The Fifth Risk

Author: Michael Lewis
This Month Hacker News 1


by zetazzed   2020-12-13
This is a great time to check out Michael Lewis's The Fifth Risk (, which does a deep dive into NOAA, the weather service, and the wretched attempts to strangle the usefulness of this public service while keeping it alive enough to act as a massive subsidy to accuweather and related bottom feeders. It should disgust both libertarians and proponents of active government, and really anyone paying attention. Accuweather wants NWS to do all the forecasting work but then funnel all the data through Accu and a few other private hands, who of course want to profit from this data but not pay for it.
by Azerty9999   2019-06-17
For those interested in more background on NOAA and making money from it, I highly recommend reading The Fifth Risk[0] by Moneyball author, Michael Lewis[1]. It details how a couple private companies make a lot of money using NOAA data in interesting ways (e.g.: crop insurance (now acquired by Monsanto)). Another of those companies is AccuWeather whose CEO was appointed to head NOAA by Trump[2].

P.S.: Anyone notice that monitoring "Climate" was absent in the government announcement?




by d_burfoot   2019-05-03
>> 16. Some jobs in government may be easier to get than you imagine.

I will add to this my observation from reading Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk: if you can tolerate the bureaucracy, it's often possible to get to work on hugely impactful and highly-resourced projects early in your career by going into government.

by kwindla   2019-04-12
Yes! The Michael Lewis book is called _The Fifth Risk_, and it's an amazing read. It's a series of contrasting stories: earnest government workers who have dedicated their careers to protecting all of us from threats like nuclear proliferation, on the one hand, and on the other politicians and narrowly interested lobbyists who view government as either a threat to their self-interest or an opportunity to tilt the economic playing field.

From the NPR review of the book:

> Take Trump's choice to head National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commerce Department agency that, among other responsibilities, oversees the National Weather Service. For that critical position, Trump has chosen Barry Myers, who is CEO of the private forecasting service AccuWeather. As Lewis points out, AccuWeather repackages the weather service's own data and sells it to private concerns for a profit. Myers at one time argued that "the government should get out of the forecasting business." In other words, you want to know if it's going to rain tomorrow? Or which way that hurricane is tracking? Well, buy our app, or subscribe to our forecasts. Myers has yet to be confirmed.

by yingw787   2019-01-28
Even without the shutdown, the U.S. air traffic control system may experience greater strain in the years to come due to a generational deficit in the number of new air traffic controllers being trained and staffed: