12.17.2003

Forecasting Aspersions
The following was written by E.B. White. It was published in the February 25, 1950, issue of The New Yorker.

The most startling news in the paper on February 13th was the weather forecast. It was "Rainy and dismal." When we read the word "dismal" in the Times, we knew that the era of pure science was drawing to a close and the day of philosophical science was at hand. (Probably in the nick of time.) Consider what had happened! A meteorologist, whose job was simply to examine the instruments in his observatory, had done a quick switch and had examined the entrails of birds. In his fumbling way he had attempted to predict the impact of the elements on the human spirit. His was a poor attempt, as it turned out, but it was an attempt. There are, of course, no evil days in nature, no dies mali, and the forecast plainly showed that the weatherman had been spending his time indoors. To the intimates of rain, no day is dismal, and a dull sky is as plausible as any other. Nevertheless, the forecast indicated that the connection had been re√ęstablished between nature and scientific man. Now all we need is a meteorologist who has once been soaked to the skin without ill effect. No one can write knowingly of weather who walks bent over on wet days.