Avoiding scientific disaster

What happens if you vigorously shake an unopen bottle of champagne?

I have no idea why anyone would do that, but the Swiss newspaper Le Matin reports that Friedrich Balck of Clausethal Technical University in Germany found that a vigorously shaken bottle of champagne with a pressure of 2.5 bars (a bar equals 1kg per square centimeter) expelled its cork at 40 km/h. In American, that's 24.8 mph.

If you left the bottle unshaken in the sin for a while prior to opening it -- again, I have no idea why anyone would do that, the speed of the expelled cork could reach 62 mph.

To avoid such silliness during holiday festivities, follow these guides I've previously posted but now feel the need to reiterate:

• Remove the wire cage and foil covering the cork.

• Point the bottle away from everyone, including yourself. It is under tremendous pressure, so it can be a dangerous missile.

• Put a dish towel over the top of the bottle and, with your hand under the towel, grasp the cork firmly.

• Hold the cork steady and turn the bottle. The cork will slowly disengage.

• When the cork comes out, keep the towel over the bottle opening for a moment to preserve the gas and the champagne.

• Pour into champagne flutes and enjoy.

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