Monday, February 2, 2015

Reverse-Groundhogmancy for 2015

Last winter my attempt to apply reverse-groundhogmancy failed spectacularly. To recap my ongoing attempts to apply this potentially remarkable divination tool, back in 2012 a meteorology website put together an analysis of the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous groundhog. According to folklore, if Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, spring will come early. But what the analysis showed is that Phil is only right 39% of the time.

A commenter here on Augoeides noted that in fact the analysis meant that if every one of Phil's predictions were reversed, his accuracy would be 61%, substantially better than chance. It was with that revelation that I embraced the dark art of reverse-groundhogmancy. In 2013 it worked just fine - Phil predicted an early spring which did not come to pass, making the reverse prediction correct. Last year, though, he predicted six more weeks of a winter that was truly awful in Minnesota, and was not just correct but overwhelmingly so. The winter of 2014 endured longer than a mere six weeks, including a blizzard in April.

This year I'm more hopeful, for both the weather and the reverse method. Today Phil once again saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. Unlike last year, though, this winter has been relatively mild here in the Upper Midwest, with above-zero temperatures every couple of weeks. And now according to the reverse method we will have an early spring, so that's my prediction and I'm sticking to it.

We'll see how it works out this time.

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