the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Time for my annual tl;dr post about bad weather.

I've been going to this seminar (hosted and organized by WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling at Fermilab in Batavia, IL) since the mid-nineties and I have never seen it so crowded. What usually happens is that those of us who want to be sure to get a seat in the auditorium show up between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m., the auditorium opens at 11:00, it fills up around 11:30 or 11:40, and they close the doors and start funneling people toward alternate viewing areas to watch the presentations on CCTV. This year, the foyer filled up by 10:30 and they had to open the auditorium 20 minutes early for safety reasons. The auditorium was full and the doors had closed by 11:15.

I have also never seen so many first-timers there. Usually when they ask for a show of hands, maybe 40% of the audience is new. This time it was closer to 80%. You would think that was a good thing, but I'm not really sure why many of them were there. Maybe they thought it was going to be four hours of non-stop tornado videos? Several of them brought young children, but this seminar is more like a college lecture with lots of graphs and charts and technical terms, and only the occasional cool video. The poor kids were bored silly, and people (even the ones without kids) started leaving in noticeable chunks after each speaker. Many of the people around me left, which was kind of nice in that I didn't have to hold my stuff on my lap anymore and it got a lot cooler without any people to be crammed like sardines next to. Still, now that the seminar is being streamed live, I think I may try that instead of going back.

Now excuse me while I get my weather geek on.

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the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Every year, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling puts together a roster of speakers for a severe storms seminar at Fermilab (the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL). This year's seminar wasn't quite as good as last year's. Several of the speakers gave very technical presentations with lots of charts and statistics. A troop of boy scouts behind me who all looked like they were about 9 years old left after the second speaker. Those poor kids must have been bored to death. The material was way over their heads.

On the plus side, this was the first year the seminar was streamed live, so if anybody is interested, you may be able to watch it online next year. Tom Skilling also said that videos of the various speakers would be available on WGN's website. As of right now this second, the site lists the 2009 speakers but has the 2008 videos up (however, the 2008 speakers were uniformly excellent and definitely worth watching).

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the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Weather)
Every year, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling puts together a roster of speakers for a severe storms seminar at Fermilab (the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL). The topics are usually pretty interesting. I decided to take notes this year now that I have an LJ, so naturally this year was the year they decided to turn the lights off to make the PowerPoint presentations more visible. They usually just turn the lights down for the video footage, then turn them back up again. I was attempting to scribble notes in movie theater darkness the whole time.

I was really looking forward to this year's seminar because it was going to cover two storms that I personally experienced.

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the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Default)
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