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21 Dec 19:00

Some Assembly and Translation Required

17 Dec 00:08

Fat 'breathed out' of body via lungs

Fat can be breathed out as well as burned off as you lose weight, biochemists who have studied metabolism at a microscopic level say.
18 Dec 09:22

Swiss interest rate to turn negative

Switzerland's National Bank says it will introduce in a negative interest rate on cash deposits of more than $10m.
18 Dec 11:38

Man finds Elizabeth Gallagher for trip

A Canadian man finds a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend to travel with after booking a three-week holiday before they split up.
19 Dec 00:13

Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

by samzenpus
An anonymous reader writes Github has announced a security vulnerability and has encouraged users to update their Git clients as soon as possible. The blog post reads in part: "A critical Git security vulnerability has been announced today, affecting all versions of the official Git client and all related software that interacts with Git repositories, including GitHub for Windows and GitHub for Mac. Because this is a client-side only vulnerability, and GitHub Enterprise are not directly affected. The vulnerability concerns Git and Git-compatible clients that access Git repositories in a case-insensitive or case-normalizing filesystem. An attacker can craft a malicious Git tree that will cause Git to overwrite its own .git/config file when cloning or checking out a repository, leading to arbitrary command execution in the client machine. Git clients running on OS X (HFS+) or any version of Microsoft Windows (NTFS, FAT) are exploitable through this vulnerability. Linux clients are not affected if they run in a case-sensitive filesystem....Updated versions of GitHub for Windows and GitHub for Mac are available for immediate download, and both contain the security fix on the Desktop application itself and on the bundled version of the Git command-line client."

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19 Dec 03:02

Satellite Captures Glowing Plants From Space

by samzenpus
sciencehabit writes About 1% of the light that strikes plants is re-emitted as a faint, fluorescent glow—a measure of photosynthetic activity. Today, scientists released a map of this glow as measured by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a NASA satellite launched in July with the goal of mapping the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The map reveals that tropical rainforests near the equator are actively sucking up carbon, while the Corn Belt in the eastern United States, near the end of its growing season, is also a sink. Higher resolution fluorescence mapping could one day be used to help assess crop yields and how they respond to drought and heat in a changing climate.

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17 Dec 18:10

In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

by Soulskill writes: Peter Baker reports at the NYT that in a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century. In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to. "We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America's interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state," said the White House in a written statement. "The United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people."

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18 Dec 05:28

Terrestrial Gamma Ray Bursts Very Common

by samzenpus
Rambo Tribble writes It was long thought that gamma ray bursts were the exclusive province of deep space sources. More recently it was found that storms could produce such emissions, but such occurrences were thought rare. Now, data from NASA's Fermi satellite suggest such events happen over a thousand times a day. Per Prof. Joseph Dwyer, from the University of New Hampshire, "These are big, monster bursts of gamma rays, and one would think these must be monster storms producing them. But that's not the case. Even boring-looking, garden-variety, little storms can produce these."

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17 Dec 07:12

Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

by Soulskill
BarbaraHudson sends this excerpt from The Province: While exploring the effects of the protein-degrading enzyme Granzyme B on blood vessels during heart attacks, professor David Granville and other researchers at the University of British Columbia couldn't help noticing that mice engineered to lack the enzyme had beautiful skin at the end of the experiment, while normal mice showed signs of age. The discovery pushed Granville's research in an unexpected new direction. The researchers built a mechanized rodent tanning salon and exposed mice engineered to lack the enzyme and normal mice to UV light three times a week for 20 weeks, enough to cause redness, but not to burn. At the end of the experiment, the engineered mice still had smooth, unblemished skin, while the normal mice were deeply wrinkled. Granzyme B breaks down proteins and interferes with the organization and the integrity of collagen, dismantling the scaffolding — or extra-cellular matrix — that cells bind to. This causes structural weakness, leading to wrinkles. Sunlight appears to increase levels of the enzyme and accelerate its damaging effects.

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17 Dec 13:30

SOMEONE Must Be Lying to Me...

16 Dec 19:50

The Chemistry of Mulled Wine

by Compound Interest
Chemistry of Mulled Wine

Click to Enlarge

There are few things more warming than a mug of mulled wine in the depths of December. Exact recipes may vary, but they all include a common core of ingredients, each of which contributes something to the final flavour. This graphic examines some of the key chemicals that each ingredient adds into the mix, with more detail on each provided below.


The obvious place to start is with the ingredient which makes up the body of the drink. Red wine is essentially one big, pleasant cocktail of chemicals – like all alcoholic drinks, it contains ethanol, but it also contains a range of other organic compounds which influence its taste and colour. A class of chemicals called anthocyanins provide some of the colour, and can also interact with other chemicals in wine called flavonols to influence the wine’s hue. Some bitterness comes from another chemical group, the flavan-3-ols, whilst much larger organic molecules, known as tannins, impart astringency. There’s much more detail on the chemistry of red wine in this previous post on the site.

Oranges & Lemons

Citrus fruits are another key ingredient, and they have a large bearing on the flavour of the mulled wine. Orange peel alone contains a huge number of compounds: terpenes, tannins, saponins, and phenols, to name but a few of the compound classes that can be found therein. One compound, d-limonene, is a significant contributor to the aroma of oranges, and considerable amounts of it can be found in the rind of citrus fruits – it constitutes 98% of the essential oil obtained from orange peel.

Fruit acids also have a hand in the eventual flavour of the wine. These include compounds such as citric acid, which is responsible for the sour taste of lemons, ascorbic acid, more commonly known as vitamin C, and malic acid, which is found in much more significant quantities in apples.


Most mulled wine recipes call for an appreciable amount of sugar, or, to give it its chemical name, sucrose. The particular arrangement of the sucrose molecule, and other molecules that taste sweet, for that matter, is the reason we experience a sweet taste when we eat it. The ‘sweetness triangle’ theory states that, for a molecule to taste sweet, it must have three key areas that are specific distances apart from each other:

  • 1 – a group of atoms which has a hydrogen available for hydrogen bonding.
  • 2 – a group of atoms which has an oxygen atom available to form hydrogen bonds.
  • 3 – a non-polar atom or group of atoms which doesn’t form hydrogen bonds.

To put it more simply, these features are thought to be necessary to make the molecule fit the receptors that detect sweetness on your tongue. In theory, the better a molecule fits the ‘sweetness triangle’, the sweeter it tastes!


Cloves are one of the key spices required for the making of mulled wine, imparting a spicy, aromatic flavour. This is largely down to the presence of the compound eugenol, which makes up a large portion of the essential oil that can be extracted from clove buds. Other compounds present in smaller quantities include 2-heptanone, which has a fruity, spicy odour, and methyl salicylate, more commonly known as oil of wintergreen, which has a sweet and somewhat medicinal smell.

Eugenol also has a mild anaesthetic effect, which is one of the reasons that clove oil is occasionally used as a traditional remedy for toothache. This was explored previously in a past post on the site.


Nutmeg is another spice commonly added to the mulled wine infusion. Sabinene is one of the main constituents of the essential oil, and contributes to the flavour, but a mix of other compounds are also responsible. These include members of a family of compounds called phenol ethers, which include safrole, myristicin, and elemicin. Myristicin actually lends nutmeg hallucinogenic qualities, but only in doses larger than those commonly used in cooking and mulled wine making. Allegedly, the effects of ingesting the nutmeg required are none-too-pleasant, so it isn’t an experience that comes recommended!


Finally, the sweet, aromatic flavour of cinnamon is a key mulled wine constituent. Cinnamaldehyde, which makes up around 90% of the essential oil of cinnamon bark, is the main contributor to this flavour, and to the aroma of cinnamon. It has also previously been added to chewing gums, and research has shown it to have some antimicrobial effects.

By the way – a number of the compounds detailed here have also been featured in the 2014 Chemistry Advent Calendar. If you haven’t already, check it out here!



Compound Interest’s posts are kindly sponsored by P212121, chemical suppliers.

The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. See the site’s content usage guidelines.

References & Further Reading

16 Dec 08:50

Just got to Sydney, Australia and spotted this Mini Urban Koala...

Just got to Sydney, Australia and spotted this Mini Urban Koala on the train. Can’t wait to explore this city! Also, I did a little interview with the friendly people at the Sydney based Backyard Opera that you can read here:
Cheers🍻 (at Hyde Park)

16 Dec 14:00

At Least They Don't Expect Santa to Deliver

15 Dec 02:36


15 Dec 15:15

No One Brings Food When Your Daughter Is an Addict — Good Food Reads

by Faith Durand
Pin it button big

One of the most moving food reads I've encountered recently had little to do with recipes, but much to do with how food is a stand-in for compassion and empathy. Larry Lake writes about how, when his wife had cancer, everyone brought casseroles. When his daughter had mental health crises? Not so much.


14 Dec 05:38

(image via Gclare1)

(image via Gclare1)

10 Dec 18:30

There Must Be a Better Way

12 Dec 19:15

Could Your Beard Use a Little Festive Charm?

10 Dec 19:15

A Paper By Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel Was Accepted By Two Journals

by samzenpus
An anonymous reader writes "A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals. Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled "Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations." Rather, it's a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology."

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10 Dec 23:10

Dad Makes His Kid Play Through All Video Game History In Chronological Order

by samzenpus
An anonymous reader writes Andy Baio, aka @waxpancake, indy video game enthusiast and founder of the XOXO conference and other cool stuff, conducted a weird/cool experiment on his four-year-old. Andy taught him about gaming by making him play and master all of the old video games and gaming systems in the exact order they were actually released. In other words, this 21st century kid learned gaming the same way the generation that grew up in the 1970s and 1980s experienced them, but in compressed time. From the article: "This approach to widely surveying classic games clearly had an impact on him, and influenced the games that he likes now. Like seemingly every kid his age, he loves Minecraft. No surprises there. But he also loves brutally difficult games that challenge gamers 2–3 times his age, and he’s frighteningly good at them. His favorites usually borrow characteristics from roguelikes: procedurally-generated levels, permanent death, no save points."

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10 Dec 16:01

Your Childhood Favorite The Little Prince Gets New Life in CGI

by Leslie Horn

The hopes and dreams of your childhood are getting reignited when The Little Prince comes to theaters next year. Here's the first trailer, which is in French, but still somehow as universal as ever.


08 Dec 18:00

How to make the Internet a nicer place to live

Have you by chance noticed how UGLY online discussions can be?

Look around Twitter, or Facebook, or anywhere people are interacting on the Internet. You will find plenty of ugly stuff:

  • Name-calling
  • Put-downs
  • Assuming bad motives
  • Harrassment
  • Bullying
  • Denigrating accomplishments
  • Stereotyping
  • Insults
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Threats
  • Sarcasm
  • Accusations

Much effort has been expended trying to give online communities ways to minimize the ugliness. We have upvotes and downvotes and filtering and identity and flagging and moderation. (A notable recent example is that Jeff Atwood has created Discourse, a discussion platform primarily designed to help online conversations be more civilized.)

If you are interested in knowing how YOU can help make the Internet a nicer place to live, read on.

The most important thing you can do

Obviously, the first thing is to not be ugly. But how?

Next time you are tempted to post something ugly, instead, post something "expressive".

Here's what I mean by "expressive": Behind the ugly thing you want to post, there is an emotion. Identify it. And express it.

An expressive statement starts with "I". It describes how you feel. In their basic form, expressive statements are short and simple. For example:

  • I am disappointed.
  • I feel afraid.
  • I am angry.

An expressive statement can (and usually does) include information about the situation that triggered the emotion:

  • I am disappointed that F# doesn't have higher kinded types.
  • I feel worried about the trend toward really cheap software.
  • I am angry that Xamarin's pricing is too high for me to afford.

An expressive statement is you saying something about you. It does not make statements about anyone else or their work. And it doesn't contain any ugly stuff. Putting "I feel" in front of something unkind doesn't change it from ugly to expressive. The following examples are not expressive statements:

  • I feel angry because Joe won't stop lying about the project status. (accusation)
  • I am tired of Jane being such a drama queen. (name-calling)
  • I feel disappointed that web apps are built on JavaScript instead of on a real language. (sarcasm)

At the very least, being expressive provides an alternative to being ugly. And sometimes, it accomplishes even more. Being real and forthright is usually a step toward good communication and shared understanding.

Example: The open sourcing of .NET Core

A few weeks ago, Microsoft released a lot of .NET stuff as open source. Online reactions to this announcement have varied greatly. Some (or dare I say, most) have applauded with vigor and joy.

Others have been, well, kinda ugly.

I'm sure the ugly responses have been frustrating for the folks at Microsoft. In the midst of trying to do something positive, they are receiving sarcasm and accusations of deceit.

Why is this? Why on earth would anybody see Microsoft's move as anything but positive? And even if they have a negative reaction, why would they be ugly about it?

Simply put, there are a lot of emotions in play.

Millions of developers are connected to the .NET platform. There is tremendous diversity, including countless use cases and a myriad of business goals. People have tied their personal and business success to .NET in a lot of very different ways. When the stakes are high, the emotions can be strong.

We should acknowledge the validity of the gamut of emotions people have about .NET. There are good reasons and plenty of history behind those feelings. Surely they give us license to focus on specific Microsoft program managers and call them names, right?

Actually, let's not. :-)

Instead, let's try something more expressive, like one of the following:

  • "I want to be optimistic about this move by Microsoft, but I am not sure I can trust them because of all the times I have felt disappointed about their announcements in the past."

  • "I have been worried for years about the future of the desktop parts of .NET. My business still depends on a good API for desktop UI. I wish Microsoft had open sourced Windows Forms too."

  • "I am worried that this move will increase the momentum of .NET at the expense of the platform I prefer."

  • "I feel frustrated because the .NET team did this instead of addressing the bug I logged."

That's the difference between being expressive and being ugly. Say how you feel. Make it about you.

Aren't I going to look dorky if I do this?


Dorky > Ugly

Caveats and exceptions

Broadly speaking, being genuinely expressive is always preferable to being ugly. Or to say it another way, being ugly (as defined by the context of this blog entry) is probably the worst thing you can do online, but in some cases, expressing the underlying emotion isn't going to be all that much better.

There is plenty of wisdom in what they taught you in kindergarten: If you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all.

For example, suppose you go on Twitter or your blog and say "I don't like Zed Shaw". Are you making the Internet a better place by publicly saying that you dislike someone? No. But that expressive statement is a lot less bad than the more popular path of calling Zed names or criticizing his work. He's a smart guy, and he has done some great stuff, but his online interactions are sometimes rather polarizing. You don't have to like him. But when he does something that stirs your emotions, a reaction that says something real about you is a lot better than something ugly.

It is also important to note that not all emotions are appropriate for public expression.

For example, in the tech world, we have a disturbing trend of ugly situations involving online harassment of women. The important thing to understand about these awful episodes that behind every ugly posting there was an emotion. Would those situations have been less bad if each of those ugly postings had been replaced by a public expression of the emotion behind it? Strictly speaking, yes, being real would have been less bad than being ugly. But maybe only a little. For some of those feelings, public expression would still be pretty darn inappropriate.

Sometimes it is better to express your emotions privately. Tell a friend. Process your strong feelings with someone you trust.

And don't underestimate the value of just keeping your mouth shut.

BTW, being expressive also works outside of tech

My primary audience is software developers, so I'm mostly just trying to help people (for example) stop saying "NoSQL sucks" and start saying "I feel threatened by NoSQL because I've spent my career learning SQL."

But just in case it's not obvious, being expressive is a way to avoid being ugly in ALL kinds of conversations about difficult issues.

Race. Gay marriage. Immigration. Israel. Iraq. Syria. Drugs. Religion. Politics. Poverty. The list could go on.

In most cases, online discussion of any of these topics will turn ugly at an alarming speed. And in most cases, being forthright about what we feel is a better choice than saying something unkind.

Want to do more?

If you practice the habit of being expressive instead of being ugly, congratulations, you are making the Internet a better place.

But if you want to do more, you can:

When you see people online being expressive instead of ugly, upvote them.

Being expressive is a courageous choice. There is vulnerability in saying what you feel. Name-calling is safer.

So when you see somebody choosing to be expressive instead of ugly, affirm their choice, even if [you suspect that] they have beliefs that are different from yours.

Want to do even more?

If you can do the previous two things, you are a hero. There really is no need to do anything more.

But maybe you want to be a SUPER hero. You want to be remembered as the Nelson Mandela or the Gandhi or the Mother Teresa of the Internet, someone who made every online community a nicer place just by entering it.

If you aspire to be famous for your good deeds, here is the third thing you can do:

See through the ugly.

When you see people online being ugly instead of expressive, look deeper:

  • Try to see the emotion behind their words, even though they didn't express it.
  • Try to understand their real point of view, not the one that they are articulating.
  • Try to empathize with the perspective they're not showing.

All the suggestions in this article are difficult. This one is by far the hardest. It is basically unreasonable. It asks you to assume the best of someone when they are showing you their worst. Being a superhero isn't easy.

Bottom line

Our online discussions would be so very different if we were all more adept at dealing with our emotions.

In many cases, we could avoid saying something awful by taking a moment to identify the feeling that is driving us, and to express it in a forthright and genuine (and probably dorky) manner.

Try it.


08 Dec 18:00

He's Had One Too Many, Time to Get Him Home

dogs,drunk,passed out,funny,after 12

Submitted by: (via Gabe2003)

Tagged: dogs , drunk , passed out , funny , after 12
07 Dec 18:00

Tons of Albert Einstein Documents Are Now Online for Free

by Darren Orf

Tons of Albert Einstein Documents Are Now Online for Free

On Friday Digital Einstein went live, bringing with it a treasure trove of Einstein letters, correspondences, postcards, and notes detailing the life of one of the world's greatest thinkers. As The New York Times reports, these are The Dead Sea Scrolls of physics and you can read them today for free.


07 Dec 18:30

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens To Begin Pluto Mission

by George Dvorsky on io9, shared by Darren Orf to Gizmodo

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens To Begin Pluto Mission

After nine years and a journey of nearly 3-billion miles (4.8 billion km), NASA's Pluto-bound New Horizons robotic probe has awoken from its hibernation in preparation for a unprecedented flyby of Pluto and other celestial bodies in the Kuiper Belt.


07 Dec 19:50

Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал

by Гисчо
Подобно на канелата и карамфила, кардамонът също спада към подправките, които носят аромата на Коледа. Не че и за Коледа не можем да приготвим някои от любимите си рецепти от списъка с мъфини, като например шоколадови мъфини или пък ябълкови мъфини, но може и да приготвим нещо специално коледно, с аромата и вкуса на празника. Точно такава рецепта е рецептата за коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал. Коледните къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал имат богат и интересен вкус и са нещо повече от обикновени мъфини, коледните къпкейкове са малки коледни сладкиши, които ще зарадват всички у дома и ще впечатлят вашите гости.

Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портока
Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал
Необходимите продукти за коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал:

1. 4 яйца
2. 2 чаени чаши брашно
3. 1 чаена чаша захар
4. 1 чаена чаша краве масло (250 грама)
5. ½ чаена каша кисело мляко
6. 1 бакпулвер
7. 1 чаена лъжица кардамон
9. 2 супени лъжици настъргана портокалова кора
10. 6 супени лъжици портокалов сок

За глазурата:

1. 1 ½ чаена чаша пудра захар
2. 3 супени лъжици заквасена сметана
3.  ⅔ чаена чаша краве масло
4. 1 чаена лъжица лимон
5. 1 супена лъжица настъргана портокалова кора

Необходимо време за приготвяне:
60 минути

Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портока
Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портока
Рецептата за коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал в три стъпки:

Първата стъпка от рецептата за коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал е подготовката на сместа за кексчетата. Извадете всички необходимо продукти от хладилника поне половин час пред да започнете приготвянето на коледните къпкейкове. Маслото трябва да е меко, а не течно. Пресейте брашното и бакпулвера.

Разбийте с помощта на миксер или тел за разбиване маслото и захарта, след което добавете яйцата едно по едно, накрая и киселото мляко и портокаловия сок. Към течната смес добавете малко по малко сместа от брашно и бакпулвер, като разбивате непрекъснато. Накрая добавете кардамона и настърганата кора от портокал и разбъркайте с дървена лъжица.

Във всяко гнездо на форма за мъфини поставете по една хартийка за мъфини, след което пълнете сместа на ¾ от обема. Не пълнете фомичките до горе, защото по време на печене ще прелее и няма да се изпече добре. Печете коледните мъфини в предварително загрята на 180 градуса фурна за около 20-22 минути, като пробвате дали кексчетата са готови, като бучнете с клечка за зъби - ако клечката е суха, кексчетата са готови. Извадете от фурната изчакайте да изстинат.

Глазурата за коледните къпкейкове с кардамон и портокал пригответе като разбиете мекото краве масло със сметаната и лимоновия сок и малко по малко прибавите пресятата пудра захар. Накрая добавете портокалови корички и разбъркайте с лъжица.

Украсете коледните кексчета. Имайте предвид, че кексчетата трябва да са напълно изстинали, защото ако сложите глазурата върху топли кексчета, то тя ще се разтече. Украсете коледните къпкейкове или с помощта на пош, или пък с лъжица.

Съхранявайте коледните къпкейкове на хладно.

Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портока
Коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и портока
Рецептата за коледни къпкейкове с кардамон и партокал е изпълнена!

Рецептата за коледни къпкейкове носят вкуса на Коледа и определено създава коледно настроение. За коледните празници може да приготвите още много и различни сладкиши, които да радват сетивата и да създават празнично настроение. Такива безспорно са коледните меденки, както и джинджифиловите бисквити, които често се ползват дори за украса. Много вкусен и много подходящ за Коледа е и немският коледен обреден хляб Щолен, който се сервира с коледно греяно вино. А ако държите на традициите на българската Коледа, то рецептата за печена пълнена тиква е вашата рецепта.


04 Dec 19:15

There's Something Incongruous About This Shirt

05 Dec 12:30

Everybody Wins!

nails,kids,parenting,dad,pedicure,video games,g rated

Submitted by: (via HeyjonA)

06 Dec 00:36

(via robotindisguise)

05 Dec 00:00

Booth Tarkington

"There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink."