From the annals of Popular Mechanics (p276):
BUY CHINESE QUEUES TO MAKE HAIR FILTERS FOR SOUP
Because long-strand human hair makes an almost ideal filter for straining soup, and other liquid foods, in preparation for canning, a certain manufacturer is reported to have bought recently some $800,000 worth of Chinese queues. These will be used in place of the goat-hair filters formerly employed because of their comparative cheapness. Human hair for various purposes has long been an article of Chinese export, but when the wearing of “pigtails” went out of fashion in the celestial land several years ago, an enormous supply of the material was created. The enterprising buyer was able to obtain for his money a total of 2,450,000 of the long plaits, composing a load for about 28 freight cars.
As soon as Wilkins was ushered into the Oval Office, the president quickly moved to settle the physicist’s nerves. In front of his desk there were two couches facing each other across a small table, and he waved Wilkins to one while coming around his desk and taking the other.
“Thank you for coming, professor, I can’t say how pleased I was when your letter reached me. Your invention promises a whole new world for us. Hah! A whole string of new worlds. Fantastic! I’m not as well up on your field as I’d like to be, but please tell me a bit more.”
Wilkins paused before replying. He’d never expected things to move so fast. In fact he’d expected to have to work slowly through layers of advisors, explaining the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Many-Worlds theory, Schrodinger’s cat, and probably basic quantum physics to a string of scientist-turned-beaurocrats just to get a hearing. He’d certainly never expected that the reaction to his letter would be a military helicopter and a trip to the White House.
“In essence,” he said, “what I’ve found is a way to penetrate from our universe into a huge number of ‘Earths that might have been’. Parallel worlds that started out the same way as our world, but travelled down some other path at some critical choice in time. It’s always been a theoretical possibility, but I’ve found a practical way to do it.”
His excitement began to build as he began to expound on the huge opportunities that could come. “The thing is, I’m sure that vast numbers of these worlds must exist that are more primitive than our own. We have a chance now to really do something about the population pressures that are the fundimental problem behind so much of the worlds ills. Imagine how many people would be willing to leave the packed cities and the rat race of modern life, and live as master of all they survey on some more primitive world.”
“And your collegues?” the President asked, “Do they agree that the process is feasible, or are they more hesitant?”
Wilkins looked abashed. “The thing is, Mr President, that they really think I’m a bit nuts on this. That’s why I had to write the letter directly to you. I needed someone who would realise how fantastically valuable this was.”
“And I do! You have no idea how glad I am that you wrote that letter. My advisors had assured me that no-one in the country – no one in the whole world – had any inkling of an actual mechanism that could access a para-world.”
The president touched a remote control in his pocket, and a section of wall slid aside to reveal a hidden elevator. “Come with me now,” he said, “there is someone you *have* to meet. The only other person in the world who can really understand just what you have achieved.” He smiled and hurried the scientist to the elevator.
He really was impressed with what Wilkins had done. And Wilkins was right, many people would be willing to be the master of some primitive world. It was such a pity, he thought, that there were also worlds more *advanced* than this Earth. However his practiced politician’s smile stayed in place as he walked the scientist towards his meeting with the hidden ruler of Earth.