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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do you believe in magic?

How the heck can forecasters decide that 13.1 inches of snow will fall in one place and 14.9 inches will fall nearby?

Inquiring minds want to know.



Blogger dan bosley said...

Evidently, after clicking on the map, we are no getting any snow in the Berkshires. I think I'll gas up the snow blower anyway.

January 11, 2011 6:18 AM  
Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

OK, as the math teacher whose college job involved some modeling with FORTRAN... Those numbers have a plus-or-minus error but that's not reported on the map, and those numbers are accurate for the place where they are located. In between you should use a weighted average--meaning exactly halfway between the 13.1 and 14.9, you'll see 14.0 inches (plus or minus some), and as you get closer to the 14.9, the number will get closer to 14.9.

...and yes, I've already read Randy Olson's book "Don't Be Such A Scientist" but I can't help myself.

January 11, 2011 6:00 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks Joel! I'm glad to know Ouija boards had nothing to do with it. OK, maybe not a lot :-)

January 12, 2011 8:39 AM  

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