“BUT I DIGRESS“ consists of “HEAD TRIPS” that represent the conversion of random thoughts, observations, philosophies and rants into a form of modern cursive expression better known as computer keyboarding. From time to time these thoughts are also summarized under the heading “IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN: QUESTIONS I CANNOT PRESENTLY ANSWER.”
HEAD TRIPS: MODELLING AND THE MEDIA
“There is no greater enemy of ideology than science.”
No, not that modelling where Millennials are seen to be prancing around in a show of stylish clothes of vapid elegance; sometimes as outerwear, sometimes as underwear, and occasionally just showing their wares with no wear on at all.
The modelling in this small musing refers to modelling as undertaken by a computer under the direction of, and with inputs from, its user. In general terms, there are two types of computer modelling.
Ethical modelling endeavours to predict certain events or behaviours based on the input of historical empirical data, whose past patterns may be predictive of the future. With regard to weather, computer modelling attempts to create future casts (formerly known as forecasts before the advent of political correctness and modern illiteracy) based on inputs of historical patterns. Theoretically, the more empirical inputs the modelling uses, the more accurate should be the results. However, given that computer modelling is still in its infancy, the outcomes of this modelling range, like those in grade school, from failure through to the odd brilliance; but nothing yet consistent in predictive quality or accuracy.
The recent Irma hurricane illustrated the still as yet imperfect system of ethical modelling, with a plethora of speculated tracking paths of the hurricane’s centre so numerous as to attract the term “spaghetti” for the multitude of entwined possible passages. Interestingly perhaps, was the fact that models originating in Europe more accurately forecast the hurricane’s possible paths that did America’s modelling. Conclusions to be drawn from this might be that Europe possessed more advanced tools to create more accurate models using more precise informational inputs. Nonetheless, Irma illustrated how far modelling has yet to go to achieve the type of accuracy that would permit heavy reliance on the models for the benefit of those that require such to help avoid and survive nature’s catastrophes, particularly of the weather variety.
Unethical modelling on the other hand is much simpler and produces many more consistent if highly suspect and dishonest results. By inputting certain assumptions or an unrepresentatively small and biased statistical database, both guaranteed to produce conclusions that fully satisfy the ideology of the modeller, appeasement however dishonest is assured. The key to dishonest modelling is simplicity, especially of the results, so that even the most illiterate of the targeted audience is overwhelmed by the model’s alleged conclusions.
Hence, if the temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit today, 82 degrees tomorrow and 84 degrees the day after, well then by gosh and by golly it is certain to be 110 degrees by the end of next week; and will keep on going up forever. Hence the hockey stick of climate “science”, a concept now abandoned by almost everyone except certain bug scientists and ex-Vice-Presidents.
The liberal media, that is to say 90% of all media, love modelling, especially unethical modelling because the latter almost always produces results that will surely threaten the very existence of the human race by the end of the week. This is the sort of bad news the media loves. Good news is boring. Bad news incites viewership and produces advertising revenue.
Recently, a broadcaster for a major national Canadian media outfit, while breathlessly reporting on the admittedly tragic and dangerous hurricanes sweeping across the Caribbean and southeast United States, was wont to label as “deniers” anyone who declined to directly associate these natural disasters with human causation; much apparently analogous with Holocaust deniers. Such can be the superficiality of media reporting in analogizing the obscenity of Holocaust denial with differing opinions about the cause of natural disasters.
Even better than fake modelling for the media however are natural catastrophic events. No research is required and all it takes is a reporter, face obscured by an oversized parka hood and preferably positioned in a knee-deep, snow blower-made snowdrift, breathlessly reporting on an allegedly abnormal snowfall that has apparently caused people to outfit themselves with if not overshoes, then at least rain rubbers on their feet. Even better is a hurricane or typhoon, with the correspondent standing, or preferably dangerously swaying in a major wind, face nearly obscured by a typhoon of hair swirling about the journalist’s face; assuming that is, that the journalist is not a bald male.
Descriptive nouns and verbs are of critical importance to the reporting; ergo “rising death toll”, “staggering damage”, ”mass decimation”, “life threatening”, “shipping containers flung about like toys”, “cars buried”, “total devastation”, “the worst is yet to come”, “highest, strongest, widest, deepest, most deadly, most powerful, etc…………EVER! A strong vocal emphasis on the last word is a learned must when attending Broadcast 101 classes.
In reality the worse thing to come for the media is when the storm is over and the drama of aftermath has been fully exploited, but there is nothing else in sight on the horizon. “Now what the hell are we to do” screams the editor. “Go find another catastrophe you lazy slobs!”
Copyright © 2017 Ian de W. Semple