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How To Keep Your Coffee In Its Cup: The Claw Grip

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In a world beset with curiosities and challenges, it's good to know that scientists are examining many of life's critical issues, such as - what's the best method for holding a cup of coffee so it doesn't spill? Holding a cup at its handles seems to increase the force with which coffee hits the sides of a cup, which increases the chances of a spill.

The Telegraph reports that researcher Jiwon Han writes in the Achievements in the Life Sciences journal that an overhand, claw-like grip seems best. The overhand grip also risks a cloud of steam that could make you drop the cup, but the other method Mr. Han considers is walking backwards. By walking backwards, we were able to significantly change the frequency characteristics of our hand motion, he writes. Of course, walking backwards may be less practical. It increases the chance of tripping on a stone or crashing into a passing colleague who may also be walking backwards. This would most definitely lead to spillage, also walking into wallage (ph) and falling down stairage (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE JAVA JIVE")

THE INK SPOTS: (Singing) Coffee and tea and the java and me. A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.