On Coding the Weather

The days in this land are dry in recent times.

Crystalline blue skies roll by for weeks without pause.

When rain is promised the clouds gather, dance about, coalesce and separate, thicken, darken, then evaporate, not precipitate.

I imagine ethereal void-dwellers playing in the atmosphere, commanding the mannequin clouds to tease the humans - with particularly spiteful attention to humiliating the 'meteorologists'.

Yes, meteor - ologist. Derived from several ancestral languages, the word implies they deal with astronomical hardware straying into Earth's path. From German 'wetter' to middle English 'weder', the word's genealogy is extensive and a worthwhile trip of its own.

These devoted thaumaturgists, in fact, study atmospheric phenomena and call it 'weather.' Again I find myself fighting mirth. "Whether the weather is nice depends on whether it rains. Wethers Overboard!"

Now, with that out of the way shall we turn full attention to whether men? They get to play with some of the planet's most sophisticated computer armouries. Getting it wrong is implicit in their mission statement. They don't know it yet (nor any scientist on this gentle wet rock), but as a wether no doubt still imagines it can sire lambs, our "whethermen" believe they can model the weather!

God love them! (Being Her esteemed will, of course)

It would be my privilege to tempt a young "meteorologist" - one still unspoiled by industry meddling - outside the paradigm to see if he or she scampers back or (to my delight!) their eyes glaze over in wonder as I lead them, thus:

Stock market modelling for predictive purposes escalated upon the birth of the personal computer. Few noticed the random walk, prone to wild delinquent movements, exhibited primitive yet effective sentience. Even today, though such modelling flourishes on cleverly promoted micro-simulators (futility proportional to processing power), most analysts remain blind to the deliberation in the non-random walks across their silver screens.

Shrewder pundits joke the trading IS the simulator.

Shall the young weather person agree? Her charts differ only in the data source's apparent non-cognizance, so appearing to have momentum and predictability. Sentience in natural phenomena? Absurd, surely.

My arm is part of a chaotic system yet quite predictable into the near future due to its physical inertia, understood mechanics and perceived purpose (i.e.: my behaviour).

But as soon as my brain's other hemisphere gets wind of this, instability appears. It now might as well be another person's arm. Ever tried to second-guess your brain's nonverbal hemisphere? Pit one hand against your other in auto-arm-wrestling to see which wins. Then observe the hemispheric negotiations stall.

The weather is but Gaea's 'arm'. Gaea: geosphere and biosphere operating a self-preserving memory and feedback system, plus an ecosphere aware of itself (de Chardin's noosphere). The biosphere operates on the geosphere to maintain its survival environment. The noosphere, you might say, is anthropic effect on this climate.

You can see we have a really chaotic and infinitely complex system to predict. And meteorologists increasing succeed by acquiring vast amounts of data and modelling by simulation. 

The law of unintended consequences.

What if the collateral to simulations is cyber debris?

As the population drives cyber gaming to unimagined sophistication, as people realize they can live in 'non-existent' worlds created in software (and attempt to do so), the idea dawns that all things possible... exist... now.

As you merely conceive, do you thereby create?

Did a flower's pattern exist before the first flower evolved and 'grew into it'. Do all discoveries and inventions exist, awaiting fulfilment.

Should we suggest to the diligent weather person that each one of her simulations codes yet another cyberverse? That her code fragments litter the physics of countless stillborn worlds, alongside the efforts of gaming and operating system programmers?

Cyber sciences yet unimagined might yet recoil upon the realization that 'programming' - to invoke that tired catchall word - is changing the universal centre of gravity.

Hope we find out before it's too late :-) 

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