Watching: clouds, maps, the watchmen
12 July 2007
Well, after the last couple of days at work, I may have to get a t-shirt from these guys after all. If the exchange rate evens out before Christmas, that is. It began late Tuesday afternoon, with spectacular proto-thunderstorm clouds on the west side of the mountain, which yielded to a film noir backdrop of a low, lumpy pre-tornado layer on the southeast side by a couple of hours before sunset. Then, by the time it got dark, the large mass of clouds had faded to a lei po`o during the night that allowed stargazing for us and observing at the summit, but with fog in between. On Wednesday morning, beautiful cirrus clouds curved in many directions, translucent and tentacular. And finally, by Wednesday afternoon, some not-quite-realized lenticulars high up to the south. All in all, the solid clouds that prevented observing for most of Wednesday night weren’t as unwelcome as if they had come without the earlier stuff. It also reminded me that cloud types are about as well–defined as are planets.
Often taken for granted, clouds are as much a part of our world and as often-overlooked as the Moon. Awareness of the current state and general goings-on of both likewise affect how we understand our environment. They are also things we tend to think of as immutable, or at least immutably represented. While that segue is a bit forced, I do think that while maps also have a pretty high coolness factor, but understanding their use is another excellent example of the demi-scientific literacy that is more and more important in our lives. While some details seem trivial, the way they are treated is probably an excellent example of how more important issues are in play. And, while I am a great fan of more globes and fewer Mercator projections, I don’t know if another brilliant but esoteric solution from a genius is the way to go, either. Maybe we should just give up and let Google run the world, as they so plainly do.
In the realm of equally but very differently graphic and political, since I first read Watchmen in junior high, when it was (relatively) new, it has both fascinated and repulsed (typical of Alan Moore, for me). Now, it turns out that I am behind the curve about the movie, while everyone else is busy reading the graphic novel so they can say that they liked it better than the movie. I’d think that the Wikipedia article linked above was parody in its sober repetition of ‘modernism,’ and ‘anti-veneration,’ except that I know from experience that people take this kind of stuff both far too seriously and not seriously enough. I wonder how many people have read both Fashionable Nonsense and Watchmen? Probably only the ones as snottily know-it-all as me. Besides, I saw 300. I know how this could turn out.