Saturday, 25 February 2012
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Sting Plus nettle fabric is woven from the stinging nettle, which "produces a uniquely strong, soft and naturally fire retardant textile fibre" and, blended with pure new wool, it is "the ultimate environmental upholstery solution."
Lenpur is a biodegradable fabric made from white pine tree clippings, and "offers the comfort of silk, the touch of cashmere and the lightness of linen."
Seacell is a fabric made out of Lyocell (a 100% wood pulp fiber) and seaweed. The theory is that your skin will absorb nutrients from the seaweed, which is quite mineral- and vitamin-rich
In botany, a herbarium (plural: herbaria) – sometimes known by the Anglicized term herbar – is a collection of preserved plantspecimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts: these will usually be in a dried form, mounted on a sheet, but depending upon the material may also be kept in alcohol or other preservative. The same term is often used in mycology to describe an equivalent collection of preserved fungi, otherwise known as a fungarium.
If humans made necklaces and armlets using pebbles or bone, it has to be asked what they used to string them together. One answer is that they used their own hair as the basic fibre to spin, braid, or weave. Assuming that hair grows at 0.5 mm per day, and that there are 100,000 hairs on a head, then daily production is 50 metres per day. Furthermore, this fibre is produced on the immediately accessible crown of one's own head, not in some remote field or grove.
Humans could use their own hair for a variety of purposes. It could be braided into fine twine or thick rope. It could be woven into sheets or felt mats. It could be the matrix which bound together stones, pebbles, pieces of wood. This could have served to make the armlets and anklets needed for defence. It could also be used to make pouches and bags.
Stones, twigs or bone need not have been pierced to allow a passage for string, but simply notched to allow the twine of hair to grip from outside. Cutting notches in stones would have been much easier than laboriously boring holes through them. Since the twine could be very fine - a few hairs - or coarse rope, almost any size of stone could be bound together.
Simple weapons could be constructed using the same principle. Using a single heavy stone, its sides deeply notched to take thick twine, and a length of rope made up of braided hair, a heavy cosh could be made which could deliver a powerful blow. These might have been used to drive off predators which were attacking an individual human.
Bags or pouches, made of woven hair, could have been waterproofed using natural latex or tar. This would have enabled humans to carry small waterbags, long before they could use animal bladders or skins for the same purpose.
The resources of hair available in a human community could include those of previous generations, if hair flexibility could be retained for long periods using natural oils or resins. Thus a human community would probably have a considerable store of hair products, which could be re-used.
Humans may have been expert weavers long before they began using stone tools. Little or no evidence of this would appear in the fossil record. The ropes, garments, and bags they made would have ultimately degraded, leaving no fossil evidence except a few dispersed notched stones and bones. Skill in weaving human hair would have formed the basis for subsequent weaving of cotton and wool.
Use of human hair in thise way would have resulted in artificial selection for abundant, long hair in humans. Those humans with more abundant hair than others would be prized, and given high status, because the hair that an individual produced was as valuable as the work they did. Different kinds of hair would have been used for different purposes. The fine hair would have been used for small detailed work and garment lining, and robust thick hair for ropes and bags.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Adult humans typically have little body hair, but abundant hair on their heads. In part this may have served as protection and insulation for the skull. But it may also have had another use.
Human infants are able to grip very powerfully. They may have needed to. Busy mothers, with work to do, could not have held their babies in their arms. The babies would have had to cling on to something. The most likely candidate is a mother's long hair, since there is little else that an infant could clutch. That hair may have been tied together at the ends to form a cradle below the mother's breasts, in which an infant fed at will.
One explanation for male facial hair may be that human mothers weaned children from breast feeding by passing them to males. Males would have had to be stronger to carry these older children. The weaned child fed from the father's mouth. Beard and moustache enabled an infant, clinging to male chest or head hair, to pull open his mouth. The weight of a child hanging from his beard may have been sufficient to pull the mouth open.
Behind this is the suggestion that humans did not spend much time actively caring for their children, simply because they did not have enough time free for it. Both males and females were too busy collecting, carrying and preparing food, and performing numerous other tasks. Infants had to fend for themselves, and clung to their mother's hair, and suckled at will, while the mother busied herself in other tasks. Adult males were similarly busy, and it was left to children to open their mouths to access chewed food. Mothers weaned children when they could no longer carry them. Fathers left older children to their own devices when they in term could not carry the weight.
One result of this relative lack of care from too-busy parents may have been high infant mortality. To the extent that infants had to fend for themselves, by clinging onto parents and feeding from them, they were in danger of falling or being underfed.