Some Light Nemo Reading: Everything You Never Knew About the Technology of Storms

Welcome to the fifteenth installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy new tech column. Not everything we cover will be queer per se, but it will be about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology.

Header by Rory Midhani

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Do you Nemo? I Nemo. Or are you calling it the blizzard of 2013? Either way, I had about a zillion options for today’s Queer Your Tech With Fun and I scrapped them all because I got a nagging curiosity about the technology we use to predict and track the weather, the technology we use to recover from the weather and the technology we use during the weather to keep ourselves entertained. In this case, weather is a blizzard, but it isn’t always. So without further ado, I bring you a lovely weather technology link round up to keep you entertained if you’re snowed in, or even if you’re not.

Ever asked yourself what kind of technology storm chasers use? The Discovery Channel tells us! “All storm-chasing teams carry a few standards; laptops, radios and cameras are default equipment for most professional groups. Of course, that’s far from all.”

How Stuff Works also tells us a little bit about how storm chasers work, in case you’re interested: “To hunt tornadoes, you need to understand them.”

From Popular Science“How To Save The Electrical Grid” tells us that the technology exists to keep the lights on during extreme storms. “Many of the necessary upgrades already exist: They’ve been developed in labs and demonstrated in smart-grid projects across the country. Other steps just require common sense.” They also offer some suggestions on creating a more resilient power grid on the home, neighborhood and regional levels (complete with pictures).

“Why And How People Fly into Hurricanes” from USA Today. People fly into fucking hurricanes? Who knew!?

I’m interrupting this round up to bring you a fun fact: you, too, can buy a weather station off of Amazon.

At Bakersfield Now, meteorologist Miles Munzo gives us a brief history of American Weather Technology.

Here’s one just for snow: Riese mentioned “Snow Fall: The Avalanche At Tunnel Creek” by John Branch for the New York Times in her Things I Read that I Love column. It’s pretty appropriate computer reading for Nemopocalypse. Also it’s gorgeous. This is less about technology and more about snow, until you realize the kind of innovative thinking and technology it took to make this.

“Disaster Aversion: The Quest to Control Hurricanes” by Rivka Galchen for Harper’s  brought up a topic that only existed in the superhero comics of my mind brain: weather manipulation. Apparently scientists have been trying to do this for a while, so maybe I should pay more attention.

Of course, the Harper’s article made me curious, so I found another weather manipulation/weather forecasting article: “The Perfect Forecast” by Graham T. Beck for The Morning News. “Forecasting is this brain-achingly impressive scientific achievement— actually predicting what’s going to happen with a near-term accuracy of around 90 percent—and also, simultaneously, a monument to our impotence.”

If all this sci-fi talk of weather manipulation has hurt your mind brain, here’s 10 weather apps for your iPhone.

And here’s a way to track storms. Thanks, How Stuff Works!

A different kind of storm entirely, this article explains how solar storms can effect our technology. From NBC News: “Quiet as the sun may be, scientists still have a vested interest in watching it. A rogue flare could damage electrical grids or knock out communications satellites, as has happened many times before.”

And finally, if the meteorological technology is not your thing, The Farmer’s Almanac tells us how to predict weather without any technology whatsoever.

Cheers everyone! Stay warm!


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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 529 articles for us.

3 Comments

  1. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by weather, and the stuff about us possibly controlling the weather is really interesting! (although hilariously, it reminds me of a conspiracy theorist on my facebook who thinks Obama planned Hurricane Sandy, I shit you not) I am snowed-in here in Boston, and the T isn’t running today even, so I have nothing to do but marathon TV shows (currently, Fullmetal Alchemist) and read articles so I will check some of these out!

    Though, I was surprised not to see Weather Underground on the weather app list, I have to say. All the weather geeks I know love that one.

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