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Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Positive Language about Tropical Storm Isaac

Posted by languageandgrammar on August 24, 2012

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever and Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

Being a meteorologist and writer, I sometimes confuse myself, so let’s be clear: This is a language-related weather post, not a weather-related language post!

Do They Want Hurricanes to Strengthen?

Am I the only one who is disturbed by how often meteorologists (degree in meteorology) and weather presenters (“I’m not a meteorologist, but I play on tv”) make it sound as if they want tropical storms and hurricanes to strengthen?

I watched a Weather Channel update a couple of days ago on Tropical Storm Isaac, which could become Hurricane Isaac, and I heard several references that made it sound as if it would be a good thing for the storm to strengthen.

  • The upper-levels were not conducive to the storm developing.
  • Dry air being pulled into the storm was going to slow development.
  • Interaction with Cuba would slow its development to hurricane strength.
  • The broad circulation was preventing a rapid intensification.
  • The westward track was making it less likely to move up the East Coast.

Based on those statements, you might conclude that it would be good for the storm to strengthen and slam into the East Coast. The statements were all phrased in the negative (negative for the storm), but they all sounded like positive points to me, except for the regions that were going to be affected by the more westward movement.

Storm’s Perspective

Most people don’t want to see death and destruction from storms, of course, but it is worth nothing that there are a few ego-driven meteorologists who would much rather be correct about a forecast even if it means more destruction than be wrong about a forecast and have it be less destructive. That’s too bad, but it’s also not the point here.

The point is that since meteorologists dictate the tone of the discussion, they do it from the perspective that they care about (the perspective of the storm) instead of the perspective that is most important to the audience (the potential effects of the storm). For the record, I’m sure that I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Regardless, it’s not terribly effective communication.

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Off Topic: How to Use Snow to Your Advantage

Posted by languageandgrammar on January 20, 2011

By  Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

This is completely off-topic, but since so many of us have had to deal with more snow than we may like, I’m here to help.

Use snow as an excuse to get out of something that you don’t want to do in the first place (such as work): Top 10 Snow-Related Excuses.

You’re welcome.

car stuck in snow

car stuck in snow

Of course, if it’s that bad, then you don’t need any excuses!

The above image is from RTE 2fm

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White Christmas for Many This Year

Posted by languageandgrammar on December 20, 2010

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths and Oddities

I know that I recently talked about the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I don’t think that means the holiday should be ignored.

Many people care about Christmas, and many of those care about whether it will be a white Christmas–even those who typically despise snow.

From a weather perspective (remember, I’m a meteorologist, too), many of us will, indeed, have a white Christmas, which is defined as having at least an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas day.

It does not have to be snowing on Christmas day–just snow on the ground.

For details, read my AOL News article, Widespread White Christmas Expected Across US, for details.

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Turkey of a Myth

Posted by languageandgrammar on November 19, 2010

By  Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

We have often noted that often repeated language and grammar errors seem to become “correct” usage. Wouldn’t it be weird if math used that philosophy? When enough people said 2+2=5, it would! It would still equal 4, of course, but it would also equal 5.

In the vein, I thought that I’d go off topic today and note a particularly pervasive myth that is constantly stated at this time of year:

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year.

Not only is it typically NOT the busiest travel day of the year, it’s often not even close–at least as far as air travel is concerned. As recently as 2008, there were 220 busier travel days that year.

For more information, see Holiday Travel Myths Exposed.

Granted, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is still busiest travel day of the year for people who are willing to go a surprisingly long distance to eat turkey, which may very well be overcooked.

It’s surprising that the myth has survived as long as it has. First of all, there are records for such things. Second, while many people travel for the  holiday, they’re not competing with business travelers for the most part–a large portion of normal travelers are staying at home.

By the way, if you are traveling, then you might want to check out my AOL News article on possible weather-related travel delays.

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Language And Grammar Resources (and More)

Posted by languageandgrammar on November 9, 2010

In case you hadn’t noticed, we changed the look of the blog recently. The most recent template didn’t highlight the pages on the site as well as this one does, so let me introduce (or re-introduce) some of the pages here.

  • Sherry’s Grammar List: This is a list of common grammar errors that Sherry Coven has written for the blog. This is the most popular page on the site.
  • Paul List: This is a list of Paul’s entries (not completely updated yet), which includes more language than traditional grammar posts.
  • We have a book dedicated to Paul’s book as well: Literally, the Best Language Book Ever.
  • Finally, we have a page of language pet peeves contributed by our readers (Note: The comments section for this page is closed): Your Pet Peeves.

Paul Yeager is also a meteorologist and has done quite a bit of writing related to the weather, so we wanted to share those resources as well.

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Awesome Hurricane Katrina Video

Posted by languageandgrammar on August 25, 2010

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities and Cloudy and Cool.

Awesome is often used to mean something incredibly good, but technically, it means something that inspires awe of any type. When I saw that the video of Hurricane Katrina, released by NASA five years after the devastating storm, the only word that came to mind is awesome.

See the video in the NASA Releases Eye-Opening Satellite View of Hurricane Katrina story on AOL news.

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Common Grammar Errors

Posted by languageandgrammar on June 16, 2010

Since we changed the design of the site, I know that some of our other pages are not as obvious as they were in the past, but they’re still there, including:

  • Sherry’s Grammar List, which includes a heavy dose of grammar-related entries. This is (by far and away) our most popular page on the site.
  • Your Pet Peeves, where you can add your pet peeves to the growing list. (Note: This page is not intended to be a discussion forum; rather, it’s intended to be a list of pet peeves.)
  • Literally, the Best Language Book Ever, which gives information about Paul Yeager’s first book. Information on his second book can be found on his weather blog, Cloudy and Cool.

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Warmer and Colder Temperartures

Posted by languageandgrammar on April 7, 2010

I’m a meteorologist and author (Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities), and I know I’ve said it, but, technically, temperatures cannot be warmer or colder.

A temperature is a number, which means that it can be higher or lower, not warmer or colder. One hundred is not warmer than 20, and 20 is not colder than 100.

As far as the air is concerned, it is indeed warmer at 100 degrees than it is at 20 and colder at 20 degrees than it is at 100; however, the numbers themselves are either higher or lower. Therefore, technically, we should say that the temperatures are higher or lower, not warmer or colder.

–Paul

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Weather Whys in Bookstores

Posted by languageandgrammar on March 13, 2010

We can’t live on language and grammar alone, so please let me share my exciting news with you. My weather book, Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities is available in bookstores (and online) now. I think that anyone who’s interested in the weather will enjoy it. For more weather information, stop by Cloudy and Cool.

While not a science-heavy book, easy-to-understand weather explanation is mixed with how the weather affects our lives, quite possibly in ways we’ve never thought of before, such as sporting events, health and home, and historic events. The book also separates fact from fiction as it relates to common weather beliefs and ancient wives’ tales. (A chapter-by-chapter outline is below)

Weather Whys can also be purchased in book stores (national chains and many independent bookstores), as well as through online book sellers:

For more information on the book, check out a few of the reviews:

Or, watch me talk about the book during my recent tv interviews:

Chapter-by-chapter outline:

Chapter 1: Bite-Size Morsels: Weather Basics

Chapter 2: It Always Rains in Seattle: Weather Myths and Misconceptions

Chapter 3: Weird Weather: Unusual and Surprising Phenomena

Chapter 4: From Our Forefathers to Hurricane Katrina: Weather History

Chapter 5: Field of Dreams: Sports-Related Weather

Chapter 6: What Does “Red Sky at Night” Mean?: Weather Wives’ Tales

Chapter 7: Plains, Trains, and Crops: How Weather Affects Transportation and Crops

Chapter 8: The Weather is Everywhere: Health and Home

–Paul

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A Chicken in Every Pot, and Weather Whys in Every Bathroom

Posted by languageandgrammar on February 27, 2010

As regular readers of the blog are undoubtedly aware by now, my weather book, Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities, will be in book stores in just a couple of days (March 2, to be exact).

One of the advance-sale copies was reviewed by EMagazine.com. The review is about 2/3 of the way down the page.

The reviewer was very kind and mentioned that the book is a candidate for bathroom book of the year, which I guess means that if you have 2 1/2 bathrooms in the house, you need to buy 2 1/2 copies!

–Paul

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