Thanks to a completely incorrect weather forecast, I had a chance to sit in the garden with a book briefly last weekend. The book I grabbed off the shelf was a tattered copy of George Orwell’s Ninety Eighty Four. How life changes… As far back as 1949 Big Brother was a term used to describe some of the more sinister aspects of government control. Orwell painted a terrifying vision of a totalitarian future, where government controlled the population whilst fighting a foreign war. Today, Big Brother is a television programme, showing the inhabitants of a house under the constant gaze of TV cameras. Oddly enough the flood of reality television has helped to make this sort of intrusion more acceptable, and many have learned to live with cctv, webcams and the ‘nanny state’. I have a sceptical friend, however, who thinks that recent government initiatives, including noise mapping and flood mapping, are also sinister attempts to control our lives. Last month Gordon Brown launched Climate Change in Our World, which is the product of collaboration that includes Google and the Met Office Hadley Centre, to provide animations of how climate change might affect temperatures. It’s a laudable concept but one which will help sceptics fuel the debate on what and who to believe. The problem remains – thanks to the baffling science of weather forecasting and scepticism of government motivation, there may well be many who are still sitting in the garden reading a book when the flood comes.