What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

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What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby cyanyoshi » Wed May 28, 2014 6:03 am UTC

Blood Alcohol.

Fiona Byrne wrote:Could you get drunk from drinking a drunk person's blood?

xkcd wrote:You would have to drink a lot of blood.

If reading about blood makes you squeamish, please enjoy a lovely drawing of a squirrel instead:
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby slinches » Wed May 28, 2014 6:21 am UTC

So how much blood would it take to for a vampire to get drunk, assuming they can drink as much as they want without needing to look at squirrel drawings?

Also, do any animals have higher tolerance to alcohol than humans? Maybe we could do better with the blood of a hundred drunk squirrels.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed May 28, 2014 6:22 am UTC

Now I'm wondering if there are vampire squirrels. I'm weird.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby slinches » Wed May 28, 2014 6:32 am UTC

Yes, there are entire banks of them.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby PayasYouDraw » Wed May 28, 2014 6:42 am UTC

Those squirrels are bloody cute. :)

That was a slightly disgusting read, but it did a great job of highlighting some other reasons why vampirism is not very clever - beyond the obvious, like the townspeople trying to put a stake through your heart.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Angua » Wed May 28, 2014 7:03 am UTC

Ithink he's wrong about the iron overload - your bodywould notcontinue to absorb the iron. it's true that people who need constant blood transfusions get it, but that's because you'rebypassing thegut which is the only mechanism we have for controlling ouriron content ( we can't excreteit )
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Thomate » Wed May 28, 2014 7:24 am UTC

The bit about eating blood being "not unheard of" is a serious understatement. Blood sausages of various sorts are common across all of (non-Muslim) Europe, and date back to ancient Greece. They're common in China as well, and throughout Latin America.

I would hazard a guess that the US is the only large population that's not Muslim or Jewish majority, which does not eat any significant amount of blood sausage. (And that said, salut les cadiens avec vos boudins et boulettes cajuns!)

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby keithl » Wed May 28, 2014 7:55 am UTC

5 postings down, and no "bloody mary" jokes yet. You are better people than I am. And so would Mary be, had she not gotten drunk and walked in front of my speeding car.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Wed May 28, 2014 7:58 am UTC

I've done a quick look on iron overdose and apparently, it can occur when someone swallows too many supplements. Because those go through your digestive system, it would be very possible that the body takes in too much iron when you eat or drink things that contain it.

Hasn't this got something to do with not eating too much spinach? I learned that you shouldn't eat that more than ice a week but I forgot the reason. I'm not a medical person though and that has to do with the fact that rather see the squirrels than people vomiting or people with disgusting wounds.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby CharlieP » Wed May 28, 2014 8:01 am UTC

Is a "glass" a standard measure in USAnia, rather than an arbitrary drinking vessel (I know a "cup" is a specific volume)? 1/14 of 5 litres is 357 ml, which is apparently 12.5 fluid ounces.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby ftr » Wed May 28, 2014 8:02 am UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:....you shouldn't eat that more than ice a week...


Shit, no wonder I'm overweight.

More on topic: black pudding is amazing.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby ftr » Wed May 28, 2014 8:03 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:Is a "glass" a standard measure in USAnia, rather than an arbitrary drinking vessel? 1/14 of 5 litres is 357 ml, which is apparently 12.5 fluid ounces.


I think it's kinda arbitrary, as opposed to a "cup" which has a specific volume when talking about measurements. It's probably easier to get people thinking about correct fluid consumption if you say "drink <x> of <some object you see everyday>" instead of "drink <y> litres"

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby CharlieP » Wed May 28, 2014 8:11 am UTC

ftr wrote:
CharlieP wrote:Is a "glass" a standard measure in USAnia, rather than an arbitrary drinking vessel? 1/14 of 5 litres is 357 ml, which is apparently 12.5 fluid ounces.


I think it's kinda arbitrary, as opposed to a "cup" which has a specific volume when talking about measurements. It's probably easier to get people thinking about correct fluid consumption if you say "drink <x> of <some object you see everyday>" instead of "drink <y> litres"


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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Hagdos » Wed May 28, 2014 8:30 am UTC

I feel like the math is off in this one.

If I take 0.4% (0.004) of 5 litres, I get 0.02 L or 20 mL of ethanol. Assuming a standard beer has 5% alcohol, this is the equivalent of 400 ml of beer, so about 2 full glasses, which is way more than the shot glass mentioned.

I have assumed all percentages to be volume percentage, which I know is not true, but the difference between mass percentage and volume percentage can't be this big (it's all fluids).

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby phlip » Wed May 28, 2014 9:04 am UTC

Hagdos wrote:If I take 0.4% (0.004) of 5 litres, I get 0.02 L or 20 mL of ethanol.

It's a weight-per-volume measure, so 20g of ethanol, but yeah, that's still an order of magnitude off the 2g quoted in the piece.

This flows on to the rest of the calculations... the 1/60 should be 1/6 (maybe... I can't find any real sources to estimate this, though this formula with various values plugged in seems to estimate that around 1/10 of the alcohol you consume goes into your bloodstream... obviously varying a lot depending on a lot of factors). That then has some pretty major flow-on effects in the parts about chaining the blood-drinking.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Gadzooks3 » Wed May 28, 2014 9:06 am UTC

Shamelessly copied from Wikipedia:

Blood alcohol content is usually expressed as a percentage of alcohol (generally in the sense of ethanol) in the blood in units of mass of alcohol per volume of blood or mass of alcohol per mass of blood, depending on the country. For instance, in North America a BAC of 0.10 (0.10% or one tenth of one percent) means that there are 0.10 g of alcohol for every dL of blood.


So that's 1g per litre at 0.10, and 4g per litre at 0.40. 4x5 gives 20g of alcohol in a person's blood, which is 10 shots of beer. Probably still not enough to get you drunk though, unless you've only had non-alcoholic blood in the past. Pshaw. What a cop-out you'd be.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby speising » Wed May 28, 2014 9:06 am UTC

Hagdos wrote:I feel like the math is off in this one.

If I take 0.4% (0.004) of 5 litres, I get 0.02 L or 20 mL of ethanol. Assuming a standard beer has 5% alcohol, this is the equivalent of 400 ml of beer, so about 2 full glasses, which is way more than the shot glass mentioned.

I have assumed all percentages to be volume percentage, which I know is not true, but the difference between mass percentage and volume percentage can't be this big (it's all fluids).


you have awfully small beer glasses. a standard beer is imho 0.5l.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Xenomortis » Wed May 28, 2014 9:12 am UTC

568ml in proper society.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby phlip » Wed May 28, 2014 9:22 am UTC

Regardless, 20g of ethanol is 2 standard drinks, whatever container you happen to put it in (or whatever fluid you use as a delivery mechanism).

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Hagdos » Wed May 28, 2014 9:25 am UTC

speising wrote:
you have awfully small beer glasses. a standard beer is imho 0.5l.


Fair enough. Living in main-land europe a standard glass here is about 350 ml I guess :wink:
But I guess you still wouldn't consider 400 ml a shot glass. (If you do I'll buy you the first round of tequila)

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby phlip » Wed May 28, 2014 9:31 am UTC

Hagdos wrote:But I guess you still wouldn't consider 400 ml a shot glass. (If you do I'll buy you the first round of tequila)

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Wed May 28, 2014 10:36 am UTC

ftr wrote:
Plasma_Wolf wrote:....you shouldn't eat that more than ice a week...


Shit, no wonder I'm overweight.

More on topic: black pudding is amazing.

The tablet managed to do some weird autocorrect again... how can a mistype of spinach go to ice :?

On a related subject, I don't think I make that constraint of a maximum of one ice a week. However, like in the picture about wine, we can still play with the unit measurement of "one ice".

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby teelo » Wed May 28, 2014 11:26 am UTC

I don't have a blood-alcohol level, I have an alcohol-blood level.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby cellocgw » Wed May 28, 2014 11:50 am UTC

Seems to me the real problem here is expecting to get inebriated solely on alcohol content. Clearly the solution is to get our selves genetically modified so that we get drunk on trace amounts of hemoglobin which is not our own type (A, B, AB, O). That way we only need a small sip from, say, our hypnotically submissive hot babe fang-banger :mrgreen:
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby cellocgw » Wed May 28, 2014 12:44 pm UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:On a related subject, I don't think I make that constraint of a maximum of one ice a week. However, like in the picture about wine, we can still play with the unit measurement of "one ice".


Or the word itself. "ICE" could mean "internal combustion engine," and you wouldn't want to eat much of that.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Whatev » Wed May 28, 2014 1:17 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Seems to me the real problem here is expecting to get inebriated solely on alcohol content. Clearly the solution is to get our selves genetically modified so that we get drunk on trace amounts of hemoglobin which is not our own type (A, B, AB, O). That way we only need a small sip from, say, our hypnotically submissive hot babe fang-banger :mrgreen:


You might get drunk from power while drawing the blood. Especially if you won it from the victim, say, in a high-stakes gambling match.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Whizbang » Wed May 28, 2014 1:38 pm UTC

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 28, 2014 1:52 pm UTC

So vampires are basically people infected with a symbiotic bacteria that feeds on iron and gives them super-strength, a healing factor, and photosensitivity.

But yeah, the amount of anything you get from someone's blood has got to be pretty low. I'm reminded of one of the scenes near the end of Limitless, where the protagonist laps up some blood from a guy who has just been shot in order to ingest some of the super-brain-power drugs he had just injected. I thought it was a little far-fetched. Then again, that whole movie was SUPER far-fetched.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 2:23 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:Is a "glass" a standard measure in USAnia, rather than an arbitrary drinking vessel (I know a "cup" is a specific volume)? 1/14 of 5 litres is 357 ml, which is apparently 12.5 fluid ounces.


A cup-sized (8-ounce) drinking glass would be a small glass. The glasses I have at home are Libbey-brand, which are available in three pretty standard (for U.S.) sizes: small 7-ounce juice glasses, large 16-ounce glasses, and medium (tumbler or "on-the-rocks" size) 12-ounce glasses. And here in the U.S., 355 mL is 12 ounces, not 12.5 (British ounces are apparently smaller).
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Patrik3 » Wed May 28, 2014 2:42 pm UTC

So, where does the rest of the alcohol go, then? Does it just pass straight through?

And if so, which organ would hold the most alcohol at once at any given time, and if someone were to operate and remove this organ, would they be able to get drunk from ingesting it?

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 2:46 pm UTC

slinches wrote:So how much blood would it take to for a vampire to get drunk, assuming they can drink as much as they want without needing to look at squirrel drawings?


The most basic reason most people can't drink a gallon of anything (water, milk, or blood) in a short amount of time, and why they will throw up if they try, is that the human stomach of most people (including, presumably, vampires) can only hold between approximately 1.5 and 2 quarts (or liters), so a half gallon at most.

But regardless, in order to have a blood alcohol percentage of 0.2% and be legally drunk, you have to be drinking things that are way more than 0.2% alcohol. Way more than 0.4% alcohol, too. If you replace all your blood with 0.2% alcohol blood, you will have 0.2% alcohol blood. But it doesn't work if you drink it - not all the alcohol you drink goes directly into your blood (you have a liver to help prevent that!) and you can't drink fast enough to keep up, even if you are a vampire, because of your stomach limitations. And even if it did, if all the alcohol went into your bloodstream, it would mix with the non-alcoholic blood already there. If all of the alcohol you drank went right into your blood, and you somehow quickly drank your whole blood volume (5 liters) in 0.4% alcohol blood (and your blood was non-alcoholic to start), as you urinated non-alcoholic urine at the same time to keep the total in your body the same, then you might have 0.2% alcohol blood. But that's a lot of if's. (Well, one complicated multipart if, anyway.)
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 28, 2014 2:50 pm UTC

Might vampires have a faster-acting digestive system?

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby Whizbang » Wed May 28, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

Do vampires have livers? In the most of the tales I've read, the vampire's anatomy is reconfigured to optimize blood consumption. I don't remember if any of the stories get into specifics, but I've always imagined that all the needless organs just got cannibalized and the stomach becomes enlarged to allow for more blood. Who needs a liver when you have a supernatural spirit and/or magic bacteria/virus/serum that consumes the blood so fast you must drain at least one victim each night?

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mosc » Wed May 28, 2014 2:52 pm UTC

I always thought you could reduce your BAL with hydration meaning if you diluted alcohol enough you couldn't get drunk simply because it brought with it too much liquid. I thought this number was around 1% so any living person's blood would be too diluted to add alcohol to somebody else.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 2:56 pm UTC

It's not just the liver, alcohol gets absorbed into (I think) every muscle in the body, and therefore isn't in the blood anymore. Vampires have muscles.

Kidneys break down alcohol, and eliminate 5% in the urine. Lungs break down alcohol, and eliminate 5% in exhalation. Liver does the rest of the work.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 28, 2014 3:07 pm UTC

How much of our anatomy would still be necessary if we were going to subsist entirely on a nutrient-dense, already-broken-down food source like blood? If the blood you ingest is oxygenated, the lungs themselves aren't even necessarily necessary...I mean, they would still be there for speaking and emergency aspiration, but they could be considerably smaller. All you really need is bones, nerves, muscle, stomach, and excretory system. And the excretory system can be considerably smaller if there's a bacteria in your body that does most of your metabolic processing for you. Most other organs can be cannibalized.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 3:08 pm UTC

mosc wrote:I always thought you could reduce your BAL with hydration meaning if you diluted alcohol enough you couldn't get drunk simply because it brought with it too much liquid. I thought this number was around 1% so any living person's blood would be too diluted to add alcohol to somebody else.


I couldn't find that number when I looked for it earlier, but yeah, that was my hunch. Most beers are 5% alcohol, light beers 4.2% or so. 0.4% Genuine Blood Draft is obviously way too diluted to get drunk off of.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 3:12 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:How much of our anatomy would still be necessary if we were going to subsist entirely on a nutrient-dense, already-broken-down food source like blood? If the blood you ingest is oxygenated, the lungs themselves aren't even necessarily necessary...I mean, they would still be there for speaking and emergency aspiration, but they could be considerably smaller. All you really need is bones, nerves, muscle, stomach, and excretory system. And the excretory system can be considerably smaller if there's a bacteria in your body that does most of your metabolic processing for you. Most other organs can be cannibalized.


Well, vampires may not need to poo, but they definitely still need to pee. Unless they sweat a lot or something. If they really drain a person, all 5 liters, then they have to void most of that; that's got to be way more liquid than they need to metabolize.
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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 28, 2014 3:31 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:How much of our anatomy would still be necessary if we were going to subsist entirely on a nutrient-dense, already-broken-down food source like blood? If the blood you ingest is oxygenated, the lungs themselves aren't even necessarily necessary...I mean, they would still be there for speaking and emergency aspiration, but they could be considerably smaller. All you really need is bones, nerves, muscle, stomach, and excretory system. And the excretory system can be considerably smaller if there's a bacteria in your body that does most of your metabolic processing for you. Most other organs can be cannibalized.


Well, vampires may not need to poo, but they definitely still need to pee. Unless they sweat a lot or something. If they really drain a person, all 5 liters, then they have to void most of that; that's got to be way more liquid than they need to metabolize.

Yes, they'll need kidneys to some degree, though perhaps that role could be fulfilled in other ways too?

Let's say that the vampirism bacteria can break down red blood cells, blood platelets, white blood cells, water, various proteins, and lactic acid. The by-products of this reaction are oxygen, carbohydrates, calcium-iron molecules, and carbon-iron molecules. The vampire's muscles use the oxygen and carbon, producing lots of CO2 and water, which is both excreted and exhaled; they never fatigue because the bacteria uses lactic acid as an energy source. Their bones become infused with iron, allowing them to shrink in size while gaining strength; their epidermis also becomes saturated with iron-rich carbon molecules that make it extremely dense and hard. Iron is lost through the skin as dead skin cells flake off. Some part of this causes light sensitivity. Because the bones have shrunk, muscle mass increases proportionally, greatly enhancing strength.

The vampires would only need to urinate, exhale, and drink blood.

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Re: What-If 0098: "Blood Alcohol"

Postby BunsenH » Wed May 28, 2014 4:15 pm UTC

If one person has candidiasis and the yeast is generating alcohol in their blood, and another person drinks that person's blood and (through a scratch) becomes infected in turn, the second person could become drunk.


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