Monday, December 15, 2008

Ideas for 'weather forecasts 2.0'

Sometimes I’ll go to check the weather, and end up at sites like these.

One gives me info for each day of the current week for the city I live near. For example, it tells me that Friday has a forecast of ‘Isolated Thunderstorms. Mostly Cloudy. Warm. Humid.’ Wind ‘16 km/h NNE’, Rain ‘3mm (42%)’, humidity of ‘69%’ and a min and max temp of ’20 and 30’.

On the other I can see a radar image of any storms moving in – which is useful if you’re leaving work and wondering whether you’ll beat the storm home.

Here's a quick sketch of some ideas for extending such services.

  • Make them more finely-grained
    • Instead of just the forcast for today, what is the forecast for the evening, or for 10pm?
    • What is the forecast for 10pm for the specific place I live (rather than just the general city area). Is it likely, from the cloud coverage and movements, that it'll be raining at my place then?
  • Longer-term predictions
      What is our best possible estimate of the general conditions two months from now? Which weekend, around two months from now, is the safest bet (of avoiding rain) for that outdoor barbeque I've been wanting to organise?
      • I'm presuming there's a lot of modelling and historical data that could be used to make better-than-chance estimates.
  • Visualisation of weather trends.
  • Integration with calendars.
  • Customisable email/RSS alerts
  • Photos of what things look like -- from different places, in different directions -- so you could actually see what an approaching storm looks like, for example.

These are just some quick thoughts - it's not really a topic I have a strong interest in, and I don't know whether there's presently (or in the works) anything out there that does any of these. Here's a place you could start.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wikipedia's list of common misconceptions

Wikipedia's long list of common misconceptions (along with details of the truth of the matter in each case). Misconceptions such as that

  • Napoleon Bonaparte was especially short.
  • searing meat "seals in the juices"
  • seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the sun in summer than in winter.
  • shaving causes hair to grow back thicker or coarser.
  • earthworms become two worms when cut in half.
  • Inuits have a large number of words for snow.
...and many many more (though the list is far from complete).

Sunday, December 07, 2008


"That perfume, my dear, is delightful. It has the most wonderful nose flavour"

i thought that term sounded funny.