Viridian Note 00266: Viridian CommentaryBruce Sterling [email@example.com]
Key concepts: Viridian couture series, bioactive fabrics, vitamin fabrics, new fabric applications
Attention Conservation Notice: It's well-informed and thoughtful commentary from various people on Viridian List, and, like, who cares.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org** (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden remarks:
"About that bio-active fabric swarming with microbes. I'm
sure it's a very green idea, but as a textile junkie, my
immediate reaction was that it would create real problems
if you were trying to dye, re-dye, or otherwise chemically
interact with the fabric. Conventional food stains are bad
enough, magically reappearing years later as soon as the
shirt hits the dyepot. Bacteria colonies are sure to show
up as mottled blobs, most likely concentrated in the
crotch and underarm areas. They'd show up darker when you
dyed them. Not attractive. If you switched off the light
out of pure embarrassment they'd still be there,
"This is not what was meant by women 'glowing' when
"You're going to have to wash the clothing anyway ==
bacteria can't eat everything, and they can't eat it fast
enough. An organism that can't deal with an overturned
platter of barbecue is fated to meet lots of soapy water.
An organism that can eat barbecue is going to make you
think twice about picking up your cat.
"What about bacterial varieties? Must I worry about
the bandaid on my finger spreading the gospel of
protective waterproof coatings to my favorite sweater?
What happens when my clothes shed food-antagonistic
bacteria in my kitchen? What happens when my clothes shed
them onto me?
"And do you truly expect me to swap silk, linen,
cotton, hemp, ramie, merino, mohair, cashmere, alpaca,
angora, qiviut, rayon, tencel, lyocell, et cetera et al.,
for some poly-laminate fabric, for nothing more than the
promise that it'll be easier to clean? The last time I
heard that line it was polyester doubleknit, and look how
that turned out.
"If you want to cultivate odor-eating, stain-eating bacteria, then make them a maintainable culture. Keep them alive in your clothes hamper by feeding them grubby items, like a jar of sourdough starter kept alive in your fridge. Just be sure they're weak outside of that environment."
"p.s. If you're interested in the way traditional pursuits can calmly absorb new technology, try the Textura Trading Company's catalog listings. Their yarn listings are a descent into techno-weirdness. Their fibers, too."
From: email@example.com^^^^^** (Dave Landry)
"I predict that these vitamin T-shirts will become an
instant fad here in Japan. Whether they become a mainstay
of the Japanese textile and nutritional industries remains
to be seen. I've been in country two weeks, and it is
already obvious to me that Japan is a disposable society.
Sucking vitamins out of a T-shirt and then quickly
throwing it away is not much of a stretch here. There are
scads of products and commercials for vitamin supplements,
with limitless marketing niches. Ginseng boxers for
salarymen, caffeine-laced handkerchiefs for students
during national exam week. Fact: It took 20 years to
legalize the birth-control pill in Japan. Viagra took 6
months. Anything catered towards businessmen, their
conservative wives, etc., will sell like sandbags during a
"My village is named Fujimi-Mura, so called because it is traditionally possible to see Mt. Fuji from here. I have been here two weeks and the haze has been so thick that I can barely see the city at the base of the mountain, much less Fuji-San. Locals who have lived here for five years can count the times they have seen Fuji-San on the fingers of one hand. Imagine Celsius 40, 80% humidity (104 Fahrenheit). That has been this summer. This is the warmest summer that Japan has had in over 100 years. Even in the country which hosted the Kyoto protocol, people are unaware of what is happening."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org^^^^^^^^^** (Christian E.)
"Vitamin fabrics are my favorite in the V-Fashion series.
Why not vaccine shirts? Antibacterial blankets (for
times when worry about supergerms is outweighed by fears
of epidemic)? Armies would be interested in fungus-
killing socks. How about designer drugs in your favorite
band's t-shirt? Viagra in your jockeys? Caffeine and
nicotine in your hipster-required black shirt?
"A thin bodysuit that mixes a quick evaporating
substance with your sweat for faster cooling? Government
'giveaway' school uniforms that provide a full RDA of
every vitamin and mineral? Sedative prison togs? Prozac
panties? And why not include test kit technology in the
clothes, to see if anyone becomes sick, and with what
"Perhaps there could be a strain of cotton developed
that carries trace minerals to be absorbed, like those
strains of colored cotton they developed a few years ago.
Will there be a little packet of vitamins or drugs for the
washer or dryer to recharge the clothes, or an impregnated
spray (with a few drops of cologne in it perhaps)? Could
your personal vitamin recharge spray be keyed to your own
body chemistry and nutrient uptake?
"The relief-work application for vitamin fabric is
brilliant. But will there be shirt theft in famine areas,
just like there are rice convoy hijacks now? I suppose
"It makes me giddy to think my clothes could do so much more for me, and for humanity. But eat your greens anyway."
From: email@example.com^^^^*** (Michael H Goldhaber)
"Bruce, It is vitamin C, not D that prevents scurvy. D helps prevent rickets. Best, Michael"
(((Absolutely. All you Viridians out there with scurvy and rickets, take careful note of this.)))
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