Accuweather long-range forecast accuracy questionable


About 14 months ago, Accuweather extended its long-range forecasting to 25 days.  Forecasters at the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang and at the independent both expressed significant skepticism that any forecast could be accurate at that distance.  Tom from ran a small sample, confirming his impressions.

About 6 months ago, I also ran a small sample test.  I collected 25 days worth of Accuweather’s forecasts for a single future day, comparing them to each other and then to the final weather for that day.  The forecasts weren’t that great, as I expected.  But again, this wasn’t much of a sample size.  I wanted to go bigger.  Now, over 6 months after my last post, I now have data comprising all of (astronomical) winter and spring, and it’s time to see the results. Continue reading

Surviving the Boston Marathon bombings

3 people died in the horrible, evil bombings at the Boston Marathon 2 days ago.  6.9 billion people did not.

Here are some of the ways those people survived:

By never having been to the United States before.

By living in the United States, but having never been to Boston.

By having visited Boston, but not this week.

By being in Boston every day, but not near the marathon.

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Accuweather forecast accuracy: a preview

Here’s a preview of a little something I’ve been working on: An analysis of Accuweather’s 25-day forecast for self-consistency and accuracy.

Here’s what the forecast high temperature looked like for today, December 10, 2012 for zip code 19103, on the 25 days leading up to today, as compared to the historical normal high for today, and today’s actual temperature:

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Voter protection information 2012

Fair and safe elections are a huge passion of mine, and even though there’s much more information out there for the average voter than there was 4 or 8 years ago, I’m still going to continue my tradition of posting some information about voter rights before the election.  Please share this post widely.

A disclaimer: I live in Philadelphia, and my information comes from Philadelphia sources.  I’ll do my best to distinguish between federal and PA information where applicable, but some local stuff might slip in where it doesn’t belong.


Most important: The phone number 866-OUR-VOTE.  It’s easy to memorize, but still, program it into your phone AND write it down.  If you have it written down, you can give it to people you meet while voting, if they need it.  866-OUR-VOTE is a nationwide hotline to report polling place problems, voter intimidation, poll workers or printed materials with incorrect information, polls not opening on time, or any other problems that can lead to violations of election law and/or voter disenfranchisement.  It’s also the number to call if you don’t know if you’re registered to vote, don’t know where your polling place is, or aren’t being permitted to vote where and when you think you should be.  (I’ll be volunteering with the Committee of Seventy, which answers 866-OUR-VOTE calls in the Philadelphia area.)

You have the right to a provisional ballot!  Continue reading

NHC FAQ For People Who Like Things Like Hadar

In its own words, “The National Havurah Committee (NHC) is a network of diverse individuals and communities dedicated to Jewish living and learning, community building, and tikkun olam (repairing the world). For over 30 years, the NHC has helped Jews across North America envision a joyful grassroots Judaism, and has provided the tools to help people create empowered Jewish lives and communities. The NHC is nondenominational, multigenerational, egalitarian, and volunteer-run.”

Many people affiliated with the independent minyan scene, and/or organizations named Hadar, would find that they have a lot in common with the aims and ethos of the NHC and the members of that community.  At heart, the Hadar world and the Havurah world share the critique of American Judaism’s reliance on institutions and the idea that Judaism is about living values, not supporting institutions per se.  And many of the manifestations of that critique, in terms of the sorts of learning, discussions, prayer, and communities generated, are also shared between the two worlds.

Many folks have noticed some sentiment over the years, among Hadar and/or independent minyan individuals who have not attended NHC events, that the NHC is not for them.  That may well be true.  However, that sentiment is often grounded in a misunderstanding of what the NHC is, and the goal of this FAQ is to attempt to correct that.

Q: “Havurah”?  Really?  That still exists?  Wasn’t the Havurah movement, like, in the 70s?

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A blog? That’s so 2006!

Most of what I and others write these days is short form, suitable for Twitter or Facebook.  But sometimes I want to write something longer, and lament for a good place to put it.  (Older blogging platforms that skew toward personal writing are not necessarily the right place to put things that one wants available to a larger audience.  And Facebook’s Notes just aren’t “a good place” for anything.)

So, a WordPress blog.  Expect infrequent updates, as the urge to write stuff strikes.