TIME drinking

Science Explains Why Men Get Wasted Together

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Marcus Richardson—Getty Images/Flickr Select

A new study may shed light on why men seem to like getting drunk together more than women do

Male bonding over booze is a ritual as old as booze but modern science may have finally shed some light on why getting sloshed with your mates can seem like a particularly male pursuit.

Smiles are contagious in a group of men sitting around drinking alcohol, according to a study announced Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. This suggests that booze serves as a social lubricant for men, making them more sensitive to social behaviors, like smiling, and freeing them to connect with one another in a way that a soda can’t.

Lest that strike you as laughably obvious, consider this: the effect does not hold if there are any women in the group, according to the study authors.

Researchers divided 720 “healthy social drinkers” — half men, half women, all ages 21 to 28 — into three groups. Each group received either an alcoholic drink (vodka cranberry, regrettably for any lab rats with refined taste, but so it goes), a placebo or a non-alcoholic drink. They found that, among men, smiles — and associated increases in positive mood and social bonding — tend to catch on, leaping from face to face, as it were, but only in exclusively male groups.

“Many men report that the majority of their social support and social bonding time occurs within the context of alcohol consumption,” said lead researcher Catharine Fairbairn. “We wanted to explore the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men than to women — the idea that alcohol might actually ‘lubricate’ social interaction to a greater extent among men.”

More importantly — get ready to never hear the end of this one, boyfriends and husbands of the world — researchers note that genuine smiles are perfectly contagious among sober women, just not sober men. A cold one merely evens the score for men, allowing them to catch smiles from each other, so long as there are no women present.

The authors don’t posit a guess as to why the presence of a woman keeps drunk men from catching smiles from one another, except to say that booze seems to disrupt “processes that would normally prevent them from responding to another person’s smile.”

Nice work, dudes. There’s nothing a girl likes more than an unsmiling humorless dolt.

TIME Booze

New Hampshire Law May Deter D.C. Visitors From Buying Booze

Live free or die...sober?

New Hampshire’s alcohol law might at first look just like those around the country, in that one must be 21 to purchase booze. It differs, however, in its handling of how out-of-town visitors can buy booze.

Here’s the hitch: Because the law focuses on other states and countries, it excludes U.S. territories. Which means that anyone from Washington D.C. may run into some problems when dropping in to one of the Granite State’s fine package stores.

The Associated Press reports that the issue arose earlier this month, when a clerk refused to sell alcohol to a 25-year-old resident of the nation’s capital. After the incident was reported by the Concord Monitor, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission “told retailers they should accept Washington, D.C., driver’s licenses when determining a buyer’s age, even though state law does not explicitly include them,” the AP said.

Liquor Commission’s Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern’s statement is as follows:

Tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry, and the state rakes in money from out-of-staters lured by its tax-free booze. It also prides itself on having the nation’s largest state Legislature and its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, which gives lesser-known candidates a fair shot and attracts political visitors from around the country.

Van Ostern said he believes new legislation will likely be needed to permanently fix the problem. As it stands, the commission’s clarification doesn’t take into account residents of U.S. territories, he noted.

“I have no doubt this was an oversight, and I do think a fair reading of legislative intent would be to allow all those IDs, but I don’t think we should be putting it on individual store clerks to be trying to decide what legislators meant 20 years ago when they passed a law,” he said.

As one might guess, the law on New Hampshire’s books regarding tobacco products contains the same wording as the alcohol law.

TIME Television

Drink Like Cersei with Game of Thrones Wines

Common Ventures

Just don’t go boar hunting under the influence

What does Cersei Lannister drink after a hard day of power politics (or every day, all the time)? Why, wine, of course. Dornish wine may be the beverage of choice for the Seven Kingdoms, but The Wines of Westeros allow us non-royalty to take part as well.

The fan-made project, by creative agency Common Ventures, gathers 12 wines named for the major houses plus the Night’s Watch, Dothraki, Wildlings, and White Walkers. The collection is available for pre-order to be delivered next year when season five launches—presumably giving the liquid time to age. Like any great wine, which one you choose is determined by what kind of terroir you’re looking for. House Lannister gets a dark pinot noir and Martell gets a cabernet. The White Walker vintage, unfortunately, is not an ice wine, but a sauvignon blanc.

With their potent personalities, it’s not hard to imagine what flavors the house wines might reveal. Below, some tasting notes.

Dothraki Merlot

Hints of horse’s heart on the tongue. Slightly dusty in the back of the throat. Long, violent finish.

Night’s Watch Shiraz

Tastes like it’s been stewed for days over a smokey fire. Slight suggestions of roasted bird—one might even detect crow. Best savored alone, forever.

Wildling Sauvignon Blanc

Sharp, but with an inner warmth as the liquid moves around the mouth. Best served as cold as the Arctic tundra and poured into a sack made from the skin of a dead animal.

TIME Gadgets

Asus Gets Boozy, Names Padfone After a Whisky

Asus

The Padfone E comes in "Johnnie Walker Black."

Apparently someone at Asus really enjoys half-decent blended Scotch.

The company’s latest phone-tablet hybrid, the Padfone E, lists “Johnnie Walker Black” as a color option, along with the less-exciting “Pearl White.” I’ve reached out to Asus to find out whether this is a sponsorship deal or just the result of a wicked bender by the Asus marketing department.

In any case, it’s unclear whether we’ll see the Padfone E outside of Taiwan. Asus has been putting out phones with tablet docks for years, and except for the Scotch-inspired name, this particular model is unremarkable, with a 4.7-inch smartphone screen, 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 13-megapixel camera, and it slides into a 10-inch tablet dock. Both devices have 1280-by-720 resolution displays.

In the United States, Asus is working with AT&T to launch the Padfone X. We suspect Asus will sober up by the time it has to pick a color.

[via AndroidCentral]

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