Short shot #32: walking on water

In the holiday issue of New Scientist, a piece by Paul Collins on the history of water-walking (“Take a walk on the wet side”, pp. 36-7), beginning with the story of Charles W. Oldrieve, who was in 1907 (when he walked down the Mississippi) the “world’s pre-eminent aquatic pedestrian”. At one point in his career, he vanished. Collins writes:

Some assumed he had drowned: after all, humans are poorly designed for aquatic pedestrianism.

I was tickled by “aquatic pedestrian” ‘water walker’ and “aquatic pedestrianism” ‘water walking’, with the non-predicating adjective aquatic.

(Water-walking has a long and complex history, continuing to the present day. People are still designing devices for walking on water. And in 1988 Remy Bricka took 40 days to walk from the Canary Islands to Trinidad.)

One Response to “Short shot #32: walking on water”

  1. johnwcowan Says:

    “Pedestrianism” is a 19th-century term for walking or running as a competitive sport, so perhaps that sense is reflected here from whatever primary sources Collins used.

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