Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

For-profit weather

One of the most shocking things about Michael Lewis‘ last book, The Fifth Risk, was about the weather. While the whole book is a collection of jaw-dropping reasons to be terrified of the Trump regime that aren’t all that visible, the weather portion made me do something other than shake my head: it made me uninstall an app.

From an article by Jeremy Olshan in MarketWatch:

NOAA and the National Weather Service, which fall under the U.S. Department of Commerce, may employ 11,000 people and a fleet of satellites, but the agency operates in obscurity — in fact, it’s forbidden by law from promoting itself or the accuracy of its forecasts.

Instead, and this is the crux of Lewis’s argument, private companies like AccuWeather take the government’s data and repackage it and sell it to corporations and hedge funds.

Donald Trump’s nominee to take over NOAA? AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers. This may seem to be a logical choice, until you hear that Myers has little background in meteorology, and his company has a long history of lobbying to make the government data less available to the general public, and even helped block a plan by the National Weather Service to release an app.

So, yeah. Trust me: if you read the book, you’ll uninstall AccuWeather too. You can buy the book here, by the way.

Also, that article had the best summary of Michael Lewis’ books I’ve ever read:

Lewis, as always, assembles a cast of iconoclastic characters determined to paddle upstream on a river of stupidity, blindness and conventional wisdom.


Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

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