Odds & Sods #4

January 4, 2009
  • jim-bradyDavid Kamp has written a fascinating detective story surrounding the legendarily prodigious eating feats of Diamond Jim Brady.  He suspects some exaggeration, but the reality is probably close enough.
  • Gertrude Baines, daughter of slaves and Obama voter, takes on the most dangerous job in the world.  The previous job-holder survived just four months in the position.
  • How do salmon find their way back home after years in the ocean?  The open sea part still seems a bit iffy, but once they reach the river, it’s the schnozz that leads.  Maybe Jimmy Durante is their patron saint?
  • The earliest artificial eye has been discovered at an archaeological dig in Iran.
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No Theory, It Really Is String

December 8, 2008

ball-of-stringThese days we look down on string.  We don’t use it as much as we used to. The occasional turkey gets trussed, a few packages may get tied, and some garden plants are stabalised.  But that’s just about it.   We don’t give much thought to the fact that string was a major supportive technology for thousands of years. Now, archaeologists have excavated a piece of string from surroundings that date it to 8,000 years ago.

The fibres were discovered in a flooded Stone Age settlement just off the coast of the Isle of Wight [England]. The four-and-a-half inch long string was made from tough stems of honeysuckle, nettles or wild clematis that were twisted together.  British Archaeology magazine Editor Mike Pitts described it as a “fantastic find”.   He said: “I don’t think the average person realises what an important piece of technology string has been over the ages.”

Culture is all about the details.