5 thoughts on “Defining the Wind

  1. “The Beaufort (Wind) Scale and how a 19th Century Admiral turned science into Poetry.” Exultant writing about a fairly boring subject (history of sea navigation), that made it come alive. It is about writing and words, which I love, and about knowing moments of intense joy by observing the world in openness and detail. I was rating the wind speed for weeks afterwards. For example, Beaufort Number 7 is a moderate gale wth speeds of 32-38 mph and “whole trees in motion; inconvenience in walking ag

  2. Oh, man, if you’re interested in writing, what an adventure. And who knew that wind speed could be so riveting?

    It’s all about the Beaufort Scale, which Scott Huler stumbled upon in a large dictionary. He believes it to be (and in his hands, the reader cannot help but agree) one of the finest, most poetic pieces of technical writing ever: a concise, pre-anemometer means of describing wind speed. For years, it’s what we used. Example:

    0: Calm. Smoke rises vertically.

    Seeing this, and possibly wee

  3. (It’s Beaufort 1 – the smoke next door indicates direction but leaves don’t move – it’s 2 to 3 mph) I look out the window first thing now and check the weather. That is how I came to watch a flock of young flickers doing their teenage thing, diving in and out of trees, stumbling over branches and such-like.
    The book details the process by which the Beaufort Scale of wind speed was devised. Mr. Beaufort was not the initiator but he pushed it hard and refined the details. The narration is very con

  4. As far as writing and interest, this book is a 3 star. Despite his great insights into the superiority of brevity and plain speak the author has a tendency to ramble on with no strong organization. The later third of the book particularly dragged on as the other plowed through his philosophical musings.

    It’s gets a 4 though because those musings, based on the story he told up to that point, I agree with. Just wish it had been distilled down a bit. In my rating system where five stars are reserved

  5. “Never leave the ship without pencil and paper; keep a compass handy; jot down what you see. Keep your eyes open.”

    “Nature, rightly questioned, never lies.”

    I have no idea what I was expecting when I bought this book at a flea market on campus a year ago. I picked it up purely because the title and cover were pretty.

    It’s a very different book than anything I’ve read for pleasure before. Nonfiction, first of all. Very research-y, scientific and historical, for another.

    For most of the book I was cau

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