“Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring / up through the atmosphere, / up where the air is clear! / Oh, let’s go fly a kite!” So – memorably – sang the freshly awakened and amended George Banks, superbly portrayed by David Tomlinson, in Disney’s “Mary Poppins.”
I defy you to find more than a handful of people who can provide a clear and relatively easy-to-comprehend explanation of gravity and its effects. Not just the basic “Newton’s apple” material most of us learned in school, but the deeper, universe-spanning phenomena in which it plays a role.
Everyone talks about the weather, but how many really understand how it actually functions. How do temperature and pressure influence the planet’s weather systems? How is weather different from climate? Storm Dunlop (yes, that is his given name) takes up these and a number of other related questions in his new “Weather; A Very Short Introduction.”
On Monday, 26 February 1979, the public schools in my hometown were closed. Not for any designated holiday or scheduled late winter vacation; rather they were closed as the result of an astronomical event: a total eclipse of the sun. Despite the fact that for weeks we had all been rigorously instructed about the dangers […]