Lesson Learned: Possible; Robert Irvine is back on television

I would probably have skipped this story had I not made a big deal of it before, but it should be noted: Robert Irvine is returning to Dinner: Impossible. The official story is that Iron Chef New Guy was just filling in until, I dunno, Irvine was contrite enough or something. Probably most of it was that he has a very vocal fan base who thinks that what he's done is not so bad. The press release says that he has worked hard to ensure that the record is straight and that he is sorry. I look forward to more abuse of him by the producers, and I hope that this is the end of whatever controversies surround his past. I still think he should go up against an iron chef one-on-one, though. Perhaps Symon, as a kick-off to the new series. That seems appropriate. via FNCrazy

Coke Floats, part 2

Okay, so waaaaay back a long time ago I wrote this post about the floating properties of Diet Coke and Coca-Cola. The gist is that Diet Coke is supposed to float in water, and regular Coke is supposed to sink, but I got some different results. After that, I did some back and forth with another site (Science and Food-ucation) about why I got weird results. Eventually I rebooted the site and lost the comments, so half of the conversation was gone. It's been a pretty popular entry, though, and for some reason I would get the least literate of comments on just the one post. I couldn't really figure out why. This evening, though, it all came together. A man whom we shall call Jared* wrote to me to say that he has performed the experiment many times and that the results are consistently in the "Coke sinks, diet coke floats" realm, which is not entirely what I recorded. He suggested that perhaps I had an air bubble under my can, and that was causing the floating. He went on to tell me that whenever he teaches this for his science class… …And that's when I realized. Of course! This is a relatively standard experiment in a science class. It has cola, which kids relate to, and is inexpensive to acquire the materials. Also, once you're done, you can drink the subjects of the experiment, which is not nearly as common as aspiring mad scientists might hope. So what happens is that these kids get a science lesson about Diet Coke floating, and perhaps a bit of homework to find out more. They run to The google and type Diet coke floats and come back with the 5th result from the top saying "However, it should be pointed out that, despite the introductory picture for this quick note, Coke does not sink while Diet Coke floats." The kids are all like "Whaaaaa?" and rush to tell me that I suck.** So, mystery one is cleared up. Mystery two is pretty close to being solved by the likelihood of an air bubble trapped under the can, so I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a couple of cans of Coke, a big transparent container, and a video camera. The result is: And yes, I know the video kind of sucks, but I am not afraid to suck, so there. *- For that is his name. **- Incidentally, that should be a lesson for you kids. It won't be, but it should. All it took was a reasonably well thought out discussion to get me to re-examine the experiment. Those of you who suggested that I was a big liar, well, I pretty much ignored you.

Diet Coke floats

Diet Coke FloatsWhat? Ice cream and diet coke? Noooooo. That's crazy talk! No, there's a curious little Coca Cola tidbit that goes like this: a can of Coke will sink to the bottom of a container of water, but a can of Diet Coke will float. Now, why would this be? The quick explanation is that Coke is denser than water, whereas Diet Coke is less dense than water. Simple, but not a satisfying explanation. What is satisfying is remembering that artificial sweeteners are far sweeter per gram than sugar, or even corn syrup, is. This means that a small percentage of weight will be the solid particles of the sweetener dissolved in the liquid when compared with sugar, so the diet soda is less dense. However, it should be pointed out that, despite the introductory picture for this quick note, Coke does not sink while Diet Coke floats. If you push both cans down, they will both sink to the bottom of the water, but they will both rise back to the top. Still, the Diet Coke is far more quick to rise than the Coke, indicating it is more buoyant than the Coca Cola with sugar. However, if any of your friends swear that they saw on the internet that Diet Coke floats when Coke sinks, and you can't bring yourself to acquire two cans of soda and a container of water, point them to the picture below. All Coke Floats