Monday, September 7, 2009

somewhat random blog post about booze and math

Preface - I am horrible at math. However doing mental calculations for no good reason I find endlessly entertaining.

From an Ars Technica article:
What really impressed me about the study, however, were the hard numbers the authors were able to put on the phenomenon: "A multivariable model revealed that a 10-cent increase in cost per gram of ethanol at on-premise establishments was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of exiting an establishment intoxicated." I realize that college students are perpetually broke, but I certainly wouldn't have expected a dime to make that much difference."

A bottle of crappy beer is around 5% alcohol. One fluid ounce of water roughly equals one dry ounce, so for beer we can equivocate them.*

So that means there are .6 dry ounces of ethanol in a 12 ounce beer, which equals 17 grams.

At ten cents per ounce, that's an increase of nearly two dollars. So in other words - you make a 3$ beer and make it a 5$ beer, or if you assume it takes 5 beers to get someone drunk, 15$ versus 25$.

Here is where I should point out that this study came from the University of Florida and was no doubt conducted in Gainesville, where an across-the-board 60% increase in the price of beer would cause riots.

I'm pretty sure the author was aware of everything I just stated but still decided to feign shock to "punch up a story". I can't stand it when people do this.

* Beer is mostly water with some flavoring and ethanol (5% of the latter, as mentioned). Ethanol is less dense than water so I can't make this equivalency with, say, a shot of whiskey.