The Pointlessness of Stating What We can See from Space

Boing Boing, courtesy of a Twitter post from Jad Abumrad and using imagery from NASA, has a post about how we can see the path of the Massachussets tornado from space and includes a photo. Yeah, satellite imagery is powerful. It is time we retire the can-see-it-from-space line.

2 thoughts on “The Pointlessness of Stating What We can See from Space

  1. Rickles

    I was thinking the other day about storm shelters and their necessity. I thought, why not just run (or drive) perpendicular to the path of an approaching tornado (as you would probably do if a car was chasing you)?
    I figured they must be very erratic in their trajectory. The satellite image makes the path look pretty straight though.

  2. Jason Post author

    A major issue to “just” driving perpendicular to a tornado is determining its direction. If you are far away, you can determine its velocity relatively well (or at least well enough to decide whether to leave your current position and in which direction one should head). If you are near the tornado, though, determining which direction it is moving could be significantly difficult. It’s size and probable minor shifts in directionality requires that you have some amount of time/distance. In such a case, though, you don’t have time/distance; you have to move, now. The fact that in some tornado situations you don’t have time/distance may be why storm shelters exist (i.e., “Holy nuts! There’s a twister eating our neighbors’ house! Quick, to the storm shelter!”).

    Also, I have no idea how “normal” that tornado is compared to others.

    Last, I still want to be a tornado chaser, but in the sense of actually driving through a tornado. It probably doesn’t get much crazier than that.

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