“A wave might seem to be a simple thing, but in fact it’s the most complicated form in nature,” Susan Casey writes.
In The Wave, the author recounts an experience at a symposium in Maui, after a session about storm surge behavior, when she encountered two scientists in the lobby.
At the break I went outside, where I ran into Dave Levinson and John Marra, another scientist…. When Levinson introduced me and described my project, Marra had a question. “Those guys who want to launch their melons off a hundred-foot wave,” he said, “are they mentally ill?”
“Does that mean you think it can’t be done?” I asked.
“I don’t know the phase speed of a hundred-foot wave,” he said, turning serious in an instant and citing advanced math theory about breaking waves. “I’d have to actually calculate the celerity. I don’t see why not, I guess—if you’re moving fast enough. But is it human nature to want to do that?”
I defended the tow surfers’ sanity for a few moments, then steered the subject to climate change….”
I asked Casey, “How did you defend the tow surfers? What did you tell the scientists?”
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David Rakoff, Alex Ross, Steve Almond, and more.
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The Wave book trailer (video)
Good Morning America (video)
The Gayle King Show (audio)
Wall Street Journal interview
San Francisco Chronicle
New York Times