Archive for the ‘impairment’ Category

Alcohol education crucial for college students

Alcohol education crucial for college students

Source: The Daily Illini
November 1, 2012

In two separate instances in the past week, students from Rice University and Washington State University have been subject to alcohol poisoning. Currently the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission are investigating an annual party on the Rice University campus in which 11 students ended up in the hospital due to alcohol poisoning.

In another incident, a Washington State University freshman who was subject to alcohol poisoning was found dead in his dorm room last weekend.

The majority of these students were underage.

For a while, there has been much controversy over the legal drinking age: Some feel that it should be lowered from 21 to 18.

The reality for many young adults, especially those on college campuses, is that the consumption of alcohol and introduction to drinking culture is all too familiar long before they reach the age of 21. Many are introduced to drinking as early as middle school. And while the age limit is set to prevent incidents like those that took place at WSU and Rice, the current law is clearly not effective.

On this campus in particular, events and holidays such as Homecoming, Halloween and Unofficial – which is not supported or condoned by the university – inevitably encourages students to participate in a drinking culture. While participation in drinking is heightened during these times, let us remember that the opportunity is always knocking on the doors of students. After all, a person only has to be 19 to enter the local bars in Campustown.

Many similar scenarios play out on college campuses around the country, and they even affect many middle schools and high schools. It seems as if the legal drinking age is not hindering or suppressing the issue of underage drinking. In fact, many of our problems might be reduced if the age was lowered to 18.

This is an infamous case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Although the age is set to help control the negative effects of underage drinking, it just seems to have no benefit. And while it is thought someone who is 21 will drink more responsibly, this is also seemingly untrue.

In the most recent fact sheet on annual college drinking consequences from, it was noted that over 3 million college students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol, and nearly 600,000 are unintentionally injured while intoxicated. The report also mentioned that nearly 2,000 students die from alcohol-related incidents.

The buck did not stop there.

To think that drinking related problems are stifled by the drinking limit of 21 is not true, just like it’s not necessarily true to think that drinking is uncommon amongst those as young as 12. The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that of youth between the ages of 12 to 20, nearly 25 percent drink alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that excessive alcohol consumption results in more than 4,700 deaths of underage drinkers each year.

A high legal drinking age is not suppressing the issue of underage drinking, but encouraging this behavior. People tend to desire what is considered taboo and if the drinking age is lowered to 18, many young adults will not have to sneak to drink, thus preventing obnoxious consumption. The excitement and thrill of breaking the rules causes some to go overboard, which results in incidents like those at Rice and WSU.

What many fail to realize is that the age of these young students is not what causes these problems, but the lack of insufficient knowledge and improper handling of alcohol. While many argue that lowering the drinking age will cause more damage and alcohol related incidents, age is not a real deterrent to drinking.

In fact, lawmakers and parents – the latter being the most important – should strive to put more emphasis on alcohol education and properly teaching youth not only about the dangers and consequences of drinking, but how to do so safely and responsibly. While parents and lawmakers would probably prefer that young people not drink at all, it is not realistic. Instead of beating them over the head with consequences, proper education about safe alcohol use will allow drinkers to practice safe consumption when they do decide to drink.

Because let’s face it, people are going to continue to drink whether they are over 21 or 12.

In the end, it is neither age nor law which makes a person responsible, but it is instead up to the individual themselves

Armageddon Beer 65% Alcohol!

Source: Daily Mail
Oct 16th

There’s a lethal weapon in my hand. It might look to you like a bottle of beer. But this one could knock you dead.

Called ‘Armageddon’ – the name is no accident – it is the strongest beer in the world. At 65 per cent alcohol, it’s stronger than whisky or brandy and 16 times more potent than a standard pub lager. This 330ml bottle contains 22 units of alcohol – the equivalent of ten pints of Carlsberg.

And, like that other famous novelty, the deep-fried Mars Bar (which has just celebrated 20 years since its creation), it’s a gift to the world from the good people of Scotland.

Though ‘gift’ is probably not the right word: if you buy this in a shop, it’ll cost £80 a bottle (though you can buy it for half that price direct from the brewery).

‘Go on, take a mouthful,’ says brewer Lewis Shand, the young entrepreneur responsible for the brew. ‘I think you’ll be surprised.’

OK, but I’m not looking forward to it. I’m a bit of a sissy when it comes to strong booze. Though I love my beer and wine, I steer clear of neat spirits, finding their fiery nature rather off-putting.

Surely, if Scotch is a mere 40 per cent alcohol, and this beer weighs in at 65 per cent, it’ll rip off the back of my throat?

I swirl the liquid round. Thicker than an average pint of bitter, and darker in tone, the beer is the colour of tea with the consistency of a thinnish gravy.

I take a big, brave gulp.

To my surprise, it’s rather smooth. There’s none of the heat or the harshness of neat tequila or vodka; it slips over my tongue and down my throat, lining my mouth with a thick coating.

Yes, it is quite bitter – I prefer a milder-tasting ale – but it’s not off the scale. There’s a definite maltiness and a rather pleasant sweet aftertaste at the centre and back of my tongue.

I’m happy to take a second sip. Just curiosity, you understand. And a third, and a fourth. . . I could, I’m sure, empty the glass.

Hold on a moment. I think I’d better stop while I’m ahead.

So, I ask Shand, why did he decide to brew a beer so potent? Is it something to do with the fact that the Scots consume 20 per cent more alcohol (22.8 units a week) than the English and Welsh?

The idea was simple, he says. His young company Brewmeister, set in the Aberdeenshire countryside, had successfully created conventional beers – a tasty 4 per cent pale ale, for example – but wanted to try something more adventurous.

Shand is not the first brewer to aim for the world’s strongest beer. In fact, there’s been a battle going on for a couple of years.

While it could be seen as an important piece of scientific exploration, others see it as just a bunch of not-quite-grown-up boys who want to be able to shout out to the world: ‘Mine is bigger than yours!’

Three years ago, another British company, BrewDog, also based in north-east Scotland, created Tactical Nuclear Penguin (don’t ask), which came in at 32 per cent alcohol.

This threw down the gauntlet.

In stepped a German brewer with Schorschbock, a 40 per cent beer. So BrewDog retaliated with Sink The Bismarck, at 41 per cent. The Germans then came back with a 44 per cent brew, only for BrewDog to trump them with The End Of History, at 55 per cent alcohol (though only 12 bottles were ever produced – and each cost £700 and as a gimmick was sold inside a stuffed squirrel).

Then in July 2010 a brewery in Holland looked to have seized the title – with a 60 per cent beer called Start The Future.

Until Shand came along with Armageddon a few weeks ago.

The brewer says: ‘We didn’t want just to break the record but to make something that’s got some character to it, something beautifully sweet and malty.’ Yeah, right.

In an age of binge-drinking, isn’t it irresponsible to bring out a product as potent as this?

Shand says this is not a beer that problem-drinkers will turn to. ‘We’ve designed it for people to consume like a fine brandy, in small amounts, not sitting in a park with a brown paper bag round the bottle. In any case, the price will put off problem-drinkers. These bottles are for sharing.’

So who is his typical customer?

‘People who like something different, who appreciate a fine quality product that’s made in small batches by people who care about what they’re doing.’ (Privately, I think there’s a big market for stag parties.)

The Brewmeister brewery is certainly out of the ordinary. Set in a tatty, 200-year-old farm building on the estate of Kincardine Castle, 25 miles outside Aberdeen, it looks out on to the Cairngorms. They use spring water from the estate to make the beer.

Inside, there are metal vats and sacks of malted barley, hops and yeast – but it’s clear everything is done on a very small scale: the beer is brewed in batches of just 40 bottles at a time. ‘Though we plan to expand,’ says Shand.

The place, frankly, is a bit of a mess: there’s a shotgun by the door – in case any rats decide to feast on the large sacks of grain piled against the wall.

But Shand is no ordinary brewer. The son of an accountant and an oil executive, he’s still only 26, the same age as his business partner, John McKenzie. The pair launched the business with a £15,000 investment that Shand had amassed at university (‘I started up a paintballing company while I was a student.’)

Though the business is still tiny – Shand has a day job with a bank, and McKenzie works off-shore in the oil industry – Shand says they’ve already had orders from ‘Australia, Sweden, America and a lot from London’. The next batch of Armageddon, which will be ready in a few days, is sold out.

So what’s the secret of this super-strength beer?

The answer is a process called ‘freeze distillation’.

Any traditional beer-maker can, with the right choice of yeast, get to a point where the beer is 10 or 12 per cent alcohol. After that, the high alcohol levels kill off the yeast that is turning the sugars in the malt into more alcohol, so you can’t get stronger beer using traditional methods.

But Brewmeister’s trick is to cool the beer to zero degrees, when, of course, the water starts to freeze – but the alcohol does not. So if you discard the ice as it forms, making the drink less diluted, what you’re left with is a very alcoholic mixture.

But not a fiery one – because the alcohol is still swimming in the malty-hoppy mixture.

‘What we do is the reverse of conventional distillation. When you make whisky, you heat up the mixture and the alcohol evaporates, taking it away from the grain mixture. Then it is condensed and aged in barrels.

‘But we leave the alcohol inside the grain mixture and take the water out. This means the end product tastes much sweeter and less harsh.’

It still qualifies as ‘beer’ since it uses the classic ingredients: water, malted barley, hops.

Shand says: ‘We don’t add sugar or rice, rubbish like that, which you sometimes get in lagers.’

This, he insists, is a niche artisan product – albeit an expensive one at £80 a pop.

The reason for the high cost? They brew only very small quantities of beer at any one time, and the freeze distillation process means they throw away about 85 per cent of the brew mixture. Plus, ‘about £12 of the price goes straight to the taxman’.

‘We are,’ Shand says grandly, ‘testing the boundaries of brewing.’

Well, I suppose so.

The truth is that despite its liver-busting alcohol content, it tastes far better than the tramp’s favourite, Carlsberg Special Brew, which is 9 per cent. Although the taste is nowhere near as enjoyable as that of a conventional real ale.

As I leave the brewery, Lewis Shand says: ‘We’re in the process of having the record verified by the people from Guinness.’

With the mention of Guinness, I suddenly feel thirsty – and realise that I’ll be sticking to a more traditional beer.

New Thermal Imaging System Could Help Detect Drunk People

Source: CBS Seattle
September 12, 2012

A new use for old technology could give police a hand in spotting drunks in public.

In a paper that was published in the “International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics,” Greek scientists Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos are developing new algorithms that will gather data about blood-vessels on a subject’s face.

The rosy red glow that alcohol gives drinkers is really blood vessels dilating on the skin’s surface, which changes the temperature of a person’s face. Thermal imaging devices can detect those changes.

What Koukiou and Anastassopoulos propose is taking that information and then running it through a comparison of thermal imaging scans of drunk and sober individuals.

Another algorithm they came up with is used to map the person’s face. When drinking a person’s nose becomes warmer as their forehead becomes cooler.

The paper recommends that this type of technology be used by police departments.

This isn’t the first time similar technology was utilized. During the 2003 SARS epidemic, thermal imaging was used to detect infection.

Brought to you by
Online training and resources for bar and restaurant owners, managers, servers, waiters, waitresses.
Offering Bartender License, Server Training Courses, Food Safety and Management courses.

Vodka can boost problem solving and creativity, finds study

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

I could probably do a better job writing this story if I had consumed some vodka first.

Scientists from the University of Chicago concluded in a recent study that men who are under the influence, but also not legally drunk, were faster and more creative in solving word association problems than men who were sober.

The study, published online in Consciousness and Cognition on Jan. 28, said that sober men approached the task more deliberately, according to psychology graduate student Andrew Jarosz.

This could be why many musicians and artists claim to be more creative after imbibing, researcher Jennifer Wiley was quoted as saying on
“A composer or artist fixated on previous work may indeed find creative benefits from intoxication,” Wiley said.

In the study, two groups of 20 social drinkers were asked to perform a creative problem-solving task, according to an article on the study in, and the results from both groups were comparable.

Then, both groups watched an animated movie. The volunteers in one of the groups ate a snack and drank enough of a vodka cranberry drink to bring their blood alcohol level just under the 0.08 percent legal limit; the other group of volunteers didn’t eat or drink.

Both groups then took part in another creative problem-solving task. Those with a buzz solved more questions on average, and did so in less time, than those who were clear-headed.

The results of the study support findings of a group at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Psychologist J. Scott Saults’ team related that individuals under the influence become less afraid to make mistakes, which could increase creativity, reported.

So drink up, and start writing.

Haze feature documentary

| More
Better Business Bureau | Serving Alcohol Inc.