Six degrees of separation is usually too many to connect people I know. The connections, I find, turn out often to be based on basis life links. Here's one set that just popped up during my present visit to France.
My hosts' elder children spent a week in England recently to improve their English. With English as my native tongue, they were glad to get a chance to practice. After a few words, one of the parents mentioned that the children had been based in "Nor-wich". I took the teaching moment and said that the stress is different; the town is called "Norich", with the w silent. I added that there are other places in England like Nantwich and Middlewich where the "wich" is clearly pronounced. Grateful for the correction, the daughter quickly wanted to impress with her knowledge: "So, it's 'witch', like a wizard?". I had to tell her no, and then explain the origin. In medieval England a "wich" was somewhere with a brine spring or well, that produced salt (see link), and as with many place names had Roman origins (in this case "vicus").
Now, where does this family live in France? They live in La Rochelle, right next to L'Ile de Ré, which is famous as an old salt harvesting area, where people collected "white gold" (see reference).
And from which part of the world does my wife hail? Well, on the maternal side her family is from Great Inagua in The Bahamas.This large island, about 4 times the size of Barbados and just north of Cuba, has the main facilty for the Morton Company's production of sea salt (see reference).
So, we did not have to go far to find some good connections. Although salt is an essential ingredient to human existence, and used to be an important basis for economic activity, that's long changed. So, it's quite strange to find this saline solution to a six degrees puzzle, which has its answer stretching across continents, cultures, and several thousand years.
"Cyborg Finance" paper - Little pre-abstract primer for this paper: *Detective Del Spooner*: Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. A...
2 weeks ago