The Weather Machine: Discussion #3

This week, we read the last two chapters of part two, Going Around and Blasting Off. Next week, we’ll read the first two chapters of part 3, The Mountaintop and The Euro.

These chapters were about the satellites that supply the weather data, some enormously expensive and standard, others one-off experimental gambles.

Some stuff to think about:

  • The GEOS are enormous, expensive geostationary weather satellites. They cost more to fly than the entire weather forecasting system they support, but the data they provide is seriously valuable. After one tipped over they had to spend $135 million repairing it. After reading the chapter, how worth it is the money?

  • Blum writes that each new GOES has a fan club. Are there any arbitrary, weird machines in your world that have a fan club?

  • Chapter six is about the “alphabet soup” of earth observing satellites that get authorized to do research or upgrade the weather model. It specifically tells the story of SMAP, which is both a boy band and also a weather satellite. How did SMAP’s story — a mixed success — make you feel?

Be sure to comment, and don’t hesitate to say how you’re liking the book and other cool things you liked. Next week is two great chapters.

Also, I’m beginning to research other books to put up for our next vote, email me if you have ideas!