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This used to be a blog dedicated to one of my interests, dream interpretation. I have decided to expand it to include thoughts about pretty much Everything.

Friday, August 1, 2014

the logic of weather men

Today I met someone who worked for the National Weather Service (he's retired now.) He told a true story of some soldiers he worked with years ago in the forecasting department. One of them, clearly a higher rank than the others, looked up from his computer screen where the simulations and models were being processed and announced confidently that the weather tomorrow would be sunny and around 82ºF.

The next day, everyone walked into work dripping from the rain and shivering from the cold. They complained at the senior officer about his total miss. To which he replied, in all seriousness and in an indignant tone of voice, "I am a Forecaster, not an Observer."

From what I could gather from the conversation, those who are just starting in the service are Observers, but as they move through the ranks, they "progress" further indoors until they have only their computers to tell them what's going on and what will go on. Few ever actually bother to look out the window after that point. It is, apparently, beneath them to observe.

No attempts were made to recalculate the computer's algorithms to figure out what went wrong and to improve the accuracy of the program. Maintaining the internal logic of the simulations was more important to the people on duty than matching them to reality.

I'm confident that not all people who work/ed there are/were of this mindset.  (The gentleman who told me the story was very sensible, for example!)  But still, there is philosophical, religious, and political commentary to be found in this amusing story...