Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Order Of Things

Ever wondered about not only the names of each book in the Old and New Testaments, but the names of the Nine Orders of Angels in Three Hierarchies?

Ever thought to yourself, "I wish I had a handy guide to the Fabric Care Coding System"?

Wanted to win a bar bet by knowing the Social Castes and Classes in Ancient Japan, Azteca, Celtic Tribes, the Mafia, Vikings, along with the list of Weberian Sources of Social Power?

Wanted to know what the heck all those numbers printed on checks mean?

Win a trivia contest by listing every known type of Cutting Tool?

Urgently needed to know who was Margrave of Baden in 1298?

Find a list of the sixteen types of openings in the Earth's crust? 

Now you can, all in one small book!

The motto of this blog is "The Value of Useless Knowledge" and thanks to THC reader JM, we have discovered an incredible practitioner of that motto - Dr Barbara Ann Kipfer, the author of The Order Of Things: Hierarchies, Structures, and Pecking Orders, all jammed into a 615 page, 4x6 inch paperback.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517H8kYnnCL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_.jpg(from amazon)

The only way to convey what Kipfer is up to is to quote from her introduction:
So many things in our world are related, but how often do we know how?  So many subjects and things have a structure, but how often are we aware of what its hierarchy actually is?  From the inner workings of the smallest things to the complex system of the universe, this book is an attempt to cover all those things that we have organized, or that we find naturally organized, into:

SCALES                     CLASSIFICATIONS
RANKINGS                BRANCHES

We know these orders exist, but have you ever tried to look one up?  One can easily enough find the plant and animal kingdoms in the encyclopedias, but how about the organization of the Boys Scouts, the Mafia, or sumo wrestling ranks?
So what kind of maniac would attempt this?  According to Wikipedia, Dr Kipfer is a lexicographer, editor of Roget's International Thesaurus, and author of sixty books, including the best selling 14,000 Things To Be Happy About (which THC never heard of until 30 minutes ago).  Befitting the eclectic nature of her work, she has doctorates in Linguistics, Archaeology and Buddhist Studies, along with a  B.S. in Physical Education.

This post only scratches the surface on the staggering compendium of useless knowledge contained in the book.  It is definitely worth purchasing and randomly diving into.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I feel so much better now!