Getting Drunk With Your Mu-Opioid Receptors
In keeping with the notion that alcohol allows ordinary people to do extraordinary things, there is evidence to suggest alcohol can also help creative people find their spark...if they're lucky enough to have the Churchill gene.
Writers have long known the glories of drinking at their trade. For millennia they have sneaked early snifters of their preferred libation with the dismissive wave of the hand that it is "noon somewhere." With that airy justification, great works of fiction and non-fiction grace the world's libraries.
Of course, some writers liked alcohol more than others. Fitzgerald and Cheever drank herculean amounts, creating lives that informed their art with autobiographical precision. Hart Crane, it has been determined posthumously, needed to be completely smashed to write. An anecdotal survey of the English canon would conclude that few teetotalers have produced much work of note.
Now a University of Colorado study has elucidated the genetic basis for those whose creativity increases proportionally to their drunkenness. Injected with alcohol, about 15 percent of the study's subjects reported abnormally high rates of happiness. These individuals carried the G-variant gene which is present in about 15 percent of Caucasians.
It's been dubbed the Churchill gene, for Winston was a man who drank hard and worked even harder. In fact, the statesman attributed the completion of his voluminous memoirs to alcohol. G-variant carriers--Churchill was suspected to be one--activate a slightly different version of the mu-opioid protein which gives them their feelings of contentment and large smiles, and drives a high percentage of them to creative pursuits.
Garrett Oliver continues in the Churchillian tradition of working hard with the help of alcohol. Oliver's metier is, fittingly, producing more alcohol. As lead brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery has has helped many a drinker reach their creative potential. His musing when he spoke to Big Think?
Well, Garrett, the secret is out.
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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