus,Lincoln and Shakespeare
John Lennon put himself in that category many decades ago.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I made a list of 2012 AHS records and near records. Correct me if I have something wrong, and tell me if I missed any.

Beryl - strongest off-season Atlantic tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the USA.
Debby - Earliest formation of the 4th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Florence - 2nd earliest formation of the 6th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Joyce - 2nd earliest formation of the 10th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Kirk - 2nd earliest formation of the 11th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Leslie - 2nd earliest formation of the 12th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Michael - 2nd earliest formation of the 13th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Tony - 2nd earliest formation of the 19th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.

Sandy - Largest known Atlantic hurricane on record by gale diameter.
Nadine - 5th longest-lived tropical cyclone on record.
May 2012 - Highest number of named storms in that particular month, tied with 1887.
August 2012 - Highest number of named storms in that particular month, tied with 2004.
Debby - 14th highest tornado-producing tropical cyclone.
Sandy - 2nd costliest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record.
2012 Atlantic hurricane season - 3rd most active on record.
19 named storms with one minimal cat-3. That may change a bit with the post season review. we did have some large storms, which are more devastating in my opinion than small cat-3,s..This is a cool pic of Leslie and Michael...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22646
Quoting NEwxguy:
What a title for a book to grab your attention.
Putting Lady Gaga in with Jesus,Lincoln and Shakespeare
I'm sure they wouldn't argue about that.
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oh, and Chris - highest latitude for a storm reaching hurricane strength before August.
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I made a list of 2012 AHS records and near records. Correct me if I have something wrong, and tell me if I missed any.

Beryl - strongest off-season Atlantic tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the USA.
Debby - Earliest formation of the 4th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Florence - 2nd earliest formation of the 6th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Joyce - 2nd earliest formation of the 10th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Kirk - 2nd earliest formation of the 11th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Leslie - 2nd earliest formation of the 12th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Michael - 2nd earliest formation of the 13th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.
Tony - 2nd earliest formation of the 19th tropical storm of a particular hurricane season on record.

Sandy - Largest known Atlantic hurricane on record by gale diameter.
Nadine - 5th longest-lived tropical cyclone on record.
May 2012 - Highest number of named storms in that particular month, tied with 1887.
August 2012 - Highest number of named storms in that particular month, tied with 2004.
Debby - 14th highest tornado-producing tropical cyclone.
Sandy - 2nd costliest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record.
2012 Atlantic hurricane season - 3rd most active on record.
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What a title for a book to grab your attention.
Putting Lady Gaga in with Jesus,Lincoln and Shakespeare
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Thanks Doc! I hope you and yours have a wonderful day.

I will indeed investigate this book. I speak 2-4 times a week, often more. As I am a "fact giver" any help keeping folks interested long enough for facts to sink in is a great help.
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I didn't say eliminate them, but don't turn Thanksgiving into a nightmare for you and the ones you may permanently affect for thanksgivings ad infinitum. And to top it off you may enjoy the company your with more.
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Thank you Dr. Masters.. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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