Friday, 22 February 2008

Pulling our legs?

"Self-repairing tights are among the developments that could result from a remarkable material that is able to heal itself, once torn or broken," according to this fascinating article in the Telegraph.

Professor Ludwik Leibler and his colleagues of the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris, France, have come up with a marvelous new substance that behaves like rubber but is also able to repair itself when severed ends are brought together for a few minutes.

Sounds good, and I'm sure there must be a million uses for this technological miracle, but somehow I can't see self-repairing tights as being one of them. For one thing, unless I have misunderstood the Telegraph article (which is quite likely), I'd have thought that rubber tights would only appeal to a relatively small niche in the fetish market.

For another, it surely can't be an economical proposition - I'd have thought pantyhose manufacturers pretty much relied on them laddering in the long run. Anything that makes seamless repairs in a pair of tights is going to put a major hole in their profits, in the same way that a self sharpening razor blade would be BAD news for Bic.

On the other hand, or foot, as the case may be, consider this article, also from the Telegraph, which announces the impending arrival of self-cleaning socks, amongst other things. If self cleaning and self repairing properties could be combined into one product, you'd have the solution to one of life's greatest mysteries - why, when you're in a hurry, can you only ever find odd, dirty or holy socks?

The answer is probably because our long-suffering wives have removed all the socks they can find for cleaning and darning, leaving us, in our frantic haste, to recover the remainder from whatever dark recess we threw them into when we staggered into bed last night. But self cleaning, self repairing socks would do away with the need to for washing or darning, meaning that, as long as you could find any sock, anywhere, you could be sure that it was clean and in one piece. And, since odd socks tend to be the result of enforced separation during maintenance procedures, the chances are good that the recovered sock's twin will not be too far away, will be equally viable and will be locatable with only minimal effort - which, let's face it, is all the effort we're prepared to put into sock hunting when time's a-wasting!

You see, this is what science is for! Forget feeding the world, exploring space and easing communication with our fellow man. That's all just so much guff, and anyway, when you've done it, someone else comes along complaining that the world is now obese, overrun with aliens and has nothing to talk about. Get on with solving those niggling problems that have baffled and annoyed us for generations, and the world will be a better place!

Billy Seggars.

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