The Worm That Will Help You Win At Blackjack
Jul 18, 2014
Soon you might be able to drink all you like and not be licensed to spill a drop.
Picture the scene, a quiet, tasteful casino, a selection of well mannered, well dressed, well heeled players. The staff are polite, the tables running smoothly and walking confidently through the high class crowd James Bond, resplendent in tailored tuxedo eyes his current foe, the evil mastermind that even now sits awaiting play in a blackjack tournament. The British secret agent joins him and orders a martini, shaken, not stirred.
James Bond, of course, drank almost perpetually, and whilst never in serious danger of capture or death by the forces of evil the same might not be said for the risk of serious liver damage. Swapping a quick one-liner with the dealer who has already re-estimated his blackjack tips for the evening, Bond sits down along side his nemesis and starts to play. Neither looks at each other, they stare at the cards and converse in clipped thinly veiled threats and innuendos.
The overly attractive waitress brings Bond drink after drink as the game continues, his opponent gamely trying to keep up. Eventually, as the game reaches new heights of financial risk based on these two trying to outdo each other, with an appreciative crowd ooh-and-aah-ing around them, Bond gets a natural just as his opponent goes bust and, now suffering mild alcohol poisoning, slumps sideways off his chair.
“Some people just can’t handle their drink.” says Bond deftly picking the security card from the fallen man’s pocket so he can rescue the imprisoned scientist’s daughter, leaving the casino with his winnings a large portion of which went to the dealer in the biggest tip he’s ever had. Bond is walking straight with purpose laden determination, he doesn’t appear to be drunk. This is because he’s not, and he’s not, thanks to a worm.
This worm’s not for turning
Okay so we’re not all James Bond, and indeed if James Bond were in a casino he’d get detained, ejected and barred for having more tricky spy gadgets on him than Claude Shannon on a field trip to Vegas, but soon we might all be able to drink like him without getting so drunk at the tables that we only employ losing blackjack strategies. Yes that’s right, scientists are developing a drug that would make humans immune to the effects of alcohol, just like the one James Bond so obviously took.
Science, however, starts small, so at present the scientists have only managed to create a worm who can’t get drunk. The worm, Caenorhabditis Elegans by name, were “mutated” by biologists to withstand the effects of alcohol consumption. Leaving aside that any scientist who is daily “mutating” things is probably working for James Bond’s enemies, this may well be a breakthrough of some significance.
“Our findings provide exciting evidence that future pharmaceuticals might aim at this portion of the alcohol target to prevent problems in alcohol abuse disorders.” said Jon Pierce-Shimomura, assistant professor in the University of Texas’ College of Natural Sciences and Waggoner Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Research.
“The research could even be used to develop a James Bond drug someday, which would enable a spy to drink his opponent under the table without getting drunk himself.” continued the perhaps overly imaginative scientist. “Such a drug could potentially be used to treat alcoholics, since it would counteract the intoxicating and potentially addicting effects.”
All of which is entirely laudable, but we can’t help thinking that being able to enjoy endless units of one’s favourite alcoholic beverage whilst playing blackjack without losing your casino table manners or being ejected for vomiting on that waitress, is a far better use than the mere security of the free world which frankly James Bond is already taking care of, with or without a magic pill.