23 July, 2013

The Elusive Cheerio

The Elusive Cheerio. No, I'm not talking about an Englishmen who doesn't want to say good-bye. Nor is it the name of the latest gastropub - although, now that I think about it, it would be a great name for a pub. Nope. I'm talking about the cereal - whole grain oats, formed into a tasty tempting torus before getting puffed and toasted.

I love Cheerios. I loved them as a child, and I still have a bowl on most days for breakfast. After all, it's the most important meal of the day! But ... there's a phenomenon I noticed as a child and still see today: the fewer the number of Cheerios, the harder it is to get them into the spoon.

At first it very easy to fill one's spoon. As the number falls below a couple dozen though, it becomes increasingly difficult to corral them into the spoon. Until you finally arrive at those last one or two which your spoon repels as if they were two magnets with like poles, repelling each other in a slippery teasing dance. Sooner or later, of course, that last Cheerio succumbs to your deft spoon skills - skills honed over decades of cereal scooping.

I asked why this happens on Facebook, and no one responded. On a serious note, I imagine it has something to do with surface tension. Any other ideas?

And any naming suggestions for this effect?