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Will it Bend?
December 1, 2011 8:07 AM   Subscribe

History and invention of the bendy straw
posted by exogenous (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
you know, for kids!
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on December 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


It's these little ridges on the side that give it its whammy! See, you don't have to drink like this no more; now you can drink like this!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:19 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It doesn't just bend, it articulates.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a nice example of how invention actually works. Not so much revolutionary jumps, but small evolutionary steps, always standing on the shoulders of giants. And yet, a single one of those small steps can be economically quite significant, especially when it comes to mass consumer items like in this case.

From that point of view, what's missing in the article is the plastic straw. The step from rolled paper to plastic seems small, but certainly was worth millions.
posted by Skeptic at 8:40 AM on December 1, 2011


What no mention of Nicholson Baker's epic lucubrations on this matter?
posted by Mocata at 9:01 AM on December 1, 2011


I'll bet that Henry Petroski could milk this subject out into a whole book.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:32 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What no mention of Nicholson Baker's epic lucubrations on this matter?

I loved The Mezzanine, and I totally forgot about the straw breakdown. It's right at the very start:

"How could the straw engineers have made so elementary a mistake, designing a straw that weighed less than the sugar-water in which it was intended to stand? Madness!"

(Also, bendy straw is my standard go-to when anyone brings up Rule 34. If it exists, there is porn of it? OK, find me some bendy-straw porn. Then find me some Ron LeFlore-baseball-card-in-the-spokes-of-my-bicycle porn. TIA.)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, find me some bendy-straw porn.

Uh, did you miss this bendy straw orgy scene from the article?
posted by orme at 9:49 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


dont bring my straw into this
posted by bendybendy at 12:12 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can disprove rule 34.

Assume rule 34. Bendy straws exist, so by rule 34 there is bendy-straw porn. But bendy-straw porn exists, so by rule 34 there is bendy-straw porn porn. But bendy-straw porn porn exists, so by rule 34 there is bendy-straw porn porn porn. By induction there is bendy-straw (porn)n for all (infinitely many!) positive integers n. But the universe is finite, so there's not room for infinitely much porn.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:46 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


But the universe is finite, so there's not room for infinitely much porn.

There's some kind of Olbers' porn paradox waiting in the wings here.
posted by hattifattener at 1:12 PM on December 1, 2011


Maybe they're filming the porn in the grand hotel.
posted by exogenous at 1:20 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


madcaptenor - porn doesn't get any more porny when you make porn of it. It's still just porn. It's like doing 1 ^ n.
posted by fearnothing at 1:24 PM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Great, now a post about bendy straws has me wondering what meta-porn might look like.
posted by twirlip at 3:55 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was the 1880s, when gentlemen sipped their whiskey through long tubes made of natural rye that lent a grassy flavor to whatever drink they plopped in. For many centuries, it was not uncommon for a sot to order a gin and tonic and wind up drinking a gin and tonic infused with natural grass flavors.

Ok, so how long before hipsters start drinking cocktails through tubes of rye? Or is this already happening somewhere?
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 5:09 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I apparently have some remnant hipster tendencies, because as soon as I read the article I wanted to go drink a cocktail through a rye straw. Seems like there should be a number of drinks which would work well with the grassy flavor. Make it happen, Internet!
posted by hattifattener at 5:33 PM on December 1, 2011


madcaptenor - porn doesn't get any more porny when you make porn of it. It's still just porn. It's like doing 1 ^ n.

If porn is the multiplicative identity, then isn't bendy-straw porn the same as bendy straws?
posted by madcaptenor at 10:10 PM on December 1, 2011


If porn is the multiplicative identity, then isn't bendy-straw porn the same as bendy straws?

I think he really means to say that the porn-operator is idempotent. I'm not sure that I agree though: meta-porn is to porn as meta-knowledge is to knowledge. Really, this is a question for the philosophers to decide.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 10:32 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is what I love about MeFi. Great find.
posted by arcticseal at 1:59 AM on December 2, 2011


Bendy straws. LOL!

True Fact: In the early 1960's, I was small. It's true! I was SO small, when my aunt took me to the drugstore soda fountain, I required a bendy straw. The straight straws stuck up too high for me to reach the top. I could not drink my cherry-gingerale (Vernor's, of course!) without it.

And by avoiding those nasty mean straight straws, I made certain I did not grow up to be straight. It's a fact!
posted by Goofyy at 4:14 AM on December 2, 2011


Putting my childhood fascination with crazy straws in that context does explain a bit about my later life, Goofyy…
posted by hattifattener at 1:28 AM on December 3, 2011


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