CHEERS! How Booze Is Becoming the New Popcorn at Movie Theaters 

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More theater chains are installing bars to pad profits as states relax liquor laws.

Pamela McClintock reports: The drinking song “99 Bottles of Beer” has nothing on Dan Aykroyd‘s Crystal Head Vodka — at least at AMC Theatres. By Aykroyd’s count, the cinema chain has sold 110,000 special Ghostbusters cocktails since last summer using the vodka, movie_drinks-h_2017_0part of a campaign by AMC to boost earnings by hundreds of millions of dollars with increased alcohol sales. “It’s been amazing,” says Aykroyd. “Overall, they’ve bought 7,200 bottles from us.”

[Read the full story here, at Hollywood Reporter]

Forget popcorn and Milk Duds. Booze is the next step in cinemas’ fight against flagging attendance. For decades, local and state laws prevented movie chains from offering alcoholic beverages in regular auditoriums. Only dine-in theaters could offer booze by securing a restaurant liquor license, while some high-end cinemas — including the Landmark and ArcLight in L.A. — offered beer and wine in designated 21-and-over auditoriums. During the past two years, 32 states have relaxed their laws, allowing theaters to serve alcohol in any auditorium.

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“It is the fastest-growing amenity in our industry,” says George Patterson, senior vp food and beverage at AMC. Read the rest of this entry »


McDonald’s Japan’s New Texas Burger

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McDonald’s Japan’s new Texas Burger takes a Big Mac for its base but while it includes the three-part club-style bun it only comes with a single beef patty.

To be fair, the single beef patty in question is a Quarter Pounder patty rather than the standard Big Mac patty. The patty occupies the lower tier along with a slice of cheese and whole-grain mustard, while the top tier contains bacon, spicy barbecue sauce, and crispy-fried onions. The burger also differs from the Big Mac in that the bun is bereft of sesame seeds.

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The price tag on the burger is 490 yen (~$4.71). It’s also available in a combo for 790 yen (~$7.60) Read the rest of this entry »


Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain? 

In recent times it has become appealing to believe that your dead brain might be preserved sufficiently by freezing so that some future civilization could bring your mind back to life. 

Kenneth D. Miller writes: Some hominid along the evolutionary path to humans was probably the first animal with the cognitive ability to understand that it would someday die. To be human is to cope with this knowledge. Many have been consoled by the religious promise of life beyond this world, but some have been seduced by the hope that they can escape death in this world. Such hopes, from Ponce de León’s quest to find a fountain of youth to the present vogue for cryogenic preservation, inevitably prove false.

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“Assuming that no future scientists will reverse death, the hope is that they could analyze your brain’s structure and use this to recreate a functioning mind, whether in engineered living tissue or in a computer with a robotic body.”

In recent times it has become appealing to believe that your dead brain might be preserved sufficiently by freezing so that some future civilization could bring your mind back to life. Assuming that no future scientists will reverse death, the hope is that they could analyze your brain’s structure and use this to recreate a functioning mind, whether in engineered living tissue or in a computer with a robotic body. By functioning, I mean thinking, feeling, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, remembering, acting. Your mind would wake up, much as it wakes up after a night’s sleep, with your own memories, feelings and patterns of thought, and continue on into the world.

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[Read the full story here, at the New York Times]

I am a theoretical neuroscientist. I study models of brain circuits, precisely the sort of models that would be needed to try to reconstruct or emulate a functioning brain from a detailed knowledge of its structure. I don’t in principle see any reason that what I’ve described could not someday, in the very far future, be achieved (though it’s an active field of philosophical debate). But to accomplish this, these future scientists would need to know details of staggering complexity about the brain’s structure, details quite likely far beyond what any method today could preserve in a dead brain.

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“By functioning, I mean thinking, feeling, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, remembering, acting. Your mind would wake up, much as it wakes up after a night’s sleep, with your own memories, feelings and patterns of thought, and continue on into the world.”

How much would we need to know to reconstruct a functioning brain? Let’s begin by defining some terms. Neurons are the cells in the brain that electrically carry information: Their electrical activity somehow amounts to your seeing, hearing, thinking, acting and all the rest. Each neuron sends a highly branched wire, or axon, out to connect or electrically “talk” to other neurons. The specialized connecting points between neurons are called synapses. Memories are commonly thought to be largely stored in the patterns of synaptic connections between neurons, which in turn shape the electrical activities of the neurons.

Much of the current hope of reconstructing a functioning brain rests on connectomics: the ambition to construct a complete wiring diagram, or “connectome,” of all the synaptic connections between neurons in the mammalian brain. Unfortunately connectomics, while an important part of basic research, falls far short of the goal of reconstructing a mind, in two ways. First, we are far from constructing a connectome. The current best achievement was determining the connections in a tiny piece of brain tissue containing 1,700 synapses; the human brain has more than a hundred billion times that number of synapses. While progress is swift, no one has any realistic estimate of how long it will take to arrive at brain-size connectomes. (My wild guess: centuries.)

Second, even if this goal were achieved, it would be only a first step toward the goal of describing the brain sufficiently to capture a mind, which would mean understanding the brain’s detailed electrical activity. Read the rest of this entry »


うん!Suntory Plans Space-Aged Whisky

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The bad news: There are no plans to make the space-aged whisky available for purchase. The samples will be studied in labs once they return to Earth and whisky blenders will taste them to compare them with those aged on the ground.

Jun Hongo reports: Not content with having the best whisky in the world, Suntory Holdings Ltd. plans to take its whisky out of this world and into space.

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The Japanese brewing and distilling company said this week it would send a total of six samples of its whiskies and other alcoholic beverages to the International Space Station, where they will be kept for at least a year to study the effect zero gravity has on aging.

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“The samples will be carried to the space station on Aug. 16 on Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s transfer vehicle Kounotori.”

According to a spokesman at the company, the samples, which will be carried in glass flasks, will include both a 21-year-old single malt and a beverage that has just been distilled. Research has shown that whisky aged in an environment with little temperature change, convection of fluids and shaking tends to be become “mellower,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Behold: World’s First Breathable Cocktail Bar

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“Visiting the bar will generate the same sort of awe and wonder we have all experienced when gazing up at the night’s sky. Imagine Disney meets De Sade in Barbarella’s castle by way of Medieval Times with flagons of ale.”

Lucy Shaw reports: Food and drink alchemists Bompas & Parr have launched the world’s first breathable cocktail bar in London’s Borough Market. Dubbed “Alcoholic Architecture”, the bar on Cathedral Street features a breathable cocktail cloud that guests can wander through and gulp up.

The immersive experience sees spirits and mixers turned into a cloud of alcohol with the help of humidifiers creating an environment of 140% humidity.

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“When atomised, what we normally think of as drink becomes an immersive, habitable environment – a diffuse form of architecture.”

Visitors are asked to don protective suits and breath in the cocktail vapour, with the alcohol entering the bloodstream through the lungs and eyeballs rather than the liver.

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“We’re going for maximal intensity of cocktail experience. With every breath you take, you notice a fresh botanical or flavour in the spirit that can be hard to discern in a regular drink.”

“The installation draws inspiration from Borough Market’s produce, medieval history and weather to create a sci-fi fantasy where meteorology and mixology collide,” said Sam Bompas, who believes the humidity enhances flavour perception.

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“The installation draws inspiration from Borough Market’s produce, history and weather to create a sci-fi fantasy where meteorology and mixology collide.”

“Visiting the bar will generate the same sort of awe and wonder we have all experienced when gazing up at the night’s sky. Imagine Disney meets De Sade in Barbarella’s castle by way of Medieval Times with flagons of ale,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kenyan Politician Nearly Lights Himself on Fire in Attempt to Combat Kenya’s Underground Alcohol Industry

What’s more dangerous: drinking illegal, highly alcoholic beverages possibly laced with methanol, or setting those drinks on fire in front of a crowd?

William Kabogo, governor of Kenya’s Kiambu County, figured that one out the hard way this week when he tried to make a point about just how badly he wants to eliminate Kenya’s underground alcohol industry by lighting a big pile of alcohol-filled bottles on fire….(read more)

ForeignPolicy.com


Capitol Hill Staffer Avoids Jail Time After Pleading Guilty To Sexual Abuse

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A former Capitol Hill staffer who worked for Democrats has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in a plea agreement that apparently won’t require him to spend any time in jail.

Donny Ray Williams, Jr., 37, reportedly pleaded guilty to four charges: third degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor charges of sexual abuse, and one misdemeanor count of threatening to do bodily harm in connection with two incidents that allegedly occurred in the summer of 2010.

Prosecutors claim that Williams allegedly invited a female congressional co-worker back to his apartment, spiked her drink with Ambien, and raped her while she was asleep. A month later, he allegedly got another woman drunk and “had sexual contact with her” without her consent, The Washington Post reported. A third woman made similar claims against Williams, while a fourth alleged that Williams had threatened her.

The case was scheduled to go to a jury trial on January 5, 2015. The court trial was originally scheduled for March, 2013.

As the Inquisitor previously detailed, Williams was originally indicted in August, 2012 on 10 charges related to sexual abuse allegations.

The remaining charges are subject to dismissal as part of the plea deal entered into last week.

At the time of the 2012 indictment, Williams deemed the allegations “absolutely and completely false,” and insisted that he was not guilty. “I’ve never done anything to hurt anybody. I tried to live my life to help people,” he added.

Instead of jail, prosecutors plan to ask for a suspended prison sentence with five years of supervised probation. Williams will also have to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »


Paglia: The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime

The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other anti-social behavior.

Neil Davies

Neil Davies

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts, and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th-century Temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!

Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny. The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties. Today, furthermore, there are many other causes of traffic accidents, such as the careless use of cell phones or prescription drugs like Ambien – implicated in the recent trial and acquittal of Kerry Kennedy for driving while impaired. Read the rest of this entry »