Over the course of an interesting workout and a delicious Chinese dinner last night with my Ragnar team, I was assigned (/self-assigned) a very random assortment of things to look up. Since my internet browsing has been minimal this week (oh hello work!), and thus my Best of the Week is brief, I’m going to share with you the results of my searches.
- A mile is a totally random distance -- 5,280 feet. Who decided this??? Well, it originated from the Roman mille passuum, which is a thousand paces/strides. Up until the time of the Tudors (so we’re talking about the English now), the mile was 5,000 feet. But then the English mixed it up with another unit of measure they used, the furlong (or furrow-long), which is the distance a horse could pull a plow before having to rest (about 660 feet). Eight furlongs is 5,280 feet.
- Since measuring farmland was much more important back in the day than measuring the distance from town to town, the furlong won out, and now a mile is 5,280 feet. (source)
- The foot is not based on anyone in particular’s foot length. The easy answer here is that 12 inches is the length of an average man’s foot. The more complicated math-y answer involves cubits and firkins and yards and you can read about it in extreme depth here.
- General Tso (of the chicken), was probably Zuo Zongtang (sometimes written as Zuǒ Zōngtáng or Tso Tsung-t’ang), one of China’s great military leaders. He lived from 1812-1885. (source)
- (Though technically there were a number of General Tso/Tsao/Ts’aos in Chinese history.)
- If we’re talking chicken, food historians say that the popular American takeout is a loose interpretation of an old Hunan dish called chung ton gai (“ancestor meeting place chicken” or “ancestral meeting hall chicken”).
- The Golden Gate Relay -- "California's Longest Party" from Calistoga in Napa Valley to Sonoma, Marin, Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight, to San Francisco, Palo Alto and Silicon Valley to the ocean. May 4-5, 2012.
- Agree to disagree.
This is wonderful: "The Daily Twist." From Oreo. Click "see more twists" to look back through them all -- it's fun!
“Important People Drinking Coffee.”
- Last night Casey and I hung my new show of watercolors IMPORTANT PEOPLE DRINKING COFFEE at Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s a show about, as one might guess, important people and their coffee.
- I should also mention here that not everyone I painted with their coffee is technically a “person”. A dog, a dinosaur, several goats, a Greek god, a Sesame Street character, and a beautiful woman who Eugène Delacroix painted were also involved.
Mansplaining Paul Ryan. Oh yes, this is exactly what you think it is. (Sorry for getting political, but it's all just TOO FUNNY.)
A PSA from 6x6. More info here.