Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Very Small Objects

When I was seven or eight, I used to line our garage with treasures I'd collected, mostly stones of different shapes, sizes and colours. Sometimes there were marbles, bits of broken bottles or other glass, feathers, lumps of clay I thought I'd baked by burning some dry leaves over it.

In time, the tiny parapet in the garage that was my display area was no longer enough. I annexed the edges of steps, the bottom drawer of a desk in my parents' room (that neither they nor I could open after a while) and the left over spaces of bookshelves.

Hopping from one blog to the next and chasing elusive links, it gave me much joy, therefore, to come across someone who seems to have given much thought to the naming and classification of Very Small Objects.

There is, however, a whole universe of easily overlooked and forgotten things that remain unclassified. Once noticed, these Very Small Objects seem to exist in every niche and corner in staggering numbers and varieties. We encounter these objects every day hidden in plain sight. They fill our pockets, cabinets, and corners. They populate our environments and make our machines work. They come from our plants, our pets, and even from our own bodies.

Because these objects come from diverse sources, and because they are comprised of non-living and never-living things, they cannot currently be grouped together under any existing classification system: systems in use today describe and name living things, metals, and minerals in isolation from each other. Current systems also eliminate man-made objects from their catalogs of the natural world, ignoring the fact that “nature” has been profoundly affected by human by-products. Man-made objects have long been filling up our world and reshaping the very nature of “nature.” These man-made objects can often be quite indistinguishable from other “natural” Small Objects, particularly after long periods of exposure in harsh environments.

I have begun to address these glaring exclusions and oversights by creating a new system of classification to describe and categorize all Very Small Objects, regardless of their origin or composition, within a single comprehensive system.

And pay close attention to the Naming of Objects. It appears to take into consideration such fascinating criteria as Status, Component, Point of Origin, Apparent Purpose or Function, Colour, Shape, Texture and Visual Comparison.

Yes. Go look.

4 comments:

km said...

Fascinating stuff.

And thanks for ruining a *potentially* productive Tuesday.

Cheshire Cat said...

Seems like Terry Pratchett could have some fun with this. (Unless he hasn't already - I am shamefully ignorant of the minutiae of Discworld).

Space Bar said...

km: why only tuesday?! (and you're, um, welcome!)

cheshire cat: he could, of course, but not sure it would be on discworld...on the other hand, who knows?

choxbox said...

These days I seem to recollect stuff I did when I was 7 or 8 all the time. Wonder if it has something to do with my oldest kid's current age.

Lovely stuff btw.