Sunday, February 26, 2017

Three states of matter that matter—part one

As every schoolchild knows, there are five known states of matter, but only three good ones—liquid, solid and gas. The other two are only found in labs or in your older versions of Trivial Pursuit. Of these top three, there are subcategories, and it is to one of these that I turn my lack of scientific knowledge today: liquids. Each of these makes the argument: "People will totally buy stuff if 'liquid' is in the title":

Liquid smoke. I got a hankering for a hickory burger recently, and remembered that in the past century some dude had invented a way to make smoke drip into a bottle. Liquifying ash particulates for the betterment of lunch is one of several things which makes me proud to be human. Also Old Spice.

Liquid paper. This is basically paint for your reports, but call it "paper paint" and you don't even sell 10 units. Liquid paper makes it sound like you somehow made paper drip into a bottle, and people love to be awed. The fact that it is simply chemicals roughly the same shade of paper does not awe. Whoever came up with the name does.

Liquid courage. This one is found most often in wartime trenches and at high school dances. There are some challenges which cannot be dared unless slightly lubed. These include advancing during a mortar barrage and trying to de-wallflower Julie Robinson.

Liquid glass. (Not to be confused with "water glass.") This stuff you swab on the front of your phone and it forms an invisible, protective shield against your gullibility in falling for stuff advertised on YouTube ever again.

Liquid bandage. Ever cut your finger only to discover you are out of bandages? Well, technically you have bandages, but they are those little dots, the ones you haven't used since high school when you tried to pretend you cut yourself shaving but everybody knew you were just covering up zits. Liquid bandage coats and protects your cut just like a normal bandage, except here you wave your hand in the air to dry it and a droplet flies off and lands in your dog's eye, and the vet bill is $240.

Liquid electrical tape. The ads say just dab some on that fraying cord for a waterproof, protective, "dielectric" seal. Personally, when dealing with high voltage, "dielectric" is the last word I want to see.

Next week: Gases; noble/inert, silent/deadly.

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