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The Meaning of “Unprecedented”

More evidence that things may change, but human nature doesn’t…at least on the centennial timescale:

Astronomer Giovanni Battista Donati writes in 1872:

It is true that everything undergoes transformation; but yet everything also repeats itself, and is reproduced in the eternal, universal, and cyclical course of nature. The rains, the heats, the frosts, the storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, comets, falling stars, auroras, sicknesses, etc., etc., have in our days been on such a scale as has never before been remembered. Man easily forgets the past, exaggerates the present, and fancifully speculates on the future. Hence the greater part of vain fears, and of hopes that are not less vain.

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