Sunday, March 1, 2009

Corylus heterophylla var. sutchuenensis....yes, it's just a dried leaf

But did you ever notice how nicely the leaves of Carpinus in general, and this Corylus dry into geometrical spirals? They are almost as interesting as dehiscent capsules.

Spring ought to be coming; the days are longer, the sun is higher in the sky, but there is a winter storm warning in effect for tonight through tomorrow (Monday) morning and it's supposed to drop below 15F one night early this week. Still, between spring and winter, spring is stronger right now and her triumph is inevitable.

I have to reemphasize how impressed I am by NOAA's accurate prediction of this winter. I remember well when the functional range of weather forecasting was about 2, occasionally 3 wasn't that long ago. My sons remember it and they have bad memories and they're not that old. Yes the National Weather Service hit the nail on the head. (so did the Farmer's Almanac, though I am a bit more sceptical about the ultimate value of their predictions). I expect the raw computational power available today combined with sophisticated data gathering and processing has facilitated this remarkable improvement. Hey, the Babylonians had tremendous predictive abilities in astronomy thousands of years ago without any real understanding of celestial mechanics. They just had a lot of data and some computational abilities. We have ridiculous amounts of data and computers so fast and powerful....well, it's about time!

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