Photons carry a small amount of momentum. This means that an object that absorbs or deflects a beam of light experiences a small force. With ordinary light sources, this radiation pressure is too small to be significant. But it is important on a cosmic scale (helping prevent gravitational collapse inside stars), and, more modestly, in the cell biology lab, where an intense focused laser beam can exert large enough forces to push small objects around inside a cell.
— molecular biology of the cell p. 575
“The island was moving all night. The fisherman’s point drifted imperceptibly a little farther out to sea.
“Shudder after shudder shook the whole island like chills running up and down its spine, and the black pool seemed to creep deeper and deeper into the rocks. It was sucked in and out and fresh waves broke in from the sea, but the pool never seemed to fill up. Its enormous mirror-like black eye sank lower and lower, surrounded by a fringe of sea grass round the edges.
“On the beach on the leeward side, little field mice ran backward and forward at the edge of the water, the sand slipping away from under their paws. Boulders turned over heavily, revealing the pale roots of the sea pinks.
“At dawn the island slept. The trees had reached the lighthouse rock; deep holes were left where great boulders had been before, now lying scattered among the heather. They were waiting for another night so they could roll nearer and nearer the lighthouse. The great autumn gale continued to blow.”
The physicist George Darwin used to say that every once in a while one should do a completely crazy experiment, like blowing the trumpet to the tulips every morning for a month. Probably nothing will happen, but if something did happen, that would be a stupendous discovery.
Anatiferous—producing ducks or geese, that is producing barnacles, formerly supposed to grow on trees, and dropping off into the water below, to turn into tree-geese.