Scientists Catch-up to Ketchup Solution

Posted on May 25, 2012


More exciting news from the world of science!

MIT scientists believe they’ve tackled the age-old dilemma of getting the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle, a mystery that has perplexed philosophers from Socrates to my brother-in-law. The scientists have created a bottle coating that will allow famously slow-pouring ketchup to pour as easily as milk.

This important breakthrough may save humans millions of thumps to the bottom of the ketchup bottle every year. On the downside, I expect in a few years another group of scientists will discover this ketchup solution ends up making us 10% fatter in the long-run because thumping the bottom of that ketchup bottle was half the exercise Americans were getting every day.

It would be nice to get ketchup to pour faster but we shouldn’t forget what a great resource slow-pouring ketchup has been as an opportunity for breaking the ice over dinner. How many times have I been on a date with nothing to talk about and broke the ice with a variation of this conversation?

“Um…you look…um…”
“Um…can you pass the ketchup?”
“This ketchup just doesn’t seem to want to come out.”
“Just thump it on the back.”
“Like this?”
“Yeah, just like that.”
“I’ve sometimes stuck a knife in there to loosen things up.”
“Yeah, I’ve tried that. I guess it works but it makes a bit of a mess.”
“We’re really hitting it off, huh? This is so fun. Do you want to get married?”

I’m adding this ketchup-pouring breakthrough to my list of unimportant scientific discoveries that we hear about each week like the research on why coffee spills when we walk.

In the face of all these borderline useless scientific discoveries, I just have to ask, are we absolutely sure someone is working on a cure for cancer?

Might there be a scientific conference ten years from now when all these scientists get together and one guy says:

“Wait a second! I thought you were working on a cure for cancer.”
“Not me. Why would I study coffee spillage if someone else wasn’t working on a cure for cancer? I thought you were tackling cancer.”

Could this be like when a kid’s parents are divorced and he has two sets of parents that all assume someone else is picking him up from soccer practice?

Or like when Todd and his wife divorce and the next time we throw a party and decide we’ll invite his ex-wife but not him, and he finds out, so we have to invite him, but we agree to give him the wrong address, and everyone assumes someone else told him but nobody did and he comes to the correct address?

In all my conversations about which problems we hope science will solve next, I know cancer is pretty high on the list, and I can’t remember the last time someone complained about coffee spillage or the ketchup dilemma.

If you’re a scientist and you’re working on a cure for cancer, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll start working on it. Seems like I have to do everything around here.


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