The latest round of answers over at WotC Community revolves around the subject of A+ papers, or if not A+ then at least our favorite papers. My answer reminded me of all that time in the library researching stuff I would have normally been reading about anyway. Swords, axes, the evolution of armor, the dominance of the longbow. That was my favorite and last year of high school in my favorite class, English, with the coolest teacher I ever had, Mr. Shanks (without whom my transition from comic-book artist wannabe to author might have taken a bit longer).
I'm especially reminded of the paper because Mr. Shanks enjoyed reading the trivia regarding the 'bloodgutter' (or the fuller), a narrow groove down the length of a blade, usually on both sides. He enjoyed the bloody parts of the stories and books we read for class, so we had quite a bit in common. Until then he had assumed the bloodgutter was just that, to allow blood to run down the blade or to allow bleeding around the edges of the blade while still embedded in a victim. In truth the former is a bit silly and the latter a bit impractical, i.e. how long might one have to wait, in the middle of a battle, for someone to bleed to death? Hope ya' brought two swords...or a Snickers bar, you're not going anywhere for awhile.
Anyway, the groove was cut simply to lighten the blade (usually by up to 3 or 5 pounds, depending on the length) and to stiffen the edges, making the blade stronger. Pretty basic, practical stuff, but it was one of the details cited by Mr. Shanks as 'very cool'. For me, hearing a teacher say 'cool' or 'awesome' in a genuine, not 'trying to relate to you youngsters' kind of way was one of my favorite things. I had few teachers involved enough to talk like that (and never a math teacher...well, maybe one, but he thought math was cool...freak).
Well, I feel as though I'm on the edge of a wandering ramble and must end this before it takes a weird sidepath and concludes with theories on quantum mechanics and questions like, "Why can't it be Schrodingers's Dog? Or, more intriguingly, was the cat really a dog all along?" Man, don't get me started...So, Author Roundtable: go read it! Cool Teachers are, invariably, cool. And a bloodgutter is no place for your mind, for if ever the two should meet one can be assured of having a very bad day that will probably last for the rest of your life.