Crazy weather records

The Dutch are experiencing the coldest spring since 1984. In fact, this years spring might be one of the coldest since 1901. This weather fact is reported as hard news by De Telegraaf, the largest newspaper of the Netherlands. Although this news fact might be true, it’s not news. At least, not to me.

It’s not the coldest spring ever. It’s just the coldest since 1984, which feels like a random number to me. It’s not 1983 nor 1985. Nope, it’s exactly 1984? What if temperatures would be a bit higher, would this change the headline to “coldest spring since 1985”?

Who cares?!

Okay, why bother, you might think. Who cares?! Well, I don’t actually. But I think it shows the craziness of our 24-hour news cycle. News organizations seem to do anything to fill their websites with nice big headlines and since we like to talk about the weather…

Back in March, I started to collect some of these crazy weather records. Most of them were served as big news, including large images and big headlines on the homepage.

March 5: “Hottest March 5th ever”

Temperatures in De Bilt (a Dutch town) rose to 15,9 degrees Celsius, which make it the hottest March 5th ever. My question is simple… what makes March 5 so significant? Why not talk about March 4? Or February 23? Or January 12? Is this just a random day and random record which allows De Telegraaf to make a nice headline?

Luckily the Netherlands has De Volkskrant, arguably thé best Dutch newspaper. They brought us the following record…

March 10: “Incessant rain in De Bilt allows for new weather record”

First of all, this is not a national weather record. After all, it’s De Bilt, the same town which also experienced the hottest March 5 ever. So, why are the Dutch so focussed on De Bilt? Well, it’s not just any town. It’s a small town (10.500 people) which happens to house the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, which makes it important for weather facts. But… why should we be interested in their rain-record? And why read about it in a Dutch quality newspaper?

March 12: “It’s the coldest March 11 since 1928”

Nice, another random day and year. Why March 11? Why ‘1928’? But this random fact allows De Telegraaf to give this ‘news article’ the biggest headline and most prominent spot on their website for almost a full day.

Let’s see what happens the day after. This time, we’ll check Dutch news organization NOS.

March 13: “It’s never been so cold in this period of March”

In March 2005, temperatures were down to -14,5 degrees Celsius. This March, temperatures ‘only’ dropped to -13,3. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to make it a weather record. But journalists at NOS are creative. The record in 2005 happened in early March. So, forget 2005… it’s never been so cold in this period of March, which means -13,3 degrees counts as a record as well. It’s a job well done.

March 21: “Coldest March in 25 years”

Again, NOS knows no weather records are broken. Still, they wrote quite a big news article about the extreme cold temperatures. “This weekend promises to be one of the coldest weekends in this time of the year”, according to NOS. This ain’t news. “This weekend promises to be…”? Come on, this is more like a weather preview, similar to how pundits talk about major sports events or politics.

Luckily, there’s De Telegraaf. Their headline reads “Coldest March in 25 years”. Great! They obviously found some hard facts, something the NOS article lacked. Let’s read on. “This month will probably be one of the coldest months of the past 25 years…”. Wait! Probably? … One of the? … This doesn’t match with their headline at all!

This wakes up AD, another newspaper. They finally realize news doesn’t have to be news these days. Instead, just bring it big, use quotation marks in combination with the words “possibly” and “one of the” and you’re done.

March 24: “Sunday possibly coldest March 24 ever”

Ah, AD used both quotation marks and the word “possibly” for the article above. Need I say more? However, it makes me wonder… is it true? Did we in fact experience the coldest March 24 ever? Let’s check Dutch weather website Weeronline.

March 24: “A tenth of a degree too warm for a cold record”

Yep, AD was wrong. On March 24 1916, temperatures dropped to 2,9 degrees. This year, we briefly tipped 3,0 degrees which is not enough to justify a new weather record. But who cares. AD smartly filled their newspaper and many people, including me, had something to talk about.

Oh, before I forget, Weeronline did point out it’s the coldest March 24 since 1916. Let’s just assume 1916 is a very significant year for Dutch weather…

March 29: “Coldest Easter since 1964”

Ah, again a random year. This time it’s used by NOS. Why 1964? And more importantly, Easter is still two days away (March 31). So, how do they know it’s the coldest Easter since 1964? As it turns out, the answer lies in the first paragraph. “Probably, it’s…”, do I need to say more? But is it true? AD was wrong about March 24, so how did NOS do?

March 31: “Coldest Easter since 1964”

Yep, it’s true. On Easter morning, NOS proudly reports their predictions were correct… For which they used another big headline… smart…

This all happened in the past. Let’s focus on what matters most… which seems to be the future nowadays (why live in the present when you can also predict the future?).

May 28: “Coldest summer in 200 years”

According to De Telegraaf, this summer could be the coldest in 200 years. Could be? … 200 years? … Yep, we’ve seen this before. This ain’t news, instead it’s speculation. Something to fill the newspaper with. According to the article, June and July won’t be that sunny. And August… well, prepare for some heavy storms. Hmmm, I guess this is thé moment to book a summer holiday to Spain, Italy or somewhere else sunny. Or… no, wait. The second paragraph mentions the cold summer applies to southern European countries only. Which means…

… I wasted another minute of my life by reading speculation about the weather, which was presented as hard news, but instead doesn’t even apply to my own country… Poor me.

Willow Creek Church

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today, it’s time for part eight; “Willow Creek Church”.

Chicago was the next stop on my road trip. Well… Technically I didn’t use a car to get there so it’s not really part of the road trip (I flew from Las Vegas to the Windy City). But for simplicity’s sake, let’s just forget about that.

Ready to move on? Okay, let’s go.

I didn’t visit Chicago to see The Bean’ (see my photo below) or the rest of Chicagoland. Instead, I was in town for a backstage experience of Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, which is a suburb of Chicago.

Willow Creek Church is a large and arguably one of the most influential churches in the States. Everything there is massive. For example, what to think of a 7000 seats auditorium? And they don’t use it for just 1 weekend service. Instead, they have 3. One at Saturday and two at Sunday. When I was there, Bill Hybels introduced John Ortberg, both great speakers.

When John Ortberg spoke, I was in the control room. At Willow, this room is huge (way bigger than what I’m used to). Before the service, during the rehearsals, I walked around the auditorium and checked out the camera crew. Afterwards, they held a production meeting, which was very interesting as well.

As a bonus, the director gave me a tour through the entire building, including the fly wall, the so called ‘bridges’ (from which lights are hung – see photo below), and the workshop.

Needless to say, I had a great time and learned a lot. Thanks Willow, for this great experience!

My next stop: Missouri

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!
Part 4: Johnny Depp
Part 5: Big, bigger, biggest
Part 6: The most beautiful road of the world
Part 7: The color of luck

Square 2013, part one

As promised, here’s the first episode of Square Journaal 2013. Enjoy!

This year, Square Journaal (English: Square News) isn’t a news show. Instead, it’s more like a short movie mixed with news-items, aimed at teenagers.

Our story: Baroness Lulu von Pfirsch, the main character, wants to destroy Square, a large Christian teen event in the Netherlands. In three episodes we see her trying to achieve this goal. How it ends? Well, I guess you should watch all three episodes to find out.

Square 2013

It’s the third time I was part of the so called Square Journaal (translation: Square News). This time, we didn’t really do a news show, instead we made it like a short movie, aimed at teenagers.

Our story: Baroness Lulu von Pfirsch, the main character, wants to destroy Square, a large Christian teen event in the Netherlands. In three episodes we see her trying to achieve this goal. How it ends? Well, I guess you should watch all three episodes to find out.

As soon as the episodes hit the web, I’ll post them here as well. For now, I can only share a music video, which is a parody on this well known kids-song by famous Dutch duo Bassie and Adriaan (the original song starts at 3:42). Consider the music video as a bonus, because that’s what it is. Enjoy.

Talkshow-in-a-church

Regular readers of this blog know I’m involved with Bolder75. It’s a talkshow-in-a-church concept which we developed and produced ourselves. It was quite a challenge to find out what set we needed, how and where the guests should sit, where to position the cameras, and on and on. As time progressed, we got better and raised the bar each time.

Above, I included a short compilation of the April 13th broadcast. This was the seventh Bolder75 episode we produced. I think it looks great and it’ll be quite a challenge to improve on it. But we’re gonna try this Sunday. In the (eighth) episode, Piet Paulusma will be one of the guests. It’s something to look forward to.

Until then… I’m just gonna enjoy the compilation of last month.