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Scientists' Success Or Failure Correlated With Beer 349

Posted by kdawson
from the malt-does-more-than-milton-can dept.
mernil sends in an article from the NYTimes that casts a glance at a study done in the Czech Republic (natch) on what divides the successful scientists from the duffers. "Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference. What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud? After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex, and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer."
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Scientists' Success Or Failure Correlated With Beer

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  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:40AM (#22793252) Homepage
    Scientists' Success Or Failure Correlated With Beer

    Oddly enough, that finding carries over to Hookers, as well.
  • by tommeke100 (755660) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:40AM (#22793254)
    Could it be that they drink more because they are unsuccessfull instead of the inverse?

    because the correlation just means 3 things:

    1) they are unrelated
    2) more drinking => bad scientist
    3) bad scientist => more drinking
    • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:55AM (#22793330)
      Or maybe it's just that the kind of person who likes to have fun and drink with buddies every now and then is less likely to be an obsessive workaholic, and therefore at least slightly less likely to get a lot of brilliant work done. That's probably too simplistic an assumption, but if this negative correllation between beer consumption and scientific output does exist, I'd wager it boils down to some factor or factors that makes a person more likely to work on their projects and less likely to drink.
      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:09AM (#22793370) Journal
        I'll drink to that.
      • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @07:13AM (#22793674) Journal
        It doesn't even have to be that simplistic. When I'm working on projects I tend to drink less even if I have the same opportunities to drink beer. Productivity decreases with alcohol, even on personal projects. If you mix into that the fact that for most people drinking is a social thing, there is even less productivity. Serious science takes concentration and attention to detail. Now, lets try to get a correlation to good music and drugs/beer? Aerosmith anyone?

        I think they picked two things that don't go well together and blamed the lack of one for the existence of the other. I've seen some evidence that shows good artists are all depressed whackjobs. Of course theoretical physicists have had some social issues too. There are correlations to other things, but we don't quite understand what they are. I think the human brain/body has a lot to do with the chemicals floating around inside it, and definitely when you remove the chemicals they stop working but exactly how they all interact is still a bit more mysterious than saying beer has a direct effect on good science.
      • by popmaker (570147) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @07:31AM (#22793738)
        Oh, yes oh, yes oh, yes!

        Also: How many scientists have not been pushed into obsession because lack of companionship? You know Newton never married and never had a girlfriend. He didn't have too many friends either I think. So could not some of his work have been created by a man that had nothing else to do? By someone who is desperately fighting the loneliness that comes creeping up anytime he closes the book?

        I have written some of my best things (granted, I'm still just studying for a BS) on a saturday or a friday night. You simply have so much more uninterrupted time to get very heavily into something you are working on. The downside is, of course, loneliness.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by presarioD (771260)
          amen to that brother! My most productive 2 years of research were in a miserable city of south california where the absence of anything remotely close to culture almost depressed me. My most enjoyable "cultural" experience was taking a good book and going to a locally owned coffee shop to read...

          scientists are a very weird cast and most of them have been stuck to pre-adolescent personality development stages. So they identify their scientific persona with their own self and unable to distinguish between th
      • by superbrose (1030148) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @07:43AM (#22793806) Homepage

        It boils down to this: successful scientific workhorses simply don't have the time to socialize.

        I am sure that this can be extrapolated to other professions as well -- especially anything that demands a lot of concentration.

        On the upside highly successful scientists doesn't regret being singletons, after all they are successful because they are passionate about what they are doing, so no sacrifice here I'd say.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CrazedWalrus (901897)
          I'm a programmer, not a scientist, but I do know I used to be much more creative and productive at work before I was married. As soon as I got married, had kids, got a mortgage, etc, my productivity at work just seems to have plummeted from previous levels.

          It's not that where I am now is abnormally low, it's just that when I was single, bored, and living by myself in an apartment, I had a hell of a lot more time to focus on work. Wives and children have a way of demanding significant amounts attention.

          You m
      • by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @08:38AM (#22794130)

        On the flip side though if you are always obsessing about your projects then you are probably missing some important piece of the puzzle that you would get if you just slept or if you let your mind switch gears. I know I was exhausted and making bone-headed moves at work. Then some friends came to visit for 5 days, we partied it up and at the end of it I went back to work and did some pretty darned amazing work. Stuff I thought I couldn't do just came easy to me.

        Sometimes a little distance is a good thing, and beer helps you get that distance rather quickly. Of course many people cross the fine line between drinking too much, causing you to be unproductive.

        I'd say balance is always a good thing, just like a little exercise helps you clear your mind allowing you to concentrate better than if you'd just sat there for 18 hours straight coding.

    • by adpsimpson (956630) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:27AM (#22793454)

      Repeat after me:

      Coroloshn...

      Corrorro...

      Corrorashnisnotcausashn.

      There. I sssayed it.

      :)

    • Exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:39AM (#22793520) Homepage Journal
      Studies that make these kinds of leaps are generally BS. It could be that the scientists who don't drink AT ALL are the type AA driven types who don't socialize much at all. Or it could be that the ones who like to go drink are lazy. Or it could be some unknown effect of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The point you make is spot on; the researches need to take a better look at possible causation and not jump to conclusions.
    • by Knutsi (959723)
      You may also suspect that in environments where productivity is not to highly valued, such as a place with less reputation to maintain, too much resources, or just sloppy culture, there will be more socializing and less work.

      (We tend to see this here in Norway I think, with a generation of "oil-drugged" young people and a society where everything works out alright no matter what)

      I'm not sure if the article meant that all top scientists abstain from drinking beer though. That would be even more intere
    • by Stooshie (993666)

      You forgot the most important

      4) common cause is the root of both.

    • by zacronos (937891)

      because the correlation just means 3 things:

      1) they are unrelated
      2) more drinking => bad scientist
      3) bad scientist => more drinking

      There is another possibility people often forget:
      4) (some other circumstance "X" => bad scientist) AND (some other circumstance "X" => more drinking)
      For example, there is a strong correlation between eating ice cream on a given day and drowning on that same day; this is true because eating ice cream and swimming are both activities more likely to occur when

  • I guess that people having more fun in their life have better results!
    I hope that this article doesn't result in more alcoholics though..
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:42AM (#22793264)
    The study says that beer consumption is inversely proportional to academic success. The more beer you drink, the less likely you are to produce high-quality, well-regarded papers.

    It's been long known that beer is the drink of the underclasses. Wine, of course, being the preferred drink of the upper classes. And hard liquor a habit of the dregs of society. Is it any wonder, then, that people who consume beer, being from the lower classes, would be unable to create and innovate at the level that wine drinkers do? No, it only stands to reason that, as Murray 1996 shows, that intelligence is intricately tied to success. Therefore, the lower average intelligence of beer drinkers would necessarily be unable to compete with the higher average intelligence of wine drinkers.

    In other words, beer consumption is a symptom, not the cause of the lower quality academic product.
    • by kyknos.org (643709) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:52AM (#22793316) Homepage
      In Czech republic, beer is not a drink of lower classes at all. It is a national drink consumed by almost everyone, people from all classes, from the poor to the country's president. However, wine is popular in the southeast part of the country (Moravia), because it is a traditional wine region. May be, Moravians are mor intelligent than people from the other parts of the country? :) I do not know. But certainly they have more beautiful girls there :) May be more sex means better science :D
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IBBoard (1128019)
        That plus the Czechs actually have very nice beer as well. Give me a proper Buvar Budweiser any day of the week, especially over that American junk that stole its name.
        • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @08:01AM (#22793922) Homepage Journal
          Actually, American versions of Pilsners, while evolving towards lightness, didn't become insipid until after Prohibition. When Prohibition was repealed, Americans were ready to drink anything. Only a few breweries left, which had survived selling malt for malted milk and root beer, provided a thirsty nation with beer that you could drink a lot of, very quickly.

          I've done a bit of home brewing, and the funny thing is that an American style beer is actually an extremely difficult style of beer to make. Replacing much of the malt with rice means that you end up with a very light flavor. The tiniest off flavor is immediately detectable. Get anything wrong with the fermentation, or the water, or the storage and it tastes really bad.

          In contrast, I've made Russian Imperial Stouts that have a starting specific gravity so dense the hydrometer wouldn't go into the wort, it just sat on top. Practically speaking, the wort was syrup. While the recipe is complicated in that it has lots of stuff in it, it's actually quite easy to succeed with. You could probably brew it with swamp water, and the three types of malt plus roasted buckwheat would beat the swamp muck taste into a mere "peaty overtone".

          When I started homebrewing, wife was afraid I was going to turn into an alcoholic, but in fact there are easier ways to get drunk than spending a day mixing sticky ingredients in carefully sterilized equipment then nursing a yeast culture for weeks before you get something minimally drinkable. I got interested in brewing for its chemistry-set aspects; I'd been mucking around with sour dough and yogurt, and moved onto brewing as a logical next step.

          The thing is, I still don't drink very much, and I give away most of what I make. For myself, I'd bottle my beer in six ounce bottles if I could, since I'm more interested in the flavor and feel of the beer than its effects. But I do know a lot more about what is a good beer and what is a bad beer than before. And American "Pilsners" are not bad beers, they're just uninteresting beers (and they certainly aren't the same thing as "real" Czech style pilsners). Since, when I am thirsty, I prefer water to beer, and when I am drinking beer, I prefer complex to simple, I don't bother with beers like Bud. But they have their place; I've heard them called "lawnmower beers".
    • by SimonGhent (57578) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:15AM (#22793398)

      It's been long known that beer is the drink of the underclasses. Wine, of course, being the preferred drink of the upper classes.


      Not completely true.

      Beer is the drink of Northern Europe, wine is the drink of Southern Europe. The UK and Europe as a whole tend to aspire to Southern Europe; the Mediterranean diet and reverence for the classical world. This has created the image of wine = good and rich, beer = bad and poor.
      • by mikael_j (106439)

        Actually, you left out the Vodka Belt [wikipedia.org], us real northern europeans like our drinks strong (of course, in Sweden this almost resulted in the downfall of our society since such a large percentage of our population was made up of alcoholics, we prefer not to tell foreigners about that though).

        /Mikael

    • by popmaker (570147)
      Oh, yes, so WINE is a drink for the smart and therefore scientists drink wine? Those guys probably have more REFINED taste-buds than the rest of us. Pfft. It's a long time I read something as snob as this post. Come on.

      I like microwave pizza. Does that make me stupid?
  • Arrogant Bastard Ale.
    Goes well with academic elitism.
  • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:44AM (#22793278) Homepage
    I've never published any peer reviewed papers, and I drink plenty of beer, so it must be true [burp].
    • by hey! (33014)

      I've never published any peer reviewed papers, and I drink plenty of beer, so it must be true [burp].


      I've bet you've had a few peer reviewed results, it's just that one of the other side effects of drinking "plenty of beer" is memory loss.

      That said, I'm curious as to what quantity exactly qualifies as "plenty" beer? Now there is a topic for ongoing research.
  • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:45AM (#22793282)
    One day I read that to 100% restore high-level brain functions, one needs 2 weeks of sobriety. The one who has couple of beers/wine etc each week or two is simply working on suboptimal level if brain is the main tool. It's ok for other workers and maybe CEOs, but not for scientists, where you need as much advantage as you can.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      why would that be, the alcohol has long let your system.
      • It has long term effects on brain chemistry. That being said, I'd like to see a citation for this effect.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:55AM (#22793600) Journal
        Because if you keep perturbing a self-tuning biological system in one direction, it will start compensating in the other direction. That's how physiological addiction happens.

        E.g., smoking a cigarette makes you feel better, among other things, because it blocks MAO-B. So basically your normal "reward" pathways in the brain get unbalanced by blocking the part which pulls your mood back down to the baseline. But _very_ soon the brain chemistry starts to compensate by producing more MAO-B. Oops. Now you feel shitty without a cigarette, and eventually you need them even to get you back to the baseline.

        Alcohol works much the same, and is a pretty addictive thing.

        Now drinking a couple of beers a day won't give you Delirium Tremens [wikipedia.org] when you're sober. But that's just a matter of nuances. Your brain chemistry hasn't deviated _that_ far from the baseline, but it has deviated a little anyway, if it regularly has to compensate for alcohol intoxication. So, yes, you won't be as impaired as someone who's gotten to the delirium tremens point, but you'll be a little impaired anyway.
        • by nguy (1207026)
          Except that if your brain actually fully compensates, there would be no negative effects.

          Anyway, it is wrong to just look at the effect of alcohol on your ability to think; the smartest people are not necessarily the ones that successfully reproduce. Modest alcohol consumption seems to have positive effects even today, and until a century ago, alcoholic beverages were pretty much the only ones that were safe to drink.

          Smoking also seems to have a complex mix of risks and benefits, both to the individual and
          • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @07:39AM (#22793780) Journal

            Except that if your brain actually fully compensates, there would be no negative effects.


            It actually works that way, to a point, yes. If you drink lots and regularly, you build up "alcohol tolerance". I.e., small quantities of alcohol which would make someone else tipsy, just get you back to the baseline. It compensated all right.

            The problem is that that compensated state remains so even when you're sober. That's how eventually DT happens. The brain chemistry is "compensated" to work right with a lot of alcohol in the system. Without that alcohol, however, you're fucked up and can even die.

            It's, if you will, like compensating for pushing a wardrobe to the right. Hard. So you compensate by slanting it to the left. When that force is applied, congrats, the components cancel out and the wardrobe stays like that. But when that force isn't applied any more, now it falls over to the the left.

            That's in a nutshell how you die of DT. It's not the alcohol that kills you, it's the lack of alcohol. At that point your brain has changed so much to keep working when marinated in alcohol, that eventually it became unable to function without it.

            That incidentally, also has the following implication for the post-alcohol-impairment I was talking about. It's easy to think "bah, I'm resistant to alcohol. Why, I only even start feeling a little warm after the fourth pint." Congrats, if you're at that point, your brain's equilibrium is now already waay off center. You _will_ have decreased brain power even when alcohol has left your system. In fact, _because_ all alcohol has left your system.

            Anyway, it is wrong to just look at the effect of alcohol on your ability to think; the smartest people are not necessarily the ones that successfully reproduce. Modest alcohol consumption seems to have positive effects even today, and until a century ago, alcoholic beverages were pretty much the only ones that were safe to drink.


            I couldn't care less, actually. Equally, a couple of century ago, mercury was the only known treatment for syphilis. It doesn't mean we should keep doing that. Nowadays we have better ways to deal with that.

            Similarly, nowadays we know how to filter and disinfect water. So whatever need for alcohol might have existed, doesn't exist any more.

            Smoking also seems to have a complex mix of risks and benefits, both to the individual and society. I'm glad smoking is banned in public places, but I think anybody who wants to smoke should be allowed to do so and have to live with the consequences.


            I'm not proposing to ban either alcohol or tobacco. If you want to nuke your brain, be my guest. I wouldn't even stop you from hanging yourself or playing russian roulette. If you want to, by all means, go ahead.

            I'm _only_ saying "don't be surprised if it affects your IQ", really. But if you can live with that, go ahead and drink yourself silly, for all I care :)
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by nguy (1207026)
              Similarly, nowadays we know how to filter and disinfect water. So whatever need for alcohol might have existed, doesn't exist any more.

              That's incorrect; in fact, moderate alcohol consumption appears to have health benefits. And its health risks don't appear to result from effects on the brain, but on the liver.

              It actually works that way, to a point, yes.

              No, it doesn't. The way the body changes in response to repeated exposure to alcohol is nowhere near as simplistic as you dreamed it up.

              The problem is tha
    • This is gratifying news. It has been about 2 weeks since I last had a drink.

      That I am now at my mental peak is certainly cause for celebration! Cheers everyone!

      ...

      Oh... bum. Oh well, I mite as wel go browse around digg.com now.

  • Paper beers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hweimer (709734) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:58AM (#22793338) Homepage
    In many research groups it is common to go out and have a few beers once a paper has been accepted. So this should lead to a positive correlation between beer consumption and research output. However, it is likely that among Czechs these paper beers do not have a large effect on their overall consumption (they drink even more beer than Germans).
  • Pfft. (Score:4, Funny)

    by WK2 (1072560) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:59AM (#22793342) Homepage
    In order to find out if beer is good or bad for scientists, I have to read the article?
  • Groan (Score:3, Funny)

    by glwtta (532858) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:00AM (#22793344) Homepage
    "It's rather devastating to be told we should drink less beer in order to increase our scientific performance," Dr. Symonds said.

    Ok, this is perhaps the most widely disseminated scientific concept among the laity, so to see an "evolutionary biologist" cock it up so readily is pretty disheartening.

    All together now: correlation does not imply causation!
  • WWFD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:03AM (#22793356) Homepage Journal
    What Would Feynman Do?
    • Mod up to 11, please - I thought exactly the same when reading the article.

      Feynman was exceedingly fond of beer and generally having a good time - maybe it's because the study was based on ornithologists rather than physicists that this negative correlation was found :P

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by popmaker (570147)
        Hehe, ornithologists drinking beer are more likely to fall down from trees, and therefore less likely to produce scientific papers.
    • by kyz (225372)
      That's exactly what I thought as well.

      Are hitting on women in bars, playing the bongos and searching for Tuva all indicators for scientific success?

      What about having motor neurone disease or ditching your wife and marrying your nurse?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Fun Guy (21791)
      Feynman gave up drinking [wordpress.com] in the middle of his career. He toasted his own Nobel prize with ginger ale.

      Feynman was fascinated by the phenomenon of sensory deprivation and even tried marijuana, ketamine and LSD to experience altered consciousness. He gave up drinking alcohol after he showed early signs of alcoholism, saying that he didn't want to do anything that would harm his brain. Feynman had a very liberal view on sexuality, visiting topless bars regularly and even giving a chapter on how to pick up girls

  • ignobel. (Score:3, Funny)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:07AM (#22793364)
    ahh. good to see that next years Ig-Nobels are already hotting up.
  • Yay for statistics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thorsen (9515) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:10AM (#22793372) Homepage
    Women in Denmark have larger breasts than women in Canada. There are more moose in Canada than in Denmark. So more moose means smaller breasts.

    Statistics are like miniskirts; they show a lot but hide the most important facts.
    • Now waitttthere jussh a minit...

      YOu tellin me I can find da mooos with biggish breshsh in Demark or Cansas?

      AN what does minishirtsh haves to do with it?
    • by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:49AM (#22793578)
      Your (admittedly intentionally stupid) example has THREE factors, not only two. Leaving the location out of the conclusion is stupid. If you can find a stupid correlation that doesn't involve two groups separated by location you might have a better point.

      The article's inverse correlation between beer and success is inside a single country, and seems to be among scientists of only one science. Extending the conclusion to apply to the world and all kinds of science is admittedly a stretch, but not as bad as your example.
      • Ok, people that have a Parakeet are more likely to get lung cancer than people that own a large dog. So the size of the pet is correlated with getting lung cancer.

        Of course there is this minor issue with larger pets needing more living space, and people owning large pets more commonly live outside a city.
    • ...In other news, statistics have shown that the center of the road is the safest place to walk. Movie at 11.
    • Women in Denmark have larger breasts[**] than women in Canada.

      Well, according to the BBC, Denmark is also the happiest place on earth [bbc.co.uk].**

      But couldn't that also mean that fewer mooses (meese?*) make people happier? I mean, having a pesky moose tear up your yard sounds like a real bummer.

      *Obviously I'm not Canadian.

      **Does anyone know the immigration requirements?

    • by bytesex (112972)
      Whoa man - miniskirts, large breasts ! Could you rephrase your post please, because your examples and metaphors are getting in the way. Now I'm not getting any meaning out of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TeknoHog (164938)
      It's not that simple. You can't just compare the Danish møøse with the Canadian moose.
  • Really? Perhaps that is why I wasn't able to do error calculations at 2 in the morning whilst off my head on 8 pints of wifebeater. I've also heard it can affect your driving skills.

    I'm so glad people are getting paid to do this research.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:32AM (#22793484)
    He had a house with a faucet that gave fresh beer - just next door to the Carlsberg brewery.
  • How much beer did these researchers drink?

    Knowing that would let us judge (by their own criterion) whether this paper is useful, or garbage.

    But,just to be on the safe side I think I'll switch to whisky

  • by PineGreen (446635) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:43AM (#22793542) Homepage
    As a professional scientist who travelled a lot between universities in Europe, USA and Japan, I can say the following:

    a) Correlation does not imply causation. Some regions are generally poorer, meaning their universities get less money, they attract less good scientists, etc. And these regions also have higher alcohol consumption. And so observation that alcohol consumption anti-correlates with scientific achievements doesn't necessarily imply that drinking makes you bad scientist.

    b) I just moved from UK to USA and the amount of alcohol people drink in UK is completely unheard of in USA. Basically, we used to have three British pints 4 times a week. Properly drunk. In USA I can convince my colleagues to have one beer (over two hours!!) once a week. And yet, UK is THE most scientifically successful country per dollar spent.

    c) My feeling is actually the opposite: alcohol acts as a social lubricant and many personal frictions can get dissolved that way. After two pints, the guy who you hate so much for having more papers than you, suddenly seems an ok chap. People are more likely to speak about their work, share opinions on papers, don't be secretive about future projects, etc. This effect must have bigger positive impact than negative effects of drinking.
    • by mako1138 (837520)
      When I first went to Brookhaven National Lab (New York) I was surprised to find a sort of Bar/Grill on site. You can usually find people chatting there over a few beers. Here in California, we don't have alcohol on site, probably because Berkeley and Livermore are close to urban areas, and Brookhaven is relatively isolated.
      • by EricWright (16803)
        Really? When did they add that? I spent some time on X11A back in 1993 and 1994 as an undergrad research assistant ... meaning I stayed up all night refilling the liquid nitrogen container during repeated EXAFS scans. We had to drive down the road to Upton to find so much as a diner or Chinese take out joint.

        Of course, I wasn't 21 until my last trip, so bars weren't high on the To Do list.
    • I just moved from UK to USA and the amount of alcohol people drink in UK is completely unheard of in USA. Basically, we used to have three British pints 4 times a week. Properly drunk.

      On three pints? What were you drinking? Special Brew, or maybe the kind of scrumpy that comes with a biohazard symbol on the label?

      Three pints... you wouldn't drive on it, but 'properly drunk'?

    • by dbcad7 (771464) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @08:01AM (#22793920)
      I think in the US that you will find that drinking is a logistical problem.. If your going to go out drinking, it requires a way to get back.. It's a pain in the butt.. I know I guy who got popped for driving a bicycle while intoxicated.. and he was riding the bike because he thought he was doing the right thing by not driving a car.. Taxis are also not numerous or cheap in many towns.. and if you have to walk, what are the odds a pub will be withing a couple of block of your house ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ceoyoyo (59147)
        The correct question is, what are the odds a pub will be within a couple blocks of your LAB.

        There's a pub across the street from mine. That parking lot is awfully big though.
  • This is a definite conflict of interest. Czech Republic has the highest world consumption per capita of beer at 156 liters per person. Compared to Germany at 119, UK at 99 and the whimpy US drinking our watered down p*ss at 82 liters per person.
  • by zoeblade (600058) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @07:39AM (#22793782) Homepage

    But what about the Ballmer Peak [xkcd.com]?

  • A much more interesting study would be to compare scientific production with time spent reading and commenting /.

    Never mind, I better write that article instead...or maybe just read a couple more stories...
  • Covariates in the data array would only imply beer.

    The publicly acceptable endless social loop (as stated in another /. post) ....
    Failure drink, more failure ... more drink, total loser ... tenured alcoholic
    (maybe department head) due to social skills, not performance.

    Another maybe is genetic link where a portion of well educated are AADD/Dyslexia/...
    handicapped and production/performance focus is lacking/absent, and they genetically
    like beer more than wine.

    IOW: There are the odd abstract/eccentric ephemera
  • by airship (242862) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:09AM (#22794942) Homepage
    That's why I'm a writer, not a scientist.

    Almost all of the great writers were heavy drinkers.

    Woo-Hoo!!
  • Shenanigans! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cashman73 (855518) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:10AM (#22794946) Journal
    I've got to call shenanigans on this so-called study! It's quite obvious that the sample size is so puny that any relationship you could possibly get out of this is virtually insignificant and meaningless! If the only scientists you surveyed were Czech ornithologists -- bird watchers -- so much for the rest of the world!!!! Next time, try surveying a few chemists from other countries -- your results may differ. I happen to know a few biochemists with quite respectable publication lists (and grants, too :-) that could quite easily drink the authors of the study under the table any day of the week,...

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