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EDITORIAL: Adversity can breed invention

Many people — even those who don’t usually bake — are taking comfort now in making bread, and there’s been a run on yeast. — Reuters file photo

The person who wrote this editorial spent at least 10 minutes calculating the internal stresses built into two sequential slices of rye bread. And it was time well spent.

Let’s set the scene: breakfast time, and before sitting down, a salami sandwich on toasted rye for breakfast — because, in these times, why the heck not?

Pop two slices of rye into the toaster, slice some cheese, count out four slices of spicy Hungarian salami — exactly four, no more, no less — get the mayonnaise…

And then notice that, where the two slices of rye bread are protruding from the toaster, they are bending in exactly the same gentle offset curve. In fact, when the toasting’s done you can set the slices one on top of the other, and the two separate slices have exactly the same curve, replicating the roof of the hockey arena in Calgary that used to be called the Saddledome.

These are worrying times. And many of us are being pushed — forced, actually — right the heck out of our comfort zones.

So, is it the shape of the bread, the length of the slice, gravity, internal consistency or just pure chance that makes the slices match? Then, remembering that the same thing happened yesterday, and the day before… Science is all about being able to replicate results.

So — maybe another sandwich. But only, mind you, in the name of research.

What does this have to do with anything?

These are strange times. These are worrying times. And many of us are being pushed — forced, actually — right the heck out of our comfort zones.

A small example? People who don’t regularly bake are baking, perhaps looking for the elusive comfort of their home-cooked pasts, enough so that the flour shelves at grocery stores are bare — except for that light dusting that always seems to escape the bags. (But don’t worry — there’s plenty of wheat for flour in Canada, it’s just a case of getting it to flour mills and through the milling process to meet the new demand.)

Humans are inventive, but many of us are also slaves to routine. Slaves to the point that we’d rather stay with the tried and true than take that crucial step into the experimental and the different.

Well, we’re all among the different now. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to stay safe in your regular job or cooped up in your home office.

All of this is to say that big changes create new ideas.

Necessity truly is the mother of invention, and all sorts of things could spring out of this time of necessity, from new economic structures to new ways of living.

Like rye science — where experimentation can and will continue.

Sometimes those ideas put mayonnaise on your computer mouse. But there are hiccups on the way to greatness.

Wash your hands. Keep your physical distances. Dream.


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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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