Early spring ‘a certainty’ - Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/03/early-spring-a-certainty.html


How is it early? Six weeks is six weeks. Phil is just “Heads I win, tails you lose” stated differently.

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It’s 66F here in NoVa right now and probably going to break all time high records for Feb. 02.

Spring is here now!




Same in Atlanta. We aren’t going to get a single snow day this year I think, my kids will be bummed. We don’t get much as it is but we usually get at least one.


Huge blizzard heading there way, right now.

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Actually, a coin toss is more accurate: Phil is only right 39% of the time (source: https://www.livescience.com/32974-punxsutawney-phil-weather-prediction-accuracy.html).

Though I think that just means we’ve been incorrectly interpreting Phil: if we instead believe that an early spring will come if Phil sees his shadow, then he is right 61% of the time!

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“In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney.”

What?!?!? But Santa is real, right?


The following is an example of an early Spring:

tenor (1)


Care to bet say, $100 on my coin toss rules? I’ll give you 10:1 on it. For a $100 bet, if you win I’ll give you $1000. I wouldn’t lose money even at a million to one. It’s a forced choice.

Phil is 100% accurate, unless the earth orbit shifts. Six weeks left of winter is the exact same thing as six weeks until spring.


I misread your post. I thought you were saying Phil is the same as a coin toss, not a forced-choice coin toss.

However, now that I see what you were saying, I can tell you that you misunderstand Groundhog Day—it’s not a forced choice. The two options are six more weeks of winter vs early spring (i.e. less than six weeks until spring), not six weeks left of winter vs six weeks until spring.

And that is why Punxsutawney Phil is correct only 39% of the time, as the record clearly shows, not 100% of the time, as you mistakenly believe.

It’s still gonna be cold and unpleasant in most parts of the country for the next month & change, regardless.


Keep in mind that Phil lives in a house and gets regular meals, unlike his fellow groundhogs. Every year, he probably gets some version of the old trope, “Nice place you got here, Phil. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.”


pennsylvanians don’t get a lot of times to be proud, just let them have this

it’s central pa not philly :wink:

is there anyplace that takes bets on if he’s accurate because with a ratio that off there’s money to be made


Only in my puritanical state, where liquor sales are policed, can we have towns with names like Gobbler’s Knob and Intercourse.

This groundhog thing always baffled me, how someone thought up a weather forecasting rodent, Ill never know

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Eh, King’s Island offers a prediction each year based on if The Beast (the world’s longest wooden roller coaster) sees it’s shadow or not… at some point, we must admit that there has been certain aerial activity by terrestrial beings directly above a member of the Selachimorpha clade.

ETA: Note that their springtime opening day is disclosed before the prediction occurs; so they do not factor it in. :slight_smile:

“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

I’m worried about my crocuses, tulips and fritillaria. Our first season with frittilaria!

That is all.