Mentos and Coke in the News
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For some great Mentos/Coke videos, see http://eepybird.com/
General Chemistry Online
October 24, 1999
Why do Mentos mints foam when you drop them into soda pop?
by Fred Senese
My 12 year old son saw the Mentos mint experiment with diet pop (add a Mentos mint and the pop reacts quite violently). I assume the pop is an acid mix and the mentos in some way reacts to it. Can you please explain in simple terms how or why this reaction occurs. Would the same reactions occur in orange juice or other acid base substances? Why or why not. Thanks. Jeff Kruger 10/24/99
Mentos have a strange chalky color and texture and they do taste rather like antacid tablets. If the chalkiness comes from carbonates, the fizzing might be explained as a neutralization reaction that produces CO2.
But the ingredients don't include carbonates- or any other significantly alkaline material. All variations of Mentos contain sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated coconut oil, gelatin, dextrin, "natural flavor", corn starch, and gum arabic. They're basically just a big pellet of flavored sugar with gummy stuff added to give them structural integrity and to keep them from sticking together in the package.
So why do Mentos make diet soda foam so violently? It's a physical reaction, not a chemical one.
Ordinarily, water resists the expansion of bubbles in the soda. Water molecules attract each other strongly, and they link together to form a tight mesh around each bubble. It takes energy to push water molecules away from each other to form a new bubble, or to expand a bubble that has already been formed. The phenomenon is called "surface tension".
Now drop a Mentos into the soda. The gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy disrupts the water mesh, so it takes less work to expand bubbles. At the same time, the roughness of the candy surface provides many little nooks and crannies that allow new bubbles to form more quickly (a process called nucleation). As more of the surface dissolves, both processes accelerate, and foam rapidly begins to form.
You can see a similar effect when cooking potatoes or pasta in a pot of boiling water. The water will sometimes boil over because organic materials that leach out of the cooking potatoes or pasta disrupt the tight mesh of water molecules at the surface of the water, making it easier for bubbles and foam to form. (See also: Why does adding oil to cooking water keep it from boiling over?) Root beer can also foam over if a scoop of ice cream is added, for essentially the same reason. The surface tension of the root beer is lowered by gums and proteins from the melting ice cream, and the CO2 outgassing from the root beer blows the foam.
Test this hypothesis by dropping a Mentos into orange juice or any acidic but noncarbonated drink, or by dropping a Mentos into completely "flat" soda. What happens? Why?
(Mentos is a registered trademark of Van Melle USA Inc. I'm not worth suing. Really.)
News & Observer, The (Raleigh, NC)
May 21, 2005
Section: Durham News
Science program a blast
Stanley B. Chambers Jr.
Amid the backdrop of academic buildings and curious pre-teens, there was the "Mentos Fountain."
This "natural" wonder was actually a two-liter bottle of diet soda. And after dropping one tablet of Mentos candy, the bottle's contents erupted to the glee of its admirers.
"Oooooohhhhh," exclaimed the crowd, a group of seventh-graders from Durham School of the Arts. They wanted to see more.
"Do it again, do it again."
"Put a lot more in there."
At the first annual Kids' Inquiry Conference, imagination was the catalyst for scientific exploration. Experiments such as "Attack of the Man-Eating Plants," "Are You in the Mood for Dog Food, Dude," and "Let's Play With Slime and Goo," were presented at Duke University's Levine Science Research Center on Wednesday.
Jonathan Henderson, who created the "Mentos Fountain," originally planned to re-create his fifth- grade science experiment: figuring which dishwasher liquid removes the most grease. But after a trip to www.stevespanglerscience.com, he thought shooting soda into the air was a better idea.
"It was cool and my friends would like it," said Jonathan, 14.
His fellow young scientists discovered which paper airplane travels the farthest, what types of cheese mice prefer and how fish breathe. Inquiring about things keeps science interesting, said Jan Schuettpelz, a DSA science teacher who co-organized the event.
"We wanted students to do what real scientists do," she said. "We wanted them to go beyond the curriculum and make science come alive. We want them to be turned on to science and practice inquiry skills that they'll use throughout their lives."
The event Wednesday developed while Schuettpelz and co-organizer Tracy Voreis were 2003 Kenan Fellows for Curriculum and Leadership Development. Based at N.C. State University, the program is a two-year fellowship addressing teacher retention and developing leadership skills for teachers.
Their project was to create compact discs about genetics, the human body, microbes and diseases and the human cell and present the discs during science teacher conferences. In their research, the pair was also looking for best-teaching practices when they learned about an inquiry conference.
Their program demonstrated how teachers can set examples for their peers, said Deborah Mangum, director of the K-12 program at the Kenan Institute.
"They're teaching their colleagues to engage kids and to challenge them to think," Mangum said. "And serving as role models to be risk takers and to promote inquiry teaching. And this is where we get our future scientists, right here."
One of those future scientists may be Adam Faust, who is considering a career in zoology. His experiment, "False Reactions," dealt more with the human brain than the animal mind.
In the experiment, one person is standing with his head tilted back as another holds a sandwich bag filled with water over the first person's face.
The person tilting his head back watches as the other person sticks a thin, sharp stick through the bag.
The purpose is to see how the first person reacts, possibly thinking that the water will spill onto his face. When done right, water doesn't seep out because the stick fills the hole.
"Keep your eyes closed, don't be scared," Morgan McGee, who was holding the bag, told Jake Shields.
McGee, 12, got some water on her face when the experiment was done in her science class two weeks ago. Shields was confused when he opened his eyes. No water landed on his face.
WLTX-TV Columbia, SC
Experiment: Mentos & Soda -- It's a BLAST!
Here's a great experiment for the kids, but make sure they're not wearing their Sunday clothes when you try it.
*** WHAT DO I NEED? ***
- One 2-Liter Bottle of Soda
(Diet soda is recommended - less sticky!)
- A pack of Mentos
- Optional: A test tube and an index card
- A level surface, preferably OUTDOORS!
*** HOW DO I MAKE THIS WORK? ***
After you have gathered the Mentos and soda, find a nice level spot outdoors. Keep in mind that the area around you (and quite possibly yourself) will get wet and sticky!
Open the 2-Liter bottle of soda and place it on a flat surface. If you have found a test tube, open the Mentos and place as many as possible inside the tube, making sure that they can easily slide out when the tube is tipped over.
Place the index card on the open side of the tube and turn the tube to face the bottle's open mouth. The only thing keeping the Mentos from falling into the bottle of soda is the thin index card.
When everyone is ready, pull the index card away and drop the Mentos into the bottle. If you do not have the test tube and index card, then you can try to feed them into the bottom using your hands.
Be ready! -- the soda will quickly react with the mentos causing a soda fountain SEVERAL FEET TALL!
*** WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? ***
....Soda get its fizz from a gas known as carbon dioxide. When the carbon dioxide is pumped into the soda, water molecules cling to the gas and create tiny bubbles of gas in the liquid. The force holding the gas inside the water is known as surface tension.
It takes a lot of energy to break the surface tension inside soda, but most of you have probably done this by dropping a can and opening it shortly afterwards.
Mentos contains a chemical known as ARABIC GUM (this is the ingredient that makes the mint "chewy"). This ingredient causes the surface tension of the water molecules to break even more easily, releasing more carbon dioxide gas at an astounding rate!
The gas causes pressure to rapidly build inside the bottle which thrusts the soda upwards in a wonderful fountain-like BLAST!
As most know, like a melting popsicle, melted sugar is VERY STICKY! Try to use DIET soda (or any other carbonated beverage that does NOT contain sugar), otherwise you'll be running for the shower!
Tampa Tribune (FL)
November 3, 2005
Section: SOUTH TAMPA
Scaring Up Some Fun
Teaching Methods Keep Students Interested During Halloween
By JOSH POLTILOVE
SOUTH TAMPA Oodles of children marched through Anderson Elementary dressed as Harry Potter, Gooney Bird Greene and other book characters. Wilson science students had fun without costumes.
Eighth-grade teacher Jackie Kalbas taught a lesson titled Exothermic Halloween. For one experiment, she generated hydrogen gas inside a pumpkin, then placed a lit match in a small hole carved in the pumpkin.
Students flinched when the gas exploded, and the pumpkin s top, eyes, nose and mouth shot out.
"It certainly gets their interest," she said. "They may not remember anything else I teach them, but they ll remember the day I blew up the pumpkin."
Students cheered after an experiment in which Kalbas and teacher Cindy Britten mixed Mentos and diet soda. The combination caused the carbonated beverage to skyrocket 12 feet from a 2-liter bottle.
Kalbas then tried the experiment on Dillon Itani, 13.
Itani placed five Mentos in his mouth, then filled it with soda.
He wanted to keep the soda from firing out, but Kalbas squeezed his cheeks and the liquid launched.
"A lot of carbonation was in my mouth, and it was fizzing a lot," Itani said. "I didn't want to spit on anybody."
"It brings a whole new meaning to the term soda fountain, " Kalbas said.
Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at (813) 835-2105.
PHOTO Wilson Middle teacher had student Dillon Itani, 13, place five Mentos in his mouth, then fill it with soda, with foamy results.
November 28, 2005
Introduction: It's no surprise that Mentos are mostly sugar. What is surprising are some of the other ingredients found in Mentos including cornstarch, gum arabic. dextrin, gelatin, and even hydrogenated coconut oil. Each of these combines to help provide Mentos with their own unique color, texture, and taste. While these tasty pellets are quite popular as a special treat, they can also be used to erupt the excitement of your students and engage them in thinking about science. In this activity, your students will combine three Mentos pieces with a Diet Coke, observe the unusual results, and develop an explanation that could possibly explain this amazing behavior. You can watch the MPEG video below to see how much fun it will be with your kids.
The Mentos Movie
National Science Standard: Unifying Concept
Nature is constantly changing but there are many repeating patterns.
Georgia Performance Standards:
Students will exhibit curiosity, honesty, openness and skepticism S(K-5)CS1
Describe materials, what they are made of, and how they change. SKP1, S2P1,S5P2
Students will investigate the difference between physical and chemical changes S5P2
Roll of Mentos Candy 2 liter Bottle of Unopened Diet Coke Extra 2 Liter Bottle Top
Drill 1/4 inch Drill Bit Paper Clip
Safety goggles Towels for Clean-up
Teacher Led Exploration:
This demonstration should be done outside or in a room with tiles and a high ceiling.
1. As students walk into class, ask them if anyone has ever eaten a Mentos. Then, ask them if they have ever drank a Coke . Finally, ask them if they haven ever eaten a Mentos and drank a Coke at the same time.
2. Next, ask students to predict what they think will happen when Mentos and Coke are combined together. Have students discuss their ideas in small groups and then have them write what they consider to me their most plausible prediction on the board. Briefly discuss each prediction.
3. Bring the students outside and show them the three Mentos that you have rigged onto the paper clip. Insert the extended portion of the clip up through the hole in the extra bottle cap and then remove the original cap from unopened bottle of Coke. Explain to the students that you are going to carefully replace it with rigged cap which is holding the Mentos. Be careful to hold onto the clip and Mentos while you are screwing the cap tight. Now carefully drop the Mentos (and clip) into the Coke and move quickly to the side. Observe carefully what happens. Pretty amazing huh? If time permits try it again with any other carbonated drink. At Science Camp we did this demonstration with 50 kids and 50 bottles at the same time. It was a blast.
4. Bring your students back to class and ask them to discuss their predictions and observations. Have them develop a brief explanation that could be used to explain the unusual behavior of the Mentos and Coke.
1. Based on your observations, what explanation can you develop to explain the behavior that you observed?
2. Would you classify this type of change as a chemical or physical change? Explain your reasoning.
3. What problems would you anticipate for people who drink Coke and eat Mentos at the same time?
4. The attraction of water molecule to each other is very strong, can you think of other examples that show how strongly water molecules stick together?
In small groups or as a class, have students discuss their ideas regarding Mighty Mentos. For younger students, you may want to simply focus on the idea that substances can react with one another and change in the process. In this case, a surprising and great visual example of a chemical reaction (change).
When Coke and other beverages are produced, they are bottled with CO2 gas that is pushed into the bottle at a pressure about 3 times that of normal air. This heavy pressure helps to thousands of the tiny CO2 bubbles to dissolve in the Coke but the high pressure also keeps them very small. But when the bottle is opened and the pressure is released, these bubbles get a little larger and, as they escape to the surface, they provide the characteristic fizz or carbonation that most people find very appealing. As it turns out though, these bubbles would get much bigger, much quicker if not for the fact that the water molecules in Coke (which is mostly water) attract strongly to one another. The attractive forces between water molecules forms a tight web around each bubble and this makes it difficult for the bubble to expand. This attractive force, which is sometimes called "surface tension", is so strong that certain bugs (Waterstriders) can even walk on the surface of water without sinking.
When Mentos are added to the Coke, the Mentos begin to dissolve and the gelatin and gum arabic found in Mentos instantly act to break up the attractive forces between the water molecules. It is now easier for the bubbles to grow and thousands of tiny bubbles can instantly expand to hundreds of times their original size. Meanwhile, the rough surface of the Mentos provides many little nooks and cracks that help new bubbles to form. The combination of these two processes causes the carbonated gas to erupt from the bottle like a superheated geyser in Yellowstone Park. It is truly an amazing site.
To prepare the bottle cap, place the cap on an empty bottle and then carefully drill a 1/4 inch hole through the cap as you hold the bottle. Keep the cap so that you can use it over and over. See pictures on page 1.
To prepare the paperclip straighten it out so that only the inner loop remains. Poke holes through the center of the Mentos with the long end of the paper clip (or a nail) and pull them down and attach them to the bottom loop. Then insert the long end through the bottom of the bottle cap and pull the Mentos up to the top of the cap.
Be careful not to drop the Mentos into the bottle before you have twisted the cap on tightly. You may choose to let a student do this and actually sit next to the bottle and hold on to it. He/she will get soaked by the Coke but the class will have a great laugh.
While this demonstration is messy, it isn't very dangerous. You should have safety goggles on if possible when you drop the Mentos into the Coke.
Evaluation and Closure:
Student writing or journal entries should be evaluated to check for student understanding.
December 5, 2005
Volume 26; Issue 51
Section: Top Stories
Google Adds Blog to Video Web Site
By Steve Donohue
Google Inc. has tweaked its Google Video Web site, adding a video blog that spotlights one amateur video daily, but it still relies on free, submitted videos rather than acquired programming.
The Internet search giant has also added two tabs to the Google Video site (www.video.google.com) -- one lists "popular videos" in eight thumbnails of still images, and a second features eight random videos.
Google drew much attention from the television and new media industries in September, when it announced an agreement with Viacom Inc.'s UPN to place the entire premiere episode of the network's Everybody Hates Chris comedy on Google Video.
The UPN deal was aimed at marketing the second episode of the Chris Rock series, and the premiere ran for less than a week on Google Video. It was pulled shortly before the debut of the second episode.
Google Video contains mostly random videos submitted by Web surfers. The company allows anyone with a digital camcorder and a computer to upload an unlimited amount of video content to its servers for free.
Last week, "popular" videos listed on Google Video included a short clip of a teenager dropping a tube of Mentos candy into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke (the soda overflows from the bottle, as if one shook it). That was from Joshuawise.com. Another was a clip of a dog fighting its own hind leg: it was labeled, "the dumbest dog you'll ever see."
Google Video doesn't rank the popular videos listed on the Web site. It's not clear how the videos are selected. Google officials didn't return calls last week.
The first entry on the Google Video Blog (http://Googlevideo.blogspot.com) was dated Nov. 17. The blog, hosted by Google's Blogger unit, features one new video daily.
Videos on the blog range from a clip of a man who films himself dancing in public places around the world -- from India to Vietnam to Mexico -- and a clip of rock band The White Stripes appearing on NBC's The Late Show With Conan O'Brien , via MVWire.com.
Internet analyst Will Richmond described Google Video as "very much a work in progress," and still officially a beta site. But the head of Broadband Directions said he expects Google eventually will deliver personalized video content to Web surfers.
"It's too early to tell, but there may be ways for [Google] to create more personalized video services that would create sponsorship opportunities," Richmond said.
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
December 13, 2005
North is north, and South is south, and never the twain ?
Web Site(s) of the Day:
Writes David Stever of St. Paul: "Ever dropped a stack of Mentos into a bottle of pop? See http://tinyurl.com/abl9q and http://tinyurl.com/7ffhx. If you do this at home, do it well away from anything that you don't want to get sticky."
January 16, 2006
Section: PART II
COOL 2 KNOWTHE LIST
BETH WHITEHOUSE. STAFF WRITER
That's about how long it took for Rudy Cassol's video to be passed by e-mail to so many people that his friends started to see co-workers in their company offices - strangers to Cassol - watching it on their computers.
Cassol posted "The Winning Ticket" on Google Video (http://dallasmontage.com) in December and sent the link for the expletive-laced film to his friends so they could watch the practical joke he played on buddy Thad Toups. Cassol and some friends had TiVo'd the winning Texas lottery drawing from the prior day, then rebroadcast it, swapping Toups' ticket with one they'd bought with those numbers, which made Toups believe he had won. They documented his ecstatic response and subsequent dejection when he realized it was a prank. "We thought it was funny to us; we didn't think it would be funny to everyone else," said Cassol, a Dallas engineer. "We were kind of dumbfounded by the whole thing."
But that's what can happen in cyberspace - especially now that sites such as Google Video have made it possible for amateurs to post their work for worldwide viewing. The films are as short or as long as desired - seconds to hours - and can be anything from home videos of a 50th birthday party to artsy films shot as a hobby to pranks played on a friend.
"Every human has his own TV station," said Harry Douglas, 49, who owns a video production business in Manhattan. He recently posted video of his December holiday visit to Rockefeller Center and time at home with his cat, which he named "Hmon Paraiso" (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7513449611610215384&q=Hmon+Paraiso). "No one will ever pay me a dime for anything like that, but it's fun and a creative outlet for me."
A treasure trove. A secret city. A gold mine. This is how some users have described Google Video, where users can watch films, most free, using a downloadable video player available on the site. It isn't the only place on the Web to post work. YouTube (www.you tube.com), for instance, also allows the public to post video, and it shows the number of people who have viewed each one, something Google promises is coming soon. After NBC's "Today" show did a piece on "The Winning Ticket" Dec. 29, YouTube showed 45,000 people had checked it out, Cassol said.
It's fun to scroll through the Google site and to send links to friends, suggesting they check out a particularly funny or interesting video, users said. "That's the beauty of the system - the viewers of the video are really determining what is popular," said Peter Chane, senior product manager for Google Video, which launched a year ago next week (http://video.google.com).
Google has been scanning thousands of books from university libraries in the hope of one day creating a searchable online archive. Likewise, "We're really trying to get all the world's video indexed and online," said Chane. That video includes archived TV programs, educational videos and clips from C-Span and The Food Network, some of which Google now sells to consumers. But it also includes anyone out there with the time and inclination to put their videos in the archive so others can watch them for free.
"We weren't sure what was going to happen when we launched it," Chane said. "We've been delighted. We're not releasing any figures, but I can tell you we've been overwhelmed by the demand."
Michael Martine of Montpelier, Vt., runs a Web site called "Google Video of the Day" (http://gvod.blogspot.com), which is not affiliated with Google Video. He started it at the end of October to weed through posted videos and select some of the best ones and give people a place to make snarky comments about the pieces. He said he doesn't know why the average person posts videos. "It's not like 'America's Funniest Home) Videos,' where they're going to win a prize," Martine said. "Maybe it's the Internet equivalent of seeing yourself on TV."
Advertisers have been posting their commercials so people will send the link to their friends, spreading the word for the companies, Martine said. And he thinks it's inevitable that some unknown filmmaker will be discovered after posting work on such a public video site, although to the best of his knowledge, that hasn't happened yet.
Viewers can search Google Video just like they search Google for print comment. Type in "Long Island," for instance, and up comes a video by Anthony Borga, who is actually from Carteret, N.J. He decided to visit "The Amityville Horror" house in Toms River, N.J., that was used in the 1979 movie, and the actual house here on Long Island. He filmed both and set the footage to the eerie soundtrack theme (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7326558172290848651&q=amityville+horror).
"I would like people to leave comments," Borga said, something that Google Video doesn't allow viewers to do, at least not yet. "I like when other people see what I post."
Kevin Ludlow, a 26-year-old software designer from Austin, Texas, stumbled on Google Video this summer and immediately started posting content on it, including interviews he did with his paternal grandparents, Howard and Kitty Ludlow, who grew up in the Bronx. The two shorts can be found by searching in Google Video under their names.
"I look at it in a more personal sense. Someday all this information will be available to future generations of my family," Ludlow said. He said he would have loved to be able to watch a video interview with his great-grandparents, for instance.
Ludlow includes a link to his personal site for viewers who want to find out more about him. "I like to be able to share my little world with people," he said. "The more paths people can get to that world from - that helps me meet my goal." On a computer near you "Dad Fight." Two dads brawl on a playground, stunning the little ones playing there. Over on a nearby picnic table, their grown sons settle their bet: "I told you my Dad could beat your Dad," one says to the other as he collects the dough. The film is 33 seconds long.
"Diet Coke and Mentos Reaction." A teenager on his parents' suburban driveway drops Mentos through a tube into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and creates a geyser. The 2-minute, 59-second video is set to a tune that repeats, "Developers developers" ad nauseam.
"Sweet Child O' Mine." This man should keep his day job for now. In this video, he does a parody karaoke rendition of the Guns N' Roses tune "Sweet Child O'Mine." The 5-minute, 48-second film is so, um, unbelievable that it's compelling viewing.
"Amityville Horror Houses." This amateur 3-minute, 21-second filmmaker visits the original "Amityville Horror" house here on Long Island, as well as the house in Toms River, N.J., used in the 1979 movie and the one on-location for the remake.
"Elvis Project Demo." This 32-second video shows just how strange some contributions can be. A man next to a film screen sings what sounds like gibberish into a microphone. Why? Who knows. Maybe just because he wants to.
- BETH WHITEHOUSE
1) Newsday Photo/Moises Saman - Harry Douglas recently posted a movie, 2) "Hmon Paraiso," that included footage of his trip to Manhattan during the holidays, on Google Video, where it can be seen by anyone who logs onto the site. PHOTOS - 3) Posting "The Winning Ticket" made these pranksters famous, not only in cyberspace but on TV. 4) "Sweet Child O' Mine" 5) "Dad Fight" 6) "Diet Coke and Mentos Reaction"
FOX 8 WJW- Cleveland, OH
February 8, 2006
Fox 8 News at 8AM
8:17 Let's check in with the mad scientist himself, Kenny Crumpton. Good morning.
Reporter: When we come back, the big experiment. Mentos and what? Soda.
Reporter: wild science. Kenny? You have cleanup duty.
8:36. Kids that won't sleep in their own beds, and know it all teens. That's the topic in our family 411 segment. > Some baby pictures have britney in hot water this morning, as she's snapped with her son on her lap while driving. > And kenny is experimenting with weird science this morning.
Reporter: that's right. Here it is, the big finish. Mentos and a pop bottle. What's going to happen? Stay with us, we're going to show you. Kickin' it with kenny, wild science.
8:44 Your time now. Kenny crumpton is playing the weird scientist this morning. Hey, kenny.
Reporter: we have a great experiment. Our first episode of wild science. This is actually the experiment that made us say, okay, let's try this. We have a 2-liter bottle of ordinary soda. What do you have in your hand? A roll of mentos, which i have already put into this rolled up piece of paper. We're going to drop all the mentos into the soda all at once. We want it to fly out quickly, like a loose roll of pennies. We'll drop the mentos into the soda and see what happens. Are you ready?
Reporter: yeah. Here we go. One, two, three --
Reporter: very cool. Explain the whole science behind that. When you have soda, you have a lot of disinvolved carbon die ox i had in there. When you put the mentos, the sugar and chewiness, it makes all that carbondyioxide come out at once. You get that fountain.
Reporter: let's do it again. I'm a ten-year-old boy and we have a new toy. A double whammy? Open our sodas. There we go. Here's your roll.
Reporter: my roll of mentos. Put your thumb over the end so it doesn't fall out.
Reporter: okay. At the great lakes science center we do more science by 9:00 a.M. Than most people do in a day. [Laughing.] 3, 2, 1 --
Reporter: very cool. I think yours went higher than mine.
Reporter: i'm gifted that way. That is awesome. That's the mentos 2-liter -- diet.
Reporter: that's diet? It's a little easier to clean up.
Reporter: same reaction as regular coke? Regular coke is more sticky. If you do it at home, do it out doors.
Reporter: larry, i need to get you down here. Cleanup here. You don't want to hear what larry just said. Thanks so much. A lot of fun. Thank you for coming by.
Reporter: try this one outside at home. We're going to go back to you guys. That was our first episode of wild science here at the great lakes science center. I can see why they have that tarp and swimming pool. Easy cleanup.
March 29, 2006
STUDYING POPULAR SCIENCE
Darren Zancan, Post-Tribune correspondent
CEDAR LAKE When the Cedar Lake Parks and Recreation Department heard about Cedar Lake schools eliminating most science fair programs, they wanted to do something for kids interested in science.
"My daughter went to Jamaica to teach science for 10 days, upon her arrival home she showed some of the experiments to my two sons," said Mary Joan Dickson, park director. "They were just so excited and wanted to start a science program here at the park."
Last summer, Dickson held a one-week summer program focusing on science that had a low turnout. Instead of hosting another week-long program, she decided to have one-day programs. The outcome was quite different.
"We held a science camp over Christmas break and the class was filled," Dickson said. "For this class I had to turn away people."
A boy's science camp was held Tuesday, and a girl's camp will be held today.
The boys experimented with raisins and ginger ale. They would drop raisins into a cup of ginger ale and watch the raisins "dance."
The camp of 20 boys also looked at and made crystals, worked on a color wheel and colored carnations, made slime and learned how to make elephant ears.
"I have everyone do a lot of hands-on activities," Dickson said. "Camps like this are great for the parks and in general are great for children nationwide to get more involved with science."
One of the activities that made the boys jump was the Diet Coke experiment. Dickson took Mentos, the candy mint, and dropped three or four of them into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke, creating a volcano of Diet Coke shooting out from the bottle.
"I thought the exploding pop was awesome," said Brandon Holcomb, 10. "I want to try it at home. This was the first time I came, but I want to come back again."
"By doing experiments like this it keeps their wheels turning," Dickson said. "There is not just science in school, but there are plenty of jobs that involve science in one way or another. It is good for kids to see that there are options out there for them."
'I thought the exploding pop was awesome.'
New York Times (NY)
March 30, 2006
INK; Filling a Mall With Art, and a Few Volcanoes
"My parents warned me about places where RadioShack closes," said Jacques Vidal, 23, the artist-organizer of a "surrealist county fair" coming to Metro Mall in Middle Village, Queens, an area rich in cemeteries. Harry Houdini's remains are resting down the street.
"In the grand tradition of monuments like the Astrodome in Houston, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the great Niagara Falls, has been built a behemoth of a mall, situated unassumingly," Mr. Vidal said.
Metro Mall is a one-million-square-foot brick layer cake: Among the stores on the first floor are BJ's, Burger King, Eye World, Fashion Bug (and Fashion Bug Plus), Kmart and Toys "R" Us. There's a mail-order facility there for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's also home to the city's Department of Correction Training Academy, which uses a vast space for simulated drills and riot control practice for recruits.
On Saturday, which is April Fools' Day, Mr. Vidal is staging a public art spectacle there. "The mall creates this absurd space where all is equal," he said.
Inventors, artists and hobbyists will joust, in the form of double-sided posters ("the anti-painting: can't hang it on the wall") and trifold cardboard sculptures. Among the curiosities: "The chewing gum brain," a drawing of a pink wad and a collection of watch ads that all tell the same time. There will be an exhibit on a quasi religion based on the link between art and science.
"People will be making volcanoes erupt all day," Mr. Vidal said, referring to a series of planned miniature baking-soda-and-vinegar catastrophes. Mentos and diet soda, he added, work too.
At the end of the M train, where 67th Road crosses Metropolitan Avenue, the shopping center's red entrance pagoda is hidden around the back, and a visitor drives down a giant ramp, past parking for thousands, and finally there is the mall, like a Lego megachurch. A sign for Funtopia, a children's play center, hangs above a huge digital clock, which seems to be warning: your fun is running out.
Mr. Vidal pitched to mall management "the first-ever opportunity for the worlds of art and science to truly merge" by the "Queens Artists Trust Alliance for Communally Aligned Artists."
He later said, "The final product will be among the most confusing and jarring public art events in recent memory placed in the context of a forgotten Queens relic." The exhibit will take place at a food court where all but one restaurant has closed. A partly lighted sign advertises Weight Watchers. Near a GNC and Sam Goody ("Store closing, entire store on sale!"), a cardboard Statue of Liberty beckons one past a storefront dentist to Liberty Tax. A photo booth waits. There is the sweet scent of Subway bread baking.
FOX 8 WJW- Cleveland, OH
April 4, 2006
Fox 8 News at 6AM
6:44 Right now. When fox 8 news in the morning returns, we're going to recap the top stories. 12 Tall men -- and last time kenny made soda bottle explode, wait until you see what he's up to this morning, but first we want to give you a peek at last night's winning lottery numbers. Thy.
6:57. I have no segue so we're just going to talk to him. I don't know what you're doing today.
We're doing wild science here at the great lakes science center. You can say I'm a wild man and I'm hanging out with the wild scientist himself who you can see was playing basketball for the final 4 last night. He was the guy with the long shorts. I was old school, i had the shorts -- and the socks up by the knees. All right. So if you remember last time, we made a bomb out of mentos and diet coke, and people are still talking about that. So what are we going to do this morning? Give everybody a little idea. Okay, we have the leaf blower, and we're going to do fun stuff with air power to lev at a to -- our lab coats have these Florida colors.
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 15, 2006
Section: Inside Out
Who needs Old Faithful? You can create your own geyser
By Harriett Hendren, HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
It wasn't long before we were gathered in the back parking lot with a pack of Mentos, a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and a carton of Ale-8-1.
After a Herald-Leader editor mentioned a National Public Radio story about online videos of citizen scientists in their back yards dropping Mentos into diet soda to produce effervescent 10-foot geysers, we decided to have our own experiment, Kentucky style. We would use Diet Coke, but we'd also try it with Diet Ale-8-1.
We were able to quickly drop only a couple of the candies into the Diet Coke before liquid shot straight up, perhaps 21/2 feet into the air.
I vacationed in Yellowstone a couple of years ago and waited on a bench for the moment when Old Faithful would erupt. When it happened, the eruption was majestic and special.
Mentos in a bottle of soda? Not so much.
But it still was fun. As a group of journalists stood in the Herald-Leader parking lot and the liquid shot out of that plastic bottle, there were screams of delight and laughter -- not a bad way to spend a few minutes.
Our try with the Diet Ale-8-1 was not as dramatic, just a little sputter of bubbly foam.
To find out what strange, magical chemical process was going on, we asked John Anthony of the University of Kentucky chemistry department.
"It has nothing to do with the ingredients," he said yesterday. "It has to do with the fact that these little candies have lots of jagged surface."
Bubbles, it seems, love bumps and craters, and if you have enough of them, you'll get your explosion. For a bigger bang, Anthony suggests crushing the candy, therefore creating even more jagged edges. And for the best bubbles, he said, stick with diet soda: "This sort of experiment will probably work better with diet soda because they tend to have more CO2 pumped into them to mask the flavor of the artificial sweetener."
Our geyser didn't obtain the altitudes of those we'd seen in videos (go to www.npr.org to see one, or www.youtube.com to see dozens -- search for "Mentos"), and Anthony guessed that after adding just a couple of candies, the gas had gone from our soda.
A suggestion: To add the entire roll of candy to the soda all at once, fashion a tube to send them down into the bottle.
A caution: Kids, get your parents' permission.
Tri-Valley Herald (Pleasanton, CA)
April 28, 2006
All in name of science: Kids whack lab guard
Lea Blevins, STAFF WRITER
LIVERMORE -- At Sandia National Laboratories on Thursday, people were getting beat up and shot.
But that's just what happens when kids come to work for the day.
The "violent" events were actually harmless activities, part of the lab's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
The person getting beat up was a security guard covered in thick foam pads, and while it was innocent youngsters who were being "shot," the "bullets" were miniature marshmallows.
All in the name of national security.
"The kids enjoyed everything this year," said event co-chairwoman Deanna Agosta-Lazares, who coordinated the event with the Sandia Women's Committee. "The hovercraft was a big hit."
Yes, a hovering craft.
Kids -- and some parents -- were treated to a ride on a hovering craft. The craft consisted of a round board with a vacuum pumping out air under the board using a hose stuck through a hole in the board. Riders sat in a folding chair on top as the board floated about an inch off the ground.
But not every activity required clever contraptions.
Chemist Tim Shepodd's experiment needed only two ingredients: Mentos candy and a two-liter bottle of Coke.
Drop a couple of Mentos into the bottle and you have soda shooting in the air all over the place.
"It's teaching kids that science can be fun, and it's not a mystery, it's not magic," Shepodd said. "Even though these are simple and safe demonstrations, they're very similar to what we do."
Demystifying what's behind the laboratory gates is often a common theme with the kids days at Sandia.
Other activities had kids making a puttylike substance called "Gluep," checking out infrared heat photographs of their face and learning ergonomic techniques for cell phone text messaging and video game playing.
But the favorite activity seemed to be beating up on Brian Corcoran, the poor security guard who was sweating it out under the sun.
"It's fun because my mom works with the guys that do this," said Dublin's Meghan Culberson, 15, after pummeling the guard with a padded baton.
"I liked hitting the guy," said Livermore's Bailey Vargas, 9.
The demonstration was more than just a way for kids to get out their frustration. It simulates actual training lab security guards go through.
Corcoran said although he was hot in his padded outfit and didn't exactly like getting whacked, the kids made it worthwhile.
"They have a good time, so I have a good time," he said.
Baltimore Sun (MD)
May 1, 2006
Erupting soda, pureed cereal and melted butter are nourishing brain food at school science fair Competition feeds kids' intellectual appetites Maryland Journal
SUN REPORTER LIZ F. KAY
For his project, fifth-grader Jake Janiak compared the height of eruptions from 2-liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke when eight Mentos candies were dropped inside. His hypothesis? The highly flavored variety would have the highest eruption, because "it has the most ingredients added to it."
Actually, the Diet Coke left a nearly 4-foot-tall splash mark on a brick wall, higher than the other types of soda. Jake suggested further research should test whether the artificial sweetener aspartame prompted the higher explosion.
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
May 11, 2006
Section: Free Time
Technology, new Web sites make uploads a snap
By Tim Engle, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE
Videos are huge again, but you're probably not watching them on MTV.
Instead, even with 200-plus channels available on big-screen TVs, a lot of us are watching video clips on our computer screens. Thanks to digital camcorders, digital cameras (which can shoot snippets of video), high-speed Internet access and easy-to-use video-editing software, anyone can make a mini-movie -- and can put it online instantly.
All the video Web sites popping up -- led by YouTube, which gets 35 million-plus hits a day -- offer more than America's funniest (and stupidest and squirreliest) home videos.
Did you miss "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live? It's online. Craving to see the original Freddie Prinze in his '70s sitcom? It's online, too. Want to see the movie trailer for The Da Vinci Code? Ditto.
The sudden popularity of online "videos" -- a catch-all term that includes full-length TV shows -- isn't lost on the broadcast TV networks: ABC recently announced that, starting this month, fans of Desperate Housewives, Lost and Commander in Chief can watch new episodes of those shows on www.abc.com for free (but there are ads).
Almost anything video can be found on the Web: commercials, music videos (including classics from the early days of MTV), scenes from current movies, parodies of movie trailers, maybe even your old band playing somewhere 10 years ago.
Once you've downloaded a video, you usually can e-mail it to a pal (clips that are all over the Internet are dubbed "viral videos") or plop it on your blog or MySpace page.
But where do you look? A lot of sites offer similar clips, but some have exclusive content. Here's a sampler (and believe us, this is just the tip of the video iceberg).
Note: Adult content will pop up on some sites. On YouTube, for instance, users can flag objectionable videos.
Searching for videos
Video sites have become so ubiquitous, some sites now specialize in video-clip searches. The Wall Street Journal's Mossberg Solution column likes three in particular: AOL Video Search, Yahoo Video Search and Blinkx TV. Each site searches the entire Internet. By comparison, searches on YouTube and Google Video return results only from those sites.
We had The Rain, that mid-'80s tune by Oran "Juice" Jones ("I saw you -- and him -- walking in the rain ..."), stuck in our head and wondered whether we could find the video. Here's how the search went:
AOL Video www.aol.com/video: Found it there among AOL's own videos.
Yahoo Video http://video.search.yahoo.com: Not there.
Blinkx TV www.blinkx.tv: Nope.
YouTube www.youtube.com: No luck.
Google Video www.video.google.com: No, although there was a clip of a guy singing along to the song on a Webcam.
By the way, if you're looking for clips from TV or radio, try TVEyes (tveyes.com).
Wild and wacky stuff
Some of the odder things you'll see on video-sharing sites:
A guy's three months of beard-growing in 15 seconds (YouTube)
The Eight Is Enough TV pilot (AOL Video)
Clowns for Jesus instructional videos (GoFish)
Karaoke video of New York, New York, in the style of Sinatra (Google Video)
Mr. T's Be Somebody ... Or Be Somebody's Fool educational video.
Dozens of videos of that Mentos-and-Diet-Coke-geyser experiment the Herald-Leader features staff replicated a few weeks ago.
How to become a video star
To see how easy (or difficult) it is to put a video online, we tried it at YouTube. Our clip: home video of Mr. Pink, our cat. Bottom line, it really is simple. Here's what you do:
If you're not already a YouTube member, you have to join, but not much personal info is required.
Give your clip a title (ours was "Bathtime for Kitty"), describe it, enter tags (search keywords; we did "cat" and "bath"), click the appropriate "channels" (Pets & Animals in this case).
Upload the file from your computer. You're then asked whether you want public or private "broadcast" (private is viewable only by those you choose).
You're warned twice not to upload copyrighted material, such as TV shows or music videos, although some YouTube users obviously ignore this.
After a couple of minutes, you'll get a message saying the upload was successful, and the clip will be available for viewing in a few more minutes.
May 18, 2006
Indiana U.: COLUMN: Boom goes the Coke bottle
By Jordan Delong, Indiana Daily Student (Indiana U.)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As a returning columnist I should probably be providing you with some fresh social commentary or stunning insight into a critical flaw in political policy. Perhaps a stunning literary expose would effectively mark my return to the journalistic world, but I'm going to choose a slightly more personal approach.
For you, my dear readers, I will reveal the most outwardly impressive and instantaneously satisfying bit of information I learned all year. Use this knowledge wisely, and carry it with you wherever you travel.
Here goes: If you empty a box of Mentos into a two-liter bottle of coke, you can witness an awe-inspiring explosion of fizz that you would have never, ever thought possible.
It makes sense that two excessively processed products would create some kind of freak chemical reaction and explode, but I never thought it would be so damn entertaining to watch. This experiment could do more as an inspiring experiment to bring kids to study chemistry than baking soda volcanoes ever could.
I know that the most skeptical readers will reject the exploding coke bottle as some kind of myth, but the science is there as well. Carbon dioxide is injected at high pressure into our favorite soft drinks and it remains in suspension in the liquid. When Mentos, which have a surface full of tiny pores, is introduced into the liquid it allows for the gas to form little pockets and be released from suspension.
If you aren't big on science or cleaning up after a pop explosion, a quick internet search can provide you with multiple versions of this experiment. My personal favorite is a demo done by Mentos and Coke expert and TV personality Steve Spangler that shoots up 16 feet and almost destroys a half million dollar camera. Now that's reality television I can get behind.
Never content to merely watch, me and some of my fellow coworkers attempted this experiment with startling success over Lake Monroe. Dean Wyatte and Zach Rhodes, the original source of information and inspiration for this feat, can say with authority, watching the spray online is nothing compared to seeing it in person. You owe to yourself and the people you love.
Just imagine, at your next party or social gathering you can impress that guy/girl you've been eyeing by luring her outside and shooting off an explosion of Coke. When they inevitably ask you how it works, you'll know. Explain the science to them and watch as they become amazed at your intellect! It's foolproof!
Why not pick out your favorite young member of your extended family and show them this trick? I should probably put a ton of disclaimers here, but my honest opinion is that every kid should do this, preferably hunched behind their house with a couple other kids egging them on. That's how I prefer to see science, as a group's crazy misadventure into an uncertain future, not sure about the results but just looking to see a good show.
FOX 59 WXIN - Indianapolis, IN
May 24, 2006
ALL RIGHT, SCHOOLS JUST ABOUT READY TO GET OUT. THAT DOESN'T MEAN KIDS NEED TO NECESSARILY STOP, AND CAN'T HAVE FUN THIS SUMMER WHILE THEY DO IT. ARE YOU ALL RIGHT.
MENTOS MINTS SODA POPS WHAT DO YOU GET. A LOT OF FUN. JUSTIN ARMSTRONG IS HERE TO SHOW US WHAT HAPPENS. WE'RE GOING GET TO THAT IN A MINUTE BECAUSE WE WANT TO SHOW ONE OF THESE FIRST. SHOULD I PUT THIS ON. I'LL LOAD ONE OF THESE UP. YOU MAYBE HAVE SEEN THIS ON THE INTERNET. MAYBE, MAYBE, MAYBE. ALL YOU NEED IS TWO LITERS OF SODA. I'M GOING HAVE THE INGREDIENTS A LITTLE TUBE TO LOAD THEM UP.
DO I NEED TO BE DOING ANYTHING.
I THINK YOU NEED TO BE READY TO STAND BACK. I THINK THAT'S ENOUGH. WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK I SHOULD DO FIRST, JUSTIN. HOW ABOUT THE ONE THAT'S OPEN.
THAT WILL WORK. ALL RIGHT, WE'VE NEVER DONE THIS. WE'VE STEEN ON THE INTERNET BUT WE'VE NEVER DONE IT.
I UNDERSTAND YOUR MIKE'S NOT WORKING WELL SO I'M GOING STAND CLOSE.
READY, LET YOU DO THIS ONE. JUST DUMP IT IN.
WIGER. HEY, LOOK. I DIDN'T NEED MENTOS ON THIS ONE. READY? OH MAN. THIS IS GOING A BUTTE. THIS WOULD MAKE US SO EXCITED. HOW DOES THIS WORK. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?
WELL IT ALL STARTS IN THE BEGINNING WHEN THEY BOTTLE IT. THEY'RE INFUSING GAS INTO THE LIQUID WITH PRESSURE AND SEAL THE BOTTLE UNDER PRESSURE. WHAT HAPPENS THEN WHEN WE TAKE THE CAP OFF THE PRESSURE INSIDE THE BOTTLE DECREASES. WHEN YOU PUT THE MENTOS IN THERE. THE CHALKY COATING AROUND
THE OUTSIDE AND THEY'RE WEIGHT PUSHES COUNCIL INTO THE BOTTLE. THAT CHALKY COATING IS PULLING THE CARBON MONOXIDE OUT OF THE SOLUTION SO IT GOES FROM SUSPENDED INTO THE LIQUID AS A GAS. AS THAT HAPPENS IT WANTS TO GO OUT LIKE KIDS GOING RECESS. THE CO2 WANTS TO GO OUT OF THE TOP OF THE BOTTLE AND THAT'S WHY YOU GET THE GEYSER AFFECT.
WE'VE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT. WE JUST WANT TO KEEP SEEING THIS, RIGHT. I AM GOING GET A MEEK PHONE. COME GET THIS OUR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER VICKY IS LEAVING TODAY. GOOD LUCK. WE'RE GOING MISS YOU. GET INVOLVED HERE. THERE YOU GO. THAT WAS A GOOD ONE.
I THINK WHITE MENTOS WORK THE BEST. THERE'S FLAVORED MENTOS. IT SEEMS TO ME.
IS THERE A PRACTICAL APPLICATION.
NOT MUCH. I DON'T NEED ONE MYSELF.
WHEN YOU FIRST UNDO IT.
JUST PUT THEM INTO THE TUBE THERE. READY.
WE HOPE YOU GUYS HAVE A GREAT DAY AS YOU WATCH US DO THIS. 3, 2, 1. IT WAS THE SLOW REISER. WHAT'S UP WITH THE GRAPES. WOULD FLAVOR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. IT MIGHT SUGAR CONTENT MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING AS WELL AS TEMPERATURE THAT'S BOIL'S LAW. I'M GOING HELP YOU GET IN HERE. WE ONLY HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT IN THE SHOW. VICKY HAS BEEN OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL SHE'S GOING BACK TO THE CITY SHE LOVES. SHE WILL BE MUCH MISSED AND WE SEND YOU OFF A SWEET AND STICKY HUG FROM ALL OF US. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU'VE DONE.
WE'LL MISS YOU, YOU GUYS HAVE A GREAT DAY.
THANKS. 317-925-2410 or 800-259-5856 www.Fox59.com
June 3, 2006
Flash. L'actualité de tous les écrans Coca-Mentos cocktail explosif
C'est le jeu le plus con de la semaine, voire de l'année, mais il remporte un succès considérable aux Etats-Unis. Se munir d'un rouleau de bonbons Mentos (peu importe l'arôme), d'une bouteille de Coca ou, mieux encore, de Diet Coke (de préférence le flacon familial de 2 litres) et, évidemment, d'un Caméscope pour immortaliser l'instant. Principe de l'opération : glisser d'un coup, grâce à un cône en papier, les Mentos dans la bouteille. Cette brutale intrusion provoque une réaction chimique instantanée sous forme d'un geyser de soda de 2 bons mètres. Sur les sites de films amateurs, les performances de centaines de pratiquants se bousculent, avec quelques variantes : par exemple, sauter par-dessus la gerbe (méthode espagnole) ou encore placer les bonbons dans la bouche d'une victime consentante avant d'y introduire la boisson gazeuse. Comme le soulignent les ingénieux auteurs de ce dernier petit film : «Coke + Mentos = des heures de fun».
June 5, 2006
Scarborough Country for June 5, 2006, MSNBC - Part 2
Joe Scarborough, Rita Cosby, Joel Grover
Sect: News; International
Guest: David Hans Schmidt, Yale Galanter
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks, Rita. Rita is coming up next.
And, you know, Rita, I have just got to say, I saw The Sopranos last night. I see it all the time. I was just a little disappointed. And I thought the ending WAS a little anticlimactic. But I`m going to watch Rita to see what they have to say about it. Rita is coming up next, at 10:00 -- a big ending for Big Love, though an hour later.
Coming up next: Move over, Paris Hilton. A sex tape is on the Web. And the star shows more than a passing resemblance to O.J. Simpson. O.J.`s lawyer and the producer marketing the tape are here with the details and the smackdown.
And what happens when you put a handful of Mentos into a bottle of diet soda? As many fans of a Web clip have found out, the results are explosive. Yes, that`s nothing more than Mentos and Diet Coke -- coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back.
And now must-see P.C., some crazy clips my staff found surfing the Internet, instead of doing their jobs.
Look at this guy. Now, he can dance. You remember Gumby? Well, here`s the human version.
I can do that. Yes, right.
And, here, two guys mix nothing but two liters of Diet Coke and four Mentos. It gives the term fountain soda a whole new meaning.
Kids, don`t try that at home. Again, it`s Mentos and Diet Coke.
Actually, I think you can try it at home.
Ah, the Internet, what will they think of next?
We will be right back with tonight`s mailbag.
MSNBC RITA COSBY LIVE AND DIRECT
June 5, 2006
MSNBC 9 PM 2006-06-05 21:00:00
And crazy clips my staff found surfing the sbrote instead of doing their jobs. Look at this guy. Here's the human version.
I can do that. Yeah. Right. Fwo guys mix nothing but two diet cokes. They gave fountain soda a whole new meaning.
kids, don't try that at home. I think you can try it at home. The internet, what will they think of next? We will be right back with our mail bag. Get front-of-the-line
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
September 7, 1997
A STUPID AD IS A FUN AD, SOMETIMES
Dustin is a man whose life is so empty that he has his own Mentos Web page. Which is where you will find his love poem about the chewy candy:
Mentos, dear mentos, you taste so good and sweet.
Mentos, OH mentos! Such a delectable treat!
Mentos, my mentos! You are so very holy!
Mentos, YES MENTOS! It tastes nothing like guacamole.
Imbecilic? You bet.
But not nearly as dumb as those Mentos commercials, which feature deliriously happy young people who pop the candy and then solve little predicaments, such as an inattentive waiter.
Mentos, arguably the luckiest advertiser on the planet, doesn't have to be clever or glib in its official Web page. It relies on its fanatical following to come up with its own Web pages.
Another fan-generated Web page is entitled ``Mentos - The Church,'' and it features prominent ``Mentites'' subscribing to the philosophies of ``Mentocism'' - the science of gleaning life lessons from incredibly cheesy commercials. The Web page describes the TV commercial that features an attractive young woman who is being admired by a man. But without warning, her heel breaks off.
She stumbles, pops a Mento - known as a ``Sacromint'' to the faithful - and then takes off the other heel.
Most people wouldn't draw any deep lessons from this, but Brother Larry, whose bespectacled young face appears on the page, goes on for four paragraphs. ``Upon consuming the Blessed Mint, her Freshness and Coolness are restored . . . .The heel of the expensive shoe has failed her, but the plentiful Mint has not.''
Is this post-modern ironic, or just really, really dumb?
I subscribe to the latter theory, but hey, Van Melle USA, the Breda, Holland, maker of Mentos, seems to be the most blatant example of one tenet of advertising: Some commercials are so bad that they are good.
The commercials, made by the German advertising agency Pahnke & Partners, are so much a part of popular culture that they have been parodied by the rock band Foo Fighters in a music video and by David Letterman. In the hit movie ``Clueless,'' one of the characters sings along to the ``Mentos fresh and full of life'' jingle.
Of course, this is the kind of publicity that most consumer goods companies would gladly pay for.
The fan Web pages are also an advertiser's dream.
One page is called ``Home Brew,'' and talks about a film club that is making its own Mentos commercials. ``They only have two so far, but I am sure that more are in the works.''
There is also a page called ``Freshspeak,'' dedicated to newly coined words.
Here is where you will find terms such as ``Mento-a-trois,'' defined as eating three Mentos at once. Or ``Mentorabilia,'' the unexpected Mentos that fell out of the pack and you find in your pocket.
And don't forget ``Momentos,'' a roll of Mentos obtained in another country as a souvenir.
Mentos fanatics craving more information about buying their candy overseas, they can switch to another site and find out that Arab countries sell 30 g. packs with labels in Arabic and English. Or in Japan, you can buy grapefruit Mentos.
Like any obsession, the possibilities are endless.