Anti-Gravity: Founding Father of Invention; October 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
Three out of every four years autumn brings crisper air, breathtaking foliage and, barring a strike, a World Series. Well, technically, it's four out of four years, but every fourth year those pleasant things are drowned out by the trumpeting elephants and braying asses of the presidential election circus. (Although I write these words in early August, I have no doubt that by the time you read them you're feeling completely bushed and totally gored.)
In the heat-well, warmth-of this historic moment, perhaps it would be refreshing to contemplate a previous occupant of the White House and reflect upon his immortal words: "It occurred then that this globe might be made to perform the functions of a dial. I ascertained on it two poles, delineated its equator and tropics, described meridians at every 15 degrees from tropic to tropic, and shorter portions of meridian intermediately for the half hours, quarter hours, and every five minutes." Thus did Thomas Jefferson describe part of his design for a spherical sundial, which, for the benefit of the current crop of presidential aspirants, is like a big watch that works only during the daytime.