Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bonus Blog - Clouds

I attended John Peters lecture on clouds. I am still trying to completely grasp the message Dr. Peters was trying to get across. He talked about clouds for 90 minutes and was somehow able to keep my attention the entire time. Before the lecture, I only paid attention to clouds if it was about to thunderstorm or if I was trying to get a tan in the Summer. "Clouds are so full of meaning, yet so empty in meaning" Peters said at the beginning of his lecture. A simple picture of the sky outside his house in Iowa showed the trails of four airplanes above. I thought nothing of it until he made the connection that the picture must be taken in a flyover state because you do not see skies like that on the coasts. This is an observation I would have never made before. I enjoyed his history lessons such as that Aristophanes said it was stupid to look at the sky and that clouds had no meaning. And that "clement" when using inclement weather means mercy. The Greeks have been painting clouds forever and it was the first attempts to represent abstraction and "white noise". Or that John Von Newman wanted to use computers to predict weather during the cold war so they could predict cloud cover and therefor visibility over Russia. In 1915 clouds were changed forever with poison gas. And then the H-Bomb was introduced and viewed as sexy. Clouds were no longer natural. His most intriguing point was when he asked the question "When did weather become boring or an everyday thing?" Unless attending a baseball game, people in today's society go about their day without taking 5 minutes to notice or appreciate the weather. As a kid, weather was practically the root of happiness. If it was raining, snowing, or cold and I was not able to play outside, the weather meant everything. Now I can go days without truly know the weather or cloud cover. It's either nice out or not. That is about the extent of the weather. And I know I am in the majority. I still don't know if I will be more observant of clouds in my everyday life. Or if I even agree with Dr. Peter's interpretation of clouds. But he was able to talk about clouds for 90 minutes and blew my mind. But I am still asking myself "do clouds have meaning"?

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