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Drinking an infinite amount of beer without getting drunk?

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Brock
1371125.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:47 am Reply with quote

What you say is correct, but isn't there a rather more fundamental objection?

geometricsequencepints wrote:
On QI series P Sandi poses the question: 'how do you drink an infinite amount of beer without getting drunk?'. The answer given is that you drink one pint, then a half, then a quarter and so on.


As you say, that sums to two pints, which is not an infinite amount of beer!

I didn't see the programme in question, but it would have made more sense if she'd said "an infinite number of beers" (though still subject to your valid objection).

Of course another valid objection is that it's impossible to drink an infinite number of beers, since it would take an infinitely long time.

 
geometricsequencepints
1371128.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:08 am Reply with quote

Yes this is true- to be fair the original phrasing is ‘how can you enjoy unlimited glasses of beer without getting drunk’

 
Brock
1371134.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:55 am Reply with quote

I would question how anyone could genuinely "enjoy" a glass containing only a few molecules of beer!

Bit of a silly question really - if glasses containing arbitrarily small quantities are allowed, then there's no point in filling even the first one. Just drink an insignificant amount of beer out of each glass.

 
PDR
1371135.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:31 am Reply with quote

If it was typical american "beer" I can assure you I would get more enjoyment from a glass containing a few molecules of the stuff than one containing a quantity that was actually discernible by my tongue...

But this surely is just another example of people being unable to understand the difference between counting quantity and counting numbers. In any infinite series there are an infinite number of elements/iterations but (as you point out) there may well be a finite sum to the value of the elements.

It possibly illustrates the difference between science and philosophy. In Tom Stoppard's play "Jumpers" the main character is a philosopher who struggles with the idea that an infinite number of terms can have a finite sum as illustrated by (a misunderstanding of) Zeno's Arrow Paradox. But in science it's not a problem because the mathematical language can describe both concepts in the same frame of reference. For some reason there are people who can't grasp that an infinite term multiplied by an infinitesimal term actually evaluates as unity. Or in a more common example - that 0.99recurring doesn't "approximate to 1", but it actually *is* 1 (ie it's just an alternative way of writing it), and similarly 0.33recurring is also identically equal to a third.

PDR

 
suze
1371143.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:48 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
I would question how anyone could genuinely "enjoy" a glass containing only a few molecules of beer!


And of course, there is no such thing as a "beer molecule" anyway.

My stepdaughter would be able to quote proper chemistry at you since she works in the brewing industry. I won't ask her to do that right now, but isn't beer essentially ethanol in aqueous solution, with soluble flavourings added?

The drinking of pure ethanol is not recommended, although there are those who do it. I would imagine that it tastes more like cheap vodka than like any other alcoholic beverage.

There must be a smallest quantity of beer which you would actually recognise as being beer. What that amount of beer is, I don't know.

If we did a blind tasting, and I told that you that the three liquids in sealed containers were (shall we say) beer, Coca Cola, and urine, I have little doubt that you'd be able to tell which was which from a full mouthful of each. But if you were given only a teaspoonful of each liquid? A mustard spoonful?

 
PDR
1371146.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:56 am Reply with quote

Is it possible to distinguish american beer from urine?

I think I'd want to see a properly scrutineered double-blind test before I'd accept that assertion at face value...

PDR

 
Numerophile
1371147.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:00 am Reply with quote

Shouldn't this thread be transferred to a more appropriate forum?

 
Alfred E Neuman
1371148.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:01 am Reply with quote

The simplest way to drink infinite beer without getting drunk is surely to do it so slowly that you just keep a small amount of alcohol in your system at any one time. Of course you’d need a reasonably watertight definition of what constitutes being drunk.

 
suze
1371150.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:04 am Reply with quote

If the "beer" used for the experiment were American Budweiser, I think I'd have to concede PDR's point.

Then again, if the "beer" were Newcastle Brown Ale, I'm not confident that I would be able to distinguish it from cold tea.

But I have to protect my investment. If anyone wishes to try the experiment at home, I suggest using the best Danish lager in the whole of Northamptonshire.


Numerophile makes a fair point; this discussion is better placed in The Green Room since it's a point arising from the TV show. By the powers of QuIM, I've moved it there.

 
Numerophile
1371165.  Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:38 pm Reply with quote

Since the OP arose from the P series (I'm not sure how - P for pint, perhaps?), might I further suggest that it doesn't belong with
Quote:
Your queries, niggles, footnotes and favourite moments from the current series.
either?

 
bobwilson
1371281.  Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:39 pm Reply with quote

Numerophile wrote:
Since the OP arose from the P series (I'm not sure how - P for pint, perhaps?), might I further suggest that it doesn't belong with
Quote:
Your queries, niggles, footnotes and favourite moments from the current series.
either?


Pop just ate itself (again)

 
dr.bob
1371309.  Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:23 am Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
The simplest way to drink infinite beer without getting drunk is surely to do it so slowly that you just keep a small amount of alcohol in your system at any one time.


That would only work if you had an infinite lifespan.

Unless there's something you want to share with the group, I'm guessing that's where it falls down ;-)

 
PDR
1371312.  Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:53 am Reply with quote

Numerophile wrote:
Since the OP arose from the P series (I'm not sure how - P for pint, perhaps?),


P for american beer, as I mentioned above...

PDR

 
suze
1371350.  Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:29 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
That would only work if you had an infinite lifespan


There's this old married couple who are interested in exploring the idea, given that they do have that last thing. Infinite amounts of beer need to be submitted to Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1PD.

 
dr.bob
1371408.  Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:55 am Reply with quote

To be fair, I don't think Liz2 has an infinite lifespan. Just one that is carefully calibrated to be a couple of days longer than that of her eldest son.

Either that, or she actually died ages ago and the thought of King Charles III* is so abhorrent that courtiers have been keeping her moving around in a "Weekend at Bernie's" style.



*Yes, I'm aware that's not how he's planning to be styled, which sadly denies the rest of us the opportunity to test whether all odd-numbered Charleses meet the same fate.

 

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