The camera pans down to reveal a large planet and its two moons. Suddenly, a tiny Rebel ship flies overhead, pursued, a few moments later, by an Imperial Star Destroyer—an impossibly large ship that nearly fills the frame as it goes on and on seemingly forever.
Lawrence THE HANDLE, which varies in length according to the height of its user, and in some cases is made by that user to his or her specifications, is like most of the other parts of the tool in that it has a name and thus a character of its own.
I call it the snath, as do most of us in the UK, though variations include the snathe, the snaithe, the snead, and the sned. Onto the snath are attached two hand grips, adjusted for the height of the user.
On the bottom of the snath is a small hole, a rubberized protector, and a metal D-ring with two hex sockets. Into this little assemblage slides the tang of the blade. This thin crescent of steel is the fulcrum of the whole tool. From the genus blade fans out a number of ever-evolving species, each seeking out and colonizing new niches.
I also have a couple of ditch blades which, despite the name, are not used for mowing ditches in particular, but are all-purpose cutting tools that can manage anything from fine grass to tousled brambles and a bush blade, which is as thick as a billhook and can take down small trees.
These are the big mammals you can see and hear. Beneath and around them scuttle any number of harder-to-spot competitors for the summer grass, all finding their place in the ecosystem of the tool. None of them, of course, is any use at all unless it is kept sharp, really sharp: You need to take a couple of stones out into the field with you and use them regularly—every five minutes or so—to keep the edge honed.
And you need to know how to use your peening anvil, and when. When the edge of your blade thickens with overuse and oversharpening, you need to draw the edge out by peening it—cold-forging the blade with hammer and small anvil.
Probably you never master it, just as you never really master anything. That lack of mastery, and the promise of one day reaching it, is part of the complex beauty of the tool.
Etymology can be interesting. Scythe, originally rendered sithe, is an Old English word, indicating that the tool has been in use in these islands for at least a thousand years.
But archaeology pushes that date much further out; Roman scythes have been found with blades nearly two meters long. Basic, curved cutting tools for use on grass date back at least ten thousand years, to the dawn of agriculture and thus to the dawn of civilizations.
Like the tool, the word, too, has older origins. The Proto-Indo-European root of scythe is the word sek, meaning to cut, or to divide. Sek is also the root word of sickle, saw, schism, sex, and science. Some books do that, from time to time, and this is beginning to shape up as one of them.
By his own admission, his arguments are not new. But the clarity with which he makes them, and his refusal to obfuscate, are refreshing. I seem to be at a point in my life where I am open to hearing this again. Here are the four premises with which he begins the book: Technological progress is carrying us to inevitable disaster.
Only the collapse of modern technological civilization can avert disaster.Admitting a bias is the first step to overcoming it, so I’ll admit it: I have a huge bias against growth mindset. (if you’re not familiar with it, growth mindset is the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard.
The thunder-and-lightning example seems like a bad comparison for this kind of situation, in that the false claim is (1) easily observable to be untrue, and (2) utterly useless to the society that propagates it.
The crop circle phenomenon was first reported during modern times in when two witnesses, Arthur Shuttlewood and Bryce Bond, sat on the slope of Star Hill near Warminster, England, hoping to catch a glimpse of the strange unidentifyed flying craft that had made this part of England a UFO Mecca for almost a decade.
Sacco and Venzetti Robbery and Homicide - Ever since the court system was established in America, many have come to ask the question, “What case still raises controversy because it is unclear whether or not the defendants are guilty?”.
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Pictures, video and more. Paul Kingsnorth is a writer and poet living in Cumbria, England. He is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Kidland and his fictional debut The Wake, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award.
Kingsnorth is the cofounder and director of the Dark Mountain Project, a network of writers, artists, and thinkers.