Due to underwhelming demand, and something not entirely dissimilar to the silence of a distant clamour, I announce the periodic return of the Ask A Scientific Ethicist column.
These columns (example, example, example) are penned by the renowned Scientific Ethicist, PhD, MD, and many more such letters. He draws upon the awesome powers of Science to solve the everyday problems we all have.
Dear Scientific Ethicist,
I had a seven-year relationship with a man who I thought was the love of my life. I had been married twice before — once for 17 years — to an alcoholic, and I was in a 10-year relationship with a man 15 years older than me.
I have one daughter, who is now 40, and he has a daughter with whom he is estranged. She is 43. He has been married three times, the longest for seven years, with one marriage lasting for only a month.
Now, after almost 10 months of no contact, I received a box while I was in Europe traveling on a retirement celebration trip. I opened it now that I am back home, not knowing who it was from, and lo and behold, it was every personal gift that I had given him over the last few years, including a watch and a shirt and some paintings that I had done at his request.
Now I am having trouble getting this out of my mind and am wondering just what he hoped to accomplish by sending this stuff back. What are your thoughts? Should I respond or ignore and move on? Send the stuff back and tell him to throw it away?
Confused on the West Coast
It’s funny you should mention alcohol. Which is, of course, scientifically known as ethanol, which is written C2H5OH, though some write it CH3?CH2?OH. Many scientists label this ethyl alcohol, but I find ethyl hydrate better conveys the subtleties of this amazing molecule.
Its boiling point is 78.23 Centigrade, the most scientific temperature scale. The good news is that it’s rarely that hot in nature, so beakers of ethyl hydrate will rarely spontaneously combust. Though it is, of course, flammable, which some used to write inflammable, but that latter word was found to be confusing.
Here’s the real point. It’s LD-50, or the dose at which there is a 50% chance of death, is 7340 milligram per kilogram, taken orally. However, that figure is deduced from mice, which means there is uncertainty in the dose when applied to humans.
You didn’t mention your ex-husband’s weight, but the CDC scientifically determined the average weight of a man is 88.7 kg, and kilograms are more scientific than pounds. That makes the LD-50 651,058 mg, or about 2 and 3/4 cups. Now since most “hard” drinks are about 40% ethyl hydrate (the rest being water and other chemicals not important to us today), you’d need 6.875 cups of bottled “hard” liquor, or 1.71875 quarts. This is also 1.6265441 liters. Since many bottles are sold as “fifths”, or 750 ml, you’d need 2.168725 bottles to reach the LD50. Of course, since you can’t buy fractional bottles, you should buy three.
All of this naturally leads to our scientific conclusion: you and your ex need to be double vaccinated and boosted. Your daughter, too. It’s Science!
The Scientific Ethicist
Hungry Hungry Harridan
Dear Scientific Ethicist,
Every year my girlfriend and I take each other out for dinner on our birthdays and bring a gift. This year, even though I am currently experiencing financial hardship, I bought her a gift and offered her dinner.
At the restaurant, she ordered the largest portion of what she wanted. She stated it’s what she always orders in that restaurant. I responded that she always takes half of it home, and that I had offered to buy her dinner for that night, not for two days. She got very angry and said I was ruining her birthday.
She then said she’d pay for her own meal. I declined her offer and paid, but now I’m wondering if I was wrong. She did pay for half the appetizer, which I didn’t want or eat, and she left the tip. Should have told her before we went out to dinner that I was on a tighter budget? Can our relationship be saved?
Losing in Las Vegas
Although many doubt it, science shows us the average weight of an adult human female at 35 years old is now about 170 pounds (or, scientifically, 77.4 kg). That same average woman, science insists, needs about 2,265 calories a day to maintain that weight.
The good news is that amount of calories can easily be had from nearly all restaurant menus.
The Science Ethicist
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.