Website of the Week

In the midst of partisan politics in the legislature and battles over whether or not to destroy the “axis of evil,” an important debate has been glossed over by the American public. It is an issue that has been a point of contention for decades, dividing our country and leaving out-of-state college students torn and mystified. This site aims to solve the conundrum once and for all: is it “pop” or “soda?”

Run jointly by CalTech and Lewis and Clark College, “The Great Soda vs. Pop Controversy” web research project stems out a study of North American regional dialects. Visitors to the site are asked to indicate what generic word they use to describe carbonated beverages and responses are plotted on a colorful, interactive map. “Pop” is currently in the lead, dominating the central states and the Pacific Northwest, while “soda” is a close second, with a high concentration in New England and California. In the South, homebase for Coca-Cola, “coke,” is the prevailing name. Common responses categorized as “other” can also be viewed, including “sarsaparilla,” “tonic,” “liquid crack” and “phosphate.”