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Alcohol

The BreathalEyes app for iPhone uses the smartphone's camera to detect and measure involun...

Common sense should be enough to tell us that getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol is not a particularly good idea, but still there are those who stupidly risk life and liberty by driving home after the party. When trying to convince such people to call a taxi, friends are often faced with a call for proof that the would-be driver is unfit to drive. Instead of analyzing a user's breath to determine alcohol content, the BreathalEyes app for iPhone detects involuntary eye movement in a similar way to field sobriety tests undertaken by police patrols.  Read More

A Russian tinkerer has created a typewriter that mixes drinks based on the keys that are p...

Hoo boy, you just know Hunter S. Thompson would have loved this. A Russian tinkerer going by the name of morskoiboy has created a typewriter (?) that squirts a different type of syrup or liqueur into a glass with every keystroke. That same liquid is used in a big single-character LCD-like display, that shows users what letter they’re typing. This means that different cocktails can be created, simply by typing in different words.  Read More

Ian Williams and and Anders Warn, with the WilliamsWarn beer brewing machine

Home beer-brewing is sort of like writing a novel – although you might like the idea of having done it, the thought of all the work involved in doing it can be off-putting. If the PR materials are to be believed, however, the WilliamsWarn brewing machine could make the process a lot easier ... and quicker. Unlike the four weeks required by most home brewing systems, it can reportedly produce beer in just seven days.  Read More

A new system for detecting counterfeit whiskey is simpler and less costly than traditional...

So, is that really Johnnie Walker Blue that you’re drinking, or is it perhaps actually Johnny Woker Bloo? Counterfeit Scotch whiskeys are more common than you might think, with the Scotch Whiskey Association reportedly handling between 60 to 70 active cases of counterfeiting at any one time. While there are lab tests that can identify the fakes, not every bar owner or restaurateur has the time or funds for those. Fortunately for them, scientists from Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde have devised a quicker, simpler, less costly system.  Read More

Recreational drug usage in the wild: stoned reindeer and junkie monkeys

You don’t need an IQ much larger than your shoe size to realize that humanity is forever questing for an alternative reality. Apart from the behemoth industries peddling legalized drugs (alcohol, tobacco and caffeine), the extraordinary profitability of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and the rapidly growing number of synthetics now constitute the single largest income stream of criminal and terrorist organizations worldwide. Human drug usage began at the dawn of civilization and we may have sought out the first mind-altering substances by watching the behavior of animals which indulged.  Read More

A scientific assessment of the harmfulness of the 16 most commonly used drugs

One of the more interesting news items of the last week came from the release of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs’ first piece of research – Drug harms in the UK: a multi-criteria decision analysis. The findings of the committee, based on wide ranging criteria, apply scientific methodology to answering the perpetually vexing question of exactly how much harm certain drugs do to their users and those around them. The table above summarises the findings and the full paper is available free on the web, where you’ll see just how complex the equation actually is. Most interesting of all was that without government meddling and industry lobbying, alcohol was rated more harmful than any other drug, while tobacco (the only other taxed legal drug on the list), is more harmful than cannabis.  Read More

Inside the biofuel lab: Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University have created a new bi...

The message is clear. Whisky and driving is not a good mix. But rules are made to be broken and researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have managed to successfully marry the two, albeit as a fuel for the vehicle and not the driver. Researchers have taken two by-products of the whisky-making process and transformed them into an energy dense biofuel that doesn't require vehicles to undergo any modification prior to use.  Read More

The remarkable progress of the record in the last 16 months.

Scottish brewery BrewDog has reclaimed the world record for the strongest beer in history with a 55% alcohol beer which it has named “The End of History.” Only 11 bottles will be available, and each bottle will come inside a stuffed animal – seven Stoats will be available at GBP500 and four grey squirrels at GBP700, making it also the most expensive beer in history. That's USD$1000 a bottle!  Read More

Extreme beer - man's favourite drink suddenly gets much stronger

Alcohol is the oldest and most commonly used of all recreational drugs, with annual sales exceeding one trillion U.S. dollars. Beer has been the world's most popular alcohol since before the invention of the wheel with annual sales now exceeding US$500 billion. Most of the world’s beer has between 4% and 6% alcohol by volume, and the strength of beer achieved by natural fermentation brewing methods has limits, but a well crafted beer that is repeatedly “freeze distilled” can achieve exquisite qualities and much higher alcohol concentrations. An escalation in the use of this new methodology over the last 12 months has seen man's favorite beverage suddenly become stronger than spirits such as whisky and vodka, and more expensive too. The world's strongest beer is getting much stronger, very quickly, and this week we spoke to the brewers at the centre of an informal but escalating competition to brew the world's strongest beer. New contestants are gathering, and the race is now on to break 50% alcohol by volume.  Read More

Thailand begins coloring petrol and diesel

One of the major problems with motorized transport across Asia is that mass fraud takes place with petrol retailing. Octane-91 petrol is sold as Octane-95, Diesel B5 is sold as diesel B2 and to a much greater extent, cocktails are brewed and sold to increase profits for the retailer, with alcohol mixes very common. The mixing not only cheats the motorist but often has dire consequences for the motors using the fuel, causing massive destruction that’s difficult to trace. The Thai Government is the first to take action to overcome the problem by introducing colored petrols. From February 1, octane-91 petrol will become yellow, octane-95 petrol will be blue, and diesel B5 will be red.  Read More

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