Drink Induced Time Dilation Effect

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Jun 14th, 2006
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Quantum Qorner:
The Science of Tomorrow Applied Today

DT = t / ( 15v * square(AI))

Drink Induced Time Dilation Effect
– or, the bits missing from Einstein’s General Relativity

Sorry to start talking quantum mechanics before we’ve even started drinking (although this inversion of cause and effect could in itself be proof that serious drinking is definitely going to happen), but I’ve been pondering the subject of how time becomes increasingly compressed in proportion to the volume of alcohol consumed.

I shan’t bore you with my highly scientific analysis, but here are my conclusions:

1. Start drinking as soon as you can, because you will almost certainly run out of time later (although it has been known for the bar to run out of stock first, but that’s a different problem…)

2. The reason you can’t remember anything about the evening after a certain time is that after a certain volume the evening ceases to exist.

3. Some misguided folk think the time-dilation effect can be counteracted by doubling up on the orders as the evening progresses. Unfortunately this is self-defeating, particularly when at closing time and with a taxi waiting, you have to down 4 x Westvleteren 12 in 45 seconds.

4. The compression of time has a benign effect on the journey home, because it allows you to get home before you need the “gents” (or before you need the wash basin…..depending on the nature of the emergency). This is particularly useful on the long taxi ride back from St. Sixtus to Brussels, or from The Skim to Knightsbridge.

5. The reason sober people think you are slurring your speech when you’re drunk is that they are in a different time dimension. Quite by accident I’ve discovered the antidote to this – drink Westvleteren 12’s. I’ve found they allow you to switch between time dimensions at will. This is particularly useful when phoning random friends on the journey home. Note: this only works if you stick exclusively to the 12’s – diluting with 6’s and 8’s counteracts the effect.

6. In physics, every action has an opposite reaction, and the proof of this is that the compression of time is balanced by the expansion of your mobile phone bill.

Fancying myself to be a mathematician (a common fantasy here in Croydon), I’ve devised the following formula to describe the above phenomena:

DT = t / ( 15v * square(AI))

DT = Drink Time (perceived time)
t = "normal" time elapsed in minutes
v = Volume (in units) consumed
AI = Alcoholic Index

Sample AI values:

Water = 1
Budweiser = 1.0000000000000000001
Cobra = 5
Addlestone's = 7 (note: based on observation rather than experience)
Westvleteren 6 = 6
Westvleteren 8 = 8
Westvleteren 12 = 12
Dry Martini (c/o Tiger Tiger, Croydon) = 1
Dry Martini (c/o Zaika, Kensington) = 25
Coffee = 0.5

You will note that although increased volume results in ever more compression of time, time never stops completely. Note also, that drinking coffee or not having at least one drink every 15 minutes reverses the effect and can cause time to drag. Worse still, drinking nothing at all makes DT seem, literally, like an eternity. This means you will have no choice to repeat the challenge the following day. This is proof that there really is a meaning to life, the universe and everything.


Addendum Dec 2009: drinking multiple units of water or coffee will also reduce percieved time – that’s because you keep wanting to go to the loo – but the effect is much smaller than for proper alcoholic drinks




  • Skippy The Lizard

    I don’t fancy myself a mathematician, or physicist. So I can’t argue Round A.Bout’s theories of the drink induced time dilation effect. I’ve been there, and I’ve experienced it first hand. And I believe him.

    I’ve sat and ate dinner with Round A.Bout in Popperinge after a lengthy session on the Westvelteren 12’s at the “In de Vrede” (better known as the cafe across the street from the Westvleteren Monastery) … then adjourned to the bar for a couple more drinks, only to have Round A.Bout ask me in all seriousness if we were going to have a meal that evening. Yes, he had reached that volume of drink where the time that had been spent eating that evening’s meal had ceased to exist.

    Of course, an over-indulgence in drink can cause an evening’s meal to cease to exist for other reasons as well … as a sacrifice to the porcelain altar, or uncerimoniously expelled into the gutters of Maiden Lane outside the PorterHouse (or into the shrubbery in Dallas). But those are stories for another time.

    And in all fairness to Round A.Bout, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him reach that point of expulsion. He doesn’t believe that the alcohol should leave his system until he is finished using it … and I admire him for that strong drinking ethos. We should all be as principled and disciplined as him.

    While my knowledge of quantum mechanics is limited to the insights that I have gained from our friend, whom I will affectionately refer to as Jack No Brains, I do believe that Round does not appreciate the intent and significance of the Westvleteren Double Up. The objective of the double up is not to counteract the time dilation effect, but to accelerate it. And I’ve got the mobile phone bill to prove it.

    The Westvletern 12 is arguably the best beer in the world, and at about 10.5% to 11% ABV, yes, it’s a wee bit strong.

    Alas, when you visit the cafe across the street from the monastery, the service can be a bit slow, particularly for those who have pre-arranged for a taxi to pick them up at a certain hour.

    So, at some point in the afternoon, the Westvleteren Double Up occurs. That is to say, ordering 2 beers each round. Sometimes it is two 12’s … sometimes it is a 12 and a blond.

    I’ve searched through my archives, and found this picture, which documents the origin of the Westvleteren Double Up in 2001.

    Alas, we have learned much from years past. In 2001, the first double up occurred several hours into the afternoon, when we realized that the taxi would be arriving relatively soon.

    By 2006, the double up would occur in the second round. And in the final round, there was the danerous decision of doubling up the double up, for four Westvleterens each. I look forward to the future (although I think I’ve already been there during that cab ride home thanks to the drink induced time dilation effect).

  • Round A.Bout

    Skippy, you are right: I had forgotten about the lightning fast service at In de Vrede. Doubling up was a necessity on that occasion.

    I recall we all suspected that the ladies in question were themselves enjoying more than an occasional tipple. Their ruddy complexions certainly support that conclusion.

    To be fair to them, they had probably drunk more than us, and according to the laws of Drink Induced Time Dilation Effect they would have been in an even more distorted time frame than us: from their perspective, the whole afternoon probably lasted less than 2 or 3 minutes – they must has been well anoyed at that pesky group of blokes by the window ordering double rounds every couple of seconds!