Physics of Clouds

   I am reading a book on physics and clouds, sort of. On page six, the author writes that  a friend of hers "likes to ask the following 'science' question.: How would you hold a hundred tons of water in thin air with no visible means of support?'"   The answer is the book's title: First You Build a Cloud. Such an elegant solution  especially given the next-best alternative (above, in two convenient sizes).
If you do build a cloud, start small.
   A cloud can hold 350,000,000,000 tiny droplets of water per cubic foot. A medium-sized cumulus cloud can weigh in somewhere between 320 and 480 tons--about as much as 80 elephant (each weighing 4-6 tons), according to several sources. Most of these sources acknowledged that you cannot actually weigh a cloud and that clouds are actually less dense than dry air, which is why they "float."
Imagine the weight of this cumulus congestus cloud! A veritable stampede of pachyderms in the sky!
   First You Build a Cloud and Other Reflections on Physics as a Way of Life is the full title of K.C. Cole's marvelous book--one that makes "general audience" readers like me feel less intimidated by a book with the word "physics" in it. 
   Cole's book is arranged in three parts: The Art of Knowing, Movers and Shakers, Threads and Knots and is full of insights, analogies, metaphors, enthusiasm, and awe for the physical world and the science of physics...which is more philosophy, poetry, and sentiment in Cole's capable hands. Aside from the riddle about the cloud and the lovely cumulus on the book's cover, Cole explores ideas and themes close to this cloud lover's heart: Why are things the way they are? Why do they behave the way they do? How science "provides us a handle on who we are and how we fit into the scheme of things." The role and limitations of mathematics, seeing, language, and metaphor in science. The value of being wrong and why wrong really mean wrong, but limited.
  Cole was a longtime science writer for the Los Angeles Times and now teaches at USC's Annenberg School of Journalism. In her book, she brings out the lighter sides of physicists such as Richard Feynman, Victor Weisskopf, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Frank Oppenheimer (former director of the Exploratorium who appears in the book as 'my friend the physicist").
  "Some people say that subjects like gravity or the states of matter [or clouds!] are too fundamental to be interesting," Cole writes. "People today are too sophisticated. Yet it's amazing how easy it is to be clueless even in this most technical of modern worlds. 'Most of us are in daily contact with at least as much that we do not understand as were the Greeks or early Babylonians,' my friend the physicists liked to say. 'Yet we have learned not to ask questions about how the power steering on our cars works or how polio vaccine is made or what is involved in the freezing of orange juice [or why clouds are pink at sunset!]. We end up in the paradoxical situation in which one of the effects of science is to dampen curiosity.'"
  Cole writes with clarity and ease and her book (published in 1999) will spark your curiosity and make you feel as though Einstein, Newton, Kepler, Oppenheimer, and the gang were all your chums.