Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Happy new year. I resolve to finish my original novel and also blog a bit more often, but then that's what I promised last year.

The Christmas edition of New Scientist is full of splendid things, but I'm especially taken by Richard Smyth's one-page piece, "Wiping Up", on the history of toilet paper which reveals that the word "bumf" is short for "bum fodder", or any printed material so lacking in value as to be used in the bog. There's also this:
"Consumer expectation does not seem to have been high. Northern Tissue's declaration that its paper was 'splinter free' in the 1930s gives a startling indication of how eye-watering some early offerings must have been."
Richard Smyth, "Wiping Up" in New Scientist #2896/2897, 22/29 December 2012, p. 75.
Smyth has written a book on the subject, too: Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper (Souvenir Press, 2012).

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