Science: Water Twister

Few people have ever studied a tornado, fewer still its nautical equivalent, a waterspout. First instinct of those who have seen this terrifying natural phenomenon, which links heaven and earth with a dark, serpentine Jacob's ladder, is to get out of its path.

Last week the National Geographic Society reported that its South American survey plane was cruising from Miami to Havana when: "Pilot Hawkins, to avoid an angry black cloud, veered to port. Then, to our amazement, there quickly dropped from the north end of the storm cloud a thin writhing black column...

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