Have you ever had to make a phone call and reached one of those electronic attendants? Not only must you make your way through an electronic directory, but at the search's end, you're as likely as not to reach a "voice mailbox" which gives you no indication whether your party is in, out, alive or dead.
Inconvenient? Yes. Aggravating? Without a doubt. Dangerous? Probably not.
We wish we could say the same about the automated weather-tracking system at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport, off U.S. 11, south of Martinsburg. The Federal Aviation Administration purchased the system hoping it would (surprise!) be cheaper than human weather observers. But based on news reports, we'd say this system desperately needs a human touch.
According to Bill Walkup, the airport manager, the system can't detect ice storms and thunderstorms. In February, he said, the system did not detect an ice storm immediately and when it did, didn't report the condition for an hour.