"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Shocking Case of Weather Forecast Pioneer Admiral Robert FitzRoy and What it Tells Us About Politics Science Humankind and the Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the fittest? We are not sure.

How misled can your average politician or scientist be in thinking what is right?
today and yesterday?

Consider the story of the fate of weather forecast pioneer
Admiral Robert FitzRoy,
captain of the HMS Beagle for Charles Darwin's famous voyage.

Peter Moore at BBC News relates that story to us in
The Birth of the Weather Forecast
where we read informatively that:
"When one MP suggested in the [House of] Commons in 1854 that recent advances in scientific theory might soon allow them to know the weather in London "twenty-four hours beforehand", the House roared with laughter."
As amazing as it may appear to us in our modern world today, the idea of the possibility of "weather forecasting" was considered a lunacy by most people in mainstream politics and science as late as the 19th century.

Indeed, weather forecast pioneer Admiral Robert FitzRoy, "the father of weather forecasting", met with vast resistance in his era, but as Moore tells us:
"[T]oday his vision of a public forecasting service, funded by government for the benefit of all, is fundamental to our way of life. 
His department, which began with a staff of three, now employs more than 1,500 people and has an annual budget of more than £80m.... 
Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office's current chief scientist explains: "FitzRoy was really ahead of his time. He was not mistaken or eccentric, he was just at the start of a very long journey, one that continues today in the Met Office."
Little has changed in people, politics or science in the intervening 161 years.

Mankind remains as difficult to teach to rise above its biases, ignorance and superstitions as it was in the Commons of 1854 where weather forecasting was literally laughed out of the House -- by the unfit.

Paradoxically, Darwin is famous
but who knows about FitzRoy?

And yet we all should daily thank FitzRoy, and not Darwin.

FitzRoy was right -- weather can be forecasted.
Not perfectly, but enough to be of a very big help to mankind.

Darwin on the other hand told us that the "fittest" survive.
When we view the daily news, however, we are not sure about that.

Things appear to be more chance than merit,
and probabilities seem to guide survival outcomes more than fitness.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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