The [redacted], it is a-changing

NASA, risking complete shutdown, has posted an image gallery of places that have experienced significant geological, hydrological, or glacial changes visible through satellite imaging. Better yet, you can view the changes side by side, or compare them in a single image via a little sliding bar. Many are unrelated to climate change, and a few aren't necessarily even anthropogenic. Others, well...

Give me two insulated travel mugs and a free morning

I received a new travel mug for Christmas, from a much-touted brand, so naturally I wanted to know whether it lived up to its reputation. 

New silver mug on the left, identified as "Y" for the purposes of our experiment. Older red thermal mug on the right, identified as "C."

New silver mug on the left, identified as "Y" for the purposes of our experiment. Older red thermal mug on the right, identified as "C."

Methodology

1 - Heat 2 cups of water to a set temperature (150 degrees, or as close as possible). Divide the liquid into the the tumblers, with each receiving 1 cup. This is just under half full. The reason I picked this amount was that this seems to be the tipping point where insulated mugs begin to lose the battle with lukewarmness. 

2 - Using a meat thermometer, measure the temperature of the fluid at the center of mass, using as uniform sampling techniques as possible.

3 - Record the temperatures on your fridge white board.

4 - Consider transferring the data to an excel spreadsheet so you can generate handsome, informative graphs.

5 - Get back to editing a story instead. 

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Results

"C" (a Contigo autoseal) wins by a small margin in both the "no lid" (left) and "lid" (right) conditions. "Y" (a Yeti rambler) puts in a decent performance but is edged out. After 30 minutes, the Contigo's liquid is 3 degrees warmer than the Yeti's. 

Not pictured: When temperatures were tested after three hours, the Contigo still had a 3 degree advantage (107 degrees) over the Yeti (104 degrees).

Conclusions

The Yeti experiences a significant decline in temperature initially; after that, the two tumblers cool at a fairly constant rate. 

I theorize that the Yeti has a larger thermal mass, causing initial cooling as heat is drawn out of the liquid to raise the temperature of the tumbler. Heating both mugs before the liquid is added might give different results, but I will leave that important work for other scientists.