another get_weather_ca update

It turns out that as part of the “website revamp”:, there’s now a text weather page, as well as the fancy one with tables and graphics. Actually, I tripped over it by accident; on the weekend the graphics page was redirecting to the text-only page for some reason. When the graphics page returned, I noticed the “graphics off” link that gives the text page :-)

Anyway, on the weekend I wrote a parser for the text-only page. It seems to be working OK, so I cleaned it up a bit and am posting it here (and to the mailing list). As an added bonus, forecasts are back (yay!).

You can download:

* “patch against misterhouse 2.78”:
* “weather_ca.tar.gz”:
* “”:

posted at 2:46 pm on Monday, February 24, 2003 in Programming | Comments Off on another get_weather_ca update

get_weather_ca update

Our friends at “”: have moved their scripts around, and changed the web page formats. I’ve partially updated my screen scraper for “Misterhouse”:, although I’ve had to disable the forecast portion until I get more time.

You can download:

* a “patch against misterhouse 2.78”:
* “weather_ca.tar.gz”:
* “”:

posted at 4:21 pm on Thursday, February 20, 2003 in Programming | Comments Off on get_weather_ca update

Dances with Systems

I found an article: Whole Earth: Dancing with Systems

self-organizing, nonlinear, feedback systems are inherently unpredictable. They are not controllable. They are understandable only in the most general way. The goal of foreseeing the future exactly and preparing for it perfectly is unrealizable. The idea of making a complex system do just what you want it to do can be achieved only temporarily, at best. We can never fully understand our world, not in the way our reductionistic science has led us to expect. Our science itself, from quantum theory to the mathematics of chaos, leads us into irreducible uncertainty. For any objective other than the most trivial, we can’t optimize; we don’t even know what to optimize. We can’t keep track of everything. We can’t find a proper, sustainable relationship to nature, each other, or the institutions we create, if we try to do it from the role of omniscient conqueror.

Systems thinking leads to another conclusion, however – waiting, shining, obvious as soon as we stop being blinded by the illusion of control. It says that there is plenty to do, of a different sort of “doing.” The future can’t be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. Systems can’t be controlled, but they can be designed and redesigned. We can’t surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them. We can’t impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.

We can’t control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them!

This article sums up, in a nice way, what I do for a living. Cool.

From an article by Donella Meadows, published in Whole Earth Winter 2001, via

posted at 9:26 am on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 in Programming | Comments Off on Dances with Systems
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