Less stupid fucking in Maryland

At least that is the the public health take-away of a recent study analyzing the public health impacts of an increase in the alcohol tax in Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun:

Maryland recorded 7,400 cases of the bacterial infection in 2010, when alcohol, like other goods, was taxed at 6 percent. But two years later, with a 9 percent levy tacked on to booze sales, gonorrhea cases in the state dropped below 5,700, even as infection rates grew nationally.

Researchers at the University of Florida say they can only find one explanation: the alcohol tax.

“We know increasing alcohol taxes decreases alcohol consumption,” said Stephanie Staras, the lead author of the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “We also know that people who are using alcohol are more likely to have risky sexual behavior.”

Besides being a great opportunity to for an excellent post title, this is a good illustration of how insurance design is important but far less important to general health than general socio-enviromental factors.  Maryland was looking to raise revenue and perhaps decrease drunk driving when they increased the tax.  Tertiary impacts on sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates were most likely not part of the political debate.

However, if these results hold up, and logically they make sense as alcohol consumption leads to bad decision making, avoiding seventeen hundred STI cases avoids significant treatment cost and more importantly, it avoids significant pain and risk for individuals.  Avoidance through changing the environmental and economic matrix is far more efficient treatment than post-infection treatment.



Another Sunday Open Thread

My ass is still dragging from the official time change, which is a stupid contrivance that seems designed to drive wedges between people and their pets.

We went to a spring training game yesterday — Tampa Bay Rays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates. It went to 10 innings and ended in a tie. It was a gorgeous day for a game:


There’s a boardwalk thingy near the beer stands where you can perch over the bullpen and watch the pitchers and catchers practice:


However, because I’m an idiot, I neglected to put sunblock on, so I got fried, even though I was wearing a hat. My nose would make Rudolph’s look like a dull, washed-out snout.

The mister and I are bottling the second batch from our nanobrewery today — a honey ale. Our inaugural batch, an IPA, was a huge hit. The third production will be a chocolate milk stout, which we’ll boil up next week.

What are you up to?

Open Thread: Beer & Futbol


How have y’all found ways to enjoy your Saturday?

Open Thread: Pics from the L.A. Meetup

burbank meetup 3

From commentor Ruemara, in whose honor it was called:

Well, the meetup got a wee bit maxi for a mini appellation. We had the great pleasure of Mary G, Ruckus, Higgs Bosun Mate, Something Fabulous (who is aptly named, I say), Mnemosyne, Roger Moore (on break from spying), Cthulu, Mrs. Cthulu (too nice to be married to an eldritch horror), El, Russ, Woodworker (who gets the award for making the most of last minute notice), and Jebediah. If I forgot you, or misspelled your nym, I beg your pardon. The food was fine Am/Irish pub chow, the booze was good, Applejack tastes of neither applejacks nor apples-discuss-and we managed to converse freely despite a music trio making an appearance. But they were quite good too. There was much chatter of general things, genial conviviality and Ruckus and Higgs started talking of plane things in sentences constructed in English, yet managing to make no sense to me. It was fascinating. It was like hanging out with a good group of friends you rarely see, which is not a bad way to spend a Saturday. We honored our blog host with a toast, spent 3 hours yapping but did not find any urge to discuss Edward Snowden at all, if that can be believed. It was with much regret we tore ourselves away and slipped back to our regular lives. Here’s a few pics of our rowdy crew.

Read more

Seattle Meetup – Saturday, July 13

Per commentor Yatsuno / Yutsano:

Saturday July 13th

Pike Place Brewery


Leave a comment, if you want people to look for you Saturday.

Got a question? Send me an email (annelaurie at verizon dot net — click on my name in the right-hand column under Contacts) and I’ll forward it.