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The Sciences

The Wraps on London

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJuly 31, 2006 11:35 PM

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Well I've just returned from the UK, and am currently writing from a coffee shop in Queens. I'll head back to D.C. this afternoon or tonight. The flight was easy, no hassle; the only disappointment was that although we flew very close to Greenland, if not over it, there were too many clouds for me to see any of the ice. Despite the fact that I managed to visit London right in the middle of a heat wave, I had a wonderful time. In particular, let me commend the stylish Hempel Hotel just north of Hyde Park and near Notting Hill. Every room is different. The hotel also has one of the only private parks in London, and being there is like hanging out in a gigantic Zen rock garden. It's very peaceful and I got a lot of research and writing done. If you're ever visiting London you might consider checking it out. Let me leave you with some thoughts on London. It's a wonderful city, although it's way too damn expensive. I of course spent a lot of time noticing little cultural differences: For example, a Miami Vice look is in style among British men, which left me scratching my head a bit (although also, secretly perhaps, wondering what I would look like in jeans and a white blazer). Meanwhile, women sometimes wear ridiculously thick leather belts. I hope you'll forgive me for including details like these, but London is style obsessed, and it tends to rub off on you. Anyway, I also got to spend a fair amount of time hanging out with my Seed editor, Don Hoyt Gorman. I ate a lot of fish and chips and bangers and mash. I made trips to the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting in Reading and the UK Met Office in Exeter; the latter is encircled by a road called Coriolis Way, which I thought was both amusing and also appropriate. Using the UK Met office's extensive library, I also got my hands on an ancient copy of Henry Piddington's 1848 Sailor's Horn Book, in which the term "cyclone" was coined. The book showed me that as early as the nineteenth century, people already knew a lot more about hurricanes than I had imagined. Now that I'm back in the states, it's more work for a week; then--get this--I am off to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a week (an entirely personal trip; my brother is getting married). Then it'll be mid August and I'll be starting to prepare for the new book tour to promote the paperback edition of The Republican War on Science; more on that soon....

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