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Beer glass shapes may affect how fast you drink

I found this via the Beeb: a study suggests that the shape of a glass can have an effect on how quickly you can drink. The full paper is available here, and the results noted that:

Participants were 60% slower to consume an alcoholic beverage from a straight glass compared to a curved glass. This effect was only observed for a full glass and not a half-full glass, and was not observed for a non-alcoholic beverage

The researchers who performed the study are psychologists, and they conclude that this may lead to a target for public health intervention – in plain English, it might be a useful method to help fight excessive drinking. I, however, am more interested in the physics of why this might happen. I suspect this may have to do with the curve of the glass providing some extra acceleration from gravity when you lift the glass high enough, which gives me an excuse (not that I really need one) to go into the physics.

When you lift and tilt the glass, you’re basically rotating a system around it’s centre of mass until most of the beer’s mass lies above it. At this point, the force of gravity is obviously going to act on the beer and pull it down into your mouth (or the floor if you’re not careful), and since beer is a fluid with low viscosity (according to this site, it’s 1.8 centiStokes, which translates to 1.8 square millimetres per second; compare that to sea water’s 1.15 cSt), it tends to flow very easily along the glass. This is where my previous point about the curve of the glass comes in: as it flows along the glass, the beer is flowing slightly faster downwards along a glass that curves outwards than a straight glass.

I need a drink – out of a straight glass 🙂


First coffee-houses, now Facebook!

Via Pharyngula, I found this page on how some things never change: in the 1670s, people were complaining about coffee-houses the way they complained about Facebook.

Here’s an extract from the site, which itself is a quote from Samuel Peyps:

Thence to the Coffee-house, whither comes Sir W. Petty and Captain Grant, and we fell in talke (besides a young gentleman, I suppose a merchant, his name Mr Hill, that has travelled and I perceive is a master in most sorts of musique and other things) of musique; the universal character; art of memory… and other most excellent discourses to my great content, having not been in so good company a great while, and had I time I should covet the acquaintance of that Mr Hill… The general talke of the towne still is of Collonell Turner, about the robbery; who, it is thought, will be hanged.

That sounds very much like Facebook from when I last used it (about two/three years ago, before it messed up and I finally deleted my account. Just like Facebook,

Enthusiasm for coffeehouses was not universal, however, and some observers regarded them as a worrying development. They grumbled that Christians had taken to a Muslim drink instead of traditional English beer, and fretted that the livelihoods of tavern-keepers might be threatened. But most of all they lamented that coffeehouses were distracting people who ought to be doing useful work, rather than networking and sharing trivia with their acquaintances.

Some people haven’t seen the modern Italians on their coffee breaks, or students in Smokey Joe’s, the Student Union cafe in NUIG; or even the 4th Year Physics students in the department’s kitchenette. All we did there is talk about anything but what we should have been doing. Ah, good times. 🙂
And note the obvious bigotry in there. It’s a Muslim drink, not a Christian one! Oh noes!! It will corrupt the youth and make them convert!!1!11!! By that logic, Italy is a Muslim country. Interestingly enough, Hugh has just told me that somebody told him that the Italian constitution gives every Italian citizen the right to a cup of coffee! Sadly, a quick look at the constitution on Wikisource reveals this to be false. Such a pity, I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn it was true. 😦

I wonder what they’ll complain about next? People living until they are 200? Widespread cybernetics?