The people who ‘nail it’

We interrupt the deserve praise of political stat man Nate Silver for this disclaimer: He didn’t save thousands of lives.

That, of course, is about all he didn’t do in the process of nailing predictions for Tuesday’s election, inviting new generations into the field of computers, algorithms, and predicting the future by analyzing the past.

But this fascinating story from PBS NewsHour today points out a group of people who do this every day and end up mostly chided for their effort: meteorologists.

In examining the role meteorologists played in successfully predicting the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the story tells us that it’s a capability they didn’t have 10 years ago.

“If Sandy had hit without warning, which is distinct possibility even 10 years ago when the high resolution models used today didn’t exist, we would be measuring death tolls in the thousands. People died, and that’s a horrible tragedy, but it was so much less than it could have been,” according to meteorologist Mike Smith.

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