# News idiocy

Gold Member

## Main Question or Discussion Point

I was just watching the weather news. They showed the last six years of weather on May 2-4 Mondays: Sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain. So, they say, next year, expect sun.

Idiots.

People will trust this.

Flip a coin 6 times: heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails. What can you expect on the seventh toss?

Idiots.

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tgt
I don't know...

It is true that in a mathematical world, the chance of the next toss will be 50/50 but we don't live in that world. Hence with the example of the weather, there might be some external phenomena causing the pattern we have observed in the last six years. That is a wild speculation but what I'm trying to say is that labeling them complete idiots may be over the top.

NoTime
Homework Helper
:rofl:
You just have to look good.
You don't have to be here.

Weather, where else can you get a job where you can be wrong all the time and still get a raise.

Weather, where else can you get a job where you can be wrong all the time and still get a raise.
the U.S Senat... naw. too easy.

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:rofl:
You just have to look good.
You don't have to be here.

Weather, where else can you get a job where you can be wrong all the time and still get a raise.
Typical. Meteorologists are more right than not. There are two reasons why people like you think this way.

a) You do not check for updated forecasts.
b) You do not understand the concept that a "30% chance of precipitation" does NOT mean it will most certainly rain.

Gold Member
It is true that in a mathematical world, the chance of the next toss will be 50/50 but we don't live in that world. Hence with the example of the weather, there might be some external phenomena causing the pattern we have observed in the last six years. That is a wild speculation but what I'm trying to say is that labeling them complete idiots may be over the top.
Unless they think there is a causal relationship between weather and a specific calendar day then, 50/50 or no, there is no predictability involved, and therefore we can't expect anything. They can't predict two weeks ahead with any kind of accuracy; to suggest they can predict a specific day a year ahead is idiotic.

And to suggest (twice) to the viewing public (who, ostensibly trust the weatherman) that they can expect something is irresponsible and, indeed, idiotic.

Heh... Its a pretty safe bet.. the sun is shining somewhere.

Gold Member
Typical. Meteorologists are more right than not. There are two reasons why people like you think this way.

a) You do not check for updated forecasts.
b) You do not understand the concept that a "30% chance of precipitation" does NOT mean it will most certainly rain.
Seems a bit harsh. :uhh: It's just a saying. It's not like he actually thinks this way...

Seems a bit harsh. :uhh: It's just a saying. It's not like he actually thinks this way...
It maybe harsh, but it's a view that people so preciously believe in. They tell me "yeah, the weatherman on the TV called for sunshine, and look it's raining." I say "oh really? Well I go to NOAA for my forecasts and I checked the updated forecast as of midnight and they called for a 90% chance of precipitation." This typically follows with a defensive "well that's what the weatherman said on the 6:00 news last night!"

NoTime
Homework Helper
Typical. Meteorologists are more right than not. There are two reasons why people like you think this way.

a) You do not check for updated forecasts.
b) You do not understand the concept that a "30% chance of precipitation" does NOT mean it will most certainly rain.
:rofl: Well, from your perspective you may have a point.
The weather maps and data themselves are fairly good most of the time.
Excepting some unstable areas where it's just a crap shoot anyway.

Since I figure my life sometimes depends on it, I've definitely done "a" from the originating sources, as well as interpreted the available data for specific locals.
As far as the 30% goes, I like my odds a little more clear than that when its going to matter.

However, the OP seemed to refer to the Talking Heads on TV and Radio.
Sorry, I wouldn't give you the time of day for what they have to say.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Flip a coin 6 times: heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails. What can you expect on the seventh toss?

Idiots.
Hmm...I would have gone with either heads or tails, not idiots, on that last toss. :uhh:

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I was just watching the weather news. They showed the last six years of weather on May 2-4 Mondays: Sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain. So, they say, next year, expect sun.
Surely, they were just being playful.

Surely, they were just being playful.
I have to say I share the same opinion : weather forecast does require a minimal understanding of probability

Evo
Mentor
b) You do not understand the concept that a "30% chance of precipitation" does NOT mean it will most certainly rain.
You just reminded me of a girl I worked with in Atlanta. "I heard that there is a 30% chance of participation today".

NoTime
Homework Helper
30% participation?

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cristo
Staff Emeritus
30% participation?

Oh no.. not that link again!

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Janus
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I have to say I share the same opinion : weather forecast does require a minimal understanding of probability

I think it is either Martin Gardner in Science: Good, Bad and Bogus or Carl Sagan in Demon Haunted World, that recounts seeing a TV weatherman predict a "50% chance of rain on Saturday and a 50% chance of rain on Sunday.", and then go on to say, "That means a 100% chance of rain for the weekend."

That being said, it is also fair to point out that not all TV weathermen are meteorologists themselves.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
That being said, it is also fair to point out that not all TV weathermen are meteorologists themselves.
That's true, some are just good at pointing at a map while looking good. Of course, will anyone next year even remember what the forecast made this year was?

I laughed when I met with some folks from the meteorology department when I was still a student. They told us that they often get brides-to-be calling and asking if it's going to rain on a particular day (of course that being the day they're thinking of picking for their wedding). After trying to just explain they can't predict the weather that far in advance and insistent brides (or their mothers) arguing with them, they finally gave up trying to educate the public about that point and just started telling everyone that called with such a question that there would be a 30% chance of rain on that day. Based on the local weather trends over the years, they figured out there was a 30% chance of rain on any day. :rofl: It also avoided lawsuits from angry brides being told it wasn't likely to rain and then getting their wedding rained on.

I was just watching the weather news. They showed the last six years of weather on May 2-4 Mondays: Sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain. So, they say, next year, expect sun.

Idiots.

People will trust this.

Flip a coin 6 times: heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails. What can you expect on the seventh toss?

Idiots.
Looks like humor wasn't in your forecast!

LOL AMIRITE????

BobG
Homework Helper
Flip a coin 6 times: heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails. What can you expect on the seventh toss?

Idiots.
Hmm...I would have gone with either heads or tails, not idiots, on that last toss. :uhh:
:rofl::rofl::rofl:
Too funny. But then, I've been a referee. You'd think the coin toss would be the easiest part of the game. I actually had one stick sideways, so there's probably at least some small probability (or greater) the result will be idiots.:rofl:

Here, a weather map showing fronts gives you a better idea of what might happen with the weather than just a text forecast. You never really know when a front will make it over the front range or what will happen to it once it hits the front range.

And in the summer, they give the same forecast just about every day: 30% chance of afternoon thundershowers. The warm air moves up Pikes Peak all day long and then comes back as isolated thundershowers. If you time it right and plan your route right, you can weave through them and never get wet. Of course, since you usually have to follow the roads, you usually get hit by at least one.

As far as the 30% goes, I like my odds a little more clear than that when its going to matter.
So if there's only a 30% chance of precipitation you want them to lie instead and say it will most definitely rain?

However, the OP seemed to refer to the Talking Heads on TV and Radio.
Sorry, I wouldn't give you the time of day for what they have to say.
As pointed out, most weathermen on the TV and radio aren't actual meteorologists. Al Roker from the Today Show is not a meteorologist. He's just a TV guy reading off of something. I always suggest NOAA for forecasts over the TV and radio. It's detailed and it's been very accurate.

I apologize for being severely harsh. I always feel people who degrade the field of meteorology are only showing their ignorance, and disrespecting the hard work that goes into forecasting. It's not guesswork like most people assume.

We used to have a TV meteorologist who guaranteed all of his predictions to be accurate subject to changes in the weather.

turbo
Gold Member
In Maine, we are subject to not only the stuff that happens in the interior (which is more predictable) but we have the influence of the ocean, the cooling effects of on-shore breezes when sunny days produce updrafts in the coastal zones, the blocking and steering effects of the western mountains, etc, etc. I pity the meteorologists (and yes, the weathermen on the local TV stations are generally professional meteorologists) because Maine is heavily dependent on agriculture, fishing, etc, and weather is very important to our livelihoods. I have been out on a rather large Shore Patrol boat in heavy swells, and I can tell you that I sure wouldn't want to set out ground-fishing or lobstering on such a day without a really skilled helmsman and a reliable forecast.

NoTime