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The 10 Most Awesome Scientific Discoveries for Alcohol

by DannyGallagher   February 14, 2011 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 6,634

Drinking is one of mankind’s oldest, most revered, and most regrettable pastimes, in that order. Thankfully, science has found new breakthroughs and helped it evolve from a simple activity done by simple men to a complex activity that turns us into even simpler men.

10. Alcohol improves superconductors

Remember that experiment you did in the fifth grade where you used a radio to power a clock? You could've done the same thing by bringing some high-powered superconductors and a bottle of wine to school, assuming, of course, that your teacher didn’t already drink on the job.

A group of Japanese scientists found that soaking superconductors, metals that conduct huge amounts of electricity with less resistance, in booze, specifically red wine, were able to reduce the resistance three times more compared to simple ethanol and pure water. It’s probably the only time in history that drinking on the clock has actually helped someone do their job better as opposed to say your fifth grade teacher who only taught you that it’s harder to recite the capitals of the 13 colonies when you’ve polished off half a bottle of Cold Duck.

9. Champagne gets you drunker quicker

Source: Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Every year, it seems like the office New Year’s Eve party produces more pathetic, fall down alcoholics than Spring Break, depression, and the Jackson family tree combined. Maybe that’s because it’s not the low morale, tolerance, or grade of booze that your cheap boss bought for the killing floor.

The Medical Counsel on Alcohol (motto: We operate better when we’ve had a few) found that a bit of bubbly can get you drunker at a quicker rate than normal booze or beer. That’s because the carbon-dioxide in the champagne “may accelerate the absorption of alcohol, leading to more rapid or severe intoxication.” However, science has yet to explain why the girl who voluntarily frenched you when the ball dropped hasn’t returned your calls, answered your emails, or acknowledged the dead bird you sent to her as a symbol of your “undying love.”

8. Martinis are better when shaken, not stirred

Source: Schedivy Pictures Inc./Photodisc/Getty Images

The next time you saunter up to a bar and ask the cute drinkmaiden behind the counter to pour you a stiff vodka martini “shaken, not stirred” and she rolls her eyes because you are the one-millionth unoriginal bastard to think he’s being smooth by pretending to be someone he’s not (i.e. suave, debonaire, and Scottish), you can make science your wingman.

A group of science students at the University of Western Ontario in Canada turned college’s favorite pastime into a groundbreaking chemical study, probably because they got wasted five days before the thesis was due and had to come up with something before the hangover wore off. They found that shaking a martini instead of stirring it deactivates the hydrogen peroxide in the hooch and reduces the risk of susceptibility to disease. Psychologists also suggest that the increased number of ice crystals in a shaken martini makes it taste better or have a better “mouthfeel,” which ironically is another activity that probably made James Bond healthier.

7. Drinking keeps women slim

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If you’re the kind of close-minded, shallow, self-centered jerk who only goes to the gym or Whole Foods to meet fit, physically attractive women, welcome to the club.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Boston conducted a study of 19,000 women and found that those who had a couple of drinks a day were not only more likely to keep off excess weight, but it actually prevented excessive weight gain and those that abstained from alcohol were the most likely to put on extra pounds. So it turns out that the bar may be a better place to fulfill your instinctual need to seek out a soulmate by purely physical means. Besides, the relationship is twice as exciting when you realize she’s a psychopath down the road.

6. Alcohol can fuel artificial muscles

Source: Tsuneo Yamashita/Photodisc/Getty Images

Remember your weird Uncle Jerry who got his hip replaced and his first stop on the way home from the hospital was his favorite bar for two or three or 400 shots of Jameson’s? It turns out he wasn’t an alcoholic. He was just fueling his robotic hip skeleton.

The University of Texas at Dallas’ NanoTech Institute found that alcohol has “30 times the energy storage density of a conventional battery” because the alcohol reacts with oxygen to generate heat. So maybe one day, doctors and surgeons could implant and fuel artificial limbs, muscles, and other body parts better than more traditional means of electricity such as batteries, electrodes, or soldering a pacemaker to a DieHard.