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05/01/2003 Archived Entry: "Meteorology: The Art of Predicting Meteors"

I'm convinced that weather.com is entirely useless. It doesn't ever predict the weather. It makes really lousy guesses about the weather. Guesses that I could make more accurately. Yesterday it was telling me that it would be warm this morning and that there would be "PM Showers". Last night I was thinking: "Boy, it sure looks like it's gonna rain." I dismissed this because I figured that my eyes and my 25 years of experience of seeing what it looks like before it rains was probably not as valuable as the years of intensive schooling one must go through to become a meteorologist.

This morning at 8:15 AM it started raining. When I went to weather.com they had changed the "fore"cast to read "AM Showers". Great. There go my big plans for today's bike ride.

Meteorologists love to call it a forecast. Some have grown tired of that word and now actually call it a futurecast. It's neither. It's just a cast, plain and simple. They're casting the current temperature and weather conditions and nothing more. If the weather can't even accurately be predicted hours in advance then what's the use? I know that it's their job to do it and they do the best they can but the truth is that if I can't have an accurate prediction 8 measly hours in advance then I guess I might as well just wing it and hope for the best.

I know that predicting the weather isn't easy but they should just stop pretending to predict the weather and admit that all they're doing is telling you what the weather is currently like. I have a window on my house... I know what the weather is currently like. They're the fools that got me snowed in back in February so I'm not exactly sure why I trusted them this time.

In other news I am building a computer for Paul. It's gonna be sweet. The only problem is that once I build it I am not going to want to give it to him. He may have to fight me for it.

Replies: 19 People Love Me!


You say "snowed in" like it was a bad thing. You mean you DIDN'T like being cooped up in a tiny, claustraphobic apartment with me as I slowly fell to pieces while writing an artticle about tuition hikes?

Posted by Jen @ 05/01/2003 12:16 PM EST

Oh boy. Looks like someone's sleeping on the couch tonight!!

It's me. I spilled soda on my bed.

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/01/2003 04:57 PM EST

I totally give way too much faith to the forecasts even though they have never been right before. When I hear the weather is going to be a certain way I believe it unconditionally. Why do I do this? All of my past experience points to the fact that meteorology is totally bunk.

I also love how weather.com pretends to predict 10 days in advance when it can't even predict ten hours in advance. Every day the forecast for the coming days change. And have you ever noticed that the forecasts for several days in the future are all remarkably similar?

Posted by Laura @ 05/01/2003 06:44 PM EST

Yeah they're totally biting off more than they can chew with that huge forecast.

I too put way too much faith in the forecasts that have done nothing but disappoint me in the past.

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/01/2003 07:51 PM EST

The ten-day forecasts look so fudged. This week, the last two--for next Friday and Saturday--are EXACTLY THE SAME. They're not even trying. The one for the Thursday before that is only different by about two degrees. They're like kids in a permanent homeroom with first period math. "Quick! Time is running out! Just make up the numbers!"

Posted by Laura @ 05/01/2003 09:35 PM EST

You'd think they could at least lie more convincingly. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain in the PM once again. I'm planning on yet another AM bike ride but I have a suspicion that I'm gonna be cheated of the opportunity once again.

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/01/2003 09:45 PM EST

Foolish elf!

Only Criswell can predict such things.

Fortunately, as an elf, you are only surprised on a natural 8 on a d8, right?

So much dork delivered for such little comment!

Posted by Lefty @ 05/02/2003 12:46 AM EST

That's just the way I like it.

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/02/2003 08:56 AM EST

Either your dork comment is a reference to an older system of D&D that I am not familiar with, or you made up the thing about the d8. Which, as far as I am concerned, is the worst thing you could do when trying to demonstrate your vast knowledge in the ways of fantasy roleplaying. Which system was that reference from?

Posted by Rory @ 05/02/2003 11:08 AM EST

I'd believe it was from basic D&D. Remember how elves used to be a class? "What are you, a fighter or and elf?"

Posted by Paul @ 05/02/2003 02:27 PM EST

I have no shame in copping to that being faux-dork. I vaguely remember in 1st edition, Elves had a much slimmer chance of being surprised than many other species/races/whatever. Which brings me to one of my common rants:

do we ever see any non-human species (in fantasy OR scifi, for that matter) who aren't "us, with extra super-powers?" And don't give me some Vulcans/Robots/guys without emotion are like us, but weaker because of that. I'm looking for some different species someone invisioned that's like us, except their bones are all as fragile as Samuel L Jackson in "Unbreakable" or something.

but noooo...they're always smarter or faster or stronger, plus they usually have a few 'hidden' super powers (if its an ongoing TV series). Bah, sez I!

[fauxdork]Criswell is from the Fiend Folio, of course.[/fauxdork]

Posted by Lefty @ 05/02/2003 04:05 PM EST

There was actually a kinda interesting sci-fi book that came out in the early 90's about that. It does little good that I remember neither the title or the author of the book but you'll have to trust me on this!

The premise of the book was based on your rant. So Earth encountered aliens that were super weak and humans could crack their bones like twigs. It was an interesting concept but I don't really remember what the twist was.

If anyone remembers the author/title, lemme know.

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/02/2003 04:42 PM EST

I think there aliens similar to that description in James Alan Gardner's Vigilant, but I don't know if that is the book you are thinking of.

Posted by Sara @ 05/05/2003 02:05 AM EST

I don't think that was it. The book I'm thinking of came out like in the early nineties. Oh well. It makes no never mind. Thanks, Sara!

Posted by Chefelf @ 05/05/2003 09:28 AM EST

In fantasy, the way it works is that the humans are usually the "norm", but not better or worse. Take 3rd edition D&D, for example. Halflings have a bonus to dex, but a negative to strength. They have a few other things like infravision, etc, but nothing great. They are small size, a disadvantage compared to humans. All the races are similar in this respect.
Uh, lets see. Star trek. The bolians are like us, but blue. The ferengi are like us, but shorter, weaker, and maybe better with figures.
theres more, but i have to go to free period, right now!

Posted by Rory @ 05/09/2003 12:49 PM EST

What you see on weather.com is a water-down version of the National Weather Service forecast. Visit the NWS main page for more descriptive information. Communicating what we meteorologist know to the general public is difficult, and an active area of research. Regards, Jay.

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