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Booting Up the Weather

Andrew Freedman @ 9:40 AM

As I watched and listened to innovative musician "Nullsleep" give a free performance at the Chicago Cultural Center on Saturday, I realized that I had ventured into an entirely different "geekdom."

I had gone from the comfortable weather geek domain -- where discussing outflow boundaries and the lifted index constitutes flirting -- and opened my eyes to video game geeks, for whom sunlight is optional.

Jason Samenow's Forecast

Nice Day StampToday: Partly to mostly sunny. Low humidity. Highs 77-82. North wind around 10mph.
Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Lows 55-60(suburbs to city)
Monday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the low 80s.

Unlike a weather weenie, the video game geek does not want to go outside in the world's worst weather to experience the fierce whims of nature, but instead yearns to explore virtual reality.

Therein lies the widest gulf between the hardcore weather geek and the die-hard video game geek: one looks up at the sky, while the other fixates straight ahead on the screen. Yet both share one fundamental trait that should bring them together: they're both geeks.

Seated next to me at the concert-- and the reason for my going to the event -- was my little brother Russell, a 20-year-old game nerd/art student with unkempt hair whom I look to as the potential bridge between the different communities.

I know that Russ will do many amazing things with his life (beginning with moving out of my apartment at the end of the summer), but the thing I want him to start on first is creating a sweet meteorological video game.

Russell's got the brains (the kid reads at least two books a week). He has the looks (colleagues at his internship call him "Harry Potter"). He just needs the financial incentive (Have I mentioned that he's crashing at my place right now?).

The game could be a storm chasing adventure. Or a flying into the hurricane simulation. Or how about a game where you would have to protect trailer parks from tornadoes?

Or perhaps a lightning game, where you get to strike people in the streets, if you're into that sort of sadistic thing. Or how about a global climate change game, where the gamer can shut down the thermohaline circulation and plunge Europe into a cooler climate?

The possibilities are as endless as the clouds are varied.

NOAA's National Weather Service has already created a real world simulation in which the gamer has to make split second severe weather warning decisions based on historic radar loops. Russ could start where they've left off.

Creating a weather video game is necessary to bring the two geek communities together, because both versions of geek need more friends. The gamers at the concert weren't that different looking from weather fans at a weather conference. The gamers just didn't seem to bathe regularly.

Maybe a weather game will just make weather geeks more geeky by having them play video games, but I don't care, because those gamers need friends.

Get to it Russ.

Also, rent is due today.

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