So, I'm watching some of the coverage about Isaac. It's shaping up to become a full blown hurricane and that's nothing to make fun of. So, I won't.
I will, however, make fun of the National Weather Service, The Hurricane Prediction Center and a lot of meteorologists throughout the U.S.
Let's examine "The Cone of Uncertainty": (cue scary-clown music)
The Cone of Uncertainty is also used extensively as a graphic in hurricane forecasting, where its most iconic usage is more formally known as the NHC Track Forecast Cone, and more colloquially known as the Error Cone, Cone of Probability, or the Cone of Death. (Note that the usage in hurricane forecasting is essentially the opposite of the usage in software development. In software development, the uncertainty surrounds the current state of the project, and in the future the uncertainty decreases, whereas in hurricane forecasting the current location of the storm is certain, and the future path of the storm becomes increasingly uncertain.) Over the past decade, storms have traveled within their projected areas two-thirds of the time, and the cones themselves have shrunk due to improvements in methodology. The NHC first began in-house five-day projections in 2001, and began issuing such to the public in 2003. It is currently working in-house on seven-day forecasts, but the resultant Cone of Uncertainty is so large that the possible benefits for disaster management are problematic.  (from our friends at Wikipedia: Cone of Uncertainty. Emphasis and highlights are mine. Please support them if you can!)
Notice the more colloquial terms: Error Cone, Cone of Probability, Cone of Death. (Discuss!)
In effect, what the "Cone of Uncertainty" is telling us is: We have absolutely no idea what is happening once this bad mamma-jamma hits land and begins to tear itself apart...so, we've put together this useless cone so we can go back and say, "See, we told you it might do this!"
|This is "The Cone of Silence" from Get Smart! To think people made fun of this device! It puts the "Cone of Uncertainty" to shame!|
|"THE GREATEST CONE EVER MADE...THE SUGAR CONE!" All other cones bow before its greatness. They are weak and paltry compared to its grandeur! All Hail The Sugar Cone! Long Live the Sugar Cone!|
What if the rest of the organized world developed shapes to help convey to people that they have no idea what they are doing? Here are some possibilities:
|"The Circled Dash of Ambiguity" is the official sign of DMVs across the nation. It tells us, rather plainly, that we will wait in line for a long, long time and, when we are "helped," we will be missing some piece of necessary paperwork.|
|"The Triangle of Terror" provides guidance for all those who don't know where to begin. Or...what to begin.|