World and Nation

The Days After Tomorrow

The Days After Tomorrow

My fellow members of the MIT Class of 2008, I know that this Commencement ceremony fills you with a variety of emotions, including happiness, excitement, nostalgia, and uncertainty. The same thoughts and questions are running through all of our heads: Is it June already? What am I going to do with my life? Can I really make the world a better place? Will anyone actually read my thesis? I spent a lot of time writing it.

In times like these, I am reminded of a story from the annals of meteorology lore, concerning Mr. Francisco Arias Olivera, a respected television weatherman from Peru. Respected, that is, until a weak storm predicted to leave two inches of rain became a torrential downpour, dumping 19 inches of precipitation on an unsuspecting rural village. Flash floods washed away hundreds of homes, and several residents lost their lives in the storm. The death toll included the unfortunate weatherman; as legend has it, an angry mob dragged Mr. Olivera from his office and summarily lynched him.

No amount of careful calculation or expert analysis can completely predict the behavior of a chaotic system like the atmosphere, yet meteorologists continue to provide forecasts each and every day, knowing full well that the consequences of being incorrect can be quite dire indeed. The point I wish to make is that wherever your life after the Institute takes you, you must think like a forecaster: Always do what you believe to be right, because even if you’re wrong, no one’s going to hang you … unless, of course, you’re doing the weather.

From myself and The Tech’s meteorology department, our deepest thanks for allowing us to predict your weather and our most heartfelt congratulations.

Extended Forecast

Tonight: Overcast, with variable winds. Low 66°F (19°C).

Tomorrow: Scattered thunderstorms likely. High 81°F (27°C).

Tomorrow night: Partly cloudy; goodbye MIT. Low 69°F (21°C).

Sunday: Sunny with intermittent cloud cover. High 80°F (27°C).