Bottomless cups

Floating Feasts, a wonderful piece about gluttony on the high seas, taking in demand, logistics, supply, infection and the technology that underpins life on the modern cruise ship:

There’s also a soft-drink-only package, which comes with an insulated cup. The cup has a radio-frequency identification chip in its base, which activates the ship’s Freestyle dispensing machines, introduced by the Coca-Cola Company a couple of years ago. The machines enable users to serve themselves more than a hundred different soft drinks and soft-drink combinations, and to add flavorings (such as orange, a favorite among passengers from the Baltics) that are otherwise unavailable in Coke products in the United States. In the soda-storage area, Brown showed me a Sprite Zero Freestyle cartridge. “It communicates directly with Coca-Cola headquarters, in Atlanta,” he said. “When it gets low, they will automatically generate a refill order for us to approve.”

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