Silicone Science

Sometimes I despair at the continuing naïveté of scientists. From those who think we’re going to use new weapons responsibly to those who trust that grant money will be given out on the basis of which research holds the most promise to benefit the earth or humanity, researchers in any field can be startlingly ignorant of how their work will ultimately be used.

Today’s example comes from researchers attempting to reproduce the human tongue, including stiffness, texture,  and shape, of course, but also things like coefficient of friction and ability to remain moist & lubricated when wetted. Check out this release on their breakthrough, taken from

I mean, yay for their diligent work and scientific progress, but can you believe that they listed the expected practical applications as “help[ing] food scientists study mechanical interactions of foods, liquids and medicines” with human tongues?

If they think that 7 billion people are going to hear about a textured, wettable, silicone tongue and think, “Yeah, that’s something we should definitely leave to the food scientists & people who study chewing/ swallowing disorders,” then they don’t know humanity very well.

Also, and post-scriptively, and apropos of nothing, and too, there are exactly 69 days left until Democrats are on top again.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Your link does not include any cost estimates.

    Last time (quite a while ago) I received a precise offer of tongue services, the job estimate came to $12. It may take Andablo-Reyes et al.‘s prospective licensees quite a while to reach competitiveness in the present market.

  2. Bruce says

    What the scientists said wasn’t actually untrue. They just knew they could never get another grant if they admitted their research might help people to feel better or anything unfundable like that. Toy makers generally don’t give grants to scientists, so scientists can’t write papers to please them.
    As with most scientists, they likely did the study because they thought of something cool they could try, but then have to write it up as having some sort of fundable respectable benefit.

  3. StevoR says

    Also, and post-scriptively, and apropos of nothing, and too, there are exactly 69 days left until Democrats are on top again.

    Whelp that’s :

    A) Apt and good to know & also

    B) Not an image I particularly wanted in my head right now &

    C) Oh wait I said head ..that ..also doesn’t help.. 😉

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