Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Soda Works Best For Disposing of a Human Body

A little while ago, the interwebs came alive with news that Mountain Dew could turn a mouse into a gelatinous blob.  Given my quite real addiction to the yellow stuff (if a go a couple days without a hit of the Dew, I feel awful, complete with splitting headache), I was particularly intrigued by this story.   Yet I don’t feel the need to go into detail about how this news effects my ritualistic consumption of the beverage of life because I couldn’t say it any better than this commentary by Chuck Klosterman.  Instead, I decided I wanted to witness these miraculous flesh-dissolving powers first hand.  So, I set up a very modest experiment.

The experimental design is actually quite simplistic.  I took raw chicken legs and wings and put a single piece of chicken into 14 different mason jars.  I chose to use the chicken legs and wings because they would provide I nice mix of muscle, skin, fat, and bone that gets as close as possible to an actual animal without raiding a hatchery.   The next step was to add sufficient liquid to the jars to completely cover the chicken.  Now here is where it gets interesting (at least to me).   The only way to really appreciate the true destructive power of Mountain Dew is to put it up against some of the lesser stomach corroding drinks that we commonly imbibe.  Each of the 14 mason jars got a different beverage.  I tried to include as varied a selection of sodas and soda-like substances as possible.  We know that those artificial sweetners in the diet soda give you cancer but do they eat skin.  Can we answer the universal question of Coke or Pepsi?  Red Bull may give you wings but what does it do to actual wings?  Over the course of the next couple of weeks we will find out.  The final roll call of this experiment is as follows;
  1. Mountain Dew
  2. Mountain Dew Code Red
  3. Mott’s Apple Juice
  4. Schweppe’s Ginger Ale
  5. Caffeine-Free Diet Coke
  6. Coke
  7. Pepsi
  8. Stop and Shop Brand Grape Soda
  9. A&W Root Beer
  10. Sprite
  11. Red Bull
  12. Monster Energy
  13. V8 Splash Fruit Medley
  14. Water (our control for this experiment)
After filling the jars, the lids were screwed on and the jars were placed in our basement.  And there they will sit, undisturbed, while I observe and document the changes that our battery of liquids is inducing in our chicken.  This is of course not a perfect experiment.  The mason jars are not air tight, so the soda will likely lose their carbonation more quickly than a sealed bottle of soda so if the pressure and carbonation is important to the degradation process, we will miss that.  Also, a basement is not exactly temperature controlled so variations in heat could artificially speed or slow the corrosion.  But at least all of the samples will be exposed to the same variations.  Finally, I am somewhat disappointed that I don’t have any quantitative measures for assessing what is happening to the chicken.  The fact that this isn’t the perfect experiment won’t stop us from doing small “s” science though.   Life’s great unanswered questions need to be answered and sometimes the means chicken wings in mason jars in a basement.

This blog post is sponsored by Slurm.

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