Plastic as an idea. As a thing it's the most useful material ever created by man. Made with oil plastics can be recycled... they can be hard or soft. Most computer parts are made of plastic. As an idea something that is plastic can basically fit any need. Plastics are thought of as disposable, because of their ease of use and application.

... And now I find myself wondering why I am defining plastic.

Slang for a credit card or debit card. Due to the fact these cards are made of plastic.

"Operating somewhere between anarchy and hierarchy..."

A slashdot-style news site, focusing on discussion of such varied reader-submitted events as important world events, domestic political disputes, local news events, entertainment gossip, interesting anecdotes and the latest Internet fads, to name some examples among many. Almost any interesting story could be published, but they get sorted into the topics Film, Games, Humor, Media, Music, Politics, Sex, Sports, Tech, Tv and Work. A fair number of articles are posted each day, appearing first on the topics sidebar and then appearing on the main news bar if they gather enough attention. The range of news story posted isn't as wide spread as a decent newspaper, but it's better than TV news and provides a wider worldview than most closely aimed online newsites.

The community is fairly small and civil, and moderation removes most nonsense posts. The political atmosphere leans a little to the left, but all viewpoints seem to make themselves heard, and usually in a polite way, unless it has something to due with conflict in the Middle East. Due to the large number of articles, actively discussed articles will have 50 or more comments, while many will have far less. The most popular article have had less than 200 comments. Whether the comments are worth reading depends on the phase of the moon, but the well-written comments can be fairly informative. A small group of regulars exists, but it's fairly low-key - there's no guaranteed 5+ rating equivalent of Slashdot's Signal 11 or Bruce Perens. For a while, Plastic readers were entertained by the well-known personality Ash Poopem, a good-natured 21st century B1FF who posted mispelled odes to Pokemon. He hasn't posted for a while, but his throne has since been taking by Old Sailor, who tells amusing, well-written stories about his life as a pirate and their moral relevancy to the discussion at hand.

Although based on Slashcode and fairly similar in design to Slashdot, Plastic has a few differences, such as the lack of Metamoderation and the ability to send notes between users. The automatic +1 bonus to posts comes at 100 karma, instead of the 25 required at Slashdot. Another difference is the user-driven story submission process. Anyone over 50 karma can see the submission queue and rate the stories. Volunteer editors, many employees of Plastic-associated sites, then have the final decision to post a story or not, as well as adding in non-submitted stories from the associates, such as Wired, Feed, and New Republic. Automatic editor powers given for an insanely high karma level have been suggested, and may one day be implemented to deal with the number of news submissions.

Plastic was started in January, 2000 by the same media people behind the now defunct Suck and Feed, Automatic Media. The editor in chief is Joey Anuff. Despite Automatic Media's dotcom death in June, 2001. Plastic has continued on due to the wonderful Carl, volunteers and PayPal donations. Despite the handicap of bankruptcy, Plastic won a 2001 Webby in the Print & Zines category, and continues on.

A plastic is a polymer, which in turn is an organic macromolecule created by polymerization. Polymerization links simple molecules together, creating chains that may have several thousand elements. An example:

                                         __           __
                                         |             |
H       H                                |    H   H    |
 \     /                                 |    |   |    |
  C = C    Ethene is polymerized to      |  - C - C -  |   Polyethene
 /     \                                 |    |   |    |
H       H                                |    H   H    |
                                         |             |
                                         |_           _| n

The graphic above is the standard way of displaying polymers. The links left and right of the carbon atoms connect to the next carbon atoms in the chain. The n in the lower right corner is the number of elements in the chain.

There are three types of plastics: duroplasts, elasts and thermoplasts.

  • Duroplasts are hard and inflexible at any temperature. Their structure decomposes when they are heated.
  • Elasts are elastic at normal temperatures, they reassume their original form after bending. They are destroyed as well when heated.
  • Thermoplasts are relatively hard, but become more flexible when heated, and can melt without the molecular structure being destroyed.

Polymers, or plastics, are one of the most important materials today. There are many different polymers with different flexibility, price, weight, flammability and toxicity. This makes plastics suitable for a wide range of products. The teflon in frying pans, for example, is similar to the substance PET bottles are made of.

A selection of important plastics:

These are all thermoplasts, except for teflon, which is a duroplast.

Plastic has almost become contradictory in its usage. In one sense, the term plastic is used to describe something that is fluid, flexible, or easily worked; in short, a positive attribute. In slang, however, due to the cheapness of production and unoriginality of use in design, plastic has a more entrenched meaning of bland, artificial, cheap, worthless.

We used to use this word to describe certain affluent types that had too much money and not enough personality--the kind of people that never were graced with the challenge of developing character (i.e., PlasticMan)

Plas"tic (?), a. [L. plasticus, Gr. , fr. to form, mold: cf. F. plastique.]


Having the power to give form or fashion to a mass of matter; as, the plastic hand of the Creator.


See plastic Nature working to his end. Pope.


Capable of being molded, formed, or modeled, as clay or plaster; -- used also figuratively; as, the plastic mind of a child.


Pertaining or appropriate to, or characteristic of, molding or modeling; produced by, or appearing as if produced by, molding or modeling; -- said of sculpture and the kindred arts, in distinction from painting and the graphic arts.

Medallions . . . fraught with the plastic beauty and grace of the palmy days of Italian art. J. S. Harford.

<-- composed of a plastic substance -->

Plastic clay Geol., one of the beds of the Eocene period; -- so called because used in making pottery. Lyell. -- Plastic element Physiol., one that bears within the germs of a higher form. -- Plastic exudation Med., an exudation thrown out upon a wounded surface and constituting the material of repair by which the process of healing is effected. -- Plastic foods. Physiol. See the second Note under Food. -- Plastic force. Physiol. See under Force. -- Plastic operation, an operation in plastic surgery. -- Plastic surgery, that branch of surgery which is concerned with the repair or restoration of lost, injured, or deformed parts of the body.

<-- plastic, n.

a substance composed predominantly of a synthetic organic high polymer capable of being cast or molded; many varieties of plastic are used to produce articles of commerce (after 1900). [MW10 gives origin of word as 1905]



© Webster 1913.

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