It’s true that one of the defining features of melba toast is that it’s unbuttered. But while we’re talking toast history it’s interesting to note that quite a lot of mental energy has been expended (mostly by British scientists) on the question of why, when you drop a piece of toast, it always lands butter-side down. Most of us would just chalk the phenomenon up to Murphy’s Law, yet several serious theories have been advanced, most of them dealing with things like gravity, roll, pitch and yaw.
Of course several unserious theories have been advanced as well, the most famous being the so-called cat and buttered toast theory, also known as the buttered cat paradox. The basis of the theory is quite simple: toast always lands buttered-side down, cats always land on their feet. Thus, if you strapped a piece of buttered toast to a cat’s back and dropped it, theoretically, it should stop before it hit the ground, hover for a moment, and begin to spin. Such hovering, spinning toast/cats could then be employed for all sorts of important uses, from perpetual motion machines to renewable energy to high-speed monorail systems.
Laboratory trials to date have been disappointing.