Science can make drinks out o’ thin air

Livin’ the dream.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swabs! By now ye should know about this high holiday, and if ye don’t, ye can figure out how to celebrate. Let us talk about a new way to make booze while cleanin’ up the air.

Scientists agree that climate change is real, and fer we pirates, that means fewer islands to pillage because of rising sea levels, and stronger hurricanes that could sink us. But now we might be able to take carbon emissions out o’ the air and put them to good use: getting us drunk. Ph.D student Ming Ma has devised a way to take carbon emissions captured from smokestacks and turn them into a variety of chemicals, especially ethanol. Ye may know ethanol as a fancy word fer grog.

We can make alcohol from the air. What a glorious time to be a pirate.

Science: Your goldfish might be drunk

It may be summer right now, but when the cold winter nights come back, what’s better than a good drink to warm you up inside? Researchers say that goldfish do the same thing.

According to scientists, goldfish and their wild cousins the crucian carp, have the ability produce their own alcohol, which allows them to survive in winter conditions. The fish can’t get rid of lactic acid in oxygen-free water because they can’t breathe. Instead, they convert the lactic acid into ethanol, and they can go for months like this.

The researchers found that the fish have pretty high blood alcohol content levels–so much so that they wouldn’t be allowed to drive in most countries. So remember, do not let your goldfish drive, no matter how much it begs.

Scientists turn CO2 into booze

There are people who don’t believe in science, much less global warming. Perhaps they can be persuaded by learning that we can fight global warming and get drunk at the same time.

A group of scientists at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (your tax dollars at work!) have accidentally figured out how to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it’s the “carbon” in “carbon emissions.” Ethanol is the sciencey word for alcohol–you know, hootch. Of course, these eggheads see their discovery as a way to create cleaner burning fuel for our cars. But what it can really be used for is drinking. Cars emit all sorts of pollution and greenhouse gases. Drunk people don’t, unless you count beer farts.

Let’s save the planet by turning CO2 into booze. That’s a solution we can all drink to.

The McBournie Minute: Drinking like a fish

I think I picked the wrong line of work. You see, when I was a kid, all I wanted to do was write. It was actually one of the only ways I felt I could really express myself. And let me tell you, I had a rough childhood. Did I mention I grew up in Vermont? You don’t want to know what I’ve seen, man.

I eventually grew up to be a writer, and also an editor. That means I get to take peoples’ dreams, crush them, and then tell them what they need to do better if they want to keep living the dream. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s not scientist-fun. I’ve always felt that if you get in with the right lab, you don’t have to research boring stuff like cures for cancer, you can use public funding to goof off. You can build robots or experiment on animals or something.

You can even get animals drunk and chase them around with a robot. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Drinking like a fish