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Mentos + Cola at Various Altitudes

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

The mentos/cola experiment has reached new heights. Details are in the study:

Probing the Mechanism of Bubble Nucleation in and the Effect of Atmospheric Pressure on the Candy–Cola Soda Geyser,” Thomas S. Kuntzleman and Ryan Johnson, Journal of Chemical Education, epub 2020. The authors, at Spring Arbor University and at Doherty High School, Colorado Springs, Colorado, report:

The so-called Diet Coke and Mentos experiment is initiated by dropping Mentos candies into a bottle of Diet Coke or other carbonated beverage. This causes the beverage to rapidly degas, causing foam to stream out of the bottle. Simple application of the gas laws leads to the straightforward prediction that ejection of greater foam volume is expected at lower atmospheric pressure. This hypothesis is bolstered when principles of bubble physics are taken into account. This hypothesis was tested and confirmed by monitoring the foam produced during the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment at various altitudes above sea level.

Author Tom Kuntzleman sent us this lovely note:

Ryan Johnson and I recently examined the effect of altitude (and therefore atmospheric pressure) on the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. To do so, we carried out the experiment in many places around the US at altitudes that ranged from below sea level in Death Valley to over 14,000 feet at the top of Pikes Peak. We had an absolute blast.

For my father’s day present in 2019, my family gave me permission to carry out Coke and Mentos experiments at various locations (elevations) as we traveled through Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah for summer vacation.


Monday, March 30th, 2020

Science advances two nostrils at a time. Or moves in some other direction. The Guardian reports, on March 30, 2020:

An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at a Melbourne university, was building a necklace that sounds an alarm on facial contact, when the mishap occurred on Thursday night.

The 27 year-old astrophysicist, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying to liven up the boredom of self-isolation with the four powerful neodymium magnets.

Troy and the Grizzly Bear

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Anyone seeking distraction can find it in this documentary video, “Project Grizzly.” See Troy Hurtubise in his self-mythic quest to personally build and test a suit of armor that he hopes will let him spend time with grizzly bears. Troy was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for safety engineering, in 1998, for the work documented here.

Dinner Lecture: Parasitology Club Fecal Lecture and Lab

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Today’s Dinner Lecture of the Day is the “Parasitology Club Fecal Lecture and Lab” at Cornell University, at which “Dr. Araceli Lucio-Forster will give a dinner lecture on the principles of veterinary fecal examinations which will be followed by a practical lab in which students will have the opportunity to perform fecals on their pet’s feces”:

(Thanks to Norm Trigoboff for bringing this to our attention.)

Scientists barked like dogs at toads to make them pee

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Scientists barked like dogs at toads to make them pee in order to save the species from extinction, according to an Associated Press report by Dánica Coto:

1st in vitro Puerto Rico crested toad gives scientists hope

…Extracting semen from toads that measure up to 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) long is normally easy: they release it in their urine, and they usually pee whenever they’re picked up, Barber [Diane Barber, pictured here, ectotherms curator at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas] said. But for those toads that did not pee, another tactic was used.

“It’s kind of weird, but if you hold them in your hand and look at them and bark at them like a dog, they will pee,” she said.

(Thanks to Eris Caffee for bringing this to our attention, in vivid wording.)

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