Scattershooting 161023

Scattershooting while wondering where defense went in OU football…

HAZARDOUS-WEATHER FORECASTING and COMMUNICATION: “IDSS” — a bureaucratic acronym standing for “Integrated Decision Support System” — is the pop-fad buzzword in today’s public weather services. Behind all the frivolous sloganeering (“Weather Ready Nation”) and even more needless managerial lingo bingo, is a nugget of extreme truth: the science of operational forecasting must improve its messaging and communications capabilities. But it is possible to swing the pendulum too far, to turn professional forecasters into mere weather briefers (full-time IDSS) and let “forecasts” be straight model output. That would be a degradation of service, because models still cannot forecast multivariate, greatest-hazard events in the short term (tornado risks, winter weather, hurricane behavior, etc.) as well as human forecasters who are diligently analyzing and understanding the atmosphere. Today’s tornado and hail threat is not the same animal as single-variable temperature grids, and is far, far, far, far, far more important and impactful.

There is still a huge role in the forecast process for human understanding. Understanding has both physical and empirical bases — the science and art of forecasting. Models of course are great tools — when understood and used well. However, models themselves do not possess understanding. Moreover, models do not issue forecasts; people do. A truly excellent forecast is much more than regurgitation of numerical output in a tidy package. It is an assembly of prognostic and diagnostic understanding into a form that is communicated well to customers. A forecast poorly understood cannot be communicated well. And a bad forecast that is masterfully conveyed and understood is a disservice regardless. Eloquent communication of a crappy forecast is akin to spray-painting a turd gold. It is still a smelly turd.

Solution? Get the forecast right. All else will fall into place. Credibility is top priority! As for automation, it will proceed at the pace forecasters permit their own skills to atrophy, both individually and collectively. For those unfamiliar as to how, look up the prescient meteorological prophet Len Snellman and his term, “meteorological cancer”.

DOSE of TOUGH LOVE for the “CHRISTIAN LEFT”: Browsing Facebook, I was disappointed to see a fellow Christian, who preaches tolerance and inclusiveness, lambaste other Christians who refuse to engage in Halloween (or let their kids do so) due to its association with the occult. Apparently this mockery of non-Halloween-observers is an annual occurrence for him. Personally, I do not go as far as those non-Halloween Christians, do not happen to agree with them, and have no problem with Halloween the way we do it here as a candy and neighborliness holiday. I am not going to mock them for it, though, because I at least see where they are coming from on that associative spectrum. In some quarters, Halloween is a cult event — just not my quarters. But here is the real problem: my fellow Christian, who leans sharply left sociopolitically, is failing to practice the “tolerance and inclusiveness of other beliefs” preached by the so-called Christian Left. It is exactly that sort of two-faced behavior which undermines the faith’s credibility to outside observers. If you’re going to preach “tolerance and inclusiveness”, then tolerate and include the Christians who abstain from Halloween.

As for me, when it comes to Biblical constructs on behavior, I don’t preach “tolerance and inclusiveness” in the first place, and don’t pretend to be tolerant and inclusive of a lot of actions. [Notice I am talking about “behavior” and not “people”. A person is not the same as his behavior.] Therefore, when I make these criticisms, I am not being hypocritical — just brutally honest. Again, I am not tolerant of some actions and do not pretend to be. And since we are called to love our neighbor, consider this tough love. Those who make idols of “tolerance and inclusiveness” are not only committing idolatry, but missing the point of Jesus, who stated quite clearly that there is only one God before us, and only one way (Jesus himself) to the Father. That is highly exclusive, and not “tolerant” of any other avenue but one, and rightfully so! In this and other ways (e.g., rampaging into the Temple to drive out the money changers), Jesus himself was not “tolerant and inclusive” of bad behavior. Neither am I.

THE ANTI-FREEDOM LEFT WING and JOB SECURITY: A substantial contingent of Silicon Valley wants Peter Thiel fired because he is a Trump supporter. How intolerant of the”tolerance and inclusiveness” left wing! Firing, bullying, ostracizing, or otherwise retaliating against someone in the workplace for their political views is completely anti-freedom, anti-American, and closed-minded, and only promotes fear, poor morale, and groupthink. From his boss Sam Altman: “Diversity of opinion is painful but critical to the health of a democratic society. We can’t start purging people for political support.” Precisely. Kudos to Thiel and Altman for not kowtowing to mob-mentality persecution demands.

DEFENSIVE DEBACLE in LUBBOCK: A day later, I just finished watching the OU/Texas Tech game on a tape-delayed basis (thanks to having to work during live action). As impressive as the firepower that was provided by Mayfield, Mixon and Westbrook, and the maturation of the offensive line to allow such protection to the quarterback, the defensive performance was incomprehensibly pathetic. I can understand giving up some spectacular plays where the quarterback and receivers execute perfectly and little can be done; Tech had a few of those. Mahomes is an impressive passer and field general likely with an NFL future. Yet I lost count of the missed tackles (including several missed sacks) that kept drives alive and allowed long third-down completions for Tech. I also realize that the defense has been riddled with injuries.

I don’t care if the guy is Tom Brady in disguise—letting Mahomes throw for over 700 yards and convert all seven (7!) third-and-longs, is absolutely disgraceful. What will it take to fix this? Any defensive coordinator who wasn’t the chief’s brother would be gone, especially combined with some other awful performances in recent years. This simply isn’t getting fixed in 2016 and maybe not 2017 either, until this highly touted recruiting class has a chance to start playing full-time. In the meantime, we had better hope Mayfield, Mixon and Westbrook stay healthy!


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