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Why Do Cans of Diet Coke Float While Regular Coke Sinks?

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In high school, my physics teacher took two cans of soda from a vending machine, plopped them in an aquarium filled with tap water, and blew our minds. The Diet Coke can floated to the top, while the regular Coke sat on the bottom. Why?

If you like thinking things through, perhaps pause here and noodle on this one.

The answer is a real forehead-smacker: sugar. While both beverages contain mostly water, the regular Coke has a lot of sugar (or dense corn syrup) dissolved in it—roughly 39 grams per can. This makes the density of the Coke liquid greater than that of pure water, so the regular Coke sinks. The can of Diet Coke contains less than one gram of sweetener, resulting in a density nearly equivalent to that of water (indeed, slightly less), so it floats.

If you prefer video explanations, check out this Today I Found Out video, which includes a healthy dose of bonus facts (including plenty on Archimedes and his "eureka" moment!):

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This Handy Chart Shows Which Cooking Methods to Use With Different Ingredients
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Shopping for food at the grocery store is the easy part of making dinner—figuring out how to turn your haul into a meal you’ll actually want to eat is where things get tough.

After choosing the ingredients to star in your dish, next you need to decide how to prepare them. Flipping meat and vegetables in a pan a few times and calling it a day may be your go-to strategy, but it’s not the only way. There’s a whole list of cooking methods out there that can help elevate your food from amateur home cooking to gourmet cuisine. If that sounds overwhelming, this chart compiled by Fairmont San Francisco can make things easier for you.

The infographic below includes all sorts of chef jargon, like blanch, confit, and sous vide, but it's laid out in such a way that even beginners can understand. The color-coded key indicates the effects each preparation produces and the pictures show which ingredients they should be paired with. Braising, for example, makes food tender, and it’s a perfect match for tough cuts of beef and lamb. Searing, on the other hand, makes food crisp and works best with tender meat, fish, and shellfish.

If you still feel lost, the actual definitions of each cooking method along with the required tools are provided below the chart. Check out our list of essential cooking techniques for a deeper look at how to execute some of these tricks at home.

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Over Time, Couples Develop the Same Tastes—But That Doesn't Mean They're Happier
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If your date's preference for well-done steaks or aversion to sushi is a dealbreaker for you, you may want to reconsider: A recent study shows that couples begin to develop similar smell and taste preferences if they stay together long enough. 

The research, which is set to appear in the journal Appetite, was conducted by researchers from Poland and Germany. The team studied 100 heterosexual couples ages 18 to 68 who had been together for 3 months to 45 years. They predicted that the pairs who had been in relationships the longest would share the closest tastes, not unlike how some long-term couples grow to resemble each other in personality [PDF] and even appearance over time.

To test this hypothesis, subjects were given a set of scented felt-tip pens to sniff. After sampling fragrances like cinnamon, coffee, lavender, Coca-Cola, peach, and leather, they were asked to rate how much they liked each scent on a scale of one to five. Next researchers had participants do the same with the five basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami) presented in spray bottles.

They found that a couple's smell and taste preferences are more likely to be similar the longer they have been together. This is especially true with taste. The study authors write that this is probably the product of a shared environment. If a couple lives in a neighborhood that smells like grass, or if they drink coffee together every morning, they may grow to like those stimuli more than they did at the start of the relationship.

But just because two people share a taste for certain foods and aromas doesn't necessarily mean they're happy together. Partners that liked the same foods weren't any more likely to be satisfied in their relationships, and those that shared smell preferences were actually less satisfied. So if you still can't stand your husband's love of anchovies after four decades of marriage, you may be doing something right.

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