What did we learn from Groundhog Day?

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Well, Groundhog Day has come and gone, and what do we know?  According to Wikipedia, someone actually tracks this from various festivals, and 9 of the 21 groundhogs tracked predicted 6 more weeks of winter.   The most famous one, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  Also, to get scientific, the National Climatic Data Center reportedly has stated that groundhogs’ overall prediction accuracy is around 39 percent.  That doesn’t seem very good.   Although, I wonder how accurate most weathermen are…

But all this is a moot point anyway.  The official first day of Spring is almost 7 weeks after Groundhog Day.  And besides that, the whole thing seems backwards.   If he doesn’t seem his shadow, it means winter will soon end.   But here it was all cloudy and cold, looking and feeling very much like winter.  A sunny day would seem more like spring is on the way.  But what do I know?  I’m no groundhog (though I have been known to do some weather prognosticating from time to time).

Did you know Groundhog Day originally involved badgers or bears?  Today it seems widely accepted to use groundhogs, but that is changing in some parts:

In Alaska, February 2 is observed as Marmot Day rather than Groundhog Day because few groundhogs exist in the state. The holiday was created by a bill passed by the Alaska Legislature in 2009 and signed by then-Governor Sarah Palin that year.

Okay, the tradition is silly enough in premise.   I understand getting together to party and eat, but do people really take this seriously?  Apparently so, if the Alaska Legislature is going to waste the time creating and voting on a bill about it.  But I don’t know why…

On a more random note, in the video game Animal Crossing (the GameCube version), the mayor announces on February 2nd that it’s the day “the groundhog fairy comes around to give groundhogs to all the good little boys and girls”.   That’s random…

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4 responses »

  1. I’ve been working on documenting a certain weather pattern that I’ve seen developing all my life. No, it isn’t global warming or climate change. It seems like that every day at around 5:30 to 6:00 pm (later in the warmer parts of the year), the sun suddenly starts disappearing over the horizon and it becomes dark. So my prediction for today is that there will be a recurrence of this darkness phenomenon beginning at 5:41pm and the sun will suddenly reappear at around 7:05am tomorrow morning. There is a possibility that the the whole thing may be obscured by clouds in some parts, so check your local listings.

  2. So let me see if I can follow the prediction here.
    9 of 21 groundhogs (42.8%) have predicted more winter, with a 39% historical accuracy. Combining those two figures gives a 16.7% chance of more winter.

    However, it can also be assumed that 12 groundhogs (57.1%) have predicted no more winter. If we give them the same 39% accuracy, then there’s a 22.3% chance of no more winter.

    That means that according to groundhogs, there’s only a 39% chance of any weather at all for the future. So I guess the groundhogs are giving a 61% chance for the end of the world?

  3. If my demands aren’t met, there will be a 100% chance for the end of the world! Fortunately for you, I have yet to issue my demands, because my plan which I am planning is still being formulated. It involves a lot of upper-tier mathematics, including theoretical topics such as quantum entanglement, scalar fermions, and D-branes. (Yes, those are clues, if you want to research, but you won’t be able to guess my plan.)

  4. Greetings Earthlings!

    You will indeed be blessed with higher intelligence due to my correspondence.

    ‘Tis been a while since my last communication on this primitive exchange of information dubbed a “blog”.

    Our benevolent leader Xan,(may he live forever), has been observing for quite some time the downward spiral that is the Human Race.

    You still predict weather patterns based on the “superb” IQ of underground rodents!

    Why do Earthlings put faith in things of irrelevant consequence?

    Fear not!

    Xan (whose bio-scent spawns life) believes there is hope for your beleaguered existence.

    Hence why I am granted the task of guiding mankind back from the cliff of extinction.

    Cease with your persistent bickering and try to cooperate with one another!

    Harmony amongst yourselves can only be achieved when there is tolerance of another’s point of view.

    Socio-political issues are polorizing the planet into chaos.

    We’ve seen it happen on Earth before but your advances in weaponry have superceded rational thought.

    Individuals such as Mr. Destructo is a menance and must be stopped. Despite his many violent rants and failed inventions, I fear he may one day prove true on his promise of world capitulation.

    As we say in our home world, “Even children can create quantum anomalies”

    Do not scoff at my urgency to suppress your dilemma.

    For the betterment of all,
    Xandor
    Emissary of Xangrilah

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