Weather Proverbs for Cloud Computing
text and illustrations by Prof. Oddfellow (for Red Column magazine)
William Gibson's cyberpunk vision was prophetic: the fuzzy gray sky above us is "the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" (Neuromancer, 1984, p. 1). Technology woven into the fabric of the heavens? As in the Hermetic maxim, "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above," and vice versa (The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus). Just as there are weather patterns in the atmosphere, there are weather patterns in what Teilhard de Chardin dubbed the noosphere. Life, like the sky and "like the sea, has its storms and calms, its uproar and great vistas" (pseudo-Fourier, quoted in Maurice Halbwachs' The Psychology of Social Class, 1958, p. 9). Indeed, there are many types of storms on many dimensions: "psychological, emotional, winds of afflictions, and winds of adversity" (Herbert C. Gabhart, The Name Above Every Name, 1986, p. 72). We speak of "cloud computing," but a cloud can have any number of shapes, determined by the principal quantum number (Edward Edelson, Parents' Guide to Science, 1966, p. 63). Looking up to the Neuromantic sky, we realize that we lack a language for prognosticating the climate of our cloudy computing. The earliest records of weather among every culture are to be found in myths and folklore, which describe clouds and other natural phenomena in highly figurative language, referring them to supernatural agencies or astrological influences by way of explanation (Ralph Abercromby, Weather: A Popular Exposition of the Nature of Weather Changes from Day to Day, 1887, p. 3). Over the centuries, the premonitory signs of good or bad weather became formulated into short sayings. In the spirit of this tradition, we offer ten immemorial proverbs translated for Second Memory:
If the crow speak by night and the jackal by day, a torrent there'll be in an unusual way.
Flash memory never strikes the same address twice.
A rainbow at night is the admin's delight.
If latency 'fore seven, 'twill cease by eleven.
On St. Michaelmas Day, the devil puts his foot on the Blackberry.
If an Apple has a worm, the day lengthens.
The flapping of an Amazon butterfly's wings may set in motion a chain of events that culminates in a midwest outage.
If the sky beyond the iCloud is blue, be glad; there's a picnic for you.
What goes up in a FLOP comes down in a drop.
The full moon has the power to drive away the cloud.
—Prof. Oddfellow (a.k.a. Craig Conley) is the author of Seance Parlor Feng Shui, The One Minute Mystic, The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board, The Carte Blanche Atlas (of empty maps), Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy, The Skeleton Key of Solomon, How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook, and many others. His website is MysteryArts.com