I think that one is likely to smile incredulously at the notion of blue moons. Nevertheless they were as common as were green suns in 1883.
Science had to account for these unconventionalities. Such publications as Nature and Knowledge were besieged with inquiries.
I suppose, in Alaska and in the South Sea Islands, all the medicine men were similarly upon trial.
Something had to be thought of.
Upon the 28th of August, 1883, the volcano of Krakatoa, of the Straits of Sunda, had blown up.
We're told that the sound was heard 2,000 miles, and that 36,380 persons were killed. Seems just a little unscientific, or impositive, to me: marvel to me we're not told 2,163 miles and 36,387 persons. The volume of smoke that went up must have been visible to other planets — or, tormented with our crawlings and scurryings, the earth complained to Mars; swore a vast black oath at us.
In all text-books that mention this occurrence — no exception so far so I have read — it is said that the extraordinary atmospheric effects of 1883 were first noticed in the last of August or the first of September.
That makes a difficulty for us.
It is said that these phenomena were caused by particles of volcanic dust that were cast high in the air by Krakatoa.
This is the explanation that was agreed upon in 1883 —
But for seven years the atmospheric phenomena continued —
Except that, in the seven, there was a lapse of several years — and where was the volcanic dust all that time?
You'd think that such a question as that would make trouble?
Then you haven't studied hypnosis. You have never tried to demonstrate to a hypnotic that a table is not a hippopotamus. According to our general acceptance, it would be impossible to demonstrate such a thing. Point out a hundred reasons for saying that a hippopotamus is not a table: you'll end up agreeing that neither is a table a table — it only seems to be a table. Well, that's what the hippopotamus seems to be. So how can you prove that something is not something else, when neither is something else some other thing? There's nothing to prove.
This is one of the profundities that we advertised in advance.
You can oppose an absurdity only with some other absurdity. But Science is established preposterousness. We divide all intellection: the obviously preposterous and the established.
But Krakatoa: that's the explanation that the scientists gave. I don't know what whopper the medicine men told.
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