Of these, there are many; this much is true. However, by far the coolest scientific instrument I have seen recently is this: the sunshine hours recorder.
I came across this during my virtual fieldtrip to the Teign Valley, where I am having a crash course in climate in the local area. We’re trundling around a meteorological station and poking about in the instrumentation.
This device is a thing of beauty. It’s a crystal ball, for goodness’ sake. What’s not to like? And it is simplicity itself. The glass ball focuses sunlight onto the paper chart, and burns a small hole in it. When the sun is behind a cloud, no hole is burned.
Useful things don’t have to be ugly. Here endeth today’s (very short) lesson. I’m off to get me a crystal ball.