And Yet, It Moves

National Weather Service
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Dear Sir or Madam:

Your cowardice under fire from a tweet will make you the laughingstock of every downstream consumer of your data and products, many of whom have both your data and your algorithms. I daresay that you have also earned the derision of every doctoral program in meteorology in this country.

Subordinating empirical data to political dictates is never a good idea – look at the biologist Lysenko in the Soviet Union. There are people on this planet who have undergone the keenest hardship to maintain the integrity of scientific theories and information. The greatest example of this has to be the Pisan astronomer Galileo Galilei, who was forced to recant and spend the rest of his life imprisoned in his house because of his idea, derived from that of Copernicus, that the earth revolved around the sun. Privately, he did not recant, saying “Eppur si muove.” History does not make much of that Pope and his Inquisitors; it has made Galileo both a secular martyr and one of the first true scientists.

The next time you get a nastygram on Twitter, trust in your data and your algorithms, and forecast accordingly. I realize that you have spouses and children, and have to eat, but there are many jobs you can do, out of the sphere of the public trust, that will feed you adequately.

Remember Galileo!

Yours, jkcohen

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