“Average.” Living in Idaho all my life and having experienced droughts, floods and other extreme weather conditions, it always causes me to pause when the weatherman says “average.” Since when has the weather ever been average? When it is 100 degrees and the TV weather forecasters emphatically state that we are eight degrees above average, that really doesn’t tell me a whole lot other than it is hot. Is this the only time it has been 100 degrees on this date? Using some basic statistics it would seem more helpful to include the range of temperatures on this date or even if the temperature lies within two standard deviations of the mean. Maybe the TV weather forecasters don’t take statistics.
Then it occurs to me that the purpose of the weather report is not to update you on the weather but to get you to watch the news. Since the weather is seldom average, there is always a daily consternation of the weather not being average today. An adapted story explains that a weatherman uses statistics like a drunk uses a light pole — more for support than illumination. This concept might just apply to schools as well. But that is another letter.
Richard Ledington, Caldwell