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Where do all the teaspoons go to?
December 24, 2005 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Where do all the teaspoons go to? A scientific study published in the British Medical Journal about where all the teaspoons in a works canteen go to.
posted by hardcode (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, lovely. Clearly Ig Nobel worthy.
posted by eriko at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2005


It is disappointing that the authors are not considering 'what happened to my other sock?' as a future research area. I believe the single sock phenomenon is a far more important problem than missing teaspoons.
posted by Pigpen at 10:40 AM on December 24, 2005


Even more disappointing is ignoring the missing earring.
posted by Cranberry at 11:04 AM on December 24, 2005


Well I, for one, would certainly like to know where my missing teaspoons are. I am missing two from my sterling silver service for 12 so it is no joke. Last time I checked it would cost about $60.00 a piece to replace.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:43 AM on December 24, 2005


One possible explanation for the phenomenon is resistentialism (the theory that inanimate objects have a natural aversion to humans)

Or that humans have a natural aversion to sharing food-touching-items. Note the dissappearance from 'common' areas is greater. I would theorize the missing implements would be found in desk drawers. Further research of course would be needed to determine if the rate of dissappearance falls off as the number of absent spoons approaches the number of desks.
posted by scheptech at 12:03 PM on December 24, 2005


Teaspoon displacement and loss leads to the use of forks, knives, and staplers to measure out coffee and sugar, inevitably causing a reduction in employee satisfaction....

Staplers?!
posted by lodurr at 12:08 PM on December 24, 2005


Each year the Christmas edition of the BMJ is "spoof" articles. The methodology is as close to authentic as possible but the subject matter is hilarious. I loved the disappearing spoons as it happens in my kitchen too!
posted by Wilder at 12:12 PM on December 24, 2005


Pigpen: It is disappointing that the authors are not considering 'what happened to my other sock?' as a future research area. I believe the single sock phenomenon is a far more important problem than missing teaspoons.
Cranberry, everyone knows that's down to the Lord of the Socks
posted by lodurr at 12:19 PM on December 24, 2005


oops, i mean, pigpen. damn.
posted by lodurr at 12:19 PM on December 24, 2005


use plastic. Plastic spoons increase monthly
posted by Postroad at 12:35 PM on December 24, 2005


As regards socks, long ago it was noticed that socks disappear and wire coat hangers accumulate. Finally someone figured out why: socks are the larval form of wire coat hangers.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:39 PM on December 24, 2005 [1 favorite]


about where all the teaspoons in a works canteen go to.

I'm not going to read the article because this bit is completely nonsensical to me. Seriously, it is like random words were selected and I have no idea what it means. I have no idea what a works canteen is.

I think I prefer this ignorance.
posted by obfusciatrist at 1:52 PM on December 24, 2005


I'm dissapointed they didn't use RFID to track the teaspoons.
posted by bobo123 at 2:19 PM on December 24, 2005


British "Canteen" == American "Cafeteria"
British "First Floor" == American "Second Floor"
British "Fag" == American "Cigarette"
British "Lorry" == American "Truck"

Who says we speak the same language?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:37 PM on December 24, 2005


obfusciatrist: works (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A factory, plant, or similar building or complex of buildings where a specific type of business or industry is carried on. Often used in combination: a steelworks (dictionary.com)
posted by kaemaril at 2:55 PM on December 24, 2005


about where all the teaspoons in a works canteen go to.

I'm not going to read the article because this bit is completely nonsensical to me. Seriously, it is like random words were selected...


I, too, wonder where the spoons are at.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:56 PM on December 24, 2005


I, too, wonder where the spoons are at.
Obviously, they emigrate. To the Biro planet. Where they shack up with the odd socks.
posted by kaemaril at 4:26 PM on December 24, 2005


On first reading I thought the title was "Where do all the tampons go to?" The brain is a mysterious thing.
posted by Meridian at 4:43 PM on December 24, 2005


It's time like this that I wish there were a less cliche way of describing how I am rolling on the floor laughing than simply to type "ROFL".

I'm now getting the image of socks and teaspoons (or tampons) conjoining to form a completely new, inanimate life form: wire coat hangers.

The brain is, indeed, a mysterious thing.
posted by darkstar at 5:10 PM on December 24, 2005


So if socks and teaspoons make hangers, do lighters and sunglasses make dust bunnies?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:18 PM on December 24, 2005


Hmm...I'm now growing suspicious of those temporary "absences" of the remote control.

Does the remote control, its egg sac full, go off and lay its brood in the body of the hapless lighters and sunglasses, then return to sleep off its post ovulatory excess in the cranny of the sofa?

Meanwhile, the remote control eggs hatch within their hosts, devouring them from within, leaving nothing but the dessicated remains: dust bunnies, plastic grocery bags and t-shirts, depending on the original host. That would explain the strange accretion of remotes over time, too.

It's all beginning to make sense, now...
posted by darkstar at 6:28 PM on December 24, 2005


Dust bunnies are the cast-off larval skins of socks left over after they metamorphosize into wire hangers. I would have thought that was obvious.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:27 PM on December 24, 2005


All the really hoopy froods know where their teaspoons are.
posted by dhartung at 10:21 PM on December 24, 2005


What about telephone wire nesting shoe pairs?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:43 PM on December 24, 2005


On behalf of the New Zealand Film Commission, I have flagged this scholarly article to Peter Jackson. The cause of popular science (not the magazine) requires a new trilogy:

"Lord of the Spoons"
posted by PlanoTX at 11:51 PM on December 24, 2005


These guys need some SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONGUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD.

Though some might disagree.
posted by Harry at 1:38 AM on December 25, 2005


Dust bunnies are the cast-off larval skins of socks left over after they metamorphosize into wire hangers.

Okay, that makes sense. But it doesn't explain the vanishing lighters and sunglasses. You know they're up to no good....
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:30 AM on December 25, 2005


Why not just use plastic coffee stirrers instead of teaspoons? Those things multiply on their own.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:18 AM on December 25, 2005


Steven C. Den Beste: As regards socks, long ago it was noticed that socks disappear and wire coat hangers accumulate. Finally someone figured out why: socks are the larval form of wire coat hangers.
This is a variant of a theory originally proposed, AFAIK, by Avram Davidson in a wonderfully creepy short story called "Or All The Seas With Oysters." However, in Davidson's conception, the wire coat hanger was the pupal form of a life form which had is finaly manifestation as a bicycle, which was apparently a very intelligent form of life. The pupal form was the wire paperclip. And they're not pleased when the secret is discovered....
posted by lodurr at 8:21 AM on December 25, 2005


Ahhhh, so there *is* a spoon, we just don't know where it is.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:37 AM on December 25, 2005


That's Avram Davidson, thank you. And while, Or All The Seas With Oysters is apparently unavailable online at this moment, another Avram Davidson all time classic is. Here's his take on The Golem and--Happy Hanukah !--this one's on me !

Hmm, I see this issue of The Nutmeg District Point Mail has an intersting monograph on bicycles in the work of Davidson.

*Grumble, gripe, bitch, moan* Wikipedia! *rolls eyes*
posted by y2karl at 10:50 AM on December 25, 2005


Well. drat--That's Vol. V No. 4 of The Nutmeg Point District Mail, to be sure.

One of my ultimate If only I had known! moments came when I read Davidson's obituary in the Seattle Times. He had lived and then died in poverty in Bremerton for some years before he passed on. As Reno W. Odlin noted in the Nutmeg Point District Mail,
If ever a man deserved to live out his years in the shade of a Great Library, that man was Avram Davidson. What did he find instead? Bremerton, WA (Samuel Butler sang, famously, "O God! O Montreal!" Had he but seen Bremerton!), and a series of V.A. facilities -- if that last word does not make the phrase something like the ultimate oxymoron.
Bremerton may be the happening place now, at least as insofar as realtors are concerned, but in 1993 it was truly the end of the road. And I could have met him if I had only known....
posted by y2karl at 11:09 AM on December 25, 2005


use plastic. Plastic spoons increase monthly
posted by Postroad at 12:35 PM PST on December 24


Best hypothesis: Metal spoons transform into plastic spoons and migrate as a regular part of their life cycle.
posted by Scooter at 1:55 PM on December 25, 2005


Avram Davidson's Adventures in Unhistory essays (in one of the latter-day pulp anthology-magazine things of the late 70's and early 80's -- Isaac Asimov's, maybe) were one of my Favorite Things back when I was a whippersnapper. Despite the fact that I haven't read any of them since, I recall them with fondness. Googling as I write this, I see that they've since been collected and republished.

I'm almost afraid that if I did get my hands on a copy, though, I'd be disappointed. Memory's often better than the reality.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:40 PM on December 25, 2005


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