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T-30: The Storm Approaches

March 8, 2013

This is not a post just about the weather. That’s what boring people talk about because they can’t think of anything better to discuss. This is more a post about the changes

Underdressing for the weather is popular around here.

technology brings us. See, there is a storm approaching. A winter storm warning was posted this afternoon, though it would not take effect until late tonight. You walk outside, the sun is shining, the wind is calm, the temperature requires only a light jacket perhaps. Some hours later you may see clouds gathering over the mountains, but were this any time more than a century ago, you’d have no idea that nearly a foot of snow is expected to drop on you tomorrow.

Of course it’s great to be able to prepare. But I wonder if it makes us lose some of sense of wonder. There is not so much that can surprise us anymore. Weather forecasts are still far from 100% accurate, yes. But only tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions remain in the realm of it-can-happen-with-no-warning, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before science catches up to predicting them consistently. So now that we can hold the stethoscope to the heart of Mother Nature, we are left to our own devices to surprise and shock one another. So now each year brings new episodes of sensational mass violence, the perpetrators seeming to play a game of oneupmanship in who can shock the most, and who can dominate the media the longest.

The coefficient of correlation between these phenomena may be zero. But we are a world of instant entertainment who have lost much of the power of imagination. There’s some value to being surprised by the storm.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2013 11:59 pm

    I don’t care if you say this post isn’t about the weather… it is. Now bed time.

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  2. March 9, 2013 1:16 am

    Would it be impolite to complain about the heatwave we are having in Melbourne right now? We have an external thermometer hooked up in our house to tell us not to go outside because it is too hot. Having lived most of my life in a city built on 48 volcanoes (not many of which are extinct) and where earthquake tremors are a fact of life, I have learned to love my thermometer’s predictability. Of course, those of us with superior racks have the edge over the rest of you when it comes to making weather predictions – http://youtu.be/MG_LL9m7cl4

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    • March 9, 2013 2:20 am

      That was funny. Well, being 6’2″ I know when it’s precipitating at least seven milliseconds before most women. But superior racks can be a great indicator as to how cold it is.

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  3. March 9, 2013 8:35 pm

    Good point. I hate to think there IS a correlation between those two things but you just never know.
    Although I have to say, when it comes to snow, I really don’t want to be surprised. Nope, no thanks. 😉

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    • March 9, 2013 8:46 pm

      It would certainly be in poor taste for me to make any weather-related jokes at the expense of New Jerseyans (that sounds silly, but this site told me so: ). The snow was significant but not so heavy here today. There’s probably been more there than here this winter; after all, Denver only averages 15 inches of precipitation all year. But Colorado is associated with mountains and snow, not gardens, turnpikes, and full-service gas stations, so it’s all about perceptions, right?

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  4. March 9, 2013 10:31 pm

    Perhaps part of our problem is our need to be entertained; I certainly see it in many of my students. It’s a passive attitude, and it usually comes with a sense of entitlement. We need to consider the differences between sensation and appreciation.

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    • March 10, 2013 4:14 pm

      They feel entitled because they have grown up with electronic babysitters, constantly “entertained,” and as such suffer from a dearth of imagination. I think it’s one of the most important reasons to make students write, and frankly I would prefer they do creative writing twice as much as persuasive or expository; while those modes are necessary, especially through their academic lives, it’s having to be creative that will make their minds come alive.

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