Archive for 'Arts and science'

How many drinks does it take you to feel drunk?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The answer, it seems, depends on many factors. Gender for example, and also when you ask(ed) the drinkers. A report in the journal Addiction, (Volume 101, Issue 10, pages 1428–1437, October 2006) examined the 1979, 1995 and 2000 US National Alcohol Surveys, and found that :

Bottle-JackThe mean reported number of drinks to feel drunk declined significantly between each survey and was significantly lower for women. Considerable variation was also found within surveys and was explained partially by available variables. Volume of alcohol and heavy drinking occasions were associated positively with the number of drinks to feel drunk.”

In the latest survey (2000) the number of drinks to feel drunk was roughly 6.5 for men and around 4.5 for women. Sadly, the abstract of the paper doesn’t specify another important factor; viz. what, exactly, were the drinks?

See: ‘How many drinks does it take you to feel drunk? Trends and predictors for subjective drunkenness’

Further info on the study here, courtesy Prof. David J. Hanson, Professor Emeritus of Sociology of the State University of New York at Potsdam.

[Image taken from page 158 of ‘Hood’s Own: or, Laughter from Year to Year’, 1855, courtesy The British Library]

Judging who, or what, judges people best

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

This week’s Gestalt Which-of-These-Alternatives-Do-You-See? Question asks you to look at a newly published study.

The question is: What, exactly, is this study judging?

kosinskiThe study is “Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans“, Wu Youyou, Michal Kosinski [pictured here], and David Stillwell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, epub January 12, 2015. The authors are at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Stanford University in California.

What is being judged? The choices are:

  1. The good judgment of certain computer programs
  2. The bad judgment of many human beings
  3. Something else

BONUS: Video of Monty Python‘s Argument Sketch performed with two vintage speech synthesizers:

BONUS: Video of Monty Python’s Argument Sketch performed with Monty Pythons:

Not as bad as you think … [a possibly cheerful collection of same]

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Improbable doings in Vienna this coming week

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The organizers posted a sneak preview of the ‘sneak preview’ event at the University of Vienna on Thursday evening, January 29:

Und hier die nächste Veranstaltung in unserem Rahmenprogramm: Als sneak preview zur Mitternachtseinlage wird  Marc Abrahams am Donnerstag, den 29.1., eine seine sehr speziellen Vorlesungen an der Uni Wien halten; auch dies eine Premiere: es handelt sich um den ersten Auftritt von Abrahams in Wien. Marc Abrahams, Schöpfer und treibende Kraft der Ig-Nobel Preise, mit denen die Menschen „erst zum Lachen und dann zum Nachdenken gebracht werden“ (Abrahams), wird einen öffentlichen Vortrag (auf Englisch) zum Ig-Nobel Preis und der Bedeutung der geistvollen Wissenschaftskommunikation geben (Uni Wien, Hauptgebäude, Hörsaal 41, 18.30 Uhr, Anmeldung mit dem Stichwort “Ig-Nobel” unter [email protected]).

The main event, of course, is the Vienna Ball of Sciences, on Saturday night, January 31, in Vienna’s City Hall:

The City of Vienna invites the ball season in the Town Hall into a ball of Sciences with the participation of the entire Viennese research and university landscape. The motto of 2015: “Waltz and science.”


The science ball represents the Vienna research landscape in its excellence and diversity.The typical elements of a Viennese ball are combined with references to the Universities of Vienna. International visibility is produced by global stars of the popular science communication.

A dance of the slime molds

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Tchaikovsky and Science In Seconds and some slime molds team up, sort of, to present this pasticcio performance:

BONUS: Slime mold delights, for bread enthusiasts