Thursday, April 21, 2011

Answer: What's the connection between a men's shoe and John Muir?

If you lookup [ men's shoe ] you'll quickly learn that there aren't that many different types of men's shoes.  (As opposed to, say, women's shoe styles.) 

One of those common styles is called a "wingtip," so-called because the decorative pattern flares back over the shoe giving the tip of the shoe something that looks like "wings."  

Then, finding a connection John Muir is a bit less obvious.  I actually started this whole problem by wondering why wingtips have such an odd pattern.  Think about it--why are there holes in the leather of the wing? 

Wondering that led me to look for: 

[ wingtip shoe pattern history ] 

which led me to the Wikipedia entry for shoe.... and thence to the term brogue shoe (the British term for wingtip shoe).  

And of course, a "brogue" is also the heavily accented language of the Scots and Irish.  As most people know, John Muir was originally from Scotland, and never lost his accent.   (You could do the obvious search to verify that.)  

Hans, as usual, got this one first, with Tasha close behind.  

The search lesson here is that finding connections is sometimes a bit o' fun, and really an issue of traveling down different paths to find the connections, looking out for the points where traces link together.  

Which reminds me--one of the master of connection-ology is James Burke.  If this kind of tracing unlikely threads of ideas from one point to another intrigues you, you'll probably enjoy his Knowledge-Web project.  As an example, see his "Goethe to margarine

BTW -- Happy Birthday to John Muir, born on this day 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland.  

Ever searching!  

1 comment:

  1. Similar 'connection-ology' for music: