Head in the Clouds

Filed under:Authors,Cool,Language Barrier,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on March 12, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

Alan Sullivan with Best Word Use of the Day: Numinous. One of Lewis’s most-used words and the most concise and beautiful for meaning “supernatural, of the spiritual realm.” And probably associated in his mind with Tolkien’s Numenor, although Tolkien was at pains (and sometimes borderline uncharitable to Lewis) to set inquiring readers straight on the fact that “Numenor” in no way derived from “numinous” and was unrelated to Lewis’s unwelcome use of “Numinor.”

Also, in which I learn about sheer boundaries and what causes turbulence in clear air:

Such clouds may form low in the atmosphere, like these off California, or much higher, at cirrus levels. They are the visible form of eddies at a sheer boundary. Such phenomena are common in clear air, and they make for a bumpy ride when aircraft encounter them. If there is just enough moisture, clouds may provide a signature for the process.

Eddies in the air, just like in water. Fascinating, Captain. And good for an aspiring pilot to know. And yes, numinous.


  1. >And good for an aspiring pilot to know.

    Just get a fast plane with relatively low wing-loading, like an F-106 (I understand NASA used to use one to fly through thunderstorms). You’ll never know it’s there!

    By the way, POTUS used to fly F-106s.

    Comment by Chris — July 4, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

  2. Alas, I think some form of twin-prop will be all I’m good for–once I get back to my lessons.

    Comment by Anwyn — July 4, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  3. Understood. At about $3,500 per hour, I couldn’t really afford to fly my own steed if I had to pay for it myself!

    Comment by Chris — July 5, 2007 @ 12:41 am

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace