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eraser vs rubber Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Monday, March 11, 2019 11:41:06 PM
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Do British native speakers use "rubber", while the Americans use "eraser"?

Thanks.
RoadRunner
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:58:54 AM

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In USA, rubber has another meaning - 'condom'. The word 'eraser' is a more direct descriptive of the object to erase something; usually pencil writing. So, if you are in USA and you want to ask for the thing to erase some pencil writing, don't ask for a rubber. People may mistake your meaning and they will tell you to go to Seven-Eleven to get it (condom) instead.
L.Rai
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 4:14:49 AM

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Yes I found it confusing when I first got to China and they taught the children to say "rubber" (I speak AE) but after a while I got used to it. I suppose in a weird way rubber (condom) have the same meaning..both erase something...Think

Sarrriesfan
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 4:53:04 AM

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In British slang a "Rubber Johnny" is one of the slang words for a condom.
BobShilling
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:41:16 AM
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Sarrriesfan wrote:
In British slang a "Rubber Johnny" is one of the slang words for a condom.
However, it's more commonly just 'johnny'. For mot speakers of BrE, a rubber is something we use to erase things written/drawn in pencil.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 6:36:41 AM
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One of the things I've found interesting is that condoms - no longer considered something one doesn't talk about - have regained their name again.

I expect it's because kids are educated about them and their use now, and that they are available in public loos etc. they're just called "condoms". Sometimes shortned to 'doms' . In fact the term "rubbers" seems to be more of a generational thing. Older people may still use it - it may survive in certain regions, but on the whole the people who regularly use them seem not to know this usage!
hedy mmm
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:50:46 AM

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L.Rai wrote:
Yes I found it confusing when I first got to China and they taught the children to say "rubber" (I speak AE) but after a while I got used to it. I suppose in a weird way rubber (condom) have the same meaning..both erase something...Think


Yep...I like your response L.Rai...short, sweet and to the 'point'! Applause

Be blessed my friend,
hedy mmm
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 5:53:59 PM

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The thing is . . .
A rubber is used to rub over the paper and to 'rub out' the pencil-marks.
The original ones were also made of rubber (though many other materials are used now). The origins of the word "rubber" for the hardened sap is from "rubber" - an implement used to remove pencil markings.

First - a rubber was something one used to rub out pencil marks.
Then - "rubber" was used to mean the material.
Then later - "a rubber" was used to mean anything made from that material, or something like it (like overshoes, waterproof fishing-suits etc.

Of course, if you want to be posh and use a three-syllable word, "eraser" is fine.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 5:15:20 AM

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Before that first there was latex or caoutchouc tapped from the rubber trees. It was then refined to rubber.

From TFD article Rubber:

History

The first use of rubber was by the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica. The earliest archeological evidence of the use of natural latex from the Hevea tree comes the Olmec culture, in which rubber was first used for making balls for the Mesoamerican ballgame. Rubber was later used by the Maya and Aztec cultures - in addition to making balls Aztecs used rubber for other purposes such as making containers and to make textiles waterproof by impregnating them with the latex sap.


So, it was not first used to rub out pencil marks ;-)

The word caoutchouc comes from Spanish and originates from Quechua.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:51:19 AM
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One of my very first "boyfriends" as a young teen, came from a rubber plantation up in the mountains above Pt. Moresby. Our parents became great friends too, so spent a lot of time on rubber plantations - even tapped a lot of trees too.

But the one thing that nearly bowled me over was the SMELL from the vats where the latex is processed. It.is.vile!

The white sap is odourless, the processed latex sheets are odourless. But that smell during the processing would make your eyes run.

What I've often wondered is whether that was because the process was all done in the traditional way? Are modern processing factories all technological and odour-free?

Does anyone know?
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:10:25 PM

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Romany wrote:

One of my very first "boyfriends" as a young teen, came from a rubber plantation up in the mountains above Pt. Moresby. Our parents became great friends too, so spent a lot of time on rubber plantations - even tapped a lot of trees too.

But the one thing that nearly bowled me over was the SMELL from the vats where the latex is processed. It.is.vile!

The white sap is odourless, the processed latex sheets are odourless. But that smell during the processing would make your eyes run.

What I've often wondered is whether that was because the process was all done in the traditional way? Are modern processing factories all technological and odour-free?

Does anyone know?


The most common ingredient that is used to stabilize rubber into a more or less firm colloid is elemental sulphur, so there is no way I know of to make that odor-free.

Although far from the source of latex, there are several American cities known for their concentration of automotive tire factories and the resulting miasma, perhaps the most notorious being Akron, Ohio.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:29:27 PM
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Really? No wonder then!

(Would it be in powder form? Because never remember seeing anything like that around. Though the age of 14/15 was way back in ancient history: can hardly claim total recall!)

But ok then, and thank you. Is it too much to ask that you'd also have any idea why sugar cane crushing/processing is possibly three notches higher and is a candidate for Vilest Smell in the World awards? You wouldn't activate/process sucrose with sulpher - so what's their excuse?
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:59:42 PM

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Vilest smell try a sewage treatment plant from the 1970s when the effluent was stored in surface tanks.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 4:05:33 PM

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Romany wrote:
Is it too much to ask that you'd also have any idea why sugar cane crushing/processing is possibly three notches higher and is a candidate for Vilest Smell in the World awards?

It's most likely from the bleaching process.
The normal 'clarification' to make "soft brown sugar" uses Carbon Dioxide and chalk (basically), so there shouldn't be much smell from that.
There are two methods of making whiter sugar - 'bone char' filters was the traditional method, which whitens the sugar without purifying it very much. (Chemically produced carbon granules are used these days in the same way). You may get some smoke when the carbon is heated so it can be used again, but I wouldn't expect it to smell too bad.
The other, more modern, way is to use a resin which removes both colour and everything else except the pure sucrose.
It's the regeneration of the resin (chemically treating it so it can be used again) which produces really nasty liquid or tarry 'effluent' in large quantities.
(Data extracted from Food-Info.net, Sucrose.com and sciencedirect.com)
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