The Crazy Write Winger

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Monday, February 17, 2003

Snow Day

I’m darn glad I don’t have to work today. Not much to do besides sit here and watch what I hope are the last flakes of falling snow from the storm that just nailed the Mid-Atlantic region (look out, northeast, it’s headed your way). Eventually I’ll get up the gumption to bundle up and head outside to start digging out. For now, I’ll just drink my coffee and look out the window at the snow-covered Pittsburgh skyline.

Listening to weather reports last week, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Beginning about Thursday, forecasters predicted probably an inch or so on Friday into Saturday, then maybe a couple more inches Sunday before tapering off to flurries.

Not a flake hit the ground Friday or Saturday. Even then, forecasters called for maybe 4 to 6 inches beginning Sunday night and into Monday. My first clue things were not as predicted was the several inches that greeted me and the dog as we went for our usual 6:00 a.m. walk. By the time my wife woke up two hours later, our tracks had been covered. Twenty-four hours later, we’re sitting under at least a foot of snow, and I’m clearing patches in the backyard so poor Brandy can take care of business.

I can’t fault the weathermen. Predicting the weather, like predicting anything else, is a tricky business at best. Edward Lorenz demonstrated in the sixties that even a change as small as one one-thousandth in a weather variable – say temperature or wind velocity – can make large differences in the weather down the road.

This is why I’ve always had a problem with the whole business of global warming. If changes so small that are difficult to measure even with the best of modern equipment can cause such dramatic shifts in outcome within days or months, how is it possible climactic prognosticators can be so adamant about the conditions decades or even centuries from now? Global warming is regarded by the scientific community as such a “fact” that even to question it results in accusations of a right-wing coverup.

The real coverup, however, is that these “scientists” rely on computer modeling just like your local weatherman. They input a set of initial conditions then run their prediction program over and over and see what develops. The chance a given scenario will come to pass is based on how many times it happens during the total number of runs. The computer models are only as good as the programs they run, which in turn are only as good as the assumptions the programmers and designers make. Suppose there is a 1/1000th change in some factor scientists haven’t even discovered yet, let alone accounted for. It could turn every global warming scenario into the next ice age.

Furthermore, as any good programmer will tell you, there are the inevitable bugs in any computer and or software. Go to Microsoft’s Technet and look up all the bugs and issues surrounding Microsoft Word. Programming a word processor is a far less complicated task than accurately predicting the weather, yet we are supposed to believe the programs predicting global warming are dead-on accurate?

Psalm 2:4 says, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.”

I think He’s splitting His sides over global warming.

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come.."

-? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) upon hearing reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will go bankrupt even earlier than predicted.

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