By: Steven Goodman – Opinions Editor
Making waves throughout the coffee drinking world, a recent study explains the causes of that beloved caffeinated beverage spilling out of your mug. University of California, Santa Barbara published the study in 2012 and it has broken through the wall between academia and the everyday world via the popular website Reddit.
The study, authored by H.C. Mayer and R. Krechetnikov, found that coffee is mostly like to spill out of an individual’s mug after taking somewhere between seven and 10 steps. The study finds this has to do with the biomechanics of the average person’s walk and the low-viscosity fluid dynamics of the coffee.
Finding the natural frequency at which coffee sloshes back and forth was key: This research found that the human gait moves at a nearly identical frequency. This means that walking amplifies the frequency at which your coffee will oscillate back and forth. The faster a person walks, the study found, the closer the walking frequency comes to coffee’s natural frequency. Of course, if you’re low on caffeine already, stumbling will increase the entropy and could have unexpected or chaotic effects on the coffee’s range of motion.
The study has left a profound impact on the business world: The productivity of the average coffee-drinking employee has plummeted. Now that the secret to avoiding spilled coffee has been unlocked, the 83 per cent of U.S. adults who are coffee drinkers are focusing more attention on the oscillating coffee in their mugs rather than on any actual work.
“Usually, I’d spend the first and last couple hours of my day trying to wake up or pack up to go home, respectively,” said Thomas Balderdash, a senior engineer who would not reveal what company he worked for, “but now, I have to focus so closely on the number of steps I take with coffee in my hand, I’m lucky to get an hour of work done. I’ve been late to every meeting since this study came out. But my boss, who also drinks coffee, gets it.”
Other employees at Balderdash’s company expressed similar stress in avoiding the embarrassing predicament of coffee splashing from their mugs. Others complained about having to count their steps, stop and wait for the coffee to return to rest before resuming their journey.
Trickling down from the business world into universities, UCSB’s research has hit the University of Dayton hard. Significant portions of the student body have been routinely late to class, citing spilled coffee as the main concern. Despite the fact that many students use travel mugs with lids, the consensus has been that you can never be too careful. University administrators are considering increasing the time between classes from 15 to 30 minutes to combat this problem.
“I personally don’t drink coffee,” commented senior mechanical engineering major Bryan Kinch, “but I have noticed my roommates moving slower than normal. They hardly ever look up from their coffee cups anymore.”
Beyond the concerns of perpetual lateness, UD administrators have raised concerns about the decreasing closeness of the community. “I used to enjoy seeing the smiling faces of students when I would walk through campus in the morning,” said President Dan Curran, “now, all I find are those same students staring intently at coffee-filled containers and moving at an incredibly slow pace.”
Senior finance major and coffee-drinker Erik Kurcz acknowledged the truth in President Curran’s remarks. “I hardly see anyone when I walk to class anymore. I’m too focused on the cup in my hand,” said Kurcz, filling up his coffee mug, “now if you’ll excuse me, I have meeting across campus in 45 minutes that I need to get to.”
The university is working to bring the community back together by searching for temporary non-coffee-drinking workers. It is also considering offering programs to help students quit coffee and get their lives back on track.
Editor’s Note: This article is satirical. Coffee is still the glue that holds the work force together.