Dangerous Safe Spaces

Via Chris Snowdon:

Low-alcohol booze ‘can you make you drink more’ as they are marketed for ‘lunchtime’ or ‘all occasions’ 

They are seen as the sensible option to enjoy a tipple without going overboard.

But low-alcohol wine and beer may actually lead people to drink more, academics have warned.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge say lower strength drinks are being marketed as drinks for ‘lunchtime’ or ‘all occasions’, which may encourage people to choose them instead of soft drinks.

Actually, I think this makes a certain paradoxical sense. For the less alcohol there is in some drink or other, the more of it that you’ll need to drink in order to get drunk. And so if you’re knocking back pints and pints of low-alcohol beer at some party, you may have a false sense of security about your likelihood of getting drunk. On the other hand, if you’re drinking neat whisky, you’ll likely be highly aware that one little tumbler of it can push you over the limit.

Surely the real issue is whether people know what they’re drinking or not? If they know it’s weak or strong in alcohol, they’re much more likely to act accordingly.

The same sort of reasoning applies to smoking cigarettes. I believe that these days cigarettes contain less nicotine than they did 50 or 60 years ago. If nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco (it may be, or may not be) then wouldn’t the effect of reducing the amount of nicotine in tobacco have been to increase how many cigarettes people had to smoke in order to achieve the desired effect?

So also low-calorie food. Since we need some number of calories of energy to be able to stay alive, the immediate effect of eating low-calorie food must be that people need to eat more of it. So they end up eating more food, not less.

There might be similar effects with things like speed limits. If one is in a hurry to get somewhere, but you have to pass through a 30 mph speed limit area, isn’t one likely compensatory effect going to be that you drive faster once you get out of them, so that a decrease in speeds in one area is offset by increases in speeds elsewhere?

And another thing with speed limits on roads near, say, schools might well be that in their safe environment, children will become more likely to run out into roads without looking right and left to see what’s coming, because they no longer need to do so. And if they become accustomed to running out into roads heedlessly at school, aren’t they likely to bring the same propensities to roads where there are no speed limits (and where cars might be driving faster to make up time as they leave the speed-restricted areas)? So it becomes possible to imagine that there is a “kill zone” just outside speed-restricted areas where running children encounter speeding cars. After all, children don’t read traffic signs, so they won’t know when they’re leaving a speed-restricted area, and need to watch out for what’s coming.

Same with the shark nets that are used to keep sharks away from some some crowded beaches. Isn’t there a likelihood that people will stop worrying about sharks, and swim around happily at any distance from the shore, not bothering to keep an eye out for dorsal fins cutting through the surface? And what if they stray just outside these safe spaces? And what if some sharks manage to somehow get into the supposedly shark-free areas, and are unable to get back out because the nets pen them in?  And what if the penned-in sharks start getting hungry, and need to eat something, and maybe something they’ve never eaten before…?

I could spend all day dreaming up endless examples of such unsafe “safe spaces”.

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About Frank Davis

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5 Responses to Dangerous Safe Spaces

  1. Clicky says:

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Looks like they are following the ‘light cigarette’ line from the antismoking playbook. Of course they ignore individual choice and responsibility preferring top-down control.

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    I’m sure I recall seeing on television some test (done some while before anti-sugar hysteria really got going, but it was in its infancy) whereby they gave one group of volunteers a sugary drink, and another group one with an artificial sweetener instead of sugar. They then monitored the “satisfaction” areas of each group’s brains, and the ones drinking the artificially-sweetened drinks, although they said they tasted nice, nevertheless didn’t get any response from the “ooh, that’s better!” area of the brain, and so described a lack of feelings of satisfaction, and the inclination to drink more to try and get it. One volunteer described it as: “Tastes OK, but doesn’t feel like it hits the spot.” The people drinking the sugary drink, however, felt perfectly satisfied and weren’t inclined to drink loads more.

    I’ve certainly found that to be the case with many of these “light” or “low fat” products on the market. Some while ago, someone bought me a packet of supposedly “luxury” biscuits back from the States. I had a couple of them, and they tasted all right, but I got that same sense of “dissatisfaction” as the people in the experiment had had. All the senses had been right – they looked good and they tasted fine – but it was almost impossible to stop eating them because they just didn’t satisfy. As a result, I ate nearly the whole packet in one sitting, which is something I’ve never done before, ever. I checked the packet and, sure enough, they had been made with no sugar whatsoever, only artificial sweeteners. They were probably one of the most unsatisfying things I’ve ever tried! And it occurred to me that whilst I might not have been eating sugar-calories in those biscuits, I was nevertheless eating lots of calories in terms of the flour and fat and whatever else was in them. No wonder the Americans have such a reputation as huge eaters (and the accompanying weight problems) – with all these “healthy” foods, you just can’t help eating the lot in one sitting (and probably then opening another pack) because you never get that “full up” feeling that your body craves, and which tells you that you’ve “had enough.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      it was almost impossible to stop eating them because they just didn’t satisfy. As a result, I ate nearly the whole packet in one sitting,

      I do that regularly with chocolate chip cookies. Fortunately I don’t do it that often. Some things are very ‘more-ish’.

  4. beobrigitte says:

    But low-alcohol wine and beer may actually lead people to drink more, academics have warned.

    Researchers at the University of Cambridge say lower strength drinks are being marketed as drinks for ‘lunchtime’ or ‘all occasions’, which may encourage people to choose them instead of soft drinks.
    The academics fail to state what %-ge alcohol they class as low alcohol beer and wine and therefore it’s one of the many useless, meaningless statements.
    For beer, Sure, it is possible to get drunk if one consumes many 3% alcohol containing beers in rapid succession. It is extremely unlikely to happen to get drunk when drinking many Shandys in rapid succession.
    Wine is another kettle of fish. A few “Schorle” (1/2 wine + 1/2Lemonade or sparkling water) can make you drunk as neat wine is much stronger (about 14% alcohol) than beer (about 5% alcohol).

    The same sort of reasoning applies to smoking cigarettes. I believe that these days cigarettes contain less nicotine than they did 50 or 60 years ago. If nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco (it may be, or may not be) then wouldn’t the effect of reducing the amount of nicotine in tobacco have been to increase how many cigarettes people had to smoke in order to achieve the desired effect?
    I do know people who switched to “lighter” cigarettes and as a result of that, smoked more.

    So also low-calorie food. Since we need some number of calories of energy to be able to stay alive, the immediate effect of eating low-calorie food must be that people need to eat more of it. So they end up eating more food, not less.
    That depends on what type of “low calorie” food. If you’re replacing potatoes with salads, yes, you’re going to be hungry much quicker. If you add quite a lot of e.g. chicken breast to your salad, you’re not going to be hungry much quicker.

    There might be similar effects with things like speed limits. If one is in a hurry to get somewhere, but you have to pass through a 30 mph speed limit area, isn’t one likely compensatory effect going to be that you drive faster once you get out of them, so that a decrease in speeds in one area is offset by increases in speeds elsewhere?
    In my case this sure is true. I am so fed up with the increasing amounts of (useless) 20mph zones that I do put my food down once I’m through them. When in a queue of cars I notice that all drivers put their foot down once past the idiotic 20mph zones.

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