Cloud Appreciation Society

Through my youtube subscription to AtGoogleTalks, I found this talk by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, a man who started the Cloud Appreciation Society. From their website:

You love lying in the park on a summer’s day and looking for shapes in the cumulus clouds. You think a mackerel sky of puffy altocumulus stretching off towards the setting sun is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. In short, you love clouds. And yet everyone else just seems to complain about them. Are you the only one who thinks life would be poorer without these glorious ‘patron goddesses of idle fellows’?

No, you’re not. There are others like you. And together we’ll fight the sun fascists and their obsessions with ‘blue-sky thinking’. As a member of The Cloud Appreciation Society, you’ll receive a free membership certificate and a badge (as shown to the right).

The badge is a little pin, and the certificate says:
The Cloud Appreciation Society

We do hereby certify that [name] was elected as a member of this society on [date] and will henceforth seek to persuade all who'll listen on the wonder and beauty of clouds.
I don't want to get in the habit of just posting links without adding my own insight or comments, but the main reason I want to post this is that I think it's extremely amusing that this exists. It's not a joke either. Mr. Pretor-Pinney seems completely aware that this is a rather whimsical idea, but he also seems completely serious about the goals of the society, and fighting the sun facsists. As I'm typing this, I'm almost halfway through his hour-long talk at Google, at which he apparently just talked about clouds, showed pictures of clouds, waxed poetic about clouds, on and on, in his British accent.

But if you think about it, why shouldn't there be such a society? Clouds are amazing if you don't know how they form, and arguably even moreso if you do. Why should we think of it as childish to appreciate them? It's no weirder than birdwatching, or mountain climbing, is it? Why aren't there millions of societies out there for the appreciation of each different natural phenomenon or flower or animal? (I realize there probably are such societies, actually.) I probably won't actually join, even though that pin is kind of awesome. I have a tendency to lose pins, anyway. But it's great that this website exists and everything.

Okay, what's my point in posting this? Besides just saying, "Hey look at this. Look at how silly this is." I suppose my point is this: Clouds are easy to see, it only takes a little bit of imagination to enjoy them, and if you take the time to enjoy them, you can see all kinds of different shapes. Maybe this guy is really onto something important, or at least something fun and obvious that everyone has forgotten.

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