The above picture is actually a graphic created by Joseph D’Aleo at his excellent Weatherbell Blog to show how small tropical storm Bill was, as it came ashore; IE: Twelve Bills could fit in the state of Texas. One of the larger Pacific super typhoons could cover the entire state. I’ve seen complexes of summer thunderstorms bigger than Bill.
Of course, a small storm doesn’t sell papers, or get you hits on your blog, and therefore some feel it is acceptable to hurl around superlatives like children whipping pillows about a bedroom. Perhaps too many young reporters watched too many commercials when young, and feel dishonesty is the American way.
It isn’t. Falsehood leads to confusion, and bad engineering. Just as an engineer would not want to build a bridge with false figures, any sort of “social engineer” should understand that “social engineering” will fall down in a heap if it is built upon falsehood, (especially the falsehood “the ends justify the means”).
For this reason reporters are under an unwritten obligation to sift through falsehood and seek truth. They are not suppose to be the dispensers of bogus news, mere sock puppets of editors who are themselves puppets. When even an infallible Pope comes out with a statement about Global Warming, reporters are suppose to do some fact-checking.
Reporters, and also scientists, need to have some pride. Truth is is worth the battle.
Nor is reality boring, if you do the work and leave the virtual world of your computer to gather facts. Even a small tropical storm like Bill will have an area of heavy rain, and ten inches of rain is a royal pain for those upon whom it falls. There is a story there, if you go and dig for it, (or slosh about for it). It is sheer laziness when reporters can’t be bothered, or only drive to a local beach and pretend to struggle against a howling wind on camera, when it is in fact merely a breeze. (One of my favorite bloopers shows a reporter reporting from a “flooded parking lot”, and as he exclaims with hyperbolic eyebrows an elderly lady calmly strolls across the parking lot behind him, and the water isn’t even up to her ankles.)
In any case, perhaps I am no one to talk, considering I used such an absurd headline to get your attention. And perhaps that is what the Pope is doing today: Getting some attention.
In truth, Bill is merely a tropical rainstorm this morning, moving up through Oklahoma, heading towards Ohio, where they can use the rain.