James’ reflections on the fate of bubbles provokes me to poke at the implode bubble itself. For some reason this word, which specifically refers to the sudden inward collapse of something resisting external pressure, has floated into careless use to describe all sorts of destruction and failure where explode would be a more appropriate metaphor. A TV tube would implode because of its internal vacuum; a submarine similarly from external water pressure. But a bubble explodes because it’s under tension; a balloon either explodes when punctured or collapses if the internal pressure falls, as from a slow leak.
Etymology helps keep us on the right track: a tennis ball is so called because they were bouncy on account of internal pressure that kept the shell in tension (careless enunciation of tense ball), hence the hissy pressure can they used to be packed in. Now they work by the bending stiffness of the shell (you can puncture a tennis ball and it’s perfectly playable) but the name endures. Please do not write in correcting this paragraph; I like my story better than whatever truthy facts might be offered.