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This Year's Ig Nobel Prizes:

This year's Ig Nobel Prizes have recently been announced. The Chemistry Prize winner one is perhaps my favorite among this year's selections:

Teenagers, do not take heed: Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide. Sharee A. Umpierre, Deborah Anderson and Joseph Hill mixed four different types of Coke with sperm (in test tubes, mind you), and found that Diet Coke is the most lethal sperm killer. No sperm was left standing after its wrath. New Coke wasn't so deadly: it destroyed only 59 percent of sperm. Again, we can' emphasize this enough: teenagers, don't not try this in real life.

I have always wondered why New Coke was such a dismal marketing failure despite the fact that blind taste tests showed that most consumers preferred it to "classic" Coke. This important new research provides a possible solution to the longstanding conundrum. Maybe taste wasn't the only relevant consideration for consumers!

afm_Dude:
Here's an interesting essay about the New Coke debacle:

10.7.2008 6:59pm
afm_Dude:
Apparently, the link poster doesn't work.

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=964
10.7.2008 7:01pm
Old33 (mail):
Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.

Diet Coke is only lethal to your sperm if you immerse the sperm in a pool of Diet Coke. Which, if that's your technique, is already unlikely to result in pregnancy.
10.7.2008 7:02pm
Ilya Somin:
Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.

Diet Coke is only lethal to your sperm if you immerse the sperm in a pool of Diet Coke. Which, if that's your technique, is already unlikely to result in pregnancy.


Thanks for clearing that up for our more impressionable younger readers:).
10.7.2008 7:05pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
It's always good when awards committees recognize such seminal research.
10.7.2008 7:08pm
Big E:
New Coke was a failure because while a random selection of tasters may think it tasted better, the hard core six pack a day coke drinkers hated it.
10.7.2008 7:12pm
PersonFromPorlock:
It wasn't the taste, it was the apostasy!
10.7.2008 7:16pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

I was told once that the shape of glass Coke bottle was specifically designed to be used as a douche.

Whether or not I believe that is something else entirely.
10.7.2008 7:18pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.


Okay, but anything that can kill 100% of my sperm probably shouldn't go in large quantities into my body.
10.7.2008 7:19pm
Fub:
Edward A. Hoffman wrote at 10.7.2008 6:08pm:
It's always good when awards committees recognize such seminal research.
Indeed, when the more fertile minds on these committees finally conceive the idea, it makes a vas deferens.
10.7.2008 7:20pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Since I became a teenager, back in the 1950s, Coke's attributes as a spermicide were well-rumored, if not well known.

The problem was in the application which (also rumored, as I can't find an online cite) resulted in embolisms as carbonated gases made their way further into the woman's body. Then there was the problem of adding sugars to an area already susceptible to yeast infections.

'Feed the Yeast' was not a good marketing slogan, I guess, outside of breweries and wineries.
10.7.2008 7:21pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
. . . and if they were using more of those longstanding conundrums, they wouldn't need to be fooling around with New Coke.

John Burgess: those who didn't actually get this bit of folk wisdom on the dtreet heard about it the first time someone in their high school turned up with a Fugs album.
10.7.2008 7:28pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I recall years ago once reading that women in Africa, uh, poured Coke afterwards as birth control.

Anyway, New Coke failed because it sucked. If I wanted Pepsi or something similar, I would have bought Pepsi.
10.7.2008 7:39pm
David Schwartz (mail):
I think there's some truth to the argument that sip tests don't accurately reflect the way people drink Colas. I may prefer a very sweet drink in a sip test. But I'm not going to want to drink 12 ounces of it to quench my thirst.

New Coke beat out Pepsi (and the original Coke) in sip tests, probably mostly because it was sweeter. But try drinking 12 ounces of it. It's simply overwhelming.

I may prefer a bit of a cheesecake over a bite of a cheeseburger. But I'd rather have the cheeseburger for lunch.
10.7.2008 7:57pm
Anderson (mail):
I was told once that the shape of glass Coke bottle was specifically designed to be used as a douche.

The sensation of the carbonated fizz could introduce whole new realms of sexual pleasure.

... Or it could just leave someone looking for a REAL douche, in a hurry.
10.7.2008 7:59pm
Arkady:
Ah, well, what the hell, I'll show my age. But when I was a teenager (so long ago you don't want to know), it was "common knowledge" that, in a pinch, a bottle of Coke, briskly shaken, made an excellent spermicidle douche.
10.7.2008 8:05pm
jim47:


Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.


Thanks for clearing that up for our more impressionable younger readers:).


Indeed. As anyone who went to my high school could tell you, only Mountain Dew kills your sperm when consumed.
10.7.2008 8:12pm
CDR D (mail):
I don't care for Coca Cola in any of its iterations. I like Pepsi.

I never thought of it as a spermicide, but some on here seem to know a lot more about that than I ever did.

Maybe Ms. Lewinski could check in and give us her evaluation.

Or maybe she's down with the mumps?
10.7.2008 8:44pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
In the Red States they apparently drink something called "RC". It presumably has no contraceptive value.
10.7.2008 9:16pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Bill Poser: I'm in a Red State and damned if I can find RC anywhere. No Double-Cola, either.
10.7.2008 10:59pm
Dave N (mail):
More about RC from Wikipedia and its own website. I like RC but can rarely find it.
10.7.2008 11:12pm
one of many:
What, Royal Crown isn't all over anymore? Next you all will be telling me I can no longer send to Maine for Moxie. Actually you can also find RC in Maine, a blueish state now tat I think about it. No idea about the contraceptive value of RC although I would guess Moxie would be a pretty useful contraceptive, it certainly kills taste buds easily enough.


Back on topic I think far more useful was the research into placebos, buy the expensive placebos they are more effective than the cheap ones.
10.7.2008 11:47pm
Hoosier:
"Have a Coke and a Smile"?

Now we know why.
10.7.2008 11:52pm
Joshua:
Contraception is, of course, just the latest of many purportedly possible uses of Coca-Cola.

On the other hand, why waste a perfectly good bottle of Coke as a spermicide, when you can waste it much more spectacularly with a well-placed Mentos candy instead?
10.8.2008 12:46am
NickM (mail) (www):
And that's why Pepsi is the choice of a new generation.

Nick
10.8.2008 1:43am
theobromophile (www):
Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.

Diet Coke is only lethal to your sperm if you immerse the sperm in a pool of Diet Coke. Which, if that's your technique, is already unlikely to result in pregnancy.

Clearly, you're behind the times.
10.8.2008 4:01am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
I vote NickM's comment "best in thread" (and not just because of his name).
10.8.2008 7:07am
Bill Twist:

I have always wondered why New Coke was such a dismal marketing failure despite the fact that blind taste tests showed that most consumers preferred it to "classic" Coke.


That is because consumers don't drink Coke blind.

Product A may be preferable to Product B in a scientific blind test, but such tests ignore psychological issues present in normal, every day decision making.
10.8.2008 10:28am
Toby:
Nah, around here, its Cheerwine. I have no reports either way of its special efficacy...
10.8.2008 12:53pm
Gino:
Where do you even get New Coke? I haven't seen it in a store since I don't know when. Is there a bottle that actually says "New Coke" on it, and is it sold next to Coke Classic?
10.8.2008 1:45pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

Let the record reflect that drinking Diet Coke does not kill your sperm.

Diet Coke is only lethal to your sperm if you immerse the sperm in a pool of Diet Coke. Which, if that's your technique, is already unlikely to result in pregnancy.


These aren't mutually exclusive, are they?
10.8.2008 5:26pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
I'm still holding out hope for Diet Caffeine-Free Cherry Coca-Cola Classic. Presumably it will only be available in two-liter bottles, since that name won't fit on a can.
10.8.2008 5:35pm
Hoosier:
There is a tendency for teens in some areas to drink bleach, since it kills the AIDS virus. So perhaps it's not so far-fetched to think that teenagers would drink Coke to prevent pregnancy.

People really should not be allowed to have genitals at that age.
10.8.2008 5:52pm
Splunge:
I vaguely recall that pussies are somewhat alkaline, although I've never remembered my pH strips at an opportune moment, so I can't speak with empirically justified authority. It might just be the acidity that's bad for the little guys.

You could let the stuff stand until it goes flat, but since they add a chunk of phosphoric or citric acid to tart the taste up, so to speak, relieving the nasty brew of its carbonic acid might not do much.
10.8.2008 10:21pm
Hoosier:
"pussies"?

What? You think we're all vertebrate biologists or something? Enough with the scientific jargon.
10.8.2008 11:24pm