Phenomena: Enjoying the Umbra

Such is the sophistication of modern man that no scientists were in danger last week of losing their heads, as had the ancient Chinese court astronomers Hsi and Ho for failing to predict the imminence of a solar eclipse. No one in the U.S. shot arrows into the sky, as Peruvian Indians often did to frighten away the beast devouring the sun. No one even thought, as had the Tahitians, that the sudden darkness meant that the sun and the moon were engaged in celestial copulation. Nor in a smog-ridden society did the...

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