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Astronomers Spy 288bn Mile Booze Cloud

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the quite-a-binge dept.

115

netmucus writes to tell us that UK astronomers have spotted a giant cloud of methyl alcohol that spans approximately 288bn miles. From the article: "The booze cloud was spotted using the UK's MERLIN radio telescopes in an area of our own galaxy rather uninspiringly called W3(OH). According to the Royal Astronomical Society blurb, this is a region where 'stars are being formed by the gravitational collapse of a cloud of gas and dust.'"

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Except that this isn't drinkable (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15530938)

Methanol decomposes to formaldehyde and causes blindness.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (3, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531018)

"Oh don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit No, don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit."

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531036)

Damn. Now you tell me. And I thought I was being smart, getting cheap booze.

Guess its back to the home-brew for me then.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531051)

Actually, the stuff that makes you blind is not formaldehyde, it's formic acid.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531091)

So, you're telling us that anything that comes out of this cloud will be well preserved?

MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

a4r6 (978521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531708)

Hey, Aspartame in diet soda decomposes to methanol and then to formaldehyde, but that's drinkable, right? Brain damage in the name of physical fitness, how wonderful is that?

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532234)

Aspartame: helping hackers live with diabetes since 1965.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (3, Interesting)

AJWM (19027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532338)

The aspartame molecule as one, count 'em, one methyl group -- which ain't the same as methanol. (Other than that it's essentially a dipeptide, two amino acids). And there isn't much aspartame in a diet soda -- you'd have to drink many litres of the stuff to equal a spoonful of methanol.

The dose makes the poison. A little bit of methanol won't hurt you. A lot of water will kill you (and I don't mean by drowning -- drinking too much water can kill you).

By the way, know the antidote to drinking methanol? Get drunk. Yep, drinking sufficient ethanol to get you drunk also blocks the metabolic pathways in the liver that convert methanol to formaldehyde.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532518)

A lot of water will kill you (and I don't mean by drowning -- drinking too much water can kill you).

I assume you mean too much water can cause kidney failure. I'm no doctor, and make no claim to be, but you would probably have to drink so much that your stomach would burst. Whether that would kill you (very likely and still within the reason) would be up to the competence of the ER doctor that examines you. If it is a burst stomach you were talking about, then please disregard.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (3, Interesting)

AJWM (19027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532685)

Nope, not kidney failure. There are a couple of mechanisms -- really messed up blood chemistry is one, or severe generalized tissue swelling, which, in the case of the brain, causes trauma because there's nowhere for it to swell to. Happens if you're drinking water faster than your kidneys (and sweating) can get rid of it.

There was a teenage girl in these parts about a year ago that went into a coma and died from precisely that -- she'd taken ecstasy which made her incredibly thirsty, and downed several liters of water in the course of an hour or so before collapsing. Autopsy report determined that drinking too much water was indeed the cause of death. Kind of sad really, it was at the girl's 16th birthday party.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

notea42 (926633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534746)

You can also get Hyponatrimia (I may be misspelling) if you sweat alot over an extended period and drink too much water but don't replace the sodium and potasium lost. It can make you tired, dizzy, affect judgement, and eventually cause you to pass out. The basic jist is that you dilute your blood with too much water, upsetting the electrolyte balance and causing all sorts of things to go wacky. I can tell from experience, it's not fun stuff.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536937)

Yeah.. that's why the treatment for extreme dehydration is an IV of saline. The downside is that it's hard to find a bag of saline and an IV rig in most convenience stores.. fortunately Gatorade is a really close approximation, and slow consumption (not chugging) should do the trick when the cause is not from illness or disease.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (2, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533026)

from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov [nih.gov] : "This article reviews several recent military cases and three deaths that have occurred as a result of overhydration, with resultant hyponatremia and cerebral edema. All of these cases are associated with more than 5 L (usually 10-20 L) of water intake during a period of a few hours." Though unlikely to occur with a healthy person, death can be the result of overhydration in people with kidney and heart problems. Taking in overly large amounts of water in a short span of time can also kill a normally healthy person, but the cases of this are few and far between ( and are often related to the use of MDMA and the improper judgement of sufficent water to remain hydrated ).

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533276)

Just to add to the two previous posts:

Ever heard of water intoxication?

It happens when you consume enough water that your neurons can actually swell and distort, causing interrupted communication. A side effect of it is that you feel thirsty...which is what causes people to die of it.

(at least, that's how I've heard it explained)

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533834)

A side effect of it is that you feel thirsty...which is what causes people to die of it.

Now let me get this straight! If you drink too much water, it makes you feel thirsty and you will die.

If you can't get enough water, it makes you feel thirsty and you will die.

OMG!, It's not the water at all! It's that thirsty feeling!!!

I don't think you understand that what you meant to say is not what I heard!

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534115)

Oh my...you may be on to something!

Seriously, though...I have been water intoxicated once before. I recognized it for what it was and quit drinking water. You know that dry feeling you get in the back of your throat sometimes when you're thirsty? You get that, and no matter how much water you drink, it never goes away. Couple that with mildly-impaired judgement and you get someone who keeps drinking water until their brain literally cannot function.

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535992)

"Ever heard of water intoxication?"

Yes, and for those who want to know more:
wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org]
erowid vaults [erowid.org]
whoa [pwsausa.org] - who knew water intoxication was so widespread and deadly?

Re:MMMmmmm.. aspartame. (1)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536081)

of coarse if you drink orange juice it breaks down into more flamadahyde then the average does of aspertane in your soda.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (2, Insightful)

Caduceus1 (178942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532647)

So, would that make this cloud "Moonshine"?

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533674)

Now that is just brilliant. I haven't had mod points in well over a year so i rarely think of them any more, but its comments like this that make me miss them. Thanks!

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532656)

Methanol decomposes to formaldehyde and causes blindness.

Why let common sense hold you back?

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534258)

Since when did blindness impair your ability to drink?

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

Follier (901079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535189)

Nonsense! Formaldehyde is perfectly edible. It's called Aspartame, I drink it all the time.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

Follier (901079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535219)

Didnt mean to come so late with this... I mispelled 'aspartame' in my CRTL-F and thought this wasn't mentioned yet. Boy, is my face red. And sort of thirsty too, after reading down this far.

Re:Except that this isn't drinkable (1)

schweinhund (119060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535436)

hm, looks like you also messed up on CTRL :/

Similar reported before (2, Informative)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530939)

Similar cloud has been reported before [slashdot.org] , but this cloud is smaller.

Re:Similar reported before (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531026)

Hic!

We finally found out what the Pioneer anomaly [wikipedia.org] is.

Absorbing 175 billion miles (I wonder how many pints that is?) of alcohol would make any spaceship wander off course.

Re:Similar reported before (1)

yobjob (942868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531535)

Especially if it lights a cigarette...

Same cloud (1)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531080)

Maybe it's the same cloud, but after some giant aliens had a party.

Re:Same cloud -- and let's look at the fine print! (1)

carpeweb (949895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531469)

I think it is the same "cloud", but people from across the pond (either way) forgot to check the units.

From a handy online calculator [onlineconversion.com] , 463 kilometer = 287.694 862 006 mile.

That's close enough to make me think this is no coincidence.

Now, if today's article had said it was a propyl alcohol cloud, and the last article had said it was a methyl alcohol cloud, then I'd say maybe we're talkin' about two very different kettles of fish ... thanks to EmagGeek [slashdot.org] , I really did learn something from this thread!

Re:Similar reported before (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531423)

This is, of course, nothing compared to the giant methane cloud, near the Flatus galaxy, in the Delta Quadrant. Even Klingons won't go there.

Re:Similar reported before (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533613)

I thought the giant methane cloud was nearby, having been produced by Uranus.

Re:Similar reported before (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531717)

Similar cloud has been reported before, but this cloud is smaller.

No, it's the same cloud, same story. (One uses miles, one km for the size.) Note that the link in TODAY's story is to a Register story dated 6 April. They've been trolled.

The original press release is here [ras.org.uk] , dated 4th April.

Re:Similar reported before (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533731)

Similar cloud has been reported before, but this cloud is smaller.

No. It's the exact same cloud as before, in the exact same area of our galaxy, with the exact same composition.

The difference is between "288bn miles" and "463bn kilometres".

The linked article is over two months old. It's essentially a duplicate of the last time we heard about this.

Methanol != booze (4, Informative)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530956)

The alcoholic component of booze is ETHANOL, (aka ethyl alcohol). This is not a booze cloud; an alcohol cloud, maybe... but not a booze cloud.

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530972)

Well, that depends on how desperate you are to get wasted.

Of course, getting a fake ID is probably easier than travelling lightyears to drink highly toxic alchohol.

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

Jokerz17 (681197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533427)

drink highly toxic alchohol.

mmmmmmmm..... killohol....

Re:Methanol != booze (2, Funny)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531049)

toxic to you maybe, us silicon based lifeforms love the stuff...

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536971)

Holy crap, Pamela Lee's +!+$ post on /.!!!

Re:Methanol != booze (3, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531237)

Actually, while methanol is indeed poisonous, the treatment for methanol poisoning is ethanol. So I'd say you can indeed get wasted on methanol, so long as you mix your drinks right ;).

From Wikipedia:

If methanol has been ingested, a doctor should be contacted immediately. The usual fatal dose: 100-125 mL (4 fl oz). Toxic effects take hours to start, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage. This is treated using ethanol or fomepizole[3]. Either of these drugs acts to slow down the action of alcohol dehydrogenase on methanol by means of competitive inhibition, so that it is excreted by the kidneys rather than being transformed into toxic metabolites.


No, I ain't tried it.

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531556)

Yes, having the misfortune of having drunk methanol, you should
a) get to the hospital ASAP
b) get thoroughly sloshed.

As the quote said, ethanol is absorbed first, so you buy time while the gastric treatment is readied. Oh yes, it's best to have the entrails cleaned than being blind or dead, I'd say. Plus, you'll be too drunk to notice.

Hic! oooohh nurse!

Re:Methanol != booze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531572)

The ethanol treatment for methanol poisoning doesn't make it safe. Drinking booze effectively just dilutes the methanol in the bloodstream with something less toxic.

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536241)

No, we actually learned about this in Organic Chemistry. When you drink methanol, they give you ethanol, not because it dilutes it any, but because, by saturating the enzymes that break down alcohol, there's no chance for the methanol to break into its poisonous parts.../

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531502)

The side effects of consuming methanol include blindness and respiratory failure resulting in death.

In my opinion these are much more severe than the ethanol side effects of grabbing your sister's best friend's ass and throwing up on the lawn.

-Peter

Re:Methanol != booze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531937)

Well, you haven't seen my sister's friend.

Re:Methanol != booze (1)

yet another coward (510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533540)

I sober up on wood alcohol.

Alcohol (3, Funny)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530963)

In any case, you have to be at least 14 in order to get closer to that cloud.

Not in the US (2, Interesting)

masterpenguin (878744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531047)

Here in the great US of A we're not allowed to touch booze until a full 3 years after we're allowed to shoot others in the name of the goverment, vote, and buy porn.

Re:Not in the US (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531220)

Here in the great US of A we're not allowed to touch booze until a full 3 years after we're allowed to shoot others in the name of the goverment, vote, and buy porn.

A good thing too. None of the above should be done whilest drunk!

Re:Not in the US (1)

jcorno (889560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531227)

Here in the great US of A we're not allowed to touch booze until a full 3 years after we're allowed to shoot others in the name of the goverment, vote, and buy porn.

That's 4 years after you can buy porn.

Re:Not in the US (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532399)

That's 4 years after you can buy porn.

Er, the usual age for buying "adults only" videos and reading material is 18, and 21-18=3. (NC17-rated movies are another matter; MPAA ratings have no legal standing.)

However there are some jurisdictions where you have to be 21 to buy hardcore porn, making for the irony that an 18-year-old would not be permitted to buy a copy of the DVD in which he and/or she stars.

Re:Not in the US (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531360)

So, in other words, you're rather allowed to mess with someone else's life than with your own?

NOW US politics make sense!

Re:Not in the US (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532814)

Here in the great US of A we're not allowed to touch booze until a full 3 years after we're allowed to shoot others in the name of the goverment, vote, and buy porn.
And it's even a full 5 years after you're allowed to drive a car. Over here, on the other hand, you can buy alcohol 2 years before you can drive a car. And most youth start quite a lot earlier than that. (Buying alcohol, that is. Driving cars is easily postponed a bit. Or even a lot, like in my case.)

Re:Not in the US (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534439)

My Daughter is driving now... and she's only 15. Of course, that's with me by her side. But in Indiana, you can get your learners permit when you're only 15. Some people question my wisdom of letting her drive so early. My response... you have to know my Daughter... she's been flying planes since she was 12. Driving a car is nothing. (We just had to figure out how to get her to quit steering with her feet and using her hands for the throttle and break, planes are a little backwards in that respect on the ground.)

Bill

Re:Not in the US (1)

cskrat (921721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535105)

In Montana you can get your full license at 15.
At the time that I got my license, any speed below 100mph was considered "reasonable and prudent" on open highways in that state as well. Just imagine me slowing my 15 y/o butt down to 90 to pass a highway patrolman and exchanging a friendly wave as I cruise by.

Original article (4, Informative)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530973)

Is here [ras.org.uk] while images are here [www.jive.nl]

booze... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15530990)

Two hobos sit on a bench in park, drinking methanol. "Drink up, it's getting dark!"

Big party... (1)

bsdluvr (932942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530995)

...at W3(OH) tonight! Free booze!

ahh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531007)

1. Spot alcohol cloud
2. ???
3. Profit

We need to counterbalance this! (5, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531011)

Quick, someone find a coffee [slashdot.org] cloud.

Re:We need to counterbalance this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15532477)

Way ahead of you: [memory-alpha.org]

There's coffee in that nebula!
- Captain Janeway, stardate 48546

Re:We need to counterbalance this! (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533643)

There's coffee in that nebula!

Argh! You beat me to it! Obviously my reflexes are too slow. I should've been sampling the nebula earlier.

just need to pip it into out fuel-cells (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531013)

so, how do I get a big long tube so I can power my fuel-cell car off that thing?

Re:just need to pip it into out fuel-cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531619)

You are a fucking idiot. Pip it?? How exactly do you pip it? The rest I won't even bother with. You are a fucking halfwit, probably because your mom is your sister.

In Unrelated News... (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531025)

...Ford Prefect and the Heart of Gold were spotted nearby.

Hey Dude, (1)

Galston (895804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531028)

Hey dude, get off my cloud.

Re:Hey Dude, (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531107)

It Scotland, your post would be translated as, "Hey Macleoud, get off my ewe!"

Methyl Alcohol is LETHAL, it's not booze (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531072)

many people have died from drinking methyl alcohol. Your body metabolizes Methyl Alcohol into formaldehyde, which kills you slowly and painfully.

Booze is ETHYL alcohol.

Methyl = CH3OH
Ethyl = C2H5OH
Propyl = C3H7OH
Butyl = C4H9OH
Pentyl = C5H11OH
Hexyl = C6H13OH
Septyl = C7H15OH
Octyl = C8H17OH (Octane is C8H18)

The main difference between Organic X-anes and Alcohols is that alcohols readily mix with water. This is why, even though alcohols burn more cleanly, we use X-anes for fuel. Alcohols are difficult to store and transport because they'll suck water out of anything, reducing their BTU density. They also have a much lower heat of vaporization, so they evaporate more quickly.

Has anyone noticed that you can smell the ethyl alcohol in the new reformulated gas that is being sold? That kinda freaked me out the first time I noticed it. Smelled like Jagermeister... or Robitussin, depending on which you prefer...

Re:Methyl Alcohol is LETHAL, it's not booze (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531454)

Although 'dry gas' additives to bind water condensation that is already in the gas are usually methanol or propanol.

Re:Methyl Alcohol is LETHAL, it's not booze (1)

Neurotoxic666 (679255) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531649)

many people have died from drinking methyl alcohol.

And I'm sure many more died from drinking ethyl alcohol.

Re:Methyl Alcohol is LETHAL, it's not booze (2, Informative)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534392)

"Alcohols are difficult to store and transport because they'll suck water out of anything..."

I've actaully seen this 'feature' used for airplanes. Since Ethanol is becoming so common in auto gas, we need to remove it if it ever happens to get introduced in an airplane. Aviation Gas aka AvGas is 100 Octane Low Lead, but some planes (like mine) have an STC that allows us to use Auto Gas in them. But it must be pure, so having Ethanol in it is not allowed. To remove it, you simply dump water in the gas... which pulls out the ethanol and settles to the bottom. When that happens, you simply sump it out and all you're left with is pure gas. :-)

Now, this is not a recommended technique... but if someone happens to dump E85 or something like that in it, we have a nice easy cure.

Bill

So this is free as in beer, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531171)

Just need to pony up for a long space flight.

Re:So this is free as in beer, right? (1)

mentaldingo (967181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531670)

Free as in beer, at least until the alcohol industry starts suing everyone.

Astronomers Spy 288bn Mile Booze Cloud (1)

xgarb (660153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531244)

Is this 'The Register' ?

Re:Astronomers Spy 288bn Mile Booze Cloud (1)

xgarb (660153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531282)

after checking the link I discover that it is an article on The Register! But not with that silly headline.

And now... (3, Funny)

celotil (972236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531246)

Australians are feverishly putting together a space program to rival that of NASA and the EU combined.

"Davo! FTL by a month ta'morra!"

Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531275)

So that's where Mardi Gras went.

Damnit! (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531278)

You had me all excited, until I read: "UK astronomers have spotted a giant cloud of methyl alcohol".

Methanol? Bah! Can't drink that...

Yes, you CAN (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531377)

Only once, but yes, you can!

Methyl Alcohol Isn't "Booze" (1, Redundant)

obsol33t (550660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531398)

Booze refers to ethyl alcohol. In fact, methyl alcohol is added to ethyl alcohol to make it undrinkable so that it can be sold for lab use.

Re:Methyl Alcohol Isn't "Booze" (1)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532812)

In fact, methyl alcohol is added to ethyl alcohol to make it undrinkable so that it can be sold for lab use.

My 10th grade chemistry teacher said that the main reason they add methyl alcohol to lab alcohol is not to prevent people from drinking it, but rather to make it cheaper. By making it undrinkable it is no longer subject to taxes normally given to liquor.

I'm sure my teacher was being somewhat sarcastic, but I'm sure the tax savings don't hurt.

Uninspired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15531475)

W3(OH), or anything else named (OH), is exactly where I'd expect to find a cloud of alcohol!

oh no! (3, Funny)

chasingporsches (659844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531508)

... and it's coming from Ted Kennedy's mansion.

In a related story... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531562)

...Jack Daniels and Seagrams stock rices plummeted on the news.

Woah! (1)

mentaldingo (967181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15531621)

Imagine the hangover you'd get after that!

Hawking knows... (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532171)

Does this have anything to do with Stephen Hawking urging us all to get into Space asap?? Coincidence, I don't think so.

An area that should inspiringly be renamed CH3OH ! (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532582)

in an area of our own galaxy rather uninspiringly called W3(OH)
Cf. CH3OH [wikipedia.org] .

How exactly would such a cloud be formed? (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15532983)

That's the operative question. While terrestrial synthesis of alcohol is a waste byproduct, from organic conversion by hungry microbes, what would do it in the relative vacuum of space? It seems to be a bit too difficult to do as a random occurance as a random byproduct of various nebulae and stars, is it possible it's resulting waste of interstellar life?

Re:How exactly would such a cloud be formed? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534243)

Actually... methanol is not (in any quantity) produced by the waste of microbes here on earth, at least not usefully. It is made that way... but thats not where any methanol we use for anything comes from.

Methanol or wood alcohol is, as far as I know, usually produced as a byproduct of heating cellulous (sp?) in an oxygen depleted environment. This causes it to break down into producer gas (wood gas, hydrogen, whatever you wanna call it), various tars, and methanol. Or at least, traditionally thats how it was made. This is refered to in wikipedia as "the destructive distillation of wood".

These days it is actually made from an industrial process using natural gas.

-Steve

That's methonal (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533180)

Call me when they find an ethanol cloud.

Oooooo Aaaaaah! (1)

Dark Coder (66759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15533450)

Thats one fine moonshine!

Finally, a reason to support a space program! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534492)

Oh wait, it's not actually ethanol? Nevermind.

-Eric

Cambelltown Loch I wish you were whisky (1)

annemone (982518) | more than 8 years ago | (#15534723)

old Scottish wish coming true at last.

in related news... (1)

tastygroove (982537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535220)

...ted kennedy has proposed legislation to provide more funding for space travel

That is one titchy little cloud (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535769)

Compared to this [esa.int] one, 3,000,000 light years across, just discovered by XMM-Newton.

Besides drinking, that has to have uses (1)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15535932)

Oil on earth may or may not be finite (see abiogenic origin hypothesis), but it's definitely not enough to supply a cosmos-spanning species with essentials such as plastic and axle grease. Could this sort of an alcohol cloud be mined for hydrocarbons?

Grand Unified Correction (1)

one-eye-johnson (911152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536150)

Astronomers Spy 288bn Mile Moonshine Cloud

Can we use this for fuel? (1)

HyperTiger (898038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536757)

Wonderful.. a 228 bn km equivalent of an alient oil spill. Couldn't we use this for fuel?

Also, isn't alcahol only made by living creatures? (uncertain)

Perhaps there are billions of farting cows... (1)

insanechemist (323218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15536981)

No wait thats methane...
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