Thursday, February 07, 2008

String theory

Perhaps I should get out more, but for some time I have noticed that our (now nearly) ten month old daughter has a particular fascination for manipulating fine strings and ribbons. Maybe it is foolish to read anything into this, but I came across this in Jonathan Kingdon's Self Made Man and His Undoing:
A strong ‘feeling’ for string, cordage and basketry is evident in all gathering, hunting and fishing communities up to the present. Men and women spend long hours processing, repairing and tying [plant or animal] fibres into nets or weaving ingenious traps. Games are played with cat’s cradles and the breaking points of various fibres are not only discussed and well known but also tested in tug of war games. Some of these traditions probably have a history of 2 million years. In my view traps are likely to have harvested much more food than active hunting did throughout most of prehistory.

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