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Odds & Ends

Trivial Stuff

A bit of maritime historical information:

Ever wonder where the word "shit" came from? Well......

In the early days of commercial shipping, manure, as countless other commodities, were shipped by sea. In dry form, manure was relatively light in weight and was easily manageable in shipping. However, in being stored in the lower holds below the water line, if it became wet, it held the moisture, becoming a weight problem, and, more importantly, the fermentation process was set in motion (the by-product being methane gas).

The manure was stored below decks in bundles. If they became wet, methane began to build up, and the first time someone went below deck at night with a lantern.. BOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was understood what was happening. After the discovery, maritime regulations stated that all bundles of manure where to be stamped with the name "S.H.I.T." "Ship High In Transit". In other words, this particular cargo must be stored high enough above the lower decks so that any water which came into the hold would not wet the volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

So, the next time you use the term, "shit," you will be demonstrating your knowledge of little known historical events, technical maritime terms, and the evolution of a unique well known colloquialism.