Sometimes I start to research a topic and decide, for a variety of reasons, not to do a full post. But some of those bits are still interesting, so I’ll share some of them with you.

Hat Trick

A hat trick is a term used in sports to signify the completion of three scores in a game. I watch soccer and a hat trick is three goals by the same player in one match. Three goals in hockey by the same player in one game, also a hat trick.

The term was first used in 1858 in regards to a cricket match. A player took three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. Yeah, I don’t know what that means, either. But it was special enough that the fans took up a collection to celebrate this great thing and great player and used the proceeds to buy the player a hat. Hat trick.

Muttiah Muralitharan bowls to Adam Gilchrist in a one-day international at Brisbane. Gilchrist went on to hit a centruy off 67 balls. Muralitharan finally bowled him for 122. (Yeah, I still don’t get it.) Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Notre Dame

Construction on the cathedral Notre Dame in Paris began in 1163. Six centuries later, in 1793, while the French Revolution was reaching for liberty, equality and fraternity, Notre Dame was rededicated to the Cult of Reason (state-sponsored atheism). Many of the statues within were destroyed, and this beautiful church was used as a warehouse to store food and grain. Restoration didn’t begin until 1845, and now Notre Dame is visited by about 13 million people per year.

Notre Dame de Paris Altar. I’m an atheist, and I would never see this as a warehouse. Photo by Kurt Muehmel via Wikimedia Commons

The Great Viking Army

Since the late 1940s, carbon dating has been used to date things, like human bones, that contain organic material. Used on bones, this can affect the historical interpretation of archaeological finds.

A burial ground was found in England in 1982. Archaeologists hoped these were the remains of the Great Viking Army from the 9th century, the time of Alfred the Great. But the carbon dating showed the bones to be from the 7th and 8th centuries.

Turns out, carbon dating is skewed if the organic material in question ate a diet of mostly seafood rather than land-based food. Vikings spent a lot of time on the coast and in ship and had a diet that was largely seafood. It is now believed that these remains really are from the Great Viking Army. With new data, you need new interpretations.

See, look at all the fish they ate! Illustration of invading Vikings on folio 9v of Pierpont Morgan Library MS M.736, 12th century, The Life and Miracles of St. Edmund @ The Morgan Library & Museum. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Portuguese Pavements

In Portugal, sometimes the art is underfoot. Since the middle of the 19th century, many public spaces in Portugal have been paved with calcada Portuguesa, or Portuguese pavement. Skilled artisans use cobblestones to create mosaics.

I’m all for being surrounded by beauty, but there are some issues with the beautiful pavements. There are no longer many artisans skilled enough to complete necessary maintenance and repairs. As the cobblestones get worn, they become slippery. You most definitely don’t want to wander these paths wearing stiletto heels.

Now there is talk about replacing these pavements with more modern pathways. I get the practical aspects, I really do. But if the decision were mine to make, I would choose beauty.

So cool!. Rossio square. Photo by Bex Walton from London, England via Wikimedia Commons