# News You Can Bruise for 2007March27 (entry 0)

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(3) Cup Conjecture: The number of cups used per unit time is proportional to the square of the number of people in the house.

I have no idea how this happens.

Posted by Ian Bicking at Wed Mar 28 2007 00:42

Well, there's two factors: seeing a cup, how confident are you that it is yours? The confidence goes down with the number of people, and reuse suffers. The second factor: seeing a cup, how well can you predict if it is still in use? With more people, unnecessary cleanup up cups increases. Perhaps there are two more factors: how much more aggressive do people come in cleaning up cups when the overall crowdedness of the space increases? And when there is a larger number of people getting drinks, the total number of drink trips increases. Gracious hosts (and guests) will offer to get other people drinks, again increasing per capita cup usage.

So there's really a few different variables that come into play: number of people, graciousness of people, how identifiable the cups are, square foot space of house. And I think the variety of drinks should factor in somehow as well. I'm pretty sure you should be able to come up with an equation based on those factors.

Posted by Patrick Mueller at Wed Mar 28 2007 01:22

Ian is spot on. I'm anal about keeping the kitchen clean. Dirty glass on the counter? In the dishwasher. Or, my glass, which I'm finished with, on the counter? In the dishwasher. My wife refuses to learn this. While cleaning up, you can often hear this conversation: "What happened to my glass?" "Oh, I thought that was mine." grumble. gets another glass.

When we go to the beach with friends, and have twenty people, mainly kids, in a single house, we get plastic cups and leave a sharpie with them, for folks to write their name on. Really cuts down on the cup usage.

Posted by Susie at Wed Mar 28 2007 14:07

I like to reuse my glass too. Have solved the "where's my glass" issue by carrying a sports bottle around with me since I drink about a gallon a day now.

The Richardsons were huge proponents of the Sharpie + plastic cup plan.

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