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Elizabeth RoyteWindswept moves breezily through the meaning of wind — what it represented for the ancients, and how it was personified as arbitrary and angry — to a history of our understanding of it, from early measurements of air pressure to the discovery that storms travel, and then on to the science of accurate measurement, the art of prediction and the appearance, on Jan. 11, 1954, of the first TV forecast. "Well-coiffed weather people have been with us ever since," the author writes. Some of the liveliest bits cover how wind smashes up structures and how it has been used for sailing, flying, cooling, grinding corn and generating power. Throughout, de Villiers stresses that winds are important agents of planetary self-government, and as such make life on earth possible. Winds, both gentle and giant, redistribute air, moisture and heat vertically and latitudinally, they scrub the air of pollutants, and they accelerate the movement of the great ocean currents that keep our planet stable.
— The New York Times