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      How Does Rain Happen?

      October 3, 2012
      From the column 'Question of the Day'


      This weird thing happened the other day: Water came down from the sky. A lot of water. Just boom, all of a sudden water is streaming down in drops and hitting the ground. We checked to see if there was some guy with a hose or a bucket or something pouring it from a roof, but that didn’t seem likely because there was so much of it. Way more than you would expect. Where does it come from? Why does it come down like that? Who’s in charge of the water? After some googling, we determined this water-falling-from-the-sky thing happens frequently and it’s called “rain.” Huh. We wanted to know more, so we decided to ask some passersby if they knew why rain happens.

      Henry, 21, vagabond: If I believed in God, I would say it rains because God is crying for mankind. But I do not believe in God, so I’d say it’s raining because moisture has condensed in the atmosphere.

      How did the moisture get there?
      Well, it evaporated. From our oceans.

      How does the evaporation happen?
      I believe it has something to do with some particular algae or plants of some sort.

      So the plants make the water evaporate?
      I believe so. I could be wrong.

      Doug, “between 40 and 50,” musician: Because it’s a way for the energies to send down the seeds for all good things to grow.

      What kind of energies?
      Good energies! Good energies come from the sky and replenish the earth. All the souls are planted into the wheat and the corn, everything you eat. Then after you eat it, your seed is now implanted into you. So when you give birth, that’s where the souls come from.

      Douglas, 23, photographer: I know the geographical reason why it rains.

      Why’s that?
      When water collects in the ocean, it comes to the mountains surrounding the valleys of the city.

      How does the water get to the mountains?
      I guess the prevailing wind. When it comes over the mountains, the air pressure drops, and that’s why it rains in the valley.

      What makes the air pressure drop?
      I didn’t study geography.

      Nick, 21: The filth needs to get washed away. People need a break.

      A break from what?
      Fuck, man, I don’t know. You need a day off sometimes.

      OK, but what do you think the physical causes of rain are?
      Is it because of the ocean? I don’t know any more, this is too specific.

      Roland, 27, real estate agent: Because it’s fall. It’s gonna be fall soon.

      What about when it rains in the summer?
      Oh. Is it like… This is hard. I don’t know.

      Eric, 21, designer and animator: Because God gets sad sometimes.

      What does God get sad about?
      I don’t know.

      Is there more rain for bigger catastrophes?
      Yeah, oh yeah. Like tsunamis, that’s Him really pissed off.

      How do you think He feels today?
      He’s just sad. Maybe He misses someone.

      Bryan, 25, skateboarder, (right): Because it has to? Because if it didn’t rain, it’d be sunny all the time. It rains because—I’m trying to think of something clever to say here. Photosynthesis!

      Wait, so photosynthesis causes the rain? Why’s that?
      Um, I’m going to flip it on you: Why does it rain?

      I don’t know, I just ask the questions.
      Oh, shit.

      Aaron, 23, barista and skateboarder, (left): It rains because it knows that I want to skate on my day off.

      Who knows?
      The gods, heaven. Mother Nature. She’s pissed at me.

      Because she’s a bitch. Karma.

      Cate, 22, Urban Outfiteer: Because the world is sad.

      What is the world sad about?
      There’s no good music in the world anymore.

      So if there was good music, then no more rain?
      No more rain.

      But wouldn’t that cause droughts and crop shortages?
      Oh, yeah. Maybe just less rain.


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      Topics: Question of the Day, rain, deep questions, things nobody knows the answer to, god, Science


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