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Tuesday Watercooler


A tea pot, honey and other tea items.

Sounds like tea time?

Tonight’s video is the Raging Grannies singing “If My Uterus Was A Gun” at a Hobby Lobby protest near Madison, Wisconsin. Occupy Riverwest reports the event’s attendance was over 300. Please share your protest videos with me — I’d love to feature them in future Watercoolers.

A study by marketing scientists suggests that most humans can detect the difference between hot and cold fluids by sound alone. NPR reports:

Can people hear the difference between a hot cup of tea being poured and, say, a cold beer? […] They played sounds of hot and cold water being poured into glasses and asked people to guess: hot or cold? The results were kind of insane. Ninety-six percent of people can tell the difference between hot and cold, just by the sound.

Condiment Junkie, the sensory branding company behind these sounds, is trying to isolate exactly what it is about the sound of hot or cold water that tips people off to its temperature. And the answer isn’t the difference between cups and mugs, as some commenters guessed — Glass 1 and Glass 2 were identical containers.

Scientists have long known that cold water is more viscous than hot water, because the molecules are wiggling less rapidly, so they are effectively stickier. How viscous a liquid is affects how it pours, and therefore how it sounds. Scott King, one of the founders of Condiment Junkie, says bubbliness is also a factor.

‘There tends to be more bubbling in a liquid that’s hot,’ he explains. ‘As you have more bubbling, you tend to get higher frequency sounds from it.’

If you visit the original story, you can listen to the sounds and try for yourself. A fascinating bit of human science, but arguably in the service of evil — making us thirstier than ever when you hear that fizzy, pouring sound on commercial breaks.

Bonus: “That Time Two Bots Were Talking And Bank Of America Butted In,” on The Atlantic.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and