Friday, April 22, 2005

Where do you get your weather info?

I used to use Weather.com, but... no longer. From now on, get your weather data here.

It's a government site an it's free to use and free from ads. It's the weather data that you pay the government to collect when you pay your taxes. And, the government makes that data available to you, for free! Great, isn't it?

Not if you're Republican Senator Rick Santorum. He's introduced a bill to make the government stop giving this data out. See... it competes with private companies who want you to either pay for this information or make you look at ads alongside it. You're probably cynically assuming that one of these companies is a Santorum campaign donor. You're right.

One way to make your voice heard on this minor, but oh so telling issue, is to get your weather data from the government site. Rack up those hits! And boycott sites that want to charge you for a darned weather forecast.

4 Comments:

At 7:45 PM , Blogger Ideasculptor said...

OK, Here's a question. Not to argue with the 'Santorum is an idiot' sentiment of your post, but if my taxs are paying for the collection of weather data, but the weather channel and others are able to turn a profit from the exact same data via advertising, shouldn't the government alleviate my tax burden by selling ads on their own site and letting the NOAA be more self sufficient?

No, I'm not suggesting it seriously, but it makes for an interesting thought experiment. Obviously, there is great potential for conflict when the govt makes money by selling ads, so that's out. But how about selling the data to folks like the weather channel, who want to capitalize the data. Let's face it, the vast majority of the data used by commercial weather services is collected at govt expense and then sold back to us or capitalized via advertising. I'd certainly like to see govt spending reduced where it can, and forcing those who make money from the data to pay for the data strikes me as an interesting way to do so.

--sam

 
At 7:53 AM , Blogger Mike M. said...

Sam,

I guess the point here is that, like the SEC, this government agency is trying to do the right thing by giving you free access to the information you paid them to collect. I'd argue that this debate is more about the Freedom of Information Act than it is about money. Or... it should be.

One irony is that people can still make money reselling this data. This happens with the SEC too as there are tons of sites out there that present the information better than the SEC does. The weather companies are griping because they haven't figured out good enough ways to add value to the information. And, if they can't do that, I say we don't need them.

The next government agency that needs to do this, by the way, would be the IRS... you know, there's no reason that you should pay H&R Block for tax prep and e-filing when the IRS could put similar software on its Web site for free, or for minimal cost.

Sometimes, the most efficient use of government is to pay agencies to do their jobs, but then make sure you can derive services from that agency, and not from a private middle-man.

 
At 7:40 AM , Blogger Missy said...

I get my weather from David Lynch.

 
At 9:34 AM , Blogger adriana said...

ME TOO, Missy!!!

 

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