Monday, June 05, 2006

7-Journal club #1

Today we have a contribution from the American Chemical Society, courtesy of Jen. I mention the fact that she sent me this, because I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not scour the scientific literature looking for obscure references to post here to make me look cool. I have better things to do. Jen, however, does not. Let us begin:

"Lifting a Wet Glass from a Table: A Microscopic Picture".
David van der Spoel, Erik JW Wensink, Alex C Hoffmann

"Using MD, van der Spoel and colleagues calculate the energetics of separating surfaces approximating a glass and table. They find that there's a net entropy loss in the presence of water, but in the presence of alcohol there's a net entropy gain...

[it goes on for 6 pages like this, but i'll skip to the discussion because we all know that the central pages of scientific papers are largely there to add volume and make the publication look more important]

...This work was done in compliance with ethical guidelines for basic research. Nevertheless, the results may have severe social implications. We note that the energy required for lifting a glass from a wet table is lowest for hard liquor. Hence, intoxicated persons may be tempted to drink, for example, whisky rather than water as it requires only half the effort to pick up the glass. The impact of this finding on alcohol consumption patterns falls beyond the scope of this work, however."

Astounding. Money well spent. I wonder if this report was commissioned by an NHS manager somewhere?

Until next week, happy drinking. I wonder if the ethics committee got free samples...

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