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Study Finds That Smart Women Drink Heavily

April 9, 2010

Studies are finding that the smarter a person is, the more likely they are to drink often.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/women_shealth/7549959/Cleverest-women-are-the-heaviest-drinkers.html

Women who went to university consume more alcohol than their less-highly-educated counterparts, a major study has found.

Those with degrees are almost twice as likely to drink daily, and they are also more likely to admit to having a drinking problem.

A similar link between educational attainment and alcohol consumption is seen among men, but the correlation is less strong.

The findings come from a comprehensive study carried out at the London School of Economics in which researchers tracked the lives of thousands of 39-year-old women and men, all born in the UK during the same week in 1970.

The report concludes: “The more educated women are, the more likely they are to drink alcohol on most days and to report having problems due to their drinking patterns.

“The better-educated appear to be the ones who engage the most in problematic patterns of alcohol consumption.”

And why is this?

According to the study, a substantial part of the educational effect is likely to be due to better-educated women having more opportunities and tending to have middle-class lifestyles, exposing them to circumstances that favour alcohol consumption.

“Reasons for the positive association of education and drinking behaviours may include: a more intensive social life that encourages alcohol intake; a greater engagement into traditionally male spheres of life, a greater social acceptability of alcohol use and abuse; more exposure to alcohol use during formative years; and greater postponement of childbearing and its responsibilities among the better educated,” says the report.

Those are kind of strange reasons to drink, to me anyway.  I’m not going to doubt the study, but those sorts of things could never drive me to drinking.  There are things that could drive me to drinking though.  The utter pointlessness of life.

I’ve been studying anthropology all day today.  This book was going into a history of the development of evolutionary thought, and its acceptance within society.  It talked about how the religious priests in the early twentieth century  argued heavily against it because it lead to a philosophy that life was completely meaningless – our bodies just randomly created machines seeking to reproduce their forms, fighting for food, and struggling to survive in a harsh environment.  And to what apparent end?

I think such arguments are perfectly valid.  They certainly hit home with me. When I see the science behind evolution, genetics, the origin of human life, and all of that, I just want to look away, but where am I going to go?

It depressed Darwin, and it definitely depresses me.  When I watch David Attenborough’s films, I see this magical world of beauty and wonder, yet it is so incredibly cruel.

I watched these baby turtles hatching out of their eggs.  They start to make their way for the beach across the sand.  I see them and think, “Awww, what adorable little things.”  Then birds start swooping down on them.  This intense music kicks in and the turtles are scrambling for their lives.  More birds appear.  It’s a feast!  The little turtles and running as fast as their little feet will take them.

Then they get to the waves.  Are they free?  Have they made it? Attenborough starts to narrate, “Those who survive the birds, most will drown to death in these waves, but fortunately a few will survive.”  A FEW will survive?  Yep, but MOST will die.  Then he showed a dead turtle sloshing around in the waves, little feet no longer moving.

I just sat in my chair, crushed.  I shook my head and thought, “This is the world.  I live here.  Why?  Why are things this way?”

I love his films, mainly because he doesn’t hide anything.  He shows nature’s wonder and beauty, but also its cruelty.

The turtles are adorable.  The birds are beautiful and very neat to look at.  The beach is breathtaking and gorgeous, but what kind of MADMAN designed this universe?  I mean, what the hell?

I think it was Carl Jung who thought Gnosticism described the origins of the universe well.  According to them a demon with a divine essence created this universe.  The being is incredibly brilliant, but also very evil.  Sounds about right to me!

If that all isn’t enough, just reflect on the Earth and how it will be vaporized when the sun starts finishing up its cycles in a few billion years.  Check this out (from Wikipedia)

The Sun was formed about 4.57 billion years ago when a hydrogen molecular cloud collapsed.  Solar formation is dated in two ways: the Sun’s current main sequence age, determined using computer models of stellar evolution and nucleocosmochronology, is thought to be about 4.57 billion years.  This is in close accord with the radiometric date of the oldest Solar System material, at 4.567 billion years ago.

The Sun is about halfway through its main-sequence evolution, during which nuclear fusion reactions in its core fuse hydrogen into helium. Each second, more than four million metric tons of matter are converted into energy within the Sun’s core, producing neutrinos and solar radiation. At this rate, the Sun has so far converted around 100 Earth-masses of matter into energy. The Sun will spend a total of approximately 10 billion years as a main sequence star.

The Sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Instead, in about 5 billion years, it will enter a red giant phase, its outer layers expanding as the hydrogen fuel in the core is consumed and the core contracts and heats up. Helium fusion will begin when the core temperature reaches around 100 million kelvins and will produce carbon, entering the asymptotic giant branch phase.

Earth’s fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth’s current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions. Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space. Even during its current life in the main sequence, the Sun is gradually becoming more luminous (about 10% every 1 billion years), and its surface temperature is slowly rising. The Sun used to be fainter in the past, which is possibly the reason life on Earth has only existed for about 1 billion years on land. The increase in solar temperatures is such that already in about a billion years, the surface of the Earth will become too hot for liquid water to exist, ending all terrestrial life.

Happy thoughts!  Wheeeee!  *Spins in circles like a school-girl*

I just recently did a big study in neuroscience.  That depressed me too.  The lecturer got to talking about happiness and our reward system.  She talked about how she’s hooked up electrodes to different animal’s brains in just the right spot, and set it up to fire off a mild electrical pulse every time a lever was pressed.  This would stimulate say a dog’s limbic system, basically making it “stoned”, feeling pure ecstasy.

Any animal you do this with they’ll sit there and push that lever indefinitely until they become so weak they can’t even press it anymore.  They’ll urinate on themselves.  Won’t get up to eat.  Won’t care about sex.  Won’t care about anything but pressing that lever.   If you don’t stop them, they’ll die.

The point?  That’s what happiness is.  Certain inputs from your sensory organs, and thought processes, if it all goes through the cycles properly eventually gives you a little pulse in your limbic system, which is all happiness is.  Like a complex circuit conducting electricity.  If it eventually ends up firing off the limbic system, you’ll feel happy, and that’s all we as humans, or any other animal on this planet, care about.

That’s how the “emotional coloring” of life works.  The things you enjoy are the things which fire off that limbic system at the same time you’re experiencing something.  And we’re hard wired to “like” certain things, and other things we wire ourselves up in such a way to fire off that limbic system at different times.  And if you’re good at playing this little game, you’ll reproduce and hatch out more of your kind, though your kids will be variations of you.

This is also why people are so cruel to one another.  I remember in high school there was a kid who was always being picked on.  The jocks did such terrible things to him.  But human beings are wired in such a way that if they can dominate others around them, their reward system is triggered saying, “You must be biologically superior.  You’re a better model.  Here, I’ll reward you.  Continue doing this.”  That is, until someone else even more superior comes along.  And so the battle goes on.

Such feelings are meant to give you a drive to improve.  Like if you see someone who can do a job really simply, yet it’s really difficult to you, you feel intimidated.  That’s supposed to drive you to be better.  Unfortunately, those same systems end up doing horrible things as well.

Learning how the brain works is something else.  I don’t know what to think of it.  Sometimes I try not to think about it.  Happiness and love used to be magical.  Now it’s just inputs and outputs to me.  Firing off of signals.  It seems so… so… empty.  Its hard for me to get excited about it, but then again who knows, maybe that’s just me running from my own existence.

It feels so special to fall in love with someone.  When she’s mine, and I’m hers.  But to think I could go into my brain, if I was a skilled enough surgeon, rewire some things, and then no longer love her.  That fact disgusts me.  I could also make people love me.

*Shakes head*.  What meaning is there to such things?

There’s some sort of deeper reality underneath everything I think to be real.  Learning neuroscience has lead me to understand how consciousness works on a deeper level.  I have a better “feel” for what it is.  Also, studying quantum mechanics and general relativity also seem to point toward this same underlying reality.

This reality is almost like a pop-up book and I’m learning that there’s multiple pages, whereas nobody has ever been able to turn the page.  We’ve been stuck in this weird world, yet we’re slowly peering deeper and can see something beyond it.  We’re starting to realize that there’s other pages and it puzzles us.  There’s time there, yet it’s not the same sort of time.  Causation in the normal sense of the word isn’t the same.  Events from the future can influence the past, and the past the future.  Time has no arrow or set direction.  It’s all really really weird.

The Gnostic demiurge sits up above in the heavens, hovering the Earth, and then decides to appear before me in in a field somewhere when I’m out for a walk.  It starts to laugh manically at me.  “Bwahahahaha.  So mortal, it seems you’re slowly catching on.”  Then I throw up my middle finger and turn away.

It feels good to figure some of this out, even though it’s all so incredibly complicated.

I myself wonder if some of these smart women come to learn facts like these, and to top it all off find their jobs boring, or stressful, or whatever, and just escape it with alcohol.

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