Captain William Dampier
Captain William Dampier
(Jun 1652 - Mar 1715)

English navigator who experienced what he called a "tufoon" whirlwind storm off the coast of China on 4 Jul 1687. His published description of this typhoon is one of the earliest known from a European.

“Typhoons are a sort of violent whirlwinds. Before these whirlwinds come on... there appears a heavy cloud to the northeast which is very black near the horizon, but toward the upper part is a dull reddish color. The tempest came with great violence, but after a while, the winds ceased all at once and a calm succeeded. This lasted... an hour, more or less, then the gales were turned around, blowing with great fury from the southwest.”
— William Dampier
from A New Voyage Round the World (1697)

“It is not easy to name another sailor who has supplied such valuable information to the world; he had a passion for reporting exactly as he saw it, with a delicate and perfect style; he felt an unending curiosity that made his accounts have a unique delicate touch.”
— Admiral James Burney
describing William Dampier in Burney's Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea (1803)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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