Did you ever wonder why people watch the Weather Channel? Neither have I. However, it does seem that the continuing interest many people have in tomorrow's weather is something like their endless fascination with technology forecasts. Both have some minor practical value, but not enough to justify all the attention they receive. Their appeal lies deeper within human nature: curiosity about the future and a desire to understand, and perhaps even control, the forces that are shaping it.

As long as the demand exists for such forecasts, a still more basic human instinct – greed – ensures someone will supply them. Yet a good trend is hard to find; so much of what's reported is recycled conventional wisdom. This isn't all bad. Like a weather report, conventional wisdom may not be infallible, but it is a reasonable way to bet. Still, it's more fun to learn something new.

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