Friday, February 26, 2016

Weather & Technology

I think it's interesting how technology has changed how we talk about the weather.  It used to be that we just wanted to know what the weekend would be like - rain?  Cloudy?  Sunny?  Maybe it would be a 30% change of rain tomorrow.  Now we want to know when will that 30% be - 5:30?  There are now apps that we can buy that will tell us what the weather will be in the next 30 minutes!  Certainly there are situations where knowing the weather accurately for the next 12 hours, but most of us?  Not so much.

Yesterday the forecast was going to be cloudy up until 3:30 when there was a 25% chance of rain, then at 5:00 that chance grew to 40%, then dropped back down to 25% at 7:00 pm.  First of all, when someone says, 'hey, what's the forecast for the day', how do you communicate all that?  Certainly not in a short answer!  It used to be you'd get one answer, 40% chance of rain.  But now that the information is different, people's expectations of that question are different.  What actually happened: it snowed like crazy all morning and not rain later.

We make fun of the weather man, saying that he's almost always wrong, but we slavishly follow the forecasts on our smart phones.  Why?  Do we think the information through those fancy apps is better than when the weather man talks on the radio?  It's the same information.  Actually the weather man provides more value by explaining things.  Actually the weather man's predictions are more accurate than we think.  Here's a guy who's trying to predict the future, he's actually right more than he's wrong, we thinks he's wrong more than he's right, and we fuss and fiddle with our cell phones to know that the weather will be in the next 30 minutes.

Maybe it just gives us something to do with our thumbs while we're waiting!

Friday, February 19, 2016


Man, was it 2009 that I last posted?  Well, every now and then I get the urge to post something.  The itch is back!