If I'm not mistaken, my memory admittedly isn't perfect on this, that story was written in part in response to an actual hoaxed balloon trip which was well known as the time.
Reductionist and proud of it.
Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain