The most inexplicable Jane Austen reference ever

I just finished re-reading Mansfield Park, so I know the sentence to which this bizarre item in Harper’s July 2021 Findings refers. But…

The sentence “If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere,” from Mansfield Park, was encoded into a series of self-immolative urethanes.

I am gasping for air: what on this earth are self-immolative urethanes? Does it mean the substance used by my floor refinishers is going to burst into flame at some point? Does anyone know at what point that would be? Should I give them a call? Do I sound irredeemably stupid?

Why would you encode Jane Austen into whatever this is?

WTF is a “self-immolative urethane”?


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