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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Beer really is good for you (or could be)
September 7, 2010 - 6:15pm

Often, when I'm talking to someone of a certain age -- not so much students as parents of students -- about shifting American society in a more sustainable dimension, I get the definite impression that they think I'm trying to force us all back into a stone-age lifestyle. I'm not, and I wouldn't, and I don't want it for me or my kids, but the case that such a shift is orders of magnitude more drastic than anything that would be necessary takes longer to make than casual conversation can sustain.

So, given a recent paper in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (description here), I'm half tempted just to answer "yeah, and what would be so bad about that?!" Not that it would further the discussion in any useful manner, and not that I'd ever really say it to a parent who was (or was at all likely to be) sending a student and a boatload of dollars to Greenback U.

You see, researchers have found that over 1500 years ago (not the stone age, I know, but hey . . .) beer makers in Nubia were creating brewskies with a high level of tetracycline. And they were doing it knowingly. (All right, they probably didn't know that the stuff was called "tetracycline", but they understood what it did.) And people were using it to cure disease.

Just one more indication that the way things are isn't necessarily the way they ought to be. Or, if you prefer, a possible origin for that sage advice:

Let brew(ed) be your medicine, and medicine be your brew(ed).

(Sorry about that.)


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