Saturday, January 21, 2012

Raining Logic

After trying to explain a logic concept this Wednesday—the truth value of conditional statements—I've been pondering the idea further.

According to the logic text, a conditional statement is true and valid if both halves are true (if it rains, then we will not have a picnic outside).

The conditional statement is also valid if neither half is true or if only the second half is true. There might be any number of causes, you see, that produce a certain result.

For example: in Oregon, if the sun shines, then it causes moisture to evaporate into the air and we get rain. Also, if the wind blows from the coast, then it brings moisture and we get rain. If the wind blows down the Columbia, it might bring cold weather and snow, but more likely we will get rain. And if the wind blows from the south, then it pulls all the moisture (which might otherwise have gone to California) north to Oregon and we get rain.

It's not raining at the moment, but that's not for lack of clouds.

Ultimately, our 40-year record flooding is just a minor blip on the national news, but it seems strange to watch this sort of major flooding occur almost in our backyard. If you have been watching our area, you’ve probably seen the photos. I think the strangest was the one of a metal swing-set that looks like a submerged fence-rail.

Then there are the paradoxes of nature:

In Oregon, it is possible to drive down a nearly dry road, while a dozen roads just three blocks away have been closed due to flooding.

It is also possible to drive down a nearly dry road while the McDonald's drive through right next to the road is flooded—been there, done that.

After it snows, it pours?

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