Listen: You can’t stop progress and, to be quite frank, you’re kind of a dick to even want to try. Progress is inevitable, it is unceasing, and for the most part, it is welcomed. But some things are just so awesome already, that it seems like nothing could fundamentally improve them. There are no sandwiches genetically engineered to be more delicious, there’s no virtual simulation of kite-flying that trumps the gentle innocence of the real thing, no turbo-charged Robo-sex that beats genuine bonin’, and there is certainly no technology that could possibly improve on getting good old-fashioned, streetlight-fighting, mailman-slapping, maudlin-sobbing drunk. Well, not until now:
Microsoft’s Surface is basically just a giant toy that lets you manipulate information by touch, and that, in and of itself, is not much to write home about. Pretty much everything is “manipulated by touch,” these days: I can flip through pictures on my iPhone, tap to beats shouted out by a large-breasted cartoon penguin on my Nintendo DS, or I could ‘manipulate by touch’ the old school way and just masturbate. Digital Manipulation, when you get right down to it, is just the new hot term for moving shit around with your hands, so forgive me if I don’t lower my gaze in reverence when a middle-aged man in a penis turtleneck shows the world how he can sort through restaurant reviews by furiously shaking a five-hundred dollar device, when a sole finger-twitch has been capable of replicating this astounding feat with the simple turn of a page since the invention of paper.
"Kneel before Zod!"
But the appeal of novel technology is really in how you use it, and while a lot of multi-touch interfaces are little more than semi-glossy updates of a game of Simon, all it takes to cross that line from wank-fest to sheer brilliance is a simple twist. In this case, it’s switching up the functionality: One proposed use of the Surface is as a simple bar table …from the damn future!
The table uses reflections from the glass to read the level of your drink whenever you set it down, and determines the optimum time to order a replacement. See, some studies on drinking behavior suggest that if a person’s cocktail goes empty too long, they’ll be more likely to call it a night and go home or, if you’re anything like me, more likely to throw a chair at a Keno machine while repeatedly screaming “Attica!” until prompt service is rendered.
“Two Gin and Tonics and some fucking Mexi-fries! That’s all I want! Nobody has to die today!”
Conversely, if a waitress attempts to take your refill order too soon, you may feel annoyed and be less likely to order a refill or, again in my case, may politely request that the offending waitress “step her shit back outta my Kool-aid.” With Surface, you avoid all the indignities of being an indignant drunk. When the optimum refill level is reached, the table pings the bartender and sends a waitress to take the order, or - and if you're anything like me, this is the part that’ll have your liver creaming its fleshy pink jeans - you can use the menu on the display to order another one yourself ... without ever having to interact with another human being! This is literally one step removed from Robot Bartenders, and I do not think I’m alone when I insist that this is exactly the type of ridiculous crap that the future was invented for.
As Cracked pointed out not too long ago, recent results released by the No Shit Department at the University of Wasted Funding have scientifically validated the ‘Beer Goggles’ effect, wherein a drunk person is more likely to find a member of the opposite sex attractive as their blood alcohol levels increase. But hold onto your monocles, gentlemen, because the following announcement may cause them to literally pop from your faces in shock: These studies have also proven that alcohol generally “lowers inhibitions and judgment,” which could cause you to “do or say things” that you “may later regret.” I'll give you a moment to retrieve your shattered eyewear and fan away the vapors of any women overcome by these scandalous revelations.
"Being drunk impairs judgment? Oh, my stars!"
In response to this frankly earth-shattering news, Google have released a ‘Gmail Goggles’ filter that you can set to automatically turn on during certain time periods. The default time is late at night on weekends but if you, like my father, prefer getting plastered in the morning because “that’s when they least expect it,” it can be set to turn on whenever you want. Once activated, the filter opens a new window whenever you try to send an email that asks if you’re really sure, and then runs you through some quick mental arithmetic before allowing it to be sent. No word yet on whether the filter also starts watering down your drinks when you begin violently sobbing while softly whispering the lyrics to John Cougar Mellencamp songs, or says you’ve had enough while repeatedly referring to you as "guy," or calls the cops on you when you start taking clumsy, drunken swings at the monitor while insisting that it “doesn’t know you.”
Like this, but probably more about regrettable anal.
If, by some unfortunate miracle, you make it past the anti-retard measures of Google’s filters and find yourself inquiring via email why your girlfriend “whores it up like she do,” or forwarding unsettlingly violent man-on-man pornography to everybody in your Important Work Contacts Folder, don’t worry - you can soon save yourself some anguish by conveniently forgetting all about it with one simple pill! By drastically increasing the amount of Alpha-CaM Kinase II - a chemical closely associated with long-term memory in the brains of mice - and inducing something called a ‘recall period’ (which, counter-intuitively, is not the term for the one hour I reserve every day solely for re-enacting my favorite scenes from Total Recall, but rather the point at which your brain begins its search for previously stored information) the memory attempting to be recalled can then be permanently erased. For example - and this is purely hypothetical here - say you took a drug that amped up the levels of Alpha-CaM Kinase II in your brain and then sat down to eat a Spicy Baconator while simultaneously emptying the entire contents of a can of Tag’s Sexual Chocolate Body Spray into your crotch, it could then be theoretically possible to erase all knowledge of the unfortunate night you spent feeling up that she-male in the back parking lot of the I-48 Wendy’s.
“You left this in the backseat of my El Camino. You still want me to meet your parents?”
But don’t get too excited: This procedure is still very experimental and hasn’t actually proven viable in humans yet. So for now, it’s only good for helping mice to forget their own drunken indiscretions which, though doubtlessly invaluable to tiny rodent alcoholics, is somewhat less helpful to those of us that still cry uncontrollably at the smell of Chipotle Ranch Sauce.
Scientists at the iXS Research Corporation in Japan have unveiled a new prototype driving aid that comes equipped with GPS equipment to point out landmarks as you travel, motion sensors that advise caution when they detect potentially reckless driving, and a breathalyzer that shuts off the ignition if it detects alcohol in the car. And all of this potentially life-saving technology comes housed in the form a friendly teddy bear, wrapped in ribbons and bolted to the dead-center of your dashboard because it’s Japanese, and let’s be honest here, the entire nation went fuck-all crazy sometime in the mid 1980s and they’re just not ever coming back. The bear even changes mood depending on the interaction – it informs you about points of interest in a soothing tone of voice, switches to a stern warning when it chastises you for dangerous driving, and expresses cautious concern when it asks “you haven’t been drinking, have you?”
The bear is supposed to provide an appealing and non-judgmental way to interact with a drunk driver when it detects impairment, but there are any number of ways to be ‘impaired’ aside from drinking, and they all may require different tacks to keep you from getting behind the wheel. In future versions, expect the bear to detect marijuana smoke and adopt a bewildered tone as it asks you a series of questions designed to effectively incapacitate the common stoner, like “have you ever really looked at your own hands? Do they even feel attached to you?” When it finds Ecstasy in your system, expect the bear to softly pet your forearms for six hours while tunelessly humming to itself, and if hallucinogens are found, be prepared for the perky stuffed animal to inform you - in no uncertain terms - that it is simultaneously both your mother and the devil, and that it has been waiting for you a very, very long time now – oh, such a long time indeed!
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health: Animal Center in Maryland conducted a long-term study primarily concerned with the effects of alcohol on Rhesus Monkeys. Originally started to learn more about the reasons that both human and monkey turn to drinking, the study revealed several interesting correlations to their human counterparts: Like human men, male monkeys also tend to drink more than their female counterparts. All monkeys, regardless of gender, turn to the bottle when stressed or lonely, and they usually reserve heavy drinking for the end of their ‘working day.’
“I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life.”
That first one would be easy enough to find out – give all the monkeys alcohol and see which gender consumes more. But the second finding begs a pretty disturbing question: Whose job was it to make the monkeys lonely and stressed out? Was it somebody’s responsibility to take ordinary, happy monkeys, cage them up, take away their jobs and slip bottles of Scotch to them through a metal drawer? Who was the poor son of a bitch that, while the other scientists were off watching monkeys hilariously rough-house while taking Jell-O shots on the rope swing, had to sit in a dark room on the other side of some one-way glass and spend every day instilling a soul-crushing existential angst in nature’s tiniest, furriest little jesters? Either somebody drew a seriously short straw when they were picking jobs, or No Heart quit harassing the Care Bears and finally got his PhD in Applied Horribleness.
"Yes. Yes, drink for me, my monkeys. Drink your pain away!"
Jesus Christ, Scientists, when your experiment’s ultimate goal is to create suicidal alcoholic monkeys, maybe you have too much funding. Next up for the Animal Health Center: A 5-year program to determine what factors are most effective at lowering the self-esteem of adorable kittens, followed by an in-depth look at the emerging trend of bunny rabbit prostitution.
You can read more from Robert at his own site, I Fight Robots, or you can just walk away, and he'll guarantee you safe passage through the wasteland. Just walk away, and there will be an end to the horror...