"As a fringe benefit, it seems they also produce significant quantities of artificial sweetener."
German boffins have worked out a much improved method of making latex using the sticky white fluid which comes out of dandelion stems. The new breakthough could mean more comfortable body-cavity searches, an end to itchy condoms, and might free humanity from the threat posed by a global rubber fungus epidemic. According (pdf …
...until the dandelion eating fungus shows up, that is.
@The trouble with haemophiliac Dandelions & CO2 sink?
Maybe, maybe not. Supposing that the enzyme is useful in the little plant's survival, it would not spread well in the wild. I'm just speculating here, but it might be that the latex needs to polymerize quickly to heal any wound caused to the little stems -- the large rubber trees wouldn't need that speed, since they are big and can spare a big of latex while the healing occurs. So, in the wild, a small latex plant that "bleeds" quickly would not survive well. Just like human hemophiliacs.
...Not to mention the specialist recreational apparel popular in certain circles....
Recreational, as opposed to workwear? Isn't it true Lewis that you were once an RN diver and as such you were allowed to, nay expected, to wear a rubber suit at work?
Anyway the specialist recreational apparel is generally made out of synthetic latex and not natural rubber -- see also http://www.fourdrubber.com/ .
Years ago I used to repair audio equipment such as tape recorders. The drive belts in the Grundig (German manufacturer) ones always used to get really cracked, and eventually broke. In comparison, I rarely needed to replace drive belts in units made by manufacturers from other countries. Also the rubber feet on the really old reel-to-reel Grundig recorders went all sticky. No German rubber for me, thanks!
The mot juste is "condom", not "prophylactic". The latter means merely any measure intended to prevent disease, whereas the former is the technical term for rubber johnnies and nothing else.
Besides, condoms have important functions besides the prevention of disease, notably contraception. (Unless one consideres pregnancy a disease, that is.)
If El Reg has a style sheet for its writers, please add "Do not use 'prophylactic' when you mean 'condom.'"
Yours faithfully, in the interest of linguistic precision.
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