Idiots. It’s Just Forecasting, Not Skynet.


I came across a pretty awesome online article awhile back about combat meteorologists, who are more precisely known by their official designation of Special Operations Weather Technicians or SOWT. It’s a great read and you can find the full article HERE. For our purposes though, I’d like to draw your attention to a special bit of idiocy that created the severe need for SOWT’s in the Afghanistan theatre of operations.

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFPN) -- Tech. Sgt. Rick Rohde (left) takes a wind velocity reading while Staff Sgt. Jody Ball (center) and Tech. Sgt. Jim Morello provide cover during a special operations weather team exercise near the base. The Airmen are with the 10th Combat Weather Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFPN) — Tech. Sgt. Rick Rohde (left) takes a wind velocity reading while Staff Sgt. Jody Ball (center) and Tech. Sgt. Jim Morello provide cover during a special operations weather team exercise near the base. The Airmen are with the 10th Combat Weather Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

I’d like to quote directly from the article…

“Five years earlier, when the Taliban seized power, it granted sanctuary to Al Qaeda and ruled by a strict interpretation of the Koran. No television or movies, mandatory burkas for women and long beards for men — plus no weather reports.

The Taliban considered forecasting to be sorcery. They fired the country’s 600 or so professional meteorologists, shelled the Afghan Meteorological Authority, and burned the country’s vast climatological archives.”

That’s right. They eliminated meteorologists from the entire country because they were considered sorcerers and magicians. Now, anyone who’s ever relied on a weather report for something really important like a hike or a morning bike ride knows that if these guys are sorcerers, they’re kind of at the bottom of the totem pole. Maybe Magician’s Apprentice more than magician.

This is like equating anyone who plans ahead and casts a vision of possessing some weird supernatural power. I work as a futurist. I guess this makes me a sorcerer too, I’d rather consider myself a petty dabbler of the dark arts because I don’t like to put on airs (hello Constantine!).

Constantine phone number

I suppose this kind of thinking also make Poor Richard’s Almanac the next best thing to the Necronomicon. I can just imagine Ash and his boomstick raining fire down on the farmers of the world for looking at the weather reports and planning crops.

ash_boomstick

Seeing as how the opium trade has financed much of both pre- and post-war Afghanistan, including the Taliban’s small slice of the world, I guess they just excused these matters when it affected their finances. I find that deeply religious people of all persuasions tend to make allowances when money comes into play.

So, how does this affect you in the business world or wherever you are? I’m glad you asked. First off, don’t claim that something is sorcery, magic, or too far out there just because you don’t understand it. All tech is like that if you think about it. If there’s something you don’t understand or it looks like magic, you have several choices ahead of you…

  1. You can ignore it completely.
  2. You can call it evil and get rid of it.
  3. You can learn how it works and become a petty dabbler yourself.
  4. You can find an expert practitioner and pay them to do that thing for you.

Here’s an example employing the last two choices that I make in my own business. I learned enough skills in Photoshop to make minor corrections to photos and cast small spells on graphics. For anything more than that like creating logos or making larger modifications I pay someone. Believe me, when you find someone good enough at their skill it really does look like magic.

I hope you make the right choice the next time you encounter the unknown.

For a special treat, try the number on Constantine’s business card. When the show came out, the number would actually take you to his answering machine.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s