VI: Flint

Flint won't strike a spark without steel.

VI: Flint
Striking steel on flint. Photo by Ben Lambert / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is sextidi, the 16th of Nivôse, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate le silex, a rock for making sparks.

Flint is often mistaken for obsidian, because the most common flint is also jet black and carved by means of flaking in a process called knapping. But while flint is found in rocks where ancient sea creatures fossilized into silica, obsidian is volcanic glass. When you knap obsidian, you can achieve a blade so sharp, you won't even feel it cutting you. Research has shown that a well-knapped obsidian blade actually divides cells, as opposed to steel blades that rip through them like a microscopic chainsaw. Unfortunately, obsidian blades are too fragile to be useful in surgery, even though the temptation is there, because they wouldn't leave a scar.

Oh my word, am I tired.

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