Blood Alcohol

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Blood Alcohol

Could you get drunk from drinking a drunk person's blood?

Fiona Byrne

No.

A person contains about 5 liters of blood, or 14 glasses.

If your blood is more than about half a percent alcohol, you stand a pretty good chance of dying. There have been a handful of cases of people surviving with a blood alcohol level of above 1%, but the LD50—the level at which 50% of people will die—is 0.40 (0.4%).

If someone had a BAC of 0.40, and you drank all 14 glasses of their blood in a short amount of time,[1]Hey, there's a 50% chance they were going to die anyway. you would throw

up: You wouldn't throw up because because of the alcohol; you'd just throw up because you're drinking blood. If up. Assuming

you somehow avoided vomiting, you would have ingested a total of 2 grams of ethanol, which is ethanol. That's the amount you'd get from one shot glass full of beer.

Drinking that much blood This would, in turn, raise your own blood alcohol level to 0.005. In other words, only 1/60th of the alcohol in their blood would make it into yours.

If, after you drank all this blood, someone killed you and drank your blood,[2]It's only fair. they would then have a BAC of 0.00008. If this process were repeated about 11 times, there would be fewer than 60 molecules of ethanol left in the last person's blood. After one more cycle, there would very possibly be none.[3]By homeopathic standards, this is still quite concentrated. They'd just be drinking regular blood.[4]Like a loser.

Whether there's any alcohol in it or not, drinking 14 glasses of blood wouldn't be fun. There's not a huge amount of medical literature on the subject, but anecdotal evidence from online forum posts suggests that any normal person who tries to drink more than about a pint of blood will vomit: throw it back up.

If you drink blood regularly, over a long period of time time, the buildup of iron in your system can cause iron overload. This syndrome, which sometimes affects people who have repeated blood transfusions, is one of the few conditions for which the correct treatment is bloodletting.[5]Others include PCV and PCT.

Drinking one person's blood probably wouldn't cause iron overload. What it could give you is a blood-borne disease. Most such diseases are caused by viruses that can't survive in the stomach, but they could easily get into your blood through scratches in your mouth or throat as you drank.

Diseases you could get from drinking an infected person's blood include hepatitis B and C, HIV, Hantaviruses, and Ebola. I'm not a doctor, and I try not to give medical advice in these articles. However, I will confidently say that you shouldn't drink the blood of someone with Ebola.

That said, drinking or eating blood is not unheard of. It's a taboo in many cultures, but the British eat "black pudding", which is largely blood, and there are similar dishes all around the world. Maasai pastoralists in Africa lived mainly on milk, but also sometimes drank blood, drawing it from their cattle and mixing it with the milk to form a sort of extreme protein shake.

So the bottom line is that drinking someone's blood would be very difficult, probably quite unpleasant, and might give you some serious diseases. However, it definitely won't get you drunk.

In the end, the blood itself would do unpleasant things to your body long before the booze ever could.

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popular
2373 days ago
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MSex
2374 days ago
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3 public comments
llucax
2374 days ago
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Squirrels!
Berlin
wyeager
2374 days ago
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I wonder how similar the results would be with breastmilk, a contentious but important topic to be sure. My bet is that the math would work out pretty much the same as with drinking blood.
Blur Area
rclatterbuck
2374 days ago
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Not one of the better ones, but shared nonetheless.

Preferred Chat System

16 Comments and 42 Shares
If you call my regular number, it just goes to my pager.
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MSex
2654 days ago
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Isso tem acontecido comigo. Particularmente com uma combinação de SMS, Viber e WhatsApp.
galmeida
2654 days ago
nem me fala, WhatsApp should die
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15 public comments
VioletGray
2649 days ago
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Sounds about right
Gent/Bucharest
jhamill
2653 days ago
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I do my best work through voicemail.
California
chrisrosa
2653 days ago
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xkcd continues to speak the truth. #communication
San Francisco, CA
tedder
2653 days ago
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I don't answer unknown calls. I'm about to stop accepting voicemail.
Uranus
jezbian
2653 days ago
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YES YES YES. this is one reason it's hard to plan anything for more than 2 people these days - everyone communicates in so many varied ways!!!
FarrelBuch
2653 days ago
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And I thought I was the only one who had these issues
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
aaronwe
2654 days ago
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I resemble that comic.
Denver
lrwrp
2654 days ago
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I think this is what it's like trying to contact me.
??, NC
RAddisonJones
2654 days ago
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He forgot smoke signal...
Atlanta, Georgia
rjstegbauer
2654 days ago
And telegrams...but I guess you would need a time machine for that now.
jbondjr
2652 days ago
This hits a little close to home
mrobold
2654 days ago
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This sounds pretty accurate these days.
Orange County, California
NickDegens
2654 days ago
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Nice!
adamgurri
2654 days ago
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LOL
New York, NY
euser
2654 days ago
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Last one is RFC1149 in action :)
Berlin
codersquid
2654 days ago
I don't think owls would make good carriers. You need to be able to change the magic axiom in our reality.
barajas
2654 days ago
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Since switching to Windows Phone two weeks ago, this is pretty much my life.
Rochester, NY
aaronwe
2654 days ago
Welcome to why I dumped my Lumia 900.
ghling
2654 days ago
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Alt text: "If you call my regular number, it just goes to my pager."
jimwise
2654 days ago
(Thank you!)
wffurr
2654 days ago
Another RSS reader I used on Android had a neat feature for xkcd. Alt text would appear if you tapped on the image. Press is the app.
jimwise
2654 days ago
Yeah -- Reeder (google reader client for iOS) did similar. One thing I missed since switching to NB. Guess I should put in a feature request...
2654 days ago
You're a god amongst men.
cbenard
2654 days ago
Hey guys, I created a Yahoo Pipe RSS feed you can subscribe to with the alt text below it. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=b3b7b8405296690257c7c311cc4fc2fd&_render=rss
cbenard
2654 days ago
You can look at the source of the Pipe here (but don't try to subscribe to this url; use the rss url I previously posted): http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=b3b7b8405296690257c7c311cc4fc2fd
reconbot
2654 days ago
The problem with the pipes feed is that all the comments are on this feed
cbenard
2653 days ago
@reconbot, yeah I will stay subscribed to this as well. I just made it to make it easy to see on a mobile device without having to rely on people to post the alt text in the comments. :)

shelf life

4 Comments and 23 Shares
of_course_all_of_my_comic_books_are_in_the_forever_section
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MSex
2660 days ago
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Going the VCR way.
popular
2660 days ago
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christophersw
2646 days ago
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This is how I arrange my e-books....
Baltimore, MD
stsquad
2659 days ago
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All my text books are now defunct...
Cambridge, UK
tedder
2660 days ago
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this is a brilliant way to sort books.
Uranus

Why you think your phone is vibrating when it is not

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Most of us experience false alarms with phones, and as Tom Stafford explains this happens because it is a common and unavoidable part of healthy brain function.

Sensing phantom phone vibrations is a strangely common experience. Around 80% of us have imagined a phone vibrating in our pockets when it’s actually completely still. Almost 30% of us have also heard non-existent ringing. Are these hallucinations ominous signs of impending madness caused by digital culture?

Not at all. In fact, phantom vibrations and ringing illustrate a fundamental principle in psychology.

You are an example of a perceptual system, just like a fire alarm, an automatic door, or a daffodil bulb that must decide when spring has truly started. Your brain has to make a perceptual judgment about whether the phone in your pocket is really vibrating. And, analogous to a daffodil bulb on a warm February morning, it has to decide whether the incoming signals from the skin near your pocket indicate a true change in the world.

Psychologists use a concept called Signal Detection Theory to guide their thinking about the problem of perceptual judgments. Working though the example of phone vibrations, we can see how this theory explains why they are a common and unavoidable part of healthy mental function.

When your phone is in your pocket, the world is in one of two possible states: the phone is either ringing or not. You also have two possible states of mind: the judgment that the phone is ringing, or the judgment that it isn’t. Obviously you’d like to match these states in the correct way. True vibrations should go with “it’s ringing”, and no vibrations should go with “it’s not ringing”. Signal detection theory calls these faithful matches a “hit” and a “correct rejection”, respectively.

But there are two other possible combinations: you could mismatch true vibrations with “it’s not ringing” (a “miss”); or mismatch the absence of vibrations with “it’s ringing” (a “false alarm”). This second kind of mismatch is what’s going on when you imagine a phantom phone vibration.

For situations where easy judgments can be made, such as deciding if someone says your name in a quiet room, you will probably make perfect matches every time. But when judgments are more difficult – if you have to decide whether someone says your name in a noisy room, or have to evaluate something you’re not skilled at – mismatches will occasionally happen. And these mistakes will be either misses or false alarms.

Alarm ring

Signal detection theory tells us that there are two ways of changing the rate of mismatches. The best way is to alter your sensitivity to the thing you are trying to detect. This would mean setting your phone to a stronger vibration, or maybe placing your phone next to a more sensitive part of your body. (Don’t do both or people will look at you funny.) The second option is to shift your bias so that you are more or less likely to conclude “it’s ringing”, regardless of whether it really is.

Of course, there’s a trade-off to be made. If you don’t mind making more false alarms, you can avoid making so many misses. In other words, you can make sure that you always notice when your phone is ringing, but only at the cost of experiencing more phantom vibrations.

These two features of a perceiving system – sensitivity and bias – are always present and independent of each other. The more sensitive a system is the better, because it is more able to discriminate between true states of the world. But bias doesn’t have an obvious optimum. The appropriate level of bias depends on the relative costs and benefits of different matches and mismatches.

What does that mean in terms of your phone? We can assume that people like to notice when their phone is ringing, and that most people hate missing a call. This means their perceptual systems have adjusted their bias to a level that makes misses unlikely. The unavoidable cost is a raised likelihood of false alarms – of phantom phone vibrations. Sure enough, the same study that reported phantom phone vibrations among nearly 80% of the population also found that these types of mismatches were particularly common among people who scored highest on a novelty-seeking personality test. These people place the highest cost on missing an exciting call.

The trade-off between false alarms and misses also explains why we all have to put up with fire alarms going off when there isn’t a fire. It isn’t that the alarms are badly designed, but rather that they are very sensitive to smoke and heat – and biased to avoid missing a real fire at all costs. The outcome is a rise in the number of false alarms. These are inconvenient, but nowhere near as inconvenient as burning to death in your bed or office. The alarms are designed to err on the side of caution.

All perception is made up of information from the world and biases we have adjusted from experience. Feeling a phantom phone vibration isn’t some kind of pathological hallucination. It simply reflects our near-perfect perceptual systems trying their best in an uncertain and noisy world.

This article was originally published on BBC Future. The original is here.


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MSex
2687 days ago
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(via galmeida)
galmeida
2687 days ago
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Prometheus

10 Comments and 36 Shares
'I'm here to return what Prometheus stole.' would be a good thing to say if you were a fighter pilot in a Michael Bay movie where for some reason the world's militaries had to team up to defeat every god from human mythology, and you'd just broken through the perimeter and gotten a missile lock on Mount Olympus.
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popular
2712 days ago
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MSex
2715 days ago
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tfrab
2714 days ago
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Prometheus
italy
aaditya
2714 days ago
This is pretty much the plot of The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett (though in the Discworld universe)
taddevries
2715 days ago
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I love this movie idea!
lrwrp
2715 days ago
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For some reason, I really want to see a modern humanity vs. Mount Olympus movie...
??, NC
skorgu
2715 days ago
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I'd watch Independence Day II: Olympian Boogaloo.
jerkso
2699 days ago
ahahaha nice one
satadru
2715 days ago
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best alt text...
New York, NY
adamgurri
2715 days ago
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fire wants to be free
New York, NY
Michdevilish
2715 days ago
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Free Fire Friday
Canada
DerBonk
2715 days ago
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Greek gods never wanted to hear anything about this "sharing" idea. It was all theirs and theirs alone, puny humans.
Germany
gmuslera
2715 days ago
You must pay licence to greek gods everytime you light a fire, even by yourself, and torch, burner and mathes makers must pay them too for each unit. Lightbulb are derivative works, so must pay too every time you turn on the lights.

Sunset on the British Empire

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Sunset on the British Empire

When (if ever) did the Sun finally set on the British Empire?

—Kurt Amundson

It hasn't. Yet. But only because of a few dozen people living in an area smaller than Disney World.

The world's largest empire

The British Empire spanned the globe. This led to the saying that the Sun never set on it, since it was always daytime somewhere in the Empire.

It's hard to figure out exactly when this long daylight began.  The whole process of claiming a colony (on land already occupied by other people) is awfully arbitrary in the first place. Essentially, the British built their empire by sailing around and sticking flags on random beaches.[1] This makes it hard to decide when a particular spot in a country was "officially" added to the Empire.

The exact date of the Empire's final sunset depends on when Australia was finally added, but it was probably sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s.[2]

The Empire largely disintegrated in the early 20th century, but—surprisingly—the Sun hasn't technically set on it yet.

Fourteen territories

Britain has fourteen overseas territories, the direct remnants of the British Empire.[3]

(Many newly-independent British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations. Some of them, like Canada and Australia, have Queen Elizabeth as their official monarch. But they are independent states which happen to have the same queen; they are not part of any empire that they know of.)

The Sun never sets on all fourteen British territories at once (or even thirteen, if you don’t count the British Antarctic Territory). However, if the UK loses one tiny territory, it will experience its first Empire-wide sunset in over two centuries.

Every night, around midnight GMT, the Sun sets on the Cayman Islands, and doesn't rise over the British Indian Ocean Territory until after 1:00 AM. For that hour, the little Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific are the only British territory in the Sun.

The Pitcairn Islands have a population of a few dozen people, the descendants of the mutineers from the HMS Bounty. The islands became notorious in 2004 when a third of the adult male population, including the mayor, were convicted of child sexual abuse.[4][5]

As awful as the islands may be, they remain part of the British Empire, and unless they're kicked out, the two-century-long British daylight will continue.

Will it last forever?

Well, maybe.

Two hundred years from now, in April of 2432, the island will experience its first total solar eclipse since the mutineers arrived.[6]

Luckily for the Empire, the eclipse happens at a time when the Sun is over the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. Those areas won't see a total eclipse; the Sun will even still be shining in London.

In fact, no total eclipse for the next thousand years will pass over the Pitcairn Islands at the right time of day to end the streak. If the UK keeps its current territories and borders, it can stretch out the daylight for a long, long time.

But not forever. Eventually—many millennia in the future—an eclipse will come for the island, and the Sun will finally set on the British Empire.

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MSex
2732 days ago
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Taí uma coisa útil para se saber!
galmeida
2732 days ago
esse 'what if?' costuma publicar muita coisa útil
popular
2732 days ago
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Michdevilish
2732 days ago
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The mermaids concur:
Rule, Britannia! rule the waves...
Canada
skorgu
2732 days ago
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"Two hundred years from now, in April of 2432"

Did I miss something (or two hundred somethings)?
grammargirl
2732 days ago
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NO FLAG, NO COUNTRY.
Brooklyn, NY
rclatterbuck
2732 days ago
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.
toddgrotenhuis
2732 days ago
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"NO FLAG NO COUNTRY"
Indianapolis
Andi_Mohr
2732 days ago
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This could be my favourite What If? ever, mainly for "British Emergency"
rjstegbauer
2732 days ago
Whatever happened to "Keep calm. Carry on."
tdarby
2732 days ago
"...repeat, this has been a British Emergency. Had this been an actual emergency, you would not have heard the gentle shatter of fine china against the floor."
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