By Dan Shapley
A $4 million birthday party, even if it is your 200th birthday, is hard to justify. Harder still if you're the federal agency charged with predicting where the next big hurricane will make landfall, and you're shorting the hurricane research budget $700,000. At least, that's what Bill Proenza, director of the National Hurricane Center, thinks. He's criticizing his bosses at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for plans to spend so lavishly on the agency's bicentennial. Fortunately, the era of the silent scientist is over. When it comes to predicting the strength, location and frequency of hurricanes, silence is not a virtue, according to a story in the May 21 Los Angeles Times.