Fork with wooden handle

The Fork—Extraordinary Ordinary Things

If you are anything like me, when you hear the word “fork,” you probably automatically think of “knife” because the two go together like bread and butter, ham and eggs, shoes and socks, New York and skyscrapers, New Year’s and resolutions, and a host of other tightly conjoined tandems. However, the idea of a fork and a knife working together in common cause, e.g. eating, is relatively new. The knife in human history preceded the fork by many centuries. In its earliest manifestation, the eating fork was once a multi-bladed knife.

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slide rule on a green background

The Slide Rule— Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Have you ever held an abacus in your hands? Chances are yes. Many grade schools use this ancient calculating device as a way of introducing students to some fundamental aspects of mathematics.

Have you ever held a slide rule in your hands? If you are a so-called “millennial” or slightly older, chances are not. Why? Because the slide rule, which in its day was considered by many as the eighth wonder of the world, has virtually passed away without a trace.

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Banana—Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Throughout this series of blogs, I have concentrated on “gadgets,” i.e. mechanical, electric, or electronic devices that have fundamentally affected the world. So far they have included the bicycle, the credit card, the elevator, the postage stamp, the toothbrush, and the wristwatch. The banana, being a product of agriculture, is of course not a gadget. However, its effects on the world have been significant, even primordial, in areas far surpassing agriculture such as art, literature, show business, humor, and even intelligent design. I, therefore, believe the “humble” banana is far from humble, and richly deserves a place of prominence on the list of what I like to call “Extraordinary Ordinary Things.”

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