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Beer Pong Ball
Beer pong: Silly college game and efficient vehicle for transferring bacteria? iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Oh, the ivory towers and hallowed lecture halls of college, where we learn about calculus, medieval history, astronomy and, um, beer pong. In this popular drinking game, a player on one team tries to toss a Ping-Pong ball into cups of brewski lined up on a table. If he or she makes it, a player on the opposing team has to swill the beer (after removing the ball, of course). Except for some drunk and disorderly behavior beer pong might produce, it's a perfectly harmless game, right?

Apparently not, according to Clemson University students who recently tested balls used in games across their Tiger Nation. During homecoming weekend, the scientists-in-training roamed the campus to find games in action and collect samples for their study. They then took the Ping-Pong balls to the lab and tested them for the presence of bacteria. On a typical ball used in outdoor games, students found up to 3 million bugs living on the surface. On a ball used indoors, on carpeted surfaces, they found just 200 bacteria. And don't kid yourself into thinking that germs don't like to swim. In a separate part of the experiment, the researchers found a high level of ball-to-beverage transfer [source: Collins]. Who said higher education was doomed?

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