Dear Dr. Boli: It used to be that, when I had to put laundry detergent in the wash, I took the cap off and poured detergent into the cap to measure it. Now all the detergent companies have redesigned their bottles so that I have to take off the larger cap, twist the smaller cap partway but not all the way off to vent the jug, turn the jug on its side, and hold it in that position while simultaneously holding down a button on the spout with my other hand to release the detergent. Since progress works in only one direction and everything constantly gets better and better, I know this system is an improvement over the old one. My question is this: How? —Sincerely, A Little Old Man Who Finds It Hard to Tilt Five Pounds of Detergent While Simultaneously Holding Down a Button with His Other Hand.

Dear Sir: Today’s detergent companies manufacture laundry detergent in convenient single-load capsules to spare you the slavish labor of measuring detergent into a cap. Selling these capsules is much more profitable for the detergent companies than selling detergent in liquid form. If you insist on buying your detergent as a liquid, the detergent companies will sell it to you, but they will not be happy about it. They will do all they can to remind you of the difficulties you could spare yourself if only you bought your detergent in convenient capsule form. Thus the newly engineered jugs are a great improvement over the old ones, which hardly discouraged you at all.