Listen To The Clouds.
Posts tagged clouds
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The cloud, however, remains a model of the world, just not the one we have taken it to mean. The apparent growth of crisis is, in part, a consequence of our new, technologically-augmented ability to perceive the world as it actually is, beyond the mediating prism of our own cultural sensorium. The stories we have been telling ourselves don’t bear out. They’re weak all over. The cloud reveals not the deep truth at the heart of the world, but its fundamental incoherence, its vast and omniferous unknowability. In place of computational thinking, we must respond with cloud thinking: an accounting of the world which reclaims the recognition and the agency of unknowing. Aetiology is a dead end. The cloud, our world, is cloudy: it remains diffuse and forever diffusing; it refuses coherence. From our global civilisation and cultural history arises a technology of unknowing; the task of our century is to accommodate ourselves with the incoherence it reveals.
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Trollstigen in Norway. by Christoph Schaarschmidt
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When I am very frightened, I look out the window on airplanes and say very quietly: I have seen the tops of clouds And I have. In all the history of humanity, I am one of the few that has seen the tops of clouds. Many would have died to do so, and some did. I have seen them many times. I have seen the Earth from space, and spun it around like a god to see what’s on the other side. We are the only consciousness we’ve ever found that has looked deep into the infinite dark, and instead of dark, we saw galaxies. Galaxies! Suns and worlds beyond number. We have looked into our world and found atoms, atomic forces, systems that dance to the glorious music of the universe. We have seen actual wonders that verge on the ineffable. We have coined a word for the ineffable. We have coined thousands of words for the ineffable. In our pain we find a kind of magic, in our worst and meanest specimens we find the flesh of a common human story.
In an attempt to codify cloud vocabulary and aid in weather prediction, the World Meteorological Association (WMO) published the first International Cloud Atlas in 1896. The Atlas divides clouds into 10 genus, 26 species, and 31 varieties, and includes important tips for cloud identification as well as appropriately whimsical descriptions—cloud species range from praecipitatio, “to fall (down a precipice)” to castellanus, “a castle of a fortified town.” Though many updates and new editions have been published since, no new cloud types have been added to the Atlas since cirrus intortus (“an entangled lock of hair”) was added in 1951. Until now.
This is the first image ever taken from the surface of Mars of an overcast sky. Featured are stratus clouds coming from the northeast at about 15 miles per hour (6.7 meters/second) at an approximate height of ten miles (16 kilometers) above the surface. The “you are here” notation marks where Earth was situated in the sky at the time the image was taken. Scientists had hoped to see Earth in this image, but the cloudy conditions prevented a clear viewing. Similar images will be taken in the future with the hope of capturing a view of Earth. From Mars, Earth would appear as a tiny blue dot similar to how a star would appear to an earthbound observer. Pathfinders’ imaging system will not be able to resolve Earths’ moon. The clouds consist of water ice condensed on reddish dust particles suspended in the atmosphere. Clouds on Mars are sometimes localized and can sometimes cover entire regions, but have not yet been observed to cover the entire planet. The image was taken about an hour and forty minutes before sunrise by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on Sol 16 at about ten degrees up from the eastern Martian horizon. (via http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/science/clouds.html )