Author: Justin Mckibben
We consistently hear about technological breakthroughs that change the way our world works. Like a smartphone society that thrives in a pixelated paradise, we constantly seek out the next innovation to keep our lives convenient. So of course we want to digitize the methods we use to determine when we wake up, what we do throughout the day, and when we’ve had too much to drink.
Drunk driving is unfortunately a very serious and frequent side-effect of drinking, but it is entirely preventable if we are able to stay accountable. One new innovation may be the next step to field sobriety tests, and it’s based off of how much drinking can make you blush.
No Blushing and Driving
Booze makes us blush. It is just a part of the body’s natural response to alcohol consumption. How exactly does alcohol make you blush? Well when you’re drinking the alcohol makes your blood vessels relax and widen. The expansion of the blood vessels then brings them closer to the surface of the skin, which in turn makes the face appear red and hot. The blush can be even worse if you have a deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which helps in the metabolism of alcohol.
Well come to find out these fun facts about human biology can actually be turned against you when your boozing. Scientists have taught a computer algorithm to use infrared cameras in order to recognize drunk people by how much their face gets flushed during a drinking exhibition.
Research and Drunk-velopment
Researchers in Greece originally got 41 study volunteers tipsy, and snapped thermal images of each of these participants’ faces both before and after drinking 4 glasses of wine to determine if they would be able to train a computer to recognize drunk people.
Although 4 drinks will affect different people in different ways, and each reached different levels of intoxication from those 4 drinks, they all reached a blood alcohol content of at least 0.05. Even though that is below the legal driving limit of 0.08, driving with a BAC of 0.05 according to statistics would make you 38% more likely to get in a car crash compared to someone who’s completely sober.
Next the researchers use programing for artificial neural networks to compare the participant’s sober faces in contrast to their drunken faces, and the data was analyzed one pixel at a time. The scientist discovered that the best indicator of a person’s state of intoxication is the temperature of the forehead and nose.
Using those hot spots as a point of reference, the researchers designed and constructed an algorithm that could determine who was sober and who was drunk with an astounding 90% accuracy! This wasn’t just an isolated incident from what it already knew either. Even faces that it hadn’t been originally trained on it could see who was drunk, and even if it didn’t know what the person looked like sober.
After compiling the research data and considering the versatility of this projects usefulness the researchers involved in developing this algorithm suggest the computer program could help police pinpoint individuals who may be suspects in vandalism and other unlawful activity under the influence, or it could be installed in cars and heavy machinery to prevent drunk driving. The latter of those options being what many would consider a great use of resources in my own opinion. Having a program that can read an individual’s facial flush and determine how drunk they are could be utilized in many ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel and endangering themselves and others.
With concepts like facial recognition software this invention seems all the more practical and useful. Hopefully this kind of innovation can help change the tides as far as drunk driving accidents and the many deaths that come from them every year, but drunk driving is often times just a symptom of a much deeper and more desperate disease… addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The art of film making is one that is constantly used to pull us into another world. Often a compellingly different perception of the world we live in, films express to us the various sides of many diverse lives we may not understand. A movie relates to us by showing us emotional connections to people that experience things we don’t, or by giving us a new view of an experience we’ve had. They teach and inspire us, and some can tie it all together with 1 word.
Drug and alcohol addiction isn’t necessarily a glamorous topic, but it is a common element in many infamous movies. These 1 word titles sum up a lot about addiction in a variety of ways, and they speak volumes to the stories they tell.
Director Jonas Âkerlund created what has been commonly labeled as a dark comedy with the title SPUN, although some wonder if it is even a comedy or just plain dark. The story takes place in Eugene, Oregon over a three-day-period set to the back-drop of trailers, motel rooms, and meth labs. The cast features John Leguizamo and Mickey Rourke and follows the lives of methamphetamine users, producers, and dealers. Brittany Murphy
Made in 2002, the story avoids any noticeable moral position to the point that some have called the film “smugly amoral.” So one could relate this to the idea of addicts being unwilling to acknowledge the obvious problems present in their lives.
Photo Via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smashed_(film)
This 2012 film was made as a peak at what happens when marriage and addiction go hand-in-hand. In SMASHED our main character Kate (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an elementary school teacher who has an alcohol-dependent and crack-cocaine-dabbling relationship with her husband Charlie (played by Aaron Paul). It is a story about Kate’s realization that she need to change her life, and through sobering up her marriage begins to deteriorate.
So we see a loving couple get “smashed”, and in doing so smashing their relationship.
PURE was helmed by Scottish director Gillies MacKinnon back in 2002 that became a double prize winner at the Berlin International Film Festival. PURE takes a very ugly look at the struggles of a 10-year old boy in London named Paul (Harry Eden) who tries to hold together the facade of a normal life after his father’s death, while trying to take care of his younger brother in the face of his mother’s heroin addiction. Keira Knightley stars as a pregnant heroin addict Paul befriends.
This heartbreaking film seems to dive into the toll addiction can take on a family, especially for the children of an addict. At one point the character Paul even locks his mother in a room attempting to force her to detox, and she unleashes upon him all manner of insults. Just a glimpse into the world of the suffering a child can experience.
This is definitely one most people have seen or heard of. One of the more recent and well-known movies on the list, FLIGHT has been recognized for being a Hollywood film that surprisingly honest account of addiction. The main character, Whip Whitaker (played by the always amazing Denzel Washington) is a hopeless addict who struggles daily with alcohol and cocaine, and finds himself thrust into the spotlight as a hero pilot who saves a nearly doomed flight through his mad upside-down pilot skills, which actually puts his drug and drinking problems in the spotlight as well, and sure enough drama ensues.
Washington has been celebrated in this role for portraying the character without the same old stigma-encouraging stereotypes. This film looks at how addiction can impact not only an individual’s personal life, but also can create an issue professionally, at a public level or otherwise.
Now to the movie with the MOST feels, and probably my favorite on the list…
CANDY is an amazing movie for many reasons. For one- there are 2 main characters and narrators throughout the film you can’t help but feel for. It stars Health Ledger as Dan (nuff said) the art student, and Abbie Cornish as Candy. The two are lovers who become frantically addicted to each other… and heroin. It honestly surprises me how many people I talked to while writing this who said they had never seen this movie. So if you haven’t, you are missing out on a spectacular story.
This 2006 Australian film is adapted from Luke Davies’ novel, Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. The film’s divided into three parts:
All is good in the world and our two star-crossed lovers are using drugs and living without a care (or so it seems).
Times for Dan and Candy start to get a little rougher as reality sets in and the high doesn’t come as easy as it used to.
The two lovers are torn apart and pitted against each other as one tragedy after another breaks them down deeper into the depressing desperation of their addictions.
CANDY has a special place in my heart because ironically enough, I felt as though I lived it. I actually watched it a lot in active addiction with someone I experienced a lot of the themes of the film with, and I can’t watch it today without it yanking at my heart-strings.
CANDY shows us in various levels of intensity how life and love can be shattered when addiction is an intrinsic part of a romance. It puts on display the highs and lows in a realistic way, and it breaks your heart over and over to show the insanity of it all, and how good and caring people can get lost in it all. I highly recommend this film, and feel like the characters relationship and the 3 stages are excellent as a parallel to the progression of active addiction, including one of the film’s most simple and true lines:
“When you can stop, you don’t want to. When you want to stop, you can’t”
Addiction is a powerful disease, that comes disguised in many forms and infects our lives in so many ways, and countless artists have tried to express the heartbreaking and often lethal impact is drugs and alcohol can have on every aspect of human life. Our families, our relationships, our dreams and desires are not out of addictions reach, but there is help to overcome that barrier to a new expression and experience of life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
We all know that alcohol is abundantly present in our daily lives: from TV ads to weddings to Super Bowl Sunday to a casual evening at home, alcohol is often – and most likely – present. Despite this, once you start leading a sober lifestyle, you might be surprised at just how much of a role alcohol plays in social interactions and, more specifically, the dating scene.
When it comes to first dates, especially, people often turn to the whole “let’s meet at the bar” trend because a.) it doesn’t take much creativity or work in planning and b.) it provides access to that long-time social lubricant: liquor.
So, in hopes to ease some of your first date jitters, we put together this list of 10 ideas for sober first dates. There is, of course, the usual stuff: movies, bowling, and miniature golf. We tried to think outside of the box for some more creative ideas for your special first date.
#1. A painting or cooking class
This gives you both a chance to get your creative juices flowing while taking some of the pressure off by not having to do the one-on-one thing on your first date.
#2. Take a tour of your city or town
Or whatever historic district is nearby.
#3. Attend a concert of a favorite mutual artist
Concerts are pretty much always a good time. If you and your possibly soon-to-be honey are music-lovers, going to a concert together can be a great first date.
#4. Make a picnic
If the weather’s nice, of course. This is a great idea for getting some fresh air while being part of your community – if you choose to have your picnic in a park. Also, this allows for easy conversation and people-watching.
#5. Go to a local museum or art gallery
Get your culture on by going to a nearby museum of history, art, science, whatever. Or, if you’re both more into the local art scene, check out your town’s galleries.
#6. Have a game night at your place or theirs
Also, there are coffee houses and other hang-out type places that allow you to play in public. I think this is an excellent idea as a first date because, playing Monopoly for instance, can give you a great glimpse into what they’re like under pressure – and if they’re crazy-competitive, which can be a turn-off. If you’re a spelling and grammar nazi like me, a game of Scrabble can be a great way to gauge whether or not you can see yourself with someone who thinks the word ‘grateful’ is spelled G-R-E-A-T-F-U-L. Nope.
#7. Do something sporty
Nighttime kayaking, a tennis match, bike-riding, jai alai – whatever it is you two both like. Or maybe it’s a new experience to the both of you.
#8. Consult the newspaper or your local city guide
Check out the weekend arts-and-entertainment section for ideas. It lets you be spontaneous and gives you an opportunity to experience new things you otherwise never would.
#9. Go to the Fair
If it’s in town, check out the local carnival or street fair. Sometimes just being able to sit and people-watch can make for a great time. And then there’s the food, rides, crafts, face-painting, and haunted houses of course.
#10. Attend a food truck event
Good local food, served fresh and with its own culture and flair, food truck events are lots of fun.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, or both addiction and mental illness, Palm Partners is an accredited, well-known and respected alcohol and drug treatment center that also offers a dual diagnosis program of approach. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
By Cheryl Steinberg
By now you’ve probably heard about the two senior Secret Service agents who crashed a government-issued car into a White House barricade last week after allegedly drinking all night. Not surprisingly, they are currently under investigation. This story has a wider reach than just this incident and just these two agents: officials announced Wednesday that a new inquiry is being launched into personal misconduct by Secret Service agents. This has been a long time coming, as the law enforcement agency has been widely criticized for some time now.
Does the Secret Service Have a Drinking Problem?
There was the prostitution scandal in 2012, when as many as a dozen Secret Service agents were caught up in a scandal after being caught with prostitutes. It had also been uncovered that they had been drinking in the days leading to a presidential summit meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
Then, last year, two agents were dismissed and sent home from a presidential trip in Europe after one of the agents was found passed out in a hotel hallway from a night of drinking. The assignment took place in the Netherlands, and involved members of the Secret Service’s elite Counter-Assault Team (CAT) who was not only drunk, he was falling-down drunk. And several of his fellow CAT members were drunk, too. And no one thought to say, at some point during the evening, “Hey guys, maybe we should call it a night.”
And, last fall a man climbed over the White House fence and made it well into the mansion before he was finally tackled by agents, presumably off their game due to drinking the night prior to the incident. As a result of this serious embarrassment, the agency’s director, Julia A. Pierson, resigned under pressure.
The drinking problem among agents is more widespread than any other problems you might imagine would be rampant among an elite, mostly white, male group; sexism and the other -isms that have been associated with the agency since the prostitution scandal in Colombia still don’t out-rank the apparent alcoholism.
In fact, it’s something that every White House journalist already *kind of* knows if they’ve ever experienced traveling with the president. One former White House clerk said that, although reporters regularly witnessed agents drinking heavily before shifts, “we just assumed they could control themselves. After all, they were the ones who were the most responsible of all of us.”
It seems that, for the most part, the Secret Service agents are fine the day after one of these drinking benders and none is the wiser. It’s a stressful job and there’s been plenty of research to show that high-stress jobs tend to coincide with increased alcohol consumption rates.
But when you consider the string of incidents, many of which we don’t even know about – alcohol is the common denominator. It’s not only a problem with the drink; it’s a problem of peer pressure and the drinking culture that pervade the Secret Service. No agent is going to tell another agent that they’re cut off; it’s more likely that the other agent will join in.
If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, there are ways to get help. If you’re not sure if it’s a drinking problem, alcohol dependence, or full-fledged alcoholism, we can help you figure it out. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
Author: Justin McKibben
So often we are told that there are some positive effects on the body created by the consumption of alcoholic beverages, like a glass of wine a day being good for your heart or other random ‘facts’ given to us to make us feel better about indulging in a drink or two. The has also been the ongoing debate of whether these statements glorifying or disapproving the health benefits of drinking are accurate, with separate studies seeming to lead to different conclusions.
Numerous studies have touted the benefits of drinking, making claims that include alcohol:
- Lowering the risk ofcardiovascular disease
- Prevents diabetes
- Keepsdementia at bay
Now a new research project conducted in the United Kingdom has researchers claiming that there is actually no health benefits associated with alcohol consumption! Those involved in this study also insist that the previous surveys and findings on the subject has been flawed, and therefore those false ‘health facts’ of alcohol should be exposed.
Debunking the Drinking
So how could anyone question the healthy side of boozing? Well the scientists at the University College London concluded that those same studies that suggested that a glass of wine is good for the heart we were talking about earlier have actually relied on flawed assessments because they were comparing drinkers with people who had to give up alcohol because they were already sick.
This flawed system of collecting data for information also discredits the claims that moderate drinkers are healthier than chronic drinkers. Probably one of the bigger ‘facts’ the sought to educate the public about was to advocate for women to not drink during the first three months of pregnancy or even while planning to conceive. Simon Newell, of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health stated,
“It is impossible to say what constitutes as a ‘safe’ amount of alcohol a mother can drink as every pregnancy is different. Our advice to mothers is don’t take a chance with your baby’s health and drink no alcohol at all.”
Previously there has been a claim that drinking a controlled ‘safer’ amount of alcohol during early stages of a pregnancy is acceptable and would have no adverse effects, but this new conclusion looks to disprove that assumption. The truth is booze presents the highest risk of death, and alcohol consumption has likely been underestimated all along.
New Study Says
This new research seemed to take a totally different approach to studying the true health effects of alcohol consumption, and Craig Knott as the projects lead researcher worked with his team to analyze data on 18,000 people. Out of those people there were 4,100 who had died over a 10-year period.
They did acknowledge that middle-aged men who drank 15-20 units of alcohol per week and women who drank less than 10 units had a lower risk of dying early, but they noted that the primary cause of this was other unrelated factors.
There are those however who already seek to discredit this studies claims. Several medical experts have condemned the study and its conclusions as statistically sloppy and too small in scope to make such broad claims. Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge David Spiegelhalter has spoken openly against the way that this UK study boasts to disprove all previous research.
“The authors’ conclusions are not backed up by the data. All groups consuming less than 20 units a week experienced lower mortality rates than the lifelong teetotallers. But since there are not many teetotallers, there is large uncertainty about what the true underlying relative risks are. All the observed data are compatible with the kind of 15 to 20% protection that has been previously suggested.”
Of course, while many people in the health community stand behind the previous claims of health benefits for alcohol consumption, this does at least make one wonder whether or not there is a better way to measure what good alcohol really does to the body versus the damage.
Studies have concluded that taking toxicology and health risks into account, alcohol is by far the deadliest drug there is, and yet we find voices trying to speak on its behalf for the benefits. It makes you wonder that if alcohol has been legal for this long, and is worse than heroin or cocaine, what is to stop people from trying to justify the use of other dangerous narcotics with supposed ‘health benefits’.