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Corkscrew Cups Could Keep Space Drinks Flowing

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the shaken-not-stirred dept.

Space 181

holy_calamity writes "A Canadian chemical engineer has a novel solution to containing liquids in space. He has been experimenting with corkscrews of ribbon-like material that keep liquids suspended in their center while in microgravity. This effect is caused by the surface tension of the liquids. The helical containers allow the fluid to be sucked out of the coil in one go. In more conventional shapes, such as coffee cups, interaction between the container and the liquid's internal pressure makes the beverage break into annoying globules you have to chase with a straw."

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I'm interested in how they simulated microgravity (4, Interesting)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087702)

They tested the candidates in a tank that simulates microgravity using two different liquids of equal density.
I wonder if the surface tension of those two liquids affects the experiment at all? Thats interesting.

Re:I'm interested in how they simulated microgravi (5, Informative)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088010)

Surface tension arises from cohesion and not adhesion. The two types of liquids were probably chosen such that the cohesive forces in the experiment were similar to that for water in air. Adhesive forces may exist between the liquids, but should not affect the experiment. Cohesive forces can be calculated by measuring the angle of the meniscus (if the adhesive forces between the liquid and its container are known).

Re:I'm interested in how they simulated microgravi (4, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088100)

As if we didn't have enough trouble with drunken diapered astronauts, now NASA's come up with a way to have martinis in space! They should have stuck with Jello Shots in a Tube, TangDrivers, and secretly fermenting raisins from their Space Lunches. Not to mention huffing escaping gas from the air conditioning system. Yes, these plain-vanilla pilots and scientists have a wild side. The dewy-eyed novices on all-male flights awarded their first "Member of 50-Mile High Club" patch. The ones with a secret tattoo of Richard Simmons on their lower back saying "Your Space Buddy!" The "NASA Says Save Water in Space, Shower With Your Co-Pilot" ecology program. Oh, the horror. Cover your eyes, children.

Globule wars. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087714)

"In more conventional shapes, such as coffee cups, interaction between the container and the liquid's internal pressure makes the beverage break into annoying globules you have to chase with a straw."

Yes, but that's half the fun right there of going into space. The other is passing space gas.

Re:Globule wars. (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087816)

I thought it was like in the movies where they just drink out of plastic bags with straws in them?
Or they just shoot the water/beverage into the air and then proceed to drink from the suspended sphere. :)

Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (5, Funny)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087720)

And also begs the question, what shape would the corkscrew opener be for that? the shape of a bottle perhaps?

whooa (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087784)

Stop it you're totally freaking me out man

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1, Informative)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087790)

And also begs the question...
No, it raises the question. =P

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088372)

Don't worry, I saw a WeightWatchers commercial a while back that wrongly used "begs the question" as well. So it's not just for those you expect to lack grammar any more.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088558)

No, it begs the question.

No, I don't care if some website says the etymology of that phrase is in some fashion contrary to it's current modern day usage. The mere fact of the matter is that language evolves, and so did that phrase. People look like idiots for suggesting that the phrase was used incorrectly, as that is NOT the accepted definition.

Quit modding that wrongful correction as insightful. That statement, and its "Insightful" modding is a very good indication that the poster, nor the modder has any insight on the fluidity of language. /soapbox

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088780)

Fie! Hast thou not esteem for the sanctitee of the English tonge? Verily, that sufficentlly benefecent to be used by Jesus Christ must needs be goodest enoughtst for you. Getest thee backest to Russia!

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

jesdynf (42915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088804)

You are not the first person to make the claim that widespread incorrect usage is no longer incorrect. You are not the last person who will do so.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088966)

You are not the first person to make the claim that widespread incorrect usage is no longer incorrect. You are not the last person who will do so.

And he is not wrong for doing so. How do you think the English language was created? Lexical Engineers?

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089380)

It'll only legitimately become the evolution of the language when everyone starts to agree with the usage. Clearly, everyone does not.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089638)

So stop giving a shit! Seriously, why do people care about these things enough to go out of their way to correct others?

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088810)

The only reason the usage of that phrase ever changed is because large numbers of ignorant people started using it incorrectly, and now we're left without an unambiguous, concise way of accusing someone of assuming what they are pretending to prove. The usage of "begs the question" we are discussing is only standard in the same sense, and for the same reasons, that .doc, Microsoft Windows, and IE's broken implementation of HTML and CSS are standard.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (4, Insightful)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088910)

"You're assuming your conclusion" isn't that many more letters than "You're begging the question." and uses each word as it's currently understood.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089170)

The only reason the usage of that phrase ever changed is because large numbers of ignorant people started using it incorrectly, and now we're left without an unambiguous, concise way of accusing someone of assuming what they are pretending to prove.


Someone is singular. They is plural. Only ignorant people use singular they.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (4, Informative)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089500)

The singular usage of "they" is attested all the way back to Shakespearean times (in fact, to Shakespeare himself) and has no negative consequences to the language as a whole. The issue here is not that some of us accept that language changes and others don't. The issue here is that some of us prefer to see language be used as eloquently and articulately as possible. Using "raises the question" instead of "begs the question" when one isn't referring to the logical fallacy maintains precision and avoids ambiguity. Similarly, using "they" to refer to a singular person of indeterminate gender is far more elegant than awkward constructions such as "s/he", "he/she", "(s)he", and so forth, while avoiding the ambiguity and gender bias of using "he".

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089616)

"He or she"

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089678)

Give me a gender-neutral singular pronoun that isn't so unwieldy that it negates the point of using a pronoun in the first place. Then explain why we should invent a new word for this (like "hir") when "they" works just fine.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088972)

...the fluidity of language...

And that begs the the question, what kind of wessel would you store it in?

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

sykodoc (763810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088976)

You're harshing my buzz, dude.

Now... pass me that corkscrew full of wine sitting next to you.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

instarx (615765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089162)

No, I don't care if some website says the etymology of that phrase is in some fashion contrary to it's current modern day usage. The mere fact of the matter is that language evolves, and so did that phrase. People look like idiots for suggesting that the phrase was used incorrectly...
No, the phrase "begs the question" hasn't evolved to mean some other thing. It still means to avoid answering the question no matter how forcefully you insist that it means what you want it to mean. How ironic (and frankly, moronic) that you feel justified in calling people idiots because they know the English language better than you.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089280)

You mean latin right?

That phrase is a latin translation, and before it was translated from latin it never meant anything in this language. How ironic (and frankly, moronic) that you didn't know that, but tried to call me out on it.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

instarx (615765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089522)

You mean latin right?

That phrase is a latin translation, and before it was translated from latin it never meant anything in this language. How ironic (and frankly, moronic) that you didn't know that, but tried to call me out on it.
God, you're pedantic. Is there a logical point to your apparently nonsensical reference to Latin? Almost the entire English language is based on Latin - so what?

Trust me, anyone who would write "before it was translated from latin it never meant anything in this language" doesn't have the horsepower to argue the correct use of language.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089586)

Your post doesn't make any sense at all. None of it. But thanks for playing.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089190)

Yah you and you're wordz and your grammer dont impress me a bit!

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089218)

... fluidity of language

I get it... it's a pun.

Also in response to the original comment... couldn't you use a slightly larger cup of the same style as it's cover (you know flip it upside down and screw together)and prevent the hassle of opening a cork in space (which wouldn't the cabin pressure make more difficult.)

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (2, Informative)

necrostopheles (865577) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088886)

First, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question#Modern_usage_controversy [wikipedia.org]
Then follow the link to the article on linguistic prescription and description.

Personally, my skin crawls whenever someone uses "begging the question" in it's so-called modern sense, but I think that describing an argument as 'circular' is more aesthetically pleasing. So I'm inclined to let the masses beg their questions.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (2, Funny)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087796)

This is so useful to me in my daily life. From now on I am going to insist on helical containers for all my micro-gravity beverage needs.

Re:Would you need a screw shaped cork for wine? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088438)

It also raises the question: Could two girls simultaneously use such a cup?

I LOVE.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087762)

....sucking coils! mmmmmmmm

Star bucks (2, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087830)

Coffee in space?

Re:Star bucks (3, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088234)

In space, no one can hear you sip.

Re:Star bucks (0, Offtopic)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089196)

Okay, perhaps it is just an American thing, but it has to be said.

How the hell can you drink that crap? Starbucks coffee is terrible, and I'm not talking tastes-no-better-then-instant terrible, I'm talking this-coffee-is-burnt terrible.

How is Starbucks still in business?

Prior art. (4, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087876)

I believe it's called a Silly Straw. I have one sitting right next to my Tang.

How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087886)

Well, step aside my friend
I've been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears

Say
Put a tree in your butt
Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Put some fleas in your butt
Start to sneeze in your butt
Put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Put a light in your butt
Make it bright in your butt
Put a TV in your butt
Put me in your butt
Everybody say

I, hey, that's, man, I ain't putting no trees in nobody's butt,
no bees in nobody's butt, putting nothing--
You must be out your mind, man,
y'all get paid for doing this?
Cause y'all gotta get some kind of money
Cause this don't sound like the kind of--
I'd rather golf, to be perfectly honest,
than put somethin in somebody's butt
to be truthful

Well step aside my friend and let me
show you how you do it
When big bad E just rock rock to it

Put a metal case in your butt
Put her face in your butt
Put a frown in your butt
Put a clown in your butt
Sit on down in your butt
Put a boat in your butt
Put a moat in your butt
Put a mink coat in your butt
Put everything in your butt
Just start to sing about your butt
Feels real good

Re:How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087972)

I knew a kid who would put vegetables in his butt.

Re:How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088210)

I bet it felt real good

Re:How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088306)

How did you get out?

Re:How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088624)

The butt store called. They want their asshole back.

Re:How to reliably contain ANYTHING in space: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089084)

niggers

ron paul 2008

Does this mean... (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087924)

...that my crazy straw collection may actually be worth something?

Re:Does this mean... (3, Funny)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088052)

It means your "Strategically Engineering Anti-Gravity Humanoid Powered Suction Devices(TM)" are worth something, yes.

Re:Does this mean... (2, Funny)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088462)

Damn, I knew i should have invested more in marketing! Do have the number of a good PR rep?

Even better. (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087946)

Why not just suck water out of a sponge? This is twice as good as a silly straw (aka "corckscrew cup") because you could use it to clean up spills as well as prevent them.

Re:Even better. (5, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088070)

Why not just suck water out of a sponge? This is twice as good as a silly straw (aka "corckscrew cup") because you could use it to clean up spills as well as prevent them.


Bacteria love sponges. All that surface area means they'll hold water for a long time, and it's impossible to clean them properly.

Re:Even better. (4, Informative)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088490)

Two minutes of microwaving on full power mode killed or inactivated more than 99 percent of all the living pathogens in the sponges and pads...
Microwave oven can sterilize sponges, scrub pads [ufl.edu]

Re:Even better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089198)

Don't let anyone tell you that crap. The ONLY proper way to clean a bateria saturated piece of foam (like a sponge ... man even the spelling feels all wrong) is with FIRE or LAZERS. BTW, the first person who even suggests that lazer isn't spelled with a 'z' is going to get all 1.21 gigawatts of my newly purchased death lazer.

ps. Sorry about the threat with the lazer and all. You see I had an accident trying to attach it to a certain aquatic animal earlier this morning ... you know what never mind.

Re:Even better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089276)

No results found for "Lazer"

Did you mean: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?

Re:Even better. (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089660)

The article I linked was a study out of Florida State University...

... the UF researchers soaked sponges and scrubbing pads in raw wastewater containing a witch's brew of fecal bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores, including Bacillus cereus spores.
Considering they soaked sponges into that soup and were able to kill 99% of the bacteria, I'd say microwaving sponges is pretty effective. Though your suggestion of fire or "lazers" would probably also be effective, this method seems more practical.

Re:Even better. (1)

ixtapa (903468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089270)

Bacteria love sponges... and it's impossible to clean them properly.
Impossible? Aren't 99.9% of the bacteria removed by two minutes in the microwave (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/25/0321251 [slashdot.org] )? I hear the remaining .1% can be removed by scrubbing with a larger sponge.

Remind me, genius (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089450)

How is that different from straws and containers with lots of surface area?

Meh, nevertheless, my wife still leaves the wet sponge laying in the sink. Absolutely disgusting. However, we've never gotten sick from it, it just smells bad.

Re:Even better. (3, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088378)

because when you squeeze the sponge, liquid droplets would fly EVERYWHERE! There's a lot of holes in a sponge you know. That would be a total disaster. You'd have water droplets flying around for weeks. As for the giant, ridiculously long straw idea proposed in the article, I don't see why you can't just float a sphere of water and take bites out of it like an orange. If you're really, really careful, it shouldn't fragment plus that'd be way mroe fun!

Re:Even better. (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089388)

Yes, and then we'll all clean the soda/juice off of our hands by slapping balls of water.
Also, wouldn't the helix cup be just as messy? I'm a little worried by how the liquid was bulging out in the first picture.

Re:Even better. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088684)

In addition to the "bacteria love sponges" comment, the helix allows flow, whereas sponges are very good at stopping flow.

Nothing new here. (2, Funny)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087974)

Re:Nothing new here. (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088856)

If you'd take just a moment's glance at the story page you'd notice that this spiral is completely different.

Capri Sun (2, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087976)

Wouldn't a Capri Sun work just fine? Just a packet of liquid with no rigid structure which contracts to always contain the liquid...

Reminds me of that old (and false) joke about Americans spending a million dollars to invent a pen that can write in space, while the Russians used a pencil.

Re:Capri Sun (3, Funny)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088030)

Did the russians have fun brushing the shavings and graphite dust out of the relays?

Re:Capri Sun (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088128)

no, they bought the fisher space pens at retail price just like nasa. Oh, and an ordinary biro would have worked just as well anyway - you only need a pressurized pen for a de-pressurized area, like an airlock or the surface of the moon. Some people need to watch more QI.

Re:Capri Sun (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088230)

I'm sure they couldn't find the relays because of all the broken pencil leads in their eyes.

Re:Capri Sun (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088696)

Did the russians have fun brushing the shavings and graphite dust out of the relays?
Are you kidding? A Real Russian(TM) just hangs back and grabs the fire extinguisher every once in a while!

Re:Capri Sun (1, Informative)

CriX (628429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088248)

No, it wouldn't... that's what TF problem is all about. In micro gravity your capri sun juice would globulize inside the container and your straw would be sucking air and juice intermittently. On Earth gravity ensures that the heavier liquid stays in contact with your straw entrance. Also, this problem isn't as relevant to humans drinking efficiently as it is to mechanical systems that need to transfer fluid around effectively in a micro gravity environment.

Re:Capri Sun (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088456)

Hmmm... I don't think you get it. These Capri Sun juices [google.com] come in containers that collapse as you suck the juice out of them. So, as long as no air enters through the interface between the straw and the package (easy to implement) or through the straw itself (probably harder), the situation you mention would not happen.

Re:Capri Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089650)

They probably don't like Capri Sun juices. I, for one, prefer carbonated drinks.

Re:Capri Sun (2, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088706)

I think you're missing the point. As long as a reasonably good seal is maintained (which is usually the case), the drink "packet" will deform as the drink is consumed instead of letting air to fill the void left by the liquid.

Gravity doesn't even factor into the equation, although getting the last few drops out could prove to be frustrating..

Re:Capri Sun (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088866)

Informative? Do you know what a Capri Sun is?

Re:Capri Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089068)

Ok Capri is out, let's try an Evenflow baby bottle with a collapsing bag?

Re:Capri Sun (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088318)

Which works great right up until a piece of graphite breaks off and floats into a control board causing a short circuit.

Chopsticks (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088764)

No silly, you use chopsticks! [glumbert.com]

If you notice the bag of tea is exactly like that - a pouch with a straw.

Uh.. Capri Sun? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22087984)

Wouldn't a "Capri Sun" solution work just as easily? Put the liquid in an air-tight bag with a straw.

Ah, solutions looking for problems.

Let me get this straight (3, Funny)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22087986)

If you keep the liquid in a tube smaller than the globule it will break into, it won't break into a globule? Next thing, they'll be supplying these "astronauts" with "air" Brilliant!

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Insightful)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088256)

No, no. It's even more simple than that. All you have to do is put the liquid in the straw before takeoff, then you don't have to chase the globule down with a straw!

Man, Those pictures look so cool. (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088000)

*coughRTFAcough*

garbules. (1)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088016)

mmm... garbules.

College students rejoice (2, Funny)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088050)

Sounds like a space-age beer bong

How do you fill it? (2, Interesting)

foxxer (630632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088068)

It's really cool and clever... but how do you fill it on earth with all its delicious gravity? Unless you load it up *in* space, but that doesn't really solve the problem does it?

Re:How do you fill it? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088414)

Duh, the replicator serves drinks in these things. Sheesh - do I have to explain even the most BASIC space technology to you guys?

Videos of Water in Space (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088080)

This device would ruin all the fun [youtube.com] .

mod parent up, interesting (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088694)

great vid! The water droplets part was amazing!

What does this do to astronauts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088142)

Here's where I show my ignorance...but what the hey.
I looked at the pictures--they're double-helixes. I have a few of those in me. Now, I know that my DNA isn't a drinking straw (at least, I think I know...), but I'm curious to know if all that water we're theoretically made of is affected. I mean, does osmosis occur within DNA? If it does, would this do something to our genetic bits and bytes? In space?

I, for one, welcome our twisted new micro-gravity overlords.

I KNEW IT! (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088172)

The future WILL look like (1977) Buck Rogers and/or (1978) Battlestar Galactica when we get twirly space cups.

Re:I KNEW IT! (3, Funny)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088742)

Personally, I'm waiting for them to start cutting the corners off of our paper.

(The urban legend goes that the production company behind BSG liked the series, but thought that it was too expensive for what it was, and instructed the director to "cut some corners." Not being too happy with this, the director subsequently told his props manager to cut the corners off of every square and rectangular object he could find in his inventory. Oddly enough, this added to the "futuristic" appearance of the props)

News for nerds? (0, Offtopic)

rock217 (802738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088322)

Screw that.

In other words ... (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088370)

So the solution is to package the liquid in a long, flexible straw, and then coil the straw up into the shape of a cup.

Clever, clever!

(Of course, we have had a number of cases where we did extensive research, and when someone finally found a simple solution to a problem, everyone who saw it said "That's obvious." This happened with things like the zipper, barbed wire, and the paper clip, all of which took decades of experimenting before someone stumbled across the simple way to do it. Simple solutions to problems are often much more difficult to see than complex solution.)

Re:In other words ... (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088900)

Actually, no. It's more like a curly straw with the fluid clinging to the outside of it. Not stored in the middle.

Now all I need is (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088444)

two girls, a camera, soothing music, and a space ship.

In all seriousness... (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088486)

This could represent a new way of thinking of just not what our containers hold but how the containers interact with what they hold.

It probably won't amount to much for terrestrials but who knows? Sometimes it's the seemingly boring inventions which have a wide impact.

sippy cup (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088634)

Would this work on earth as a sippy cup that won't leak?

Re:sippy cup (1)

TBone (5692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088992)

You obviously have no kids. If you did, you'd know you're asking for the Holy Grail. :)

I'd be happy with a sippy cup that had enough resistance to pressure from inside that the cup full of milk we lose under the couch every other month didn't start blowing whey out the spout and making the living room smell like baby vomit.

why not a sponge? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089118)

What's wrong with just sucking the juice in microgravity from a sponge? or from one of those Capri Sun juice bags?

Brilliantly original. I love it. (2, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089152)

...at least I think it's original.

I'm just stunned at someone coming up with a totally new way to do something simple (hold liquid) in a simple way (in a container of the right shape) based on a familiar principle (surface tension).

In a sense, the idea of using surface tension to hold fluids is not new--think of a sponge or a towel--but getting cup-like and pipe-like functionality is.

I've no doubt that if humans had evolved in zero gravity this would have been discovered back around the same time as clay pots and chipped flint arrowheads, but as it is they didn't.

It's nice to know there are still inventions to be invented that don't rely on a billion microchips and a million lines of code.

Why not .... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089306)

... just use a container like a collapsible juice box?

Like the ones they use for little kids' drinks, they can contain liquids and prevent spills ....

.... on second thought, never mind.

Fine until it gets knocked (2, Interesting)

willllllllllll (1084019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089416)

What happens when it gets knocked against something? I bet that you'd end up with droplets all over the place: can just see the astronauts suing because their groins got burnt (shouldn't be putting coffee there anyway).

It's an open container - so the contents can spill if the container and content experience shear that overcomes surface tension when the fluid is at an exposed edge. and because it's a helix it's all exposed edge!

I'd go for the squeezy-bulb approach any time. ... Ha! - squeezy.

Crazy Straw 3: Electric Boogaloo (2, Funny)

byronne (47527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089454)

I'm gratified to see that Crazy Straw technology has evolved...in space!

easier way (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089622)

When I go to space, I just bring cups with internal centrifuges. Well, that and popsicles. I've never hand any trouble, though I've found it difficult to throw my cups in a straight line.

center? (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089704)

A Canadian chemical engineer has a novel solution ... that keep liquids suspended in their center

Shouldn't that be centre. :)

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