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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Internet Wading: Numbers, words, food, and art



Another month has passed, and the links to random, interesting, and randomly interesting things have piled up. The list is varied, as always, with numbers, words, food, and art. And history, of course. Gotta have some of that.

I’ve often said that these posts are the catch-all for things I see on the Internet over a month that will never make it into their own post, but I realised recently that making a list of such things may imply something about me, and it does: I’m as random in what I find interesting as this list is.

But sometimes I find things interesting that I don’t even fully understand, like the video above, or the article, “Numberphile Explains the World's Most Evil Number Named After One of Hell's Princes”. What I don’t understand is anyone thinking numbers are creepy, or the whole devil thing. Maybe one has to believe in hell and satan and all that to see creepiness in the numbers.

Well, maybe some numbers we can all hate: Time. “A brief history of (New Zealand Standard) time” tells the story of how New Zealand was the first to adopt a universal time for the entire country. New Zealand has always been ahead of time. You’re welcome.

Well, maybe some art: “The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture” talks about what it sounds like, and I’d heard all this before, the pictures were helpful.

Talking about the real colour of Greek sculpture is moving into science, so may as well talk about real science, what archaeologists have been up to. For instance, “Archeologist Discovered Evidence Of Ancient Chemical Warfare”. People being cruel in warfare is nothing new, apparently. And speaking of warfare, “Archaeologists Discovered vast medieval Buildings buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum, England”. It may have been built by Henry I.

Food—or, food history: “Great Depression Grub – 5 Makeshift Meals People Made when Food was Scarce”. My mother made the first one all the time. It was okay. She also made green bean casserole: “Dorcas Reilly, 92, New Jersey woman who invented green bean casserole, is dead”.

More specifically contemporary history also came my way this past month. For example, “They were a gay, interracial couple in an age of relentless bigotry. The two Harolds didn’t flinch.”. This was a nice story of a sort not told often enough.

Contemporary life also features a lot in posts that I find. For example, “How to write the perfect sentence”, which looks at what famou writers thought about sentences. Probably interesting mostly to the writer hidden inside me somewhere or other. The blogger in me found this list interesting when I was double-checking a quote: “The Top 10: Misattributed Quotations”.

Recently, anthropologist David Graeber spoke to Radio New Zealand on “Why bullshit jobs are booming”. There’s audio at the link, but the article is pretty thorough.

Finally, a problem we don’t have in New Zealand: “Discarding Halloween pumpkins adds to greenhouse effect, so take advantage of drop-off site or a Pumpkin Smash”. I applaud the effort—and it’s certainly not something anyone worried about when I was a kid, though clearly we should have. New Zealand doesn’t have the orange pumpkins, and what they apply that name to are what Americans call squash. The remains are are usually put in home compost, and the stereotype is the plants growing out of some gardener’s compost heap. I should add, I don’t now how common that really is. We’ve certainly never had that happen, but, we’ve always had bins, not heaps.

Well, that’s it, so it’s time to pumpkin catapult this month’s Internet Wading post.

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