Synthetic Remarks 2011, 1, 1-2.
To address the longest-standing and most burning question in every aspect of our existence – is it under controlled conditions possible to really taste the difference between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola? – we conducted the following experiment, in accordance with the highest standards of the scientific method.
“Pros” = Professionals (I have a Ph.D. in a quasi-relevant area, my wife is a M.D. with a specialist degree, e.g. we know exactly what we are doing here)
“Double-dummy” = That would be us, too
“Double-blind” = Google it
“Randomized” = We used a child, our own son, to introduce a random element (Children are notoriously unpredictable)
A bottle each of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, both regular, were acquired at the local grocery store. The bottles were stored in our fridge overnight to assume the same temperature. The day after, the physician meticulously labeled six identical glasses with numbers ranging from 1 to 6. The labels were attached to the bottom of the glasses so that when the glasses were placed upright, the numbers were not visible even when the glasses were empty. The physician then measured out (i.e. eye-balled) identical doses of Coca Cola in three of the glasses and Pepsi Cola in the remaining three. In the process, she also scribbled down which number corresponded to which beverage on a post-it note (curiously – and completely irrelevant to this study – the post-it note in use was sponsored by Viagra/Pfizer, as evident by a non-discrete logotype in the upper right corner), which was then folded twice and put somewhere secret. She was alone in the kitchen when doing this.
The five-year-old was then instructed to enter the kitchen, alone, and rearrange the glasses according to his own free will. (This took quite a while.) The glasses were then put on a tray and carried into our living room, where the scientist, the test subject, the patient, yours truly – I – was anxiously waiting by the dinner table. The others left the scene. I tasted the beverages one at a time. (If you must know, in the absence of the typical physical attributes, the taste difference between the two was much less pronounced than anticipated.) I took about five minutes in total and then finally organized the glasses that I thought contained Coca Cola in one row, and the ones I thought contained Pepsi Cola in a separate row.
Results and discussion
Yada, yada, yada. Let us jump to conclusions: I scored 6 out of 6: 100 %. In other words, yes – humans can discriminate between Coke and Pepsi. Not only that, humans can also tell which one is which. The standard deviation is zero.
Not applicable. The issue has been resolved for all eternity.
Oh, thank Heaven for 7-Eleven – where the sodas were bought.
Conflict of interest statement
We financed this study with our own money. We did not take bribes from the soda industry. Both my parents-in-law are dentists and kindly advised us not to conduct research in this area, which we, with few to zero regrets, chose to ignore. At this point however, we neither condone nor condemn the consumption of sweet beverages outside a scientific context.
 One of my dearest friends runs this page called Movies They Should Make where he shows off home-made posters of movies that do not yet exist – but perhaps should exist. I am not sure that this is directly relevant… in any case, here is a back-link to one of the movies that “someone should consider making”: The Cola Wars
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