Except Earth isn't without air so your alteration of his statement is a mistake - on multiple levels.
The weaker force of gravity has to work against the stronger electromagnetic force which governs the feather, air and their interaction.
The Weak nuclear force also contributes to this complex situation as it governs the radioactive decay that occurs within the Earth and helps fuel the dynamo that creates the Earth's magnetic fields which protect the atmosphere. Since the solar winds (EMF again) would strip away the air in spite of gravity trying to hold the atmosphere tight.
I don't know if he intended all of that consciously but those subtleties to his statement (which you missed) still exist.
I find it amazing that so many people don't understand that, with only rare exceptions, romantic love isn't really love at all. It's an obsession. If one understands that love is wanting what's best for the object of one's love, even if it isn't what we want and even if there's no benefit to us, then generally speaking the only real love is that of a parent for a young child or the love of a mature child for their parent (as the parent becomes elderly). And of course friendship is a true form of love as well.
By contrast, romantic love is all about want and need for oneself. I want this person to be mine. I want to spend the rest of my life with this person. I need this person or I shall go crazy or die. In the most extreme case, if I can't have this person, no one can.
About 14b years ago, everything in the known universe was in one place, and there was no such thing as time.
And no physical laws, either.
During my environmental consulting days Winter through Summer 2002, I dug thousands of holes into farm land soils to count bugs. Over the course of six months I finally woke up to the realization that just about every hole dug had different counts, some wildly different from holes just a few feet away. While in the middle of a field approx. 1 square mile in size, I looked up and saw that the field had been tilled recently and there were areas of very different moisture content, standing water, etc. The soil of the whole planet could be very much like this, with hidden variables driving bug populations and relationships. The presence of micro-nitches should be everywhere with adaptive stressors both via predation/cooperation and chemical/physical. It was like was walking on a surface that was truely higher deminsional and deeply real.
My difficult 6 months, in freezing rain to blistering heat and high humidity, was worth it to get this vast insight that I found humbling.
You reminded me of an astounding fact: no matter how dig a hole we have dug and how harsh the environment down there, we have found microbial life. If we fuck up the surface of the planet, life will slowly evolve its way back toward the surface and repopulate the planet with something.
The Rabies virus is very nearly the closest thing to a zombie virus in the world. If one idiotic corporation or government were to weaponize it, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Here's an idea: mix in some DNA from the cold virus. Do you realize that no matter how sick you may feel with a cold, you don't get a fever? It's because the cold virus can trick your immune system into not seeing it.
The Unseen-Hexx virus - ending a world near you.
(Sorry, H3xx, it sounds cooler this way.)
New Orleans would freak the fuck out. But, no the Rabies virus increases aggression and can cause delusion. Making it drug resistant, increase it's maturation rate, and creating a waterborne delivery system could kill an entire country in a matter of days.