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Alcohol

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

Nanoscale silver particles help trace even the smallest amounts of bomb-making chemicals a...

Sensors that quickly detect chemicals used to make bombs are being developed by scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast. The devices will use special gel pads to "swipe" a person or crime scene to gather a sample which is then analyzed by a scanning instrument that can detect the presence of chemicals within seconds, much quicker than current analysis methods. This will allow better, faster decisions to be made in response to terrorist threats. The team is also working on devices that detect illegal drugs and will hopefully be deployed by police as roadside drug "breathalyzers".  Read More

The Rotgutonix digital liquor analyzer could help you ensure that you are served the genui...

One of the dangers of drinking in unfamiliar territory can be the quality of liquor on offer. Rotgut, the slang term for an inferior alcoholic concoction, can be dangerous to your health, not just your wallet. How big an issue being served rotgut actually is seems to depend as much on where in the world you find yourself as which nightclub or party you're at. Rotgutonix is a new take-anywhere prototype device that analyzes your chosen beverage and lets you know if it's genuine or a nasty pretender.  Read More

Increased risk of injury even after one glass of alcohol

The cost to society of physical injury related to alcohol consumption is immense – the link between severe alcohol intoxication, road accidents and violence is well established. Now new research from the Swedish Karolinska Institutet medical university indicates that most alcohol-related damage occurs after moderate consumption. While people who have drunk considerable quantities of alcohol suffer higher injury risk than people who have drunk only a little, the research shows the risk of suffering injury increases significantly after small amounts of alcohol as little as one glass.  Read More

Whisky - Demon drink becomes sound financial investment

If you could resist drinking it, you may just find that hanging on to a few bottles of fine single malt could not only make a sound investment but one which is more interesting than boring old stocks and far more reliable than wine. At Bonhams in Edinburgh, their second ever dedicated whisky auction has not only shown that there's a strong market for rare whisky, (with 95% of all lots sold) but that the big boys of the auction world are taking it seriously.  Read More

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