1. This was absolutely fascinating, via my friend: “The ancient fabric that no one knows how to make.” I knew “muslin” was in great demand in Europe from about 1800 on but I just assumed it was, like, fancy Liberty-style lawn or voile. No, it was Dhaka muslin, so fine you could pull yards and yards of it through the center of a ring, woven from one species of cotton that grew along the banks of the Meghna river in Bangladesh (then Bengal). Like most things in the countries they colonized, the British ruined it and both the cotton and the skilled labor pool were destroyed–but there’s an effort underway to re-create it. Like I said, just fascinating.
3. Very important info: How to track the big stuck boat