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Toppling of the Pops: A sometimes fatal quest for soda pop

We all know that fizzy drinks can affect the health of people who drink them, especially in super-size quantities, but – even worse – fizzy drinks in a vending machine sometimes bring immediate violent death when the machines are attacked.

This is documented dramatically by Dr Michael Q Cosio in a 1988 research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the summary of his paper, Soda Pop Vending Machine Injuries, Cosio minces no words.

“Fifteen male patients, 15 to 24 years of age, sustained injuries after rocking soda machines. The machines fell on to the victims, resulting in a variety of injuries. Three were killed. The remaining 12 required hospitalisation for their injuries.”

At the time, Cosio was working at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He has since died. I have not determined the manner of his passing.

—So begins another Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS: For context, here is detail from a patent for a beverage vending machine. According to Dr. Cosio’s report, this general class of vending machine dispenses cans and — if attacked — death:

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