Monday 22 October 2018

An extremely important debate is raging online – does a straw have one or two holes?

This is more complicated than you might think.

Who knew straws were this controversial? (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)
Who knew straws were this controversial? (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

By Grace Rahman, Press Association

Put your politics aside, because people are arguing on Twitter over something else for once.

Do straws have one hole, or two?

At the time of writing, two thirds of the 85,000 or so people who voted in Twitter user Jess Marfisi’s initial poll thought straws had one hole.

But before you jump to conclusions, let’s take a look at the facts.

If a straw really is “just a long plastic donut” then it has just one hole, right?

Well, some people were arguing for two holes, and you can see what they’re getting at.

Straws have an entrance and an exit, which could also mean they have two holes.

If we remove straws from the equation completely, what does that leave us with?

If a wall has a door in it, that just counts as one hole, so surely it’s the same for straws?

It gets even more complicated.

What about adding an extra hole in the middle of the straw? Does that change your mind?

This is a discussion that can turn friend against friend, or at least distract everyone in the office for half an hour.

Some people were thinking so far outside the box, they couldn’t see the box any more.

They were arguing against the very boundaries of the debate itself.

So what is the right answer?

Well, the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a hole is a “hollow place in a solid body or surface”.

That makes it sound like the empty space within the straw is the single hole, rather than there being one at each end.

Rigid dictionary definitions aside, the truly enlightened concluded that really, there was no right answer.

Perhaps we’ll never know the truth.

Press Association

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