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It's a curious thing to realize about oneself, but the slacker philosopher Gavin Pretor-Pinney has probably influenced my life as much as anyone since I achieved adulthood. The Wife and I watch absurd amounts of British tv and in 2010 we enjoyed Mr. Pretor-Pinneys BBC special, Cloudspotting. It's a loving and humorous ode to clouds and an encouragement to viewers to share the passion. We liked it so much we made the kids watch too, which made them worry about how their parents used their leisure time. For my 50th birthday they all made me a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society [member number 28482] and since the beginning of 2012 I've taken and posted at least one cloud picture nearly every day at Cloudspotting03755. Some folks stop and smell the roses; I pause each day to ponder and celebrate the clouds overhead, an unusual but effective and inexpensive form of mindfulness. Friends and family send along their pictures too, making me something of an apostle to the founder's Evangelist.

Some years before he made the program, Mr. Pretor-Pinney wrote this indispensable guide to the clouds. Besides being richly illustrated and offering clear descriptions of the different types, it includes discussion of the science, cultural import and human value of clouds. You should really watch the show, and, if it catches your fancy, try this lecture, Cloudspotting for Beginners. Then you'll want this charming guide to aid in your pursuit of the fascinating and beautiful world of cloudspotting.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Gavin Pretor-Pinney Links:

    -VIDEO: Cloudspotting (Gavin Pretor-Pinney, BBC)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Gavin Pretor-Pinney
    -VIDEO LECTURE: Cloudspotting for Beginners (Gavin Pretor?Pinney | Cloud Appreciation Society, Oct 30, 2019, American Meteorological Society)
    -Cloud Appreciation Society
    -INSTAGRAM: Cloud Appreciation Society
    -BLOG: Cloudspotting03755
    -WIKIPEDIA: Cloud Appreciation Society
    -APP: Cloudspotter (for iPhone)
    -INTERVIEW: The ‘Unifying Nature’ Of Clouds: Take A Tour Of The Sky With The Cloud Appreciation Society (Peter O'Dowd & Serena McMahon, 10/11/19, WBUR)
    -PROFILE: the Amateur Cloud Society that (sort-of) Rattled the Scientific Community (NY Times Magazine, 5/08/16)
    -PROFILE: Expert in idleness is surprise winner of science book prize (Steve Connor, 18 November 2011, Independent)
    -TED TALKS: Cloud Appreciation Society
    -PROFILE: Undulatus Asperatus – crowd sourcing a new type of cloud? Ziad Al-Hasso, 9/23/12, 4 News)
    -PROFILE: Cloud appreciation society (Phil PlaitMay 20, 2, Discover)
    -PROFILE: The Cloud Appreciation Society: There’s no need to head to a far-flung beach or a cabin in the woods to disconnect: You just need to look up. (Anne Fullerton, Kinfolk)
    -PROFILE: The Cloud Appreciation Society: Women's Breasts, a Memorable Police Report, and People Who Love to Stare at Fluffy White Things in the Sky (Charles Mudede, The Stranger)
    -PROFILE: A Salute To The Cloud Appreciation Society (Don't laugh I'm a member!)Dan Satterfield, 6/11/19, AGU 100)
    -PROFILE: A mystery in the clouds : A peculiar ring in the clouds over Warwickshire, England this month sent the Cloud Appreciation Society’s Gavin Pretor-Pinney on a hunt for answers. (Deborah Byrd, November 23, 2016, Earth Sky)
    -PROFILE: How Gavin Pretor-Pinney grew The Cloud Appreciation Society to 40,000 members (Bailey Richardson, Dec 20, 2018, Medium)
    -PROFILE: Gavin Pretor-Pinney (robin Mills, Marshwood Vale Magazine)
    -PROFILE: A Life in the Day: Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society: The self-confessed idler on a typical lazy day (Interview by Danny Danziger, March 04 2018, The Times uk)
    -PROFILE: Gavin Pretor-Pinney wants you to look up (Georgia Museum of Art, September 12, 2019)
    -PROFILE: Flying high Twenty-eight publishers rejected The Cloudspotter's Guide - but it has become this year's surprise bestseller.: Author Gavin Pretor-Pinney tells John Harris what's so great about cumulonimbus - and why we can all benefit from staring up at the sky (John Harris, 6/01/06, The Guardian)
    -PROFILE: Amateur cloud enthusiast dreams up name for newly identified formation: Gavin Pretor-Pinney’s ‘undulatus asperatus’ could become first official new classification in 63 years (Caroline Davies, 17 Dec 2014 , The Guardian)
    -PROFILE: A Cloudspotters’ Guide to Climate Change (MARI SAITO on LUNDY ISLAND, ENGLAND, Photographs by PHIL NOBLE, July 25, 2019,, Reuters)
    -PROFILE: Cloudy with a chance of contentment: The Cloud Appreciation Society has sparked an unusual army of enthusiasts in search of wellbeing by chronicling the sky above our heads (Joe Shute, 20 Sep 2015, The Telegraph)
    -PROFILE: The world of Gavin Pretor-Pinney, author (Chloe Fox, 03 Nov 2007, The Telegraph)
    -AUDIO: Why Should We Look At The Clouds More Often? (November 21, 2014, TED Radio Hour, NPR)
    -REVIEW: of The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Joe Queenan, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Michael Bond, New Scientist)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Daniel Wahl The Objective Standard)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Phil Baker, The Times uk)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Dr. Fred Bortz, science Shelf)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Susan Elderkin, The Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (toby Clements, The Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Peter Pesic, WSJ)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (Richard West, everett Potter's Travel report)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (graham Williams, Sydney Morning Herald)
    -REVIEW: of Cloudspotter's Guide (
    -REVIEW: of A Cloud a Day by Gavin Pretor-Pinney,/a> (Robert Leigh-Pemberton, The Telegraph)
-REVIEW: of The Wavewatchers’ Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Tom Fort, The Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Wavewatcher's Companion (Wired)

Book-related and General Links:

    -ESSAY: A Cloud Gazer’s Guide to Every Fluffy Thing in the Sky: Clouds are “a wilderness within everybody’s grasp.” (JESSICA LEIGH HESTER APRIL 30, 2020, Atlas Obscura)
    -ARTICLE: Cloud wars: Mideast rivalries rise along a new front (Alissa J. Rubin, 8/28/22, New York Times)