Monday, August 07, 2006

The Shipping News

I read the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Shipping News.

Chapter 11 is entitled A Breastpin of Human Hair and it starts; "In the nineteenth century jewelers made keepsake ornaments from the hair of the dead, knotting long single hairs into arabesqued roses, initials, singing birds, butterflies."

The following passage is what made me want to read the book. It sounds like a paradigm for life. What struck me is that there are also 256 shades of gray in photography and computers.  That and a wooden nickel will get ya a cup of coffee.

From The Ashley Book of Knots:
In a knot of eight crossings, which is about the average-size knot, there are 256 different 'over-and-under' arrangements possible. . . . Make only one change in this 'over and under' sequence and either an entirely different knot is made or no knot at all may result.

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