austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Gonna run my fingers through your long black hair

I think it's time to look for my fortune in developing a better glue. You know the old saying: ``Invent a better glue and the world will probably show its appreciation in some appropriate manner, unless this is one of those ironic aphorisms.'' Wise indeed. Inventing better glues has always been useful, at least for people who have things they want held together, or for people who are tired of having folks in construction helmets falling onto their lawns. The folks in construction helmets are also tired of the falling.

There are a lot of theories about why glue works. Most of them (the theories) (also the theoretical glues) don't work. It's not for lack of trying; it's just we keep going over this sensibly thinking about what makes something cohere, and we end up forty minutes later trying to figure out whether ants are attracted to Splenda the way they are real sugar. There's no progress on that question either.

The leading theory that doesn't work is that there isn't any actual glue. It's really just a gooey fluid full of lots of tiny staples. This explains why sometimes a glue fails to hold things together: clearly, you don't have enough tiny staplers in the mix. I bet someone borrowed the tiny staplers without asking and hasn't returned them. A search for them would eventually turn them up wrapped inside a supermarket bag left in the laundry room.

Another leading theory that doesn't work is that there isn't any actual glue, which sounds like the first theory again but this is different, and instead we just have a vast slowing down of the rate of things falling apart. I can make that work by putting things together in a room that has an extremely slow clock in it. That way observers would see things falling apart slowly, unless of course the observers were travelling in a spaceship at relativistic velocities so that they see my room's movements speeded way up. It's important to know the limits of your market and if I have to rule out the relativistic spaceship observers market, I probably can for right now.

Another bunch of theories, this one featuring glues, talk a lot about gecko fingers. Lots of gecko fingers. I don't know if there are gecko fingers in every glue and if there are I don't want to know. I do want to know if geckos grow their fingers back. But I imagine after all the talk lately the geckos are probably tired of talking about their fingers. The last gecko I consulted with just stared off to the corner of the room. I didn't feel like I should press the point.

One kind of silly thing about looking for better glues is that there already exists a perfect adhesive. The most unbreakable bond is the one holding a bumper sticker for a failed Senate candidate from any election held between 12 and 22 years ago to the side of a street light on a highway you have to regularly drive. Unfortunately this glue isn't practical. We can't be expected to always give 12 to 22 years notice ahead of gluing things we want glued together, and we can't expect to form the things we want to glue into bumper stickers and street lights. Even worse is the trouble in getting things onto and off of the highway, given how people drive twelve years from now. It would be a great resource if only it were useful.

A nice thing about glue research is that it's not hard to get a quiet workplace with space to yourself. You just have to start singing, ``Am I Glue?'' to a tune that approximates Billie Holiday's original without actually reaching any distinct or lasting key, and you can be left as alone as you like. I can, anyway. Helping me out with the quiet is --- you know that thing about turning people into glue when they insult you? Total myth.

So the glue business looks like the way to go. Now all I have left to do is discover an incredibly superior glue and market it successfully. That's bound to be the easy part.

Trivia: The first commercial product made of Pyrex was a pie plate; this inspired the name, which was originally to be ``Py-right''. Source: Why Things Break: Understanding The World By The Way It Comes Apart, Mark E Eberhart.

Currently Reading: The Railroad And The Space Program: An Exploration In Historical Analogy, Editor Bruce Mazlish. You know, this actually is more about the Illinois Central Rail Road than I'd figured I was ever likely to learn.

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