I was just reading about Stradivarius violins. Almost every one of them ever made has been accounted for, which is pretty amazing by itself.

Dr. Joseph Nagyvary has been trying to study these violins (there are also violas and cellos) to replicate the exact process Antonio Stradivari used.

The most interesting part so far: the wood may have been especially dense due to the source trees having been grown during the “little ice age” lasting from the 16th century to the late 19th century. And that made me reevaluate all the books I’ve read set in those periods, or written in those periods. Example: Dickens’ characters seem on the verge of freezing to death all the time. What is the big deal? Turns out it was actually colder back then, and this is even without global warming.

Another unmined idea: although Stradivarius instruments have been the McGuffin in a number of movies and books, I don’t think any supervillain has ever tried to acquire ALL of them. And yet now, due to our connected world, the whereabouts of all of them can be easily obtained by anyone with an internet connection. It is now possible to find every single “Strad” and acquire it, either through sale or by murder. Or death rays. Whatever.

BLOFELD: You’re too late Mr Bond!

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