Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Perils Of Prediction

(pic - John Partridge)

John Partridge (1644-1714) published a series of almanacs in which he predicted, amongst other things, the day on which well known public figures would die, and the weather for each day of the year.

While travelling, he stopped at an inn for refreshment, once his meal was over he summoned the stable boy and asked for his horse. The stable boy told him that despite it being a sunny day, heavy rain was due and Partridge would be better off indoors.

Partridge dismissed the lad's advice and ventured out, only to be soaked to the skin in a summer squall which arrived half an hour later. He was interested to learn how the innkeepers had predicted the change in weather and so returned to the inn to question them.

"The truth is Sir, we have a book called Partridge's Almanac, and the fellow is so often wrong that whenever he promises a fine day we guess it will be the contrary, today said 'settled fine weather - no rain.' " - Jeffrey Kacirk, Forgotten English.

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