Character mascots for Kellogg's Rice Krispies (Rice Bubbles, down under) cereal.

In 1928, Kellogg's introduced Rice Krispies on grocery store shelves, with advertising that distinguished the cereal as one that "crackles in cream." Starting in 1932, boxes of the product depicted a bowl with onomatopoeic words emanating from the cereal: snap, crackle, and pop, and at the same time, radio jingles repeated the message:

Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® as they merrily snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you've never heard food talking, now is your chance.

While there's a plausible scientific reason why the cereal makes noise (the addition of liquid breaks the fragile walls of the toasted rice), the company instead decided to advertise the noise as the invention of magical characters. Illustrator Vernon Grant first drew a gnome with a baker's hat and dubbed him Snap. Snap began appearing on Rice Krispies boxes in 1933, and was soon joined by two others that Grant naturally named Crackle and Pop. In 1939, Kellogg's created archenemies for the trio (Soggy, Mushy, and Toughy) in the animated short subject, "Breakfast Pals." Despite the archetypal battle waged over the the edenic domain of a family breakfast table, the villains were easily vanquished in less than a minute. Strangely enough, they were vanquished not by Rice Krispies but by large quantities of syrup and pancakes deftly wielded by Snap, Crackle, and Pop. (See for yourself: )


"The Tale – Snap! Crackle! & Pop!® story." Rice Krispies official web site. (September 16, 2008)

Snap, crackle, and pop are also terms for later derivatives of displacement -- or, to put it in simpler terms, the rate of acceleration of acceleration of acceleration of acceleration... and so on.

Okay, that wasn't simple enough. Let's start over. When we look at an object sitting at rest, we determine its position; this is the 0th derivative of change. When we look at a moving object, we measure the speed in terms of velocity; this is the first derivative of change, the change in position over time. And then, we measure the rate of change of velocity, which we call acceleration. You can also look at the rate of change of acceleration; this is called jerk, and is the third derivative of the object's displacement, i.e. it is the rate of change of the rate of change of the rate of change of its displacement.

You can keep going; the fourth derivative is called the snap, the fifth is the crackle, and the sixth is the pop. The snap is sometimes also called the jounce, but usually people conform to the cereal-based names, as Kellogg's marketing has been quite effective.

And we can keep going; the seventh derivative is sometimes referred to as lock, the eighth as drop, the ninth as shot, and the tenth as put. However, after pop these terms are mostly just there for fun and wackiness. In fact, anything past jerk is somewhat informal, with snap/jounce being infrequently used, and later derivations primarily being used to illustrate the concept that acceleration is infinitely analyzable, and of course, as wacky science factoids to entertain the masses.

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