‘Nothing will ever feel like this’: scientists’ joy as they work out definitive number of uses of baler twine

  • It’s long been the subject of jokes and discussions – but scientists have finally put a concrete figure on the number of possible uses for baler twine.

    Top brains from the Advanced People’s Research Institute Laboratory spent years collating data and working out formulae and have now put the exact number of uses at a staggering π6.958⁸⁷.

    Project leader Ivar Peter St Ring told H&H the research had been enjoyable, but that the team had feared they would never find the true answer.

    “This is a researcher’s holy grail,” he said. “I grew up on a farm and was used to seeing baler twine holding everything together, then when I met my partner, a horse owner and rider, my eyes were opened even further.

    “It’s not just the standard uses of mending fences and gates and replacing hinges, I saw baler twine used to hold human and equine clothing in the right places, to stop horseboxes falling apart, in place of bucket handles – and other uses that I’m not sure I can even describe fully in words.”

    Dr St Ring put the proposal, to try to find an accurate figure for the number of uses of twine, to the laboratory where he worked, but management’s feelings were mixed.

    “They thought we’d never do it,” he said. “But I secured funding and assembled a team of people who were as intrigued and as keen as I was, so they couldn’t say no.”

    After the grant from Funding Of Our Laboratories had arrived, the research included questionnaires and site visits to farms and yards across the globe, as well as complicated stimulated mechanical tests in the lab.

    There did come a hairy moment late in the project when the team realised they had forgotten to add the official use, holding hay and straw together, to the formulae, but some quick thinking by assistant professor Smol Bale put that right.

    “It was a very special moment when we put all the numbers into the computer and came back with the answer,” Dr St Ring said. “I may retire now because nothing’s ever going to feel like this.”

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