Analysis 66 (290):149–154 (2006)
In my (2004), I argued that it is possible to drink any finite amount of alcohol without ever suffering a hangover by completing a certain kind of supertask. Assume that a drink causes drunkenness to ensue immediately and to last for a period proportional to the quantity of alcohol consumed; that a hangover begins immediately at the time the drunkenness ends and lasts for the same length of time as the drunkenness; and that at any time during which you are drunk you do not suffer any hangover you might have at that time. Starting at a time at which you are not drunk and not hung over, drink a half pint of beer. Wait until you are just about to get a hangover (30 minutes, say), and then drink a quarter pint. Wait until you are just about to get a hangover again, and then drink an eighth, and so on.... After an hour you have drunk a pint, and you do not have a hangover. Every hangover you incurred happened within the hour you spent drinking; but you were drunk that whole time, so you didn’t suffer the hangovers. It seems that the old drunkard’s method of a “hair of the dog” can be effective in completely avoiding a hangover.
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