It’s starting to look a bit like snow and I probably should go and look at the weather report. But, why bother? It’ll be wrong anyway – well, wrong for a given value of wrong. On the other hand it will also be completely right.
These weather-folks have got a good deal going. With millions of dollars of equipment and degrees in atmospheric science (which sounds a bit Zen to me), they roll the dice and take their best guess at what the future will bring. I know these are educated guesses, but somehow the weather gods never seem to have read the forecast.
Even if I give in and look at these weather-guesses to make plans (45% chance of snow – do I wear my suede boots?), elves sneak in immediately after I’ve looked and change the forecast (95% chance of snow – suede’s ruined).
Voila! They were right all along! (Politicians have these elves, too.)
What you’ll never hear on a weather report is “ooops, I got that wrong.” Even if the weather person said there was 5% chance of showers and it rained, the reporter was right (and wet). Reporting the weather is a lot like gambling – the house always wins.
I learned about computer modeling when I lived in Houston and encountered hurricanes for the first time (Rita & Ike). Up until this point I had always lived in the Midwest. We had tornadoes – which we don’t name – no time for modeling (or naming) – dive for cover! But with hurricanes, weather folks spent days modeling and remodeling (changing the colors of the weather maps). There could be up to seven different paths the hurricane could take. But really the weather folks were just marking time until the hurricane finally made up its mind and then they could have a big party and watch all the transformers explode since all of their predictions were somehow right.
Despite all of the high-tech gadgetry and advanced computer modeling, we actually know very little about the weather. The local psychic has a better success rate at predicting the weather.
My local news station spends a great deal of time talking about the weather. I really only get about 17 minutes of actual news the rest is weather. (Well, I say news, but this also includes the Irrational Fear Report and the Someone’s-Out-to-Get-You Feature). I’ve long suspected that the weather person gets paid by the word, but my local weather reporters are minor league. A top weatherman recently broke the world’s record for the longest continuous weather report – 34 hours. Now, I know there’s some sort of angle. There’s no way there is this much weather on the entire planet! He must have snuck in some of Jupiter’s weather as well.
Just when I start wondering why there is so much weather on TV, I get a long-distance phone call from my father, “I see you’re getting a bit of snow.” Sigh. He probably watched all 34 hours of the weather report.
I wish my life was more like a weather report. I want to be able to revise my decisions hourly and no matter what decision I make, I’m always right – no matter how wrong I was.
I’m Jae and I predict this message is 74% correct (or maybe 47%).