A Single Swallow: Following An Epic Journey From South by Horatio Clare

By Horatio Clare

From the slums of Cape city to the palaces of Algiers, via Pygmy villages the place pineapples develop wild, to the Gulf of Guinea the place the ocean blazes with oil flares, throughout continents and fourteen international locations - this epic trip is not anything to swallows, they do it two times a 12 months. yet for Horatio Clare, author and birdwatcher, it's the day trip of a life-time.

Along the way in which he discovers previous empires and glossy tribes, a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains tips to trip with no cash or a passport, and describes a terrifying incident concerning 3 Spanish infantrymen and a tiny orange puppy. by way of trains, motorbikes, canoes, one camel and 3 ships, Clare follows the swallows from reed beds in South Africa, the place thousands roost in February, to a barn in Wales, the place a couple nest in might.

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There is no natural process which would not be produced by these active forces­ attractions and repulsions-that govern both the motion of the stars and that of freely falling bodies. Already a national hero before his death, nearly a century later Newton was to become, mainly through the powerful influence exerted by Laplace, the symbol of the scientific revolution in Europe. Astronomers scanned a sky ruled by mathematics. The Newtonian system succeeded in overcoming all obsta­ cles. Furthermore, it opened the way to mathematical meth­ ods by which apparent deviations could be accounted for and even be used to infer the existence of a hitherto unknown planet.

Classical dynamics seems to express in an especially clear and striking way the static view of nature. Here time apparently i s reduced t o a parameter, and future and past become equiv­ alent. It is true that quantum theory has raised many new problems not covered by classical dynamics but it has never­ theless retained a number of the conceptual positions of classi­ cal dynamics , particularly as far as time and process are concerned. ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 12 As early as at the beginning of the nineteenth century, precisely when classical science was triumphant, when the Newtonian program dominated French science and the latter dominated Europe, the first threat to the Newtonian con­ struction loomed into sight.

We are aware that asserting this receptiveness to cultural content runs counter to the traditional conception of science. In this view science develops by freeing itself from outmoded forms of understanding nature; it purifies itself in a process that can be compared to an "ascesis" of reason. But this in turn leads to the conclusion that science should be practiced only by communities living apart, uninvolved in mundane matters. In this view, the ideal scientific community should be protected from the pressures, needs, and requirements of so­ ciety.

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