Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is the most interesting weather?

I take attendance by having the students answer a question. The questions are informed by recent events, course material, and whatever else bubbles out of my mind. It's been raining here, so...

What is the most interesting weather?

This question turned out to be an interesting survey of basically "what is the most interesting weather you have witnessed?" for many people.

Among the actual-weather/climate answers, artisanally hand-sorted by semantic nearness:
  • sunny
  • sunny rain
  • warm rain
  • raining when I know I'm gonna be indoors
  • pouring rain
  • light snow
  • snowing
  • fluffy snow
  • lake effect snow, i.e., a mile wide band of several feet of snow (with areas on either side getting nothing)
  • falling ash / magnificent sunsets during fire season (the closest SoCal gets to snow)
  • hail
  • "wintery-mix"
  • thunderstorms
  • thunder
  • fog in the daytime
  • dense fog
  • cloudy
  • partly cloudy
  • when there are wavy lines on the horizon
  • the season of inverse monsoons
  • hurricane season; sometimes you get hail
  • tornado; -- sky turns green
  • all weather's interesting
  • lava
I am astonished to learn that there is something real called "fire season". It sounds straight out of fiction. I'm not sure if "inverse monsoons" are real, but on balance the term seems believable so I've grouped it there. (If it's a cultural reference I've missed then... oops.)

The non-literal answers were fun, too.
  • when justice rains from above
  • the day I find my dad (<-- a="" across="" answer="" attendance...="" cropped="" days="" enough="" feel="" frequently="" has="" i="" is="" li="" many="" narrative="" student="" tell="" that="" the="" this="" to="" trying="" up="">
  • bees
  • oobleck (ooblick?)
  • the heat death of the universe
  • cats & dogs
  • raining cats and dogs
  • blood
  • whether or not P=NP (<-- 5="" another="" hand-annotated="" li="" on="" one="" stars="" student="" this="">
  • the dying hurricane on Jupiter

Several of these elicited guffaws, in particular those which played on the expectation that weather falls from the sky: blood?! bees! lava?!?! 

The teacher's preference award is tied this time between the weather/whether-P=NP joke and lava.

Congrats, everyone! Come back later this week and the beginning of next for the final two rounds of our silly contest.

This post's theme word is inspissate (v. tr., intr.), "to thicken or condense." The fine droplets of lava were manageable weather until they began to inspissate and collate, at which point the danger escalated quickly.

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