IX: Barley

How barley ruined shoe sizes for the whole world

IX: Barley
Barley just beginning to corn. Photo by Elisa H / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is nonidi, the 29th of Vendémiaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate, again, l'orge, a hardy and hearty cereal.

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You can wrap raw barley stalks in mesh and float them in a stream or backyard pond to control algae. The water can't be too cold and it works best if there's enough light to help the barley decompose, because the way it works is by attracting the same protozoa to its decay that would normally promote algae blooms. It also won't erase any existing algae. Still, a pretty good use for any spare barley stalks you've got hanging around.

At the same time the French were tossing this delightful calendar into the world, they were also busy making all other measurements as decimal as possible. Unlike the calendar, these other new units of rational measurement stuck, forming the backbone of the modern metric system. The English were a notable holdout, leading to the Imperial system of measurement going to her colonies where, even after the United Kingdom (mostly) adopted metric units, the United States continued to follow the ideas of ... (checks notes) ... King Edward II.