Thoughts on the History of Broken Glass

Did you know they used to make baby bottles out of glass?

They did.

Amazing, isn’t it? You’ve got this item that, when dropped, shatters into razor-sharp and needle-sharp fragments, glass shards which are virtually invisible in low light, but capable of cutting deep enough to sever tendons, nerves, major arteries. Hell, every silver screen bar fight aficionado knows you can make a closely similar bottle into a deadly weapon simply by whacking it on a nearby chair.

And they handed them over to babies. Toddlers just discovering how to walk, and none too steady to begin with, tottered around with these things in their hands. I myself have a jagged little scar on the top of my right foot which my mother said came from dropping and breaking a glass baby bottle and then slipping and falling on it. I have another silvery scar on my palm that gives me electric jolts up my arm with the merest bump. There’s a poorly-healed nerve there from yet another baby bottle I dropped and fell on.

And damn, I wonder if there are any statistics for these types of injuries? Because there must have been millions upon millions of them. Heck, I know full-grown adults who have gone to the hospital over glass injuries.

I suppose it was all they had, at one time. Still, you’d think there would have been a major safety campaign: Moms! Glass baby bottles are to be used only under adult supervision! Only on carpeted floors! Never allow one in the hands of a toddler learning to walk! Never near pools or bathtubs!

I don’t recall any such thing. And in fact, parents kept using glass baby bottles for decades after plastics were introduced. Bakelite, a virtually indestructible plastic that used to make up the body of those old battleship-tough telephones, was invented in 1907, and a long list of other plastics – vinyl, nylon, neoprene, teflon, polyester – followed after, many of them years before my 1952 birthday.

Looking back on it, glass baby bottles were a bad idea. In fact, glass itself is kind of a weird commercial product, when you come to think of it.

We hand it out in restaurants and bars to people consuming alcohol. We fill it with toxic chemicals and then plop in onto supermarket shelves where anybody can pick it up … or drop it. I haven’t paid attention recently, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, even today, you could still get soft drinks, destined to fall into the hands of kids, in glass containers. (Certainly beer and other alcoholic drinks still come in glass bottles, buyable in any convenience store.)

No doubt glass is useful. Incredibly useful, in fact, as it has a huge number of commercial and industrial applications. But think about it: What other consumer product do you know of that, with the merest accident during its everyday use, turns into a random collection of swift-moving, almost invisible fucking KNIVES?

If there was no such thing as glass and you were to invent it today (as an easily-available consumer product, anyway), I think we can be pretty sure you’d be appearing in court fairly often. If a woman can successfully sue McDonald’s for spilling hot coffee on her lap, you’d think that this extremely dangerous product would have likewise been sued into non-existence years ago.

Admitted in evidence, we’d have vivid images of children, teenagers, poor people, working mothers and fathers, probably even famous people, horribly injured, permanently disabled, even killed, by glass. State attorneys general would get into the act and entire areas of the glass industry would be heavily regulated, possibly even shut down.

Yet here it is. A product known to be dangerous, even deadly dangerous, and it’s still right out there where even kids and drunks can get to it.

Why? Because … well, call it historical primacy. We’ve got it because we’ve always had it. And because when it was invented, more than 5,000 years ago, there was really nothing like our modern ideas of personal rights. The ideas of rights changed, but glass stayed with us, a special case that none of us really ever got around to thinking about.

Historical primacy comes into play in lots of other ways. There’s a book lauded as an icon of American literature (and no, I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to get into an argument) that I consider to be just … average. There’s a film consistently voted one of the top movies of all time that, by today’s standards, is just, meh, okay.

But because they were first, with a provocative idea – a new look at Southern racism, say, or a look into the life of an enigmatic industrialist – they are seen as never-to-be-equaled.

Historical primacy.

It’s a fact that in most situations, you have to fight like hell to end historical primacy. Slavery. Women’s rights. Discrimination against gays.

All three subjects – slavery, subjugation of women, oppression of homosexuality – were automatically considered to be good things in their time. So much so that all three fights are very much still ongoing.

But in each case, we finally fought through historical primacy enough that each of these ideas has been defeated – at least in the civilized parts of the world — and remnants of the practices are viewed as unfortunate aberrations.

Each of those cases also serves as an object lesson in the tragic flaw of historic primacy: You can have things that have been a part of your life for all of your life, part of the lives of your entire culture for as long as anyone can remember, and yet turn out, when we’re finally able to look at them objectively, to be horrifying abuses.

(Circumcision: Elective surgery. For reasons of fashion. Without anesthetic. On the genitals. Of a baby. Jeez.)

All of these things seemed like good ideas at the time, the time when we were blithely able to treat each other as property. But they turned out, for a number of very good reasons, to be bad ideas. Bad ideas not just for those who would normally be subjugated, but even bad ideas for the ones who would normally be the oppressors.

Slavery is bad for slaves but also bad for slave-holders. The oppression of women is bad for women, but also bad for men. Equal rights are a good idea for gays, but damn, a good idea for everybody.

So: Religion. You knew we were getting there, right?

Religion is another one of those things. It enjoys historical primacy such that even today it holds an astonishing array of special rights and protections. It is automatically allowed to affect social customs, commerce, government, laws, holidays, science, education, private reproductive choices. Even, if you live where I do, the sounds you hear on Sunday morning.

And the “automatically allowed” part is so strong that it takes practically a violent revolution to unseat the damned thing, in even the tiniest specific case. It takes enormous effort even to convince people there is any sort of negative effect.

If you’re a Christian, a Muslim, a Mormon, a member of any of the other mainstream religions, you probably feel good about that. Your only worry is which religion is going to affect everybody’s life.

But I don’t feel good about it. To me, religion is a defective product. Something that looks nice and seems to work well normally, but which shatters into knifelike shards at the slightest pressure, and lends itself to the protection of pedophile priests (not to mention, probably, the pedophilia in the first place), bad health care decisions, executions, other legal silliness of all sorts (for instance, the fact that you once couldn’t buy a broom on Sunday in Texas), bad laws regarding other people’s reproductive choices, bad public policy regarding other rights, and especially bad education … that perpetuates the problem.

And that’s here (in the West), where religion has been relatively neutered by the Enlightenment.

I’m okay with people believing that this certain novel is an everlasting monument of American literature. I’m okay with people thinking that this certain film is the best movie of all time.

But nobody forces me to read that book or see that movie.

Religion, though, is still on the market, still pushing itself out into my life and the lives of countless others.

We just finished this annual event where Christianity, in the entity of Christmas, was in our eyes and in our ears – in our faces! – for an entire month. Yes, I mean the songs and Nativity scenes and stuff, but also this very nasty new idea that Christmas belongs to Christians, and Christians only. Hell, this year I had people I’ve known for years pushing it on me, saying “Merry Christmas” with squinty eyes and less-than-subtle extra force.

Yeah, I get it that the nice Christians think there’s a war on Christmas. Eh, they’re wrong about that, but if it entertains them … knock yourselves out, guys.

But what there really is, for me at least, is a war on religion. Yes, I admit it. I oppose faith itself.

But what I’m after is not the destruction of any person’s private right to pray or believe. Not after their right to go to church, or to claim that Jesus appears on grilled cheese sandwiches. Or even their right to have themselves prayed over rather than go to a doctor.

What I’m after is all those places where their religion laps over, without my permission or approval, into my life. Into the lives of others. Especially my fellow unbelievers and non-Christians, but even the children of godders, those who have even less choice than I do to tune their silly beliefs out.

I’m after all the time people spend trying to shove creationism into schools, or to get Ten Commandments plaques into courthouses. I’m after the fact that every scrap of paper money that will pass through my hands has been turned into a religious pamphlet by that damned “In God We Trust” inscription. I’m after the fact that there is a literal castle less than two blocks from my apartment that has enjoyed tax-free status for (I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head but probably) hundreds of years. I’m after the practice of scaring and lying to children, no matter whose they are.

I’m at war with all those places where their religion impacts my life.

I tell you, this is one of the coolest darned moments in history, ever. Yes, I like the computers and phones and satellites. I love the pictures from space. I love the medicine.

More than that, though, I love the fact that some of the darkest parts of history are coming to an end. Finally able to talk about it, to share ideas about it, we’re discovering just how bad religion has been for us. How badly it has injured us. How much damage it does even today. And how little we need it.

We’re all living in the time when the historical primacy of religion, the automatic cultural addiction to religion, is ending.

Ha! Maybe it’s even the end of the world. For religion, anyway. And maybe it’s the real beginning of a newer, better one. For the rest of us.

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About Hank Fox
  • Emburii

    For the record, the woman who had hot coffee spilled on her torso and groin suffered debilitating burns and long-lasting effects and a very expensive hospital stay that McDonald’s initially refused to pay for, even though they’d been cautioned about serving coffee at just short of boiling. The narrative that’s been constructed around her case, meant to summon to mind stupid consumers and victimized business, was very deliberately made by conservative and business groups in order to shield corporations from accountability.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      That woman had a very hot liquid… which she *knew* was a very hot liquid, because, it was, you know, *HOT COFFEE*… in an open container… in a moving vehicle. And she didn’t stop to think what was wrong with that picture? Hmm.
      Yes, she was injured. But she was injured because she did something stupid.
      When the law protects people from being damaged due to the malice of others, fine, that makes sense. But when the law protects people from being damaged due to *their own stupidity*… not so much sense there, says I.

      • Binjabreel

        Yeah, what a stupid woman, buying a product that was being offered. (/sarcasm)

        Bullshit. Nobody should need skin grafts after spilling coffee. I spent years in a coffeeshop and I’d NEVER hand someone a cup of near-boiling hot anything.

      • Emburii

        From what I understand it spilled as she was holding the cup after it had been handed to her or pretty much immediately thereafter, not while she was driving or trying to drink it while driving. She didn’t do anything ‘stupid’ other than figure better faith on the part of McDonald’s that their products wouldn’t do such serious harm.

        Also, why is it you deride her for accepting hot coffee but then turn around and absolve the corporation of fault? That’s pretty inconsistent. I argue that if she should have known better than accept a cup of coffee at that temperature then they were also stupid to serve it at that point. If they didn’t know, then she couldn’t have been sure either. And if they didn’t know, they were still negligent in not realizing the problem and thus should have been fully liable for her medical treatment anyway.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        Not only was the coffee being served at that particular McDonald’s too hot for any reasonable human, the road outside the drive-thru window was severely potholed – and, as noted, the restaurant had received numerous complaints about over-heating their coffee, but the company insisted they continue serving it that way.

        The plaintiffs were apparently able to document 700 cases of burns from McDonald’s coffee over 10 years…

        Boneheaded gross negligence on McD’s part, compounded by our ridiculous health-care financing system which practically necessitates litigation for adequate care.

  • Emburii

    For the record, the woman who had hot coffee spilled on her torso and groin suffered debilitating burns and long-lasting effects and a very expensive hospital stay that McDonald’s initially refused to pay for, even though they’d been cautioned about serving coffee at just short of boiling. The narrative that’s been constructed around her case, meant to summon to mind stupid consumers and victimized business, was very deliberately made by conservative and business groups in order to shield corporations from accountability.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      That woman had a very hot liquid… which she *knew* was a very hot liquid, because, it was, you know, *HOT COFFEE*… in an open container… in a moving vehicle. And she didn’t stop to think what was wrong with that picture? Hmm.
      Yes, she was injured. But she was injured because she did something stupid.
      When the law protects people from being damaged due to the malice of others, fine, that makes sense. But when the law protects people from being damaged due to *their own stupidity*… not so much sense there, says I.

      • Binjabreel

        Yeah, what a stupid woman, buying a product that was being offered. (/sarcasm)

        Bullshit. Nobody should need skin grafts after spilling coffee. I spent years in a coffeeshop and I’d NEVER hand someone a cup of near-boiling hot anything.

      • Emburii

        From what I understand it spilled as she was holding the cup after it had been handed to her or pretty much immediately thereafter, not while she was driving or trying to drink it while driving. She didn’t do anything ‘stupid’ other than figure better faith on the part of McDonald’s that their products wouldn’t do such serious harm.

        Also, why is it you deride her for accepting hot coffee but then turn around and absolve the corporation of fault? That’s pretty inconsistent. I argue that if she should have known better than accept a cup of coffee at that temperature then they were also stupid to serve it at that point. If they didn’t know, then she couldn’t have been sure either. And if they didn’t know, they were still negligent in not realizing the problem and thus should have been fully liable for her medical treatment anyway.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        Not only was the coffee being served at that particular McDonald’s too hot for any reasonable human, the road outside the drive-thru window was severely potholed – and, as noted, the restaurant had received numerous complaints about over-heating their coffee, but the company insisted they continue serving it that way.

        The plaintiffs were apparently able to document 700 cases of burns from McDonald’s coffee over 10 years…

        Boneheaded gross negligence on McD’s part, compounded by our ridiculous health-care financing system which practically necessitates litigation for adequate care.

  • Rob L

    Hank, you’re a bloody good writer, mate. Really inspired and thought-provoking, and yet thoroughly accessible all the same. One of my favourite pieces of yours yet.

    Apart from that, I’ve nothing to add.

    R

  • Rob L

    Hank, you’re a bloody good writer, mate. Really inspired and thought-provoking, and yet thoroughly accessible all the same. One of my favourite pieces of yours yet.

    Apart from that, I’ve nothing to add.

    R

  • RickU

    We used some glass bottles w/ my last child who’s now 2…and intend to use them again w/ my newborn due Tuesday.

    They’re sturdy and easy to handle…and in the case of these bottles, much easier to clean than their plastic brethren. We use some plastic bottles as well.

    Just for the record…They’re still on the market and available anywhere baby stuff is sold

    • magistramarla

      Rick,
      For the record – there is, and always has been an alternative to both glass and plastic bottles. It’s called breastfeeding, or as my husband called it, the handy two-pack. We raised five kids, and never had a baby bottle in the house. For that matter, we never bought a single package of prepared baby junk food, either. Big food business never made any money off of our family.
      With the cases of newborns dying from tainted formula lately, I sure wouldn’t be thinking of giving it to any baby of mine. The contents just might be more dangerous than the glass bottle.

      • wilsim

        Not to mention one other MAJOR health benefit that springs directly to my mind.
        Mothers who breastfeed have a much reduced chance at developing breast cancer.

      • Anat

        Hey, I breastfed my daughter until she was 2, but I went back to work when she was about 3 months old, so she did use bottles during my work hours from then until she was about a year old. Choices about parenting often involve many factors relating to each family.

        My brother and sister-in-law used glass bottles with all their kids because they were concerned about phthalate exposure. (And all their kids were also breastfed, fully at first and partially later on.)

    • Hank Fox

      Heh. I’m guessing readers will figure out I’m not a recent parent. Darn it — blogging gives away all your secrets!

  • RickU

    We used some glass bottles w/ my last child who’s now 2…and intend to use them again w/ my newborn due Tuesday.

    They’re sturdy and easy to handle…and in the case of these bottles, much easier to clean than their plastic brethren. We use some plastic bottles as well.

    Just for the record…They’re still on the market and available anywhere baby stuff is sold

    • magistramarla

      Rick,
      For the record – there is, and always has been an alternative to both glass and plastic bottles. It’s called breastfeeding, or as my husband called it, the handy two-pack. We raised five kids, and never had a baby bottle in the house. For that matter, we never bought a single package of prepared baby junk food, either. Big food business never made any money off of our family.
      With the cases of newborns dying from tainted formula lately, I sure wouldn’t be thinking of giving it to any baby of mine. The contents just might be more dangerous than the glass bottle.

      • wilsim

        Not to mention one other MAJOR health benefit that springs directly to my mind.
        Mothers who breastfeed have a much reduced chance at developing breast cancer.

      • Anat

        Hey, I breastfed my daughter until she was 2, but I went back to work when she was about 3 months old, so she did use bottles during my work hours from then until she was about a year old. Choices about parenting often involve many factors relating to each family.

        My brother and sister-in-law used glass bottles with all their kids because they were concerned about phthalate exposure. (And all their kids were also breastfed, fully at first and partially later on.)

    • Hank Fox

      Heh. I’m guessing readers will figure out I’m not a recent parent. Darn it — blogging gives away all your secrets!

  • geocatherder

    Hank, I like your analogy.

    Tripped over a cat and dropped a drinking glass a couple of weeks ago. Got the cat out of the way before he could step in the mess, and cleaned it up. A week later I noticed something shiny on the floor of a closet, about 10 feet away from the site of the accident. It was glass, of course. How many other shards in my (truly careful) sweeping did I miss?

    The religious ideas I learned as a child have all been cleaned up… except when one pops up unexpectedly like that glass shard in the closet. These religion shards make me hesitate to do something that needs doing, or say something that needs saying, or beat myself up unnecessarily. Usually I overcome the shard in the end… but they’re sharp little buggers and they cut.

  • geocatherder

    Hank, I like your analogy.

    Tripped over a cat and dropped a drinking glass a couple of weeks ago. Got the cat out of the way before he could step in the mess, and cleaned it up. A week later I noticed something shiny on the floor of a closet, about 10 feet away from the site of the accident. It was glass, of course. How many other shards in my (truly careful) sweeping did I miss?

    The religious ideas I learned as a child have all been cleaned up… except when one pops up unexpectedly like that glass shard in the closet. These religion shards make me hesitate to do something that needs doing, or say something that needs saying, or beat myself up unnecessarily. Usually I overcome the shard in the end… but they’re sharp little buggers and they cut.

  • ohioobserver

    I’m an atheist, and I still say “Merry Christmas”, even though I don’t give a damn about Christ or Christianity or baby jeebus or and of the other pious religious shit. I want religion to go back in its hole and hide.

    But I say “Merry Christmas” for two reasons:
    (1) That’s its name. it’s a festival, an event that marks the solstice and the end of the calendar year and an opportunity for reunion and extravagance.

    (b) That’s what I was brought up to say.

    You can express progressive ideas and historical primacy in the same breath, without harming anyone. It’s not so much what your idea stands or, as what you DO with it.

    And oh: BEAUTIFULLY written essay. Lovely.

  • ohioobserver

    I’m an atheist, and I still say “Merry Christmas”, even though I don’t give a damn about Christ or Christianity or baby jeebus or and of the other pious religious shit. I want religion to go back in its hole and hide.

    But I say “Merry Christmas” for two reasons:
    (1) That’s its name. it’s a festival, an event that marks the solstice and the end of the calendar year and an opportunity for reunion and extravagance.

    (b) That’s what I was brought up to say.

    You can express progressive ideas and historical primacy in the same breath, without harming anyone. It’s not so much what your idea stands or, as what you DO with it.

    And oh: BEAUTIFULLY written essay. Lovely.

  • otrame

    In recent months. I find myself scowling every time I go past a church.

    Understand, I truly believe that people should be allowed to believe in gods and get together and have ceremonies and such. I just can not for the life of me understand why they shouldn’t have to pay property taxes. The fact that they don’t means I have to come up with a lot of money every year. If they paid their fair share, I wouldn’t need to pay as much and we would still have better schools, etc.

    If you want to give money to a church, I will defend to the death your right to do so. But why should I let you steal money from me and from desperately needed school funds?

    It is time to end the tax free status, on property at the very least. I believe this is something we need to start pushing. Yes, the religions will push back. They are already in big trouble, and they know it, but we should be stressing that their tax-free status means that Joe Idiot is supporting a mosque with his taxes. Does Jane Idiot really want to support the local Mormon Temple? Or the Jewish Temple? Or the Churches of Those People Who Think They Are Christians But Really Aren’t? Shouldn’t each of us get to decide which church we support?

    The right wing keeps saying that people should be dependent on the good will of others (no coercive taxing to support help for the needy). Let’s say “Okay, churches go first. Pay your damned property taxes.”

    Otherwise, I am afraid I will get wrinkles.

    • wilsim

      I like your idea about the strategy that should be used to remove the tax free status churches receive.
      Oh, and you will get wrinkles.

  • otrame

    In recent months. I find myself scowling every time I go past a church.

    Understand, I truly believe that people should be allowed to believe in gods and get together and have ceremonies and such. I just can not for the life of me understand why they shouldn’t have to pay property taxes. The fact that they don’t means I have to come up with a lot of money every year. If they paid their fair share, I wouldn’t need to pay as much and we would still have better schools, etc.

    If you want to give money to a church, I will defend to the death your right to do so. But why should I let you steal money from me and from desperately needed school funds?

    It is time to end the tax free status, on property at the very least. I believe this is something we need to start pushing. Yes, the religions will push back. They are already in big trouble, and they know it, but we should be stressing that their tax-free status means that Joe Idiot is supporting a mosque with his taxes. Does Jane Idiot really want to support the local Mormon Temple? Or the Jewish Temple? Or the Churches of Those People Who Think They Are Christians But Really Aren’t? Shouldn’t each of us get to decide which church we support?

    The right wing keeps saying that people should be dependent on the good will of others (no coercive taxing to support help for the needy). Let’s say “Okay, churches go first. Pay your damned property taxes.”

    Otherwise, I am afraid I will get wrinkles.

    • wilsim

      I like your idea about the strategy that should be used to remove the tax free status churches receive.
      Oh, and you will get wrinkles.

  • Nomen Nescio

    glass is cleanable and reusable almost indefinitely, unless it gets broken. i’ve seen two thousand year-old Roman drinking glasses in a museum that looked like they could’ve been made twenty, thirty years ago. still, horses for courses; baby bottles might not be the best application for the material.

    possibly pre-stressed glass, the kind that shatters itself into more or less rounded, non-edged beads, would be a better material for bottles in general. it might be unsuitable for some other reason, i dunno. maybe stainless steel? i have a couple of steel water bottles, and they’re both tough and cleanable.

    at some point before i took ownership of my house, somebody or somebodies smashed a lot of glass on the lot. window panes, dishware, bottles, all sorts. it all got buried in or mixed into the dirt on the lot for some reason — people are crazy, what can i say. six years later and my dogs are still digging shards of it out of the back yard — so far it hasn’t cut their paw pads, luckily. i pick the shards up and throw them away whenever i see one.

  • Nomen Nescio

    glass is cleanable and reusable almost indefinitely, unless it gets broken. i’ve seen two thousand year-old Roman drinking glasses in a museum that looked like they could’ve been made twenty, thirty years ago. still, horses for courses; baby bottles might not be the best application for the material.

    possibly pre-stressed glass, the kind that shatters itself into more or less rounded, non-edged beads, would be a better material for bottles in general. it might be unsuitable for some other reason, i dunno. maybe stainless steel? i have a couple of steel water bottles, and they’re both tough and cleanable.

    at some point before i took ownership of my house, somebody or somebodies smashed a lot of glass on the lot. window panes, dishware, bottles, all sorts. it all got buried in or mixed into the dirt on the lot for some reason — people are crazy, what can i say. six years later and my dogs are still digging shards of it out of the back yard — so far it hasn’t cut their paw pads, luckily. i pick the shards up and throw them away whenever i see one.

  • http://elementarythinking.wordpress.com/ Old Fogey

    Not the main thrust of the post, but your mention of bellringing sparked a thought. Is this the same in USA (or other countries)as it is in the UK?

    I know a few people into bellringing over here (strange people) and it has almost nothing to do with religion, except that the majority of bells are in church towers. Usually the ringers have their own time, not related to (indeed avoiding) church services, and afterwards they go to the pub. They are not particularly likely to go to services.

    It also reminds me of Morris dancers, who will often perform at church fetes, but only if there is a decent pub nearby.

    • machintelligence

      I encountered a bit of lyric in a Jethro Tull song “ringing the changes in double tone sequence” and had to go look it up. It is not common in the USA.

  • http://elementarythinking.wordpress.com/ Old Fogey

    Not the main thrust of the post, but your mention of bellringing sparked a thought. Is this the same in USA (or other countries)as it is in the UK?

    I know a few people into bellringing over here (strange people) and it has almost nothing to do with religion, except that the majority of bells are in church towers. Usually the ringers have their own time, not related to (indeed avoiding) church services, and afterwards they go to the pub. They are not particularly likely to go to services.

    It also reminds me of Morris dancers, who will often perform at church fetes, but only if there is a decent pub nearby.

    • machintelligence

      I encountered a bit of lyric in a Jethro Tull song “ringing the changes in double tone sequence” and had to go look it up. It is not common in the USA.

  • Martyn Hughes

    An excellent piece Mr. Fox. It’s inspired me to purchase your book through Amazon. I cannot wait to read it.

    Thanks,

    South Wales, UK.

  • Martyn Hughes

    An excellent piece Mr. Fox. It’s inspired me to purchase your book through Amazon. I cannot wait to read it.

    Thanks,

    South Wales, UK.

  • Grayson

    Just because it’s ironic:

    Ancestry.com is advertising on your page banner.

    For those who don’t know; it is a Mormon service. The collectors and users of YOUR personal information for their own agenda.

    And, they don’t pay taxes.

    Loving your blog.
    ;-)

  • Grayson

    Just because it’s ironic:

    Ancestry.com is advertising on your page banner.

    For those who don’t know; it is a Mormon service. The collectors and users of YOUR personal information for their own agenda.

    And, they don’t pay taxes.

    Loving your blog.
    ;-)

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

    It’s not every day you see some one take on Big Glass! Great job, Hank. But I gotta say, I hate drinking water out of plastic. It totally affects the taste. Paper too. Only glass seems to not affect its contents so obnoxiously.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

    It’s not every day you see some one take on Big Glass! Great job, Hank. But I gotta say, I hate drinking water out of plastic. It totally affects the taste. Paper too. Only glass seems to not affect its contents so obnoxiously.

  • RW Ahrens

    Glass is used for many applications because it is one of the most chemically inert substances known to science. Hence the existence of Roman glass two thousand years later in virtually undamaged and unworn condition.

    Which is why chemicals are stored and sold in glass – many such chemicals cannot be sold in plastic – they’d react with the chemicals in the plastic!

    Glass does not leech nasty chemicals into your food like some plastics do.

    Glass, being chemically inert, is ecologically safe – while it will still be there in thousands of years, it won’t leech harmful chemicals into the ecosphere like plastic will.

    Because we’ve been using it for a couple thousand years, people are used to it and understand how to deal with it when it is broken.

    All that said, wonderful essay! I’d love to see religious groups begin to pay property taxes, if only to bolster school funding in places where such taxes support schools! Let’s keep up the pressure!

    • Anat

      Glass, being chemically inert, is ecologically safe – while it will still be there in thousands of years, it won’t leech harmful chemicals into the ecosphere like plastic will.

      And it breaks down back into sand from which it was made.

  • RW Ahrens

    Glass is used for many applications because it is one of the most chemically inert substances known to science. Hence the existence of Roman glass two thousand years later in virtually undamaged and unworn condition.

    Which is why chemicals are stored and sold in glass – many such chemicals cannot be sold in plastic – they’d react with the chemicals in the plastic!

    Glass does not leech nasty chemicals into your food like some plastics do.

    Glass, being chemically inert, is ecologically safe – while it will still be there in thousands of years, it won’t leech harmful chemicals into the ecosphere like plastic will.

    Because we’ve been using it for a couple thousand years, people are used to it and understand how to deal with it when it is broken.

    All that said, wonderful essay! I’d love to see religious groups begin to pay property taxes, if only to bolster school funding in places where such taxes support schools! Let’s keep up the pressure!

  • kennypo65

    Another great essay Mr. Fox. Thank you.

  • carlie

    This is why I like your writing so much – you point out something blatantly obvious that I’ve never thought about before (why we use glass even though it’s stupid) and then seamlessly wrap us around to the same rationale for another thing entirely and it all just makes sense. Fantastic.

  • carlie

    This is why I like your writing so much – you point out something blatantly obvious that I’ve never thought about before (why we use glass even though it’s stupid) and then seamlessly wrap us around to the same rationale for another thing entirely and it all just makes sense. Fantastic.

  • carlie

    *especially pertinent since I just spent the better part of a day last week cleaning up after a broken fluorescent light bulb. Do you have any idea how many shards there can be from a 24-inch bulb and how far they travel after being dropped from 8 feet up? Oy.

  • carlie

    *especially pertinent since I just spent the better part of a day last week cleaning up after a broken fluorescent light bulb. Do you have any idea how many shards there can be from a 24-inch bulb and how far they travel after being dropped from 8 feet up? Oy.