I Forecast a Dismal Year for Forecasters

Wouldn’t it be great if journalists in the United States would grill our politicians and bureacrats like this!   This interview reminded me of a Monty Python skit on steroids.  Despite the pathetic John Hirst in this video, Great Britain has contributed mightily to the world of meterology and travel. 

English clockmaker John Harrison (1693-1776) invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought and critically-needed key piece in solving the problem of accurately establishing the East-West position, or longitude, of a ship at sea, thus revolutionizing and making long distance sea travel more safe, according to Wikipedia.  Read the fascinating book about this by Dava Sobel, link below. 

Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy of the Royal Navy(1805 – 1865) the captain of  the HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin’s famous voyage, was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate weather forecasting a reality, according to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia isn’t always reliable, but I think we’re safe here.

Dava Sobel’s website.

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (Paperback)

I found the viedo above, thanks to a commenter on the meteorology blog “Watts Up With That?” which you can find in my blogroll.

Also, a site I recently discovered about journalism is “Big Journalism.”  I’ve added it to my blogroll. Check it out.


Filed under History, Humor, Politics, Science, Travel

5 responses to “I Forecast a Dismal Year for Forecasters

  1. alwaysjan

    I think this is why many teachers are concerned about “merit-based pay.” We’re just dealing with “natural variations” in intelligence instead of climate.


  2. Interesting video. I thought John Hirst did pretty well at deflection. However, simply repeating “we are good” doesn’t automatically make it so.

    I’m not familiar with the interviewer, but I’m guessing hard hitting questions and really going after guests are his specialty. At some points he lost me a little bit.

    I don’t think journalism in the United States works quite the same way. No doubt there are lots of times guests get to pre-screen questions and set parameters of discussion. It’s the free market at work. If you want the interview bad enough, you’ll make concessions you can live with to get the exclusive. On the other hand, if you are the interviewee, I highly doubt you’ll willingly consent to being gutted and grilled like a piece of arctic cod.

    I think most guests realize that they’ll have to take some heat but I’ll bet there are routine guidelines of give and take for how that gets accomplished so both sides can try to look good and get what they want. Of course, that’s all just idle speculation on my part. 🙂

    Thanks for your insights, Mr. Abyss. I still think John Hirst doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground! (That’s one of my Dad’s sayings…Actually, he didn’t use the word head but another body part.) The members of our national news media are too cozy with our elected officials. They see themselves as peers, buddying up with the politicians and bureaucrats on the cocktail circuit, rather than their true positions as watchdogs (the media) of public servants (elected officials). An example — Andrea Mitchell questioned Al Gore about the hacked emails in “Climategate” and Gore dismissed them as being ten years old, when most were recent and some were only weeks old. Mitchell never said a word to correct him. I realize that Gore allows no one to dispute anything he says, but in that case journalists should ignore him. Mitchell is either an idiot or a hack. She’s certainly not a journalist. Below is a link about the “coziness” of journalists with their sources.
    http://bigjournalism.com/bshapiro/2010/01/09/of-circuses-elephants-and-abc-news-when-reporters-bed-their-sources/ Cathy


  3. Wow – I’m surprised anyone goes on that show. I agree – we need more hard-hitting interviews. It’s crazy that we have to go to the Daily Show to get that. Cool post!


  4. WOW! That was Brutal! 🙂 But… I, too, agree that our “news” needs to be more about seeking & reporting relevant TRUTH!


  5. John Hirst’s justification as ” The Trickiest” was certainly an understatement. He probably should have been smart enough to stop talking before he said something so dumb. I certainly agree with you, I thought I was watching a Monty Python piece, once I realized it was a real piece of journalism, I was laughing hysterically. I predict that your prediction of a dismal year for forecasters is going to be a reality. As usual, you make me laugh, you make me think, and I appreciate both your humor and your intelligence!


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