Today in Research: A Perfect Coffee Mug; Experimental Mouthwash

Discovered: "smart bomb" mouthwash, a possible acne medication side effect, a better word for "cancer," why we evolved to get braces, and hoping for a better coffee mug.

  • One small step on the road to a perfect coffee cup. In today's practical research, Scientific American takes a look at the experiment of a UCSB fluid dynamicist looking to answer one timeless query: why does "coffee sometimes spill and sometimes not?" The answer, though given with technical jargon, appears to boil down to some reasons why you thought coffee spills: you walked too fast, you got greedy and filled the cup to the brim, you made too quick of a movement and it splashed on your work shirt. But the experiment also teased out a proposal for the future of the mug: "a flexible container to act as a sloshing absorber" or a "series of rings arranged up and down the inner wall of a container might also impede the liquid oscillations." Starbucks, listening? [Scientific American]
  • Even experimental mouthwash is battlefield-ready these days. "Smartbomb" mouthwash: instead of numbly wiping out every single bit of bacteria in your mouth like all those other brands, this experimental prototype supposedly hones in on the bad stuff like a laser-guided precision missile or something. Thats what UCLA researchers are touting in a study that was funded in part by toothpaste purveyors Colgate-Palmolive (which may explain the catchy, grocery store aisle-ready "smartbomb" nickname). The results are apparently promising: in a small case study of 12 patients "after only one rinse, the mouthwash completely eliminated the S. mutans bacteria -- the main cause of tooth decay," CBS News reported. In any case, in the candy vs. dental hygiene Cold War a "smarter" mouthwash may be needed -- sour candy's tooth enamel decaying potency looks pretty strong. [CBS News, UCLA School of Dentistry]

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