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Today’s Forecast: Sunny With a Chance of a Housing Bubble

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- At the time of World War I, many meteorologists had all but given up on the idea of accurate and scientific weather forecasting. Then a physicist and ambulance driver by the name of Lewis Richardson, in spare moments between terrifying bouts rescuing the injured, undertook a momentous project.

His aim was to calculate, by simulating the actual physics, the development of the weather over a local zone of Europe over eight hours. He failed, but only because of a small arithmetical error. His basic idea was correct, and weather forecasting centers around the globe now use variations of the technique with impressive predictive success.