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Government Pays To Research Why Coffee Spills

Government Pays To Research Why Coffee Spills

Accusations of frivolous spending are nothing new for the American government. Generally, what is considered frivolous is pretty subjective and mostly amounts to “providing money to a program I don’t agree with.” But I think we can all agree that we’d like to have back the $170,000 the government spent on the study “Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?

According to The Week, the $170,000 came via a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a branch of the Department of Defense looking to develop new technologies for military use. Given to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, those 1,700 Benjamins are the key to uncovering the common sense mysteries of why coffee spills when you are walking around with it all nimbly bimbly-like.

The researchers collected their data by observing spillage at various walking speeds and liquid levels in the cup. Those observations were then analyzed using “dynamical systems and fluid mechanics viewpoints,” which I think is just a fancy way of saying, “it’s technical sciency stuff. Don’t worry about it and give us $170,000.”

And here’s the fun part: they didn’t find the answer. Turns out, there’s some pretty complex science behind that janky gait, checking Instagram instead of noticing a big crack in the ground, or whatever that aggressive arm motion is that you’ve got going on. Throw in some fluid dynamics and you’ve got a whole heap of tortuous science. I guess we’ll never know why coffee spills when we walk with it.

Anyone have $100,000 laying around to fund my pretty revolutionary research, “Lids: How do they work?”

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.


  1. […] months ago, we brought you a story about the U.S. Government spending $170,000 to figure out why coffee spills when you are walking around with it all nimbly bimbly-like, one that ended with a big, fat “I […]

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