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Beer harms science

19 Feb 2008 2 comments

The report (or hypothesis) goes something like this…

One of the most frequent social activities in the world is drinking alcohol – around two billion are thought to partake – and Dr Tomas Grim, who is a behavioural ecologist at Palacky University, Czech Republic, decided to investigate, reporting the discovery that it harms science in the prestigious ecological journal Oikos.

It continues…

In Europe, most alcohol is consumed as beer, according to the World Health Organisation. “Based on well known negative effects of alcohol consumption on cognitive performance, I predicted negative correlations between beer consumption and several measures of scientific performance,” Dr Grim says.

The results being…

Using a survey of the publications since 1980 of avian ecologists from the Czech Republic, which has the highest per capita beer consumption rate in the world (157 litres each year, or 176 pints), he discovered “that increasing per capita beer consumption is associated with lower numbers of papers, total citations, and citations per paper (a surrogate measure of paper quality).”

(Source: The Telegraph)

In my opinion, this study falls into the “WTF” category, or even the “Total watse of research money” bucket. Whilst I accept that this report has probably been distilled and edited for the benefits of the newspaper’s readers, the hypothesis that nations drinking more beer produce less scientific work, or at least work of questionable quality, does not take into consideration such factors as social changes (Czech Republic got rid of communism at the start of the 90s), it does not question the number of scientists withing the country (how many have left to find better paid jobs elsewhere in Europe), or even the number of research papers being done on avian related subjects (the study of birds is surely not a top priority in this part of the world).

I can only conclude that this study hits those areas the study itself is looking at (i.e. quality) and this should be held up as another example of questionable science. It is almost self-analysing – “why is this study so bad”.

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Categories: Beer, Opinion, Science

More good things from Czech republic

23 Apr 2007 Leave a comment

Czech beer is changing (yes these is a bit of a theme going here today). Not only are the big players brining in new beers, but there are more and more micro-breweries opening up. The Prague monitor is running the following article…

Czech Beer: New Brews

Czech beer culture may have a long and noble history, but it’s hardly hidebound by tradition, especially in the dynamic realm of craft brewing, with ten new microbreweries set to open in 2007 alone. Partly inspired by the nascent homebrewing movement, many of these smaller makers have introduced highly innovative half-liters: Rambousek’s outstanding chestnut-honey lager, Primátor’s excellent English Pale Ale and Žamberk’s to-die-for Imperial Stout. As if to show that they, too, can innovate, two of the country’s biggest breweries have just announced their own new brews.

[Prague Monitor]

All I can say is yum! Just keep the additives out.

Categories: Beer, News

Big brewers – think smaller!

23 Apr 2007 Leave a comment

In a victory for people power over idiot companies pushing their own versions of “globalisation”, the good people of Lewes (England) have had their locally brewed beer put back in the pumps of their local pub…

What began as a walkout by regular drinkers, and then turned into a campaign uniting the residents of a rural Sussex town against the might of one of Britain’s biggest breweries, has finally ended.

Drinkers at the Lewes Arms were furious when the pub’s owners, Greene King Brewery, decided to pull the locally brewed Harveys Best Bitter from the pumps last year in favour of its own beer.

[The Independent]

Categories: Beer, News