Punxsutawney Phil casts shadow on weather apps

Technically Incorrect: It's Groundhog Day and America's favorite nonscientist makes his weather "prediction" for the year. In it, he refers to hoverboards. Really.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


phil2.jpg

The hero and poet himself.

RT/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I woke up early this morning rolled over and grabbed my cell phone. (I know. Not good.)

It was still dark and I opened my weather app. It told me the local weather was cloudy.

I crawled out of bed toward the window. It was raining.

What is it with these scientists and technologists, whose predictive skills are no better than those of soothsayers?

Thankfully, we have Punxsutawney Phil. This fine groundhog comes out every Groundhog Day, February 2, to "predict" the coming of spring.

Legend has it that if he sees his own shadow, winter will be long. If he doesn't, then daffodils and daisies will be sprouting shortly.

On Tuesday morning, Phil emerged from his cage. And, as NPR reports, the minute he was put on top of a tree trunk, he tried to scarper.

What did this mean? What was Phil trying to tell us? Would El Niño submerge us for the whole year?

Apparently not. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which organizes these festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, immediately proclaimed: "No Shadow For Phil!"

Phil has been making predictions since 1887. He's generally a bit of a downer. He's predicted a long winter 102 times and an early spring only 18 times. (The other years, there were no predictions at all.)

The National Climatic Data Center is a touch anticlimactic in its opinions of Phil. It says that he's been correct a mere 40 percent of the time in the past 10 years.

Helpfully, the Groundhog Club also publishes a complete prognostication, though it's hard to imagine the process of deduction.

Phil allegedly dictated a poem in Groundhogese, which was declaimed at Tuesday morning's festivities. I faithfully reprint it here:

The inner circle goes to great ends

To keep me abreast of latest trends

Down in my burrow I never get bored

Riding on my hover board

And I sure have fun flying my drone

But weather forecasting is my comfort zone

Is this current warm weather more than a trend?

Per chance this winter has come to an end?

There is no shadow to be cast,

An early Spring is my forecast!

Yes, he really did mention the hoverboard. And drones.

Now why can't my weather app be this poetic? And up to date, of course.

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