Monday, September 18, 2006

Scientific Superstition

I was tapping the lid of my soda can when someone asked me “Does that really do anything?”

“No,” I replied, “I don’t think it really does. I just can’t open a lid of soda without tapping on it first.”

It was at this moment that I realized that I believed in scientific superstition.

It’s not a traditional type of superstition. When I think traditional superstition I think of someone who would throw a handful of excess salt over their shoulder. This is done to retain whatever “good luck” they might have, and ward off any “bad luck” that might come their way. Of course those of us less fortunate, without this little tidbit of information, might be foolish enough to throw that salt in the trash, sink or someplace equally unthinkable.

When I tap on the lid of the soda can I’m willing it to not be carbonated. I believe that by tapping four or five times, all excess bubbles will disappear. I don’t think it will happen by magic, but have this bizarre faith in science as my magic. I believe that by tapping science will make the carbonation vanish. I don’t believe in good luck or back luck, unless you count being covered in soda pop. This brings us to the superstition. All said and done I have no real faith that tapping on the lid is doing anything at all, besides making a slightly pleasant sound. Even with this knowledge, I can no more open a soda without tapping than I can cross the street without looking. That is all out superstition.

This reminds me of a previous post about Coke, in which I told you about people putting their fingers in the soda to reduce the amount it fizzes up. This is yet another example of scientific superstition. They could stay dry, but they are blinded by their finger poking ways. They don't see that the fizz would receed on its own, and canot see the ridiculousness of the whole idea. I suppose as long as I’m a ‘tapper’ I have little room to criticize other soda fizz reducer notions.

I was trying to think of other scientific superstitions and one came to me while driving. Have you ever been at a stop light when someone starts to flash their lights? This is scientific superstition at its best. The reasoning in this; some traffic lights have sensors that pickup emergency vehicle lights. So if a fire truck, ambulance, or police cruiser come barreling down the road, the light will change in the favor of that direction. These people armed with that scrap of knowledge begin flashing their headlights like a Morse Code signal. If for some unknown bit of coincidence the light does change, this emboldens their theory and gives credence to their absurd habit.

Anyway for those of us who hold to some unreasonable scientific superstition, I can offer little help. I know that I have no plans of cutting out my soda tapping ways regardless of how absurd of an activity. So for the scientific superstitious among us, throw away your rabbits foot, because we're armed with science.

15 comments:

J Crew said...

I prefer shaking the soda

kludge said...

J Crew-
that method certainly has its merits. for instance your don't need any caffeine to help wake you up, and you get that wonderful sticky feeling inyour nose and behind your ears....

Paul said...

finger in carbonated beverage to prevent fiz overflow? not superstition! it's true!

the natural oils on your fingers break the surface tension of the bubbles, causing them to break faster. much faster. if you've *just* washed your hands right before doing it, it won't work. but normally, just touching the tip of your index finger to the top of the foam will indeed cause it to recede faster. this is scientifically verifiable using Barq's diet root beer.

kludge said...

Paul-

I didn't know you to be a charter memeber of the scientific superstitious chaper of finger de-fizzers.

I can find nothing to dispute your claims on the internet and therefore must stay

"far be if for a lid tapper to question a finger pokers methods."

I apologize for the post, but must state, that Kludge Spot is not responsible for any emotional damage this post might have caused you.

Ando said...

So I guess the question becomes, what's worse, the threat of over-fizzing and losing some precious soda, or sticking a greasy, unwashed finger into a beverage you're about to drink to prevent said catastrophe?

Windy City Survivors said...

Hmmm...I'm thinking that I would rather have my drink fiz over then have a dirty, oily finger placed in my drink! I hope they don't do this in restaurants ;)

kludge said...

Rebecca?

I think that's you... welcome back. I'm afraid I have to agree with you and Ando. Sorry Paul.


Love the new handle and glad you took the blog plunge! I'm going to go and check out your site.

Windy City Survivors said...

Yep Peter, it's Rebecca. I finally decided to join all of you bloggers. I was lurking too long. I always come to your blog for a good laugh. :) I especially loved the Judah stories. Those are a blast from the past!

kludge said...

Ah yes, another drummer who can testify to my amazing idoitcy and poor tempo. :)

SJ said...

This is funny - I ALWAYS tap the top of the can before opening! I think??? thought??? it was something you really should do?????

dinane said...

I too am a tapper. I am also incapable of not tapping. I must tap!

Windy-Rebecca: Even when I worked at Friendly's (a place scarier than any other), I never bore witness to any restaurant employees sticking their grubby fingers in a soda to reduce the fizz. With standard soda fountains, I find the fizz is much less than any pour from a bottle or can. And fizz in a float or other ice-cream-plus-soda-contraption is desireable.

Paul said...

infidels! barbarians! you will suffer in befizzed agony i tell you!

kludge said...

LOL!!!

Megan C. said...

Here's my piece of scientific superstition. Instead of sticking my finger in the soda, I have heard it is better to tilt the cup sideways, hence making more surface area for the bubbles to spread out on and then pop quicker. Now, you do have to make sure that as you tilt the cup you don't spill it over the side. This only works if the cup is filled about 3/4 of the way up.

kludge said...

wow, I'm amazed at how many people have a solution to the fizzy woes. I will have to try the tip and pour.

I have also tried pouring down the side of the glass to reduce the bubble. I find in with diet coke the exersice is useless.