When Lightning Strikes!
The Newsletter for Ready Rating Members
March 2014

Winter’s Tail
For the 127th year Punxsutawney Phil, proclaimed by locals to be nearly immortal and virtually infallible, emerged on February 2 and offered his prediction for the 2014 winter season – six more weeks of cold weather.
Looking to animal behavior for weather forecasts can be traced to the ancient Celtic holiday of Imbolc, the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. Tradition states that if hibernating animals emerge from their slumbers and are frightened by their shadows they return to their burrows to sleep another six weeks.

Phil’s forecast for a prolonged winter is not unusual. Over his 127 year history, Phil’s predictions have been wrong more times than if you relied on the flip of a coin. Not counting his eight proclamations that are lost to history and his no-show related to World War II in 1943, Climatic Data Center analysis in Ashville, NC, demonstrates that of his last twenty-five predictions, Phil has correctly anticipated an extended cold spell only ten times (a rating of 40%).

In spite of Phil’s record, thousands still travel annually to the clearing on a wooded hill a few miles outside of the village of Punxsutawney, to celebrate this mid-winter tradition.

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Are you uncertain about uncertainty? 
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Risk, Uncertainty and Neuroscience

Linguists estimate that American English has at least twenty percent more words and phrases than the next largest contemporary language, German. While this rich verbal palette is an asset to writers and speakers seeking to nuance ideas, eclectic language can cloud business discussions where clarity of expression matters. Case in point: consider the word uncertainty and its more than forty synonyms.
For many, uncertainty is the same as risk. However, as economist Dr. Frank Knight points out in his 1921 book, Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, the two concepts are related, but quite different.
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