DOES “B. T.”stand for Barometer and Thermometer, the instruments which some people are foolish enough to think necessary for forecasting the weather, or in this simple guise does modesty shelter itself from too great publicity and the evils that popularity brings? The connection is curious, but probably accidental, for the book is free from all scientific technicalities, and the author would like us to forget that such things existed, and adopt processes that can be practised by all, without any outlay on costly apparatus, without telegraphic information, and the weariness of preparing synoptic charts. Herein “B. T.”is wise, for he is assured of a much larger audience, since the instruments with which he works are in the hands of every one, and no previous knowledge is required for their use. The sky, the clouds, the moon, animals, plants, &c, these are the tools our author uses; but even these may at times be a little inconvenient and difficult in their application. For instance, some of us might very well have wished to know that the winter through which we have just passed was likely to prove more than ordinarily severe, in order to take necessary precautions about water-pipes and suchlike necessary evils. Here is the method of test: “If the mole dig his hole two feet and a half deep [this sounds like a sum in simple proportion, but such a conclusion would be premature], expect a very severe winter; if two feet deep, not so severe; if one foot deep, a mild winter.”No one would probably care to contradict this; it may be perfectly true, but then as a rule people do not go about the country with pickaxe and shovel, looking for mole-holes, and laboriously and exactly determining their depth. Such severe exercise would be undertaken only by a very ardent meteorologist, and even he might be discouraged, for the author does not say that the winter will be severe or otherwise, but only that it may be expected.
My Weather-wise Companion.
Presented by B. T.. (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1895.)
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My Weather-wise Companion. Nature 51, 602–603 (1895). https://doi.org/10.1038/051602a0