Friday, August 8, 2008

Staggering research


Staggering research is under way to try to stop drunks falling victim to violence. This is the first line of a piece featuring in the Melbourne Herald Sun and it had me thinking that the ‘staggering’ referred to the enormity of the research or the massive cost of the research or the humungous intellect of the eminent scientists conducting the study. But, no, it is a bit of research looking at staggering. As in the wobbly walk conducted by people when they have been out on a lager frenzy.

This piece of research was conduced by a Welsh team (I can’t help thinking of Daffyd from ‘Little Britain’ in a white vinyl lab coat with the arse cheeks cut out) to produce a mathematical model that they hope will cut down alcohol related harm that drunks tend to bring on themselves.

Maths and being pissed? Hmmm. The best bit of this piece was not the fact that someone thought it necessary to calculate the probability of a pissed idiot walking into either a lamp post, another pissed idiot or his own shadow, but the unexpected facts that they uncovered.

First, temperatures of -6C and torrential rain at 3am were said to contribute to the difficulty of data collection. Fair enough, though not surprising for Wales at that time of year? Funnier still was the quote from the leader of the research operation, Dr Simon Moore who said, “The biggest problem with surveying drunks is that alcohol seems to make some people think they are the funniest people on earth.” And funnier still, ... “and that we, the surveyors, would be very interested in hearing all their really interesting stories.”

Researchers also fond that the drunker people were, the more willing they were to take part in the survey! A lesson there for telemarketers, Jehovah’s Witnesses and those people who stop you to ask market research questions about washing powder at shopping centres when you’ve got fourteen shopping bags, three kids and a deadline hanging off you.

The sober people were, not surprisingly, more interested in getting to the pub!

And the results? Well, strap yourselves in blokes, this is groundbreaking stuff! A blood alcohol reading of .22% was the point at which the ‘staggers’ set in. Good. Around 25% of those surveyed had found their way to this level. It found that sober pedestrians moved in an orderly ‘follow the leader’ pattern where pissed idiots movements were, wait for it, “more unpredictable” !!!!

Further, when 20% of the foot traffic was pissed idiots the flow was slowed by 9%. When EVERYBODY in the crowd was stonkered the traffic slowed by an ‘irritating’ 38%. But I guess if they were all pissed, nobody would notic. At least I’m sure nobody was able to get out a calculator and determine whether they were above or below industry standards.

They could have saved themselves, and us, a lot of time by A) Not stating the obvious, B) Staying indoors and looking out at pissed idiots, C) Making up all the numbers and percentages, we still would have been impressed and D) Suggesting that the best way to prevent injury to pissed idiots was to make all the lampposts, dustbins and footpaths out of the stuff they make Nerf balls from.

Staggering research

Cheers,
Prof. Pilsner

1 comment:

Fi said...

Lager Research is very amusing, it needs a whole category to itself!

There was some very enjoyable research in yesterday's Age linking Global Warming to Increased Lager Consumption and therefore to Threats to the Fabric of Society. I thought you'd especially enjoy the whole "Lager + Global Warming" threat of doom!