Realm of Fathom

Acquired numerous books in NY, most non-fiction. Exceptions being The Tanners by Robert Walser. This is now in possession of one Edward Maxwell Ironside Parkinson. Want to talk particularly about Isaac Asimov (again) but this time about a book, bought in a shop right underneath Manhattan bridge, Dumbo, Brooklyn, called Realm of Measure. The specificness of the location is only because I can’t remember the name of said shop and I’ll probably need to find it again in the future so. Anywhoop. Realm of Measure is a concise and amusing history of measure. Fascinating to trace civilisation and the growth of community and eventual society through the establishment of a collective unit of measure.This is a picture of the copy + Of Time, Space and Other Things of previous post fame.

My favourite unit of measurement is a Fathom. Which is the length between outstretched finger tips. The word is derived from an anglo-saxon word for ’embrace’, which is generally considered to be what you do with all your arms unless it is a particularly awkward hug. It is understood that a fathom is 6 feet in length and is used to refer to depth of water. For example – when Shakespeare said – Full fathom five thy father lies. He implies drowning in 30 feet of water.

I am exactly one fathom high. You can’t fathom a fathom.


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