Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

Synopsis

An award-winning science writer takes readers on a myth-shattering, comprehensive tour of two of the world's most popular substances. Directly contradicting much conventional wisdom about alcohol and caffeine, Stephen Braun explains why alcohol can produce a range of emotions, what role caffeine can play in creativity, and much more.

Excerpt

The government of a nation is often decided over
a cup of coffee, or the fate of empires changed
by an extra bottle of Johannisberg.

—Duc de Richelieu

Aristotle, in The Problemata, posed the following questions: Why are the drunken more easily moved to tears? Why is it that to those who are very drunk everything seems to revolve in a circle? Why is it that those who are drunk are incapable of having sexual intercourse? Aristotle considered the brain nothing more than a radiator for cooling blood, so it’s not surpísing that he couldn’t answer these questions. He and others attributed the intoxicating powers of wine and beer to mysterious “spirits” of inebriation.

In a similar vein, seventeenth-century doctors puzzled over . . .

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