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Professor Quippy: Drunken Pedestrian Bocce Ball

Professor QuippyIs it possible to play bocce ball with a crowd of inebriated Welshman?

Simon Moore at the University of Cardiff in the UK and his colleagues believe so, and they’ve done the research to discover how to set up just such a game.

They have created a model to demonstrate how a herd of Taffys behaves as it spills onto the streets after an evening of metheglin, real cider and conversation in four-part harmony. According to the New Scientist:

The team made 24 visits to Cardiff city centre between 11pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, breathalysing people and monitoring their gait. Of the high number of drinkers around, they found that a round 25 per cent were staggering.

The team factored this information into their simulation, then ran simulations with crowds in varying states of inebriation trying to make their way through a narrow alleyway to three different destinations.

(I’m still trying to figure out how you have three destinations in an alleyway — presumably there is only two ways in or out, unless the Welsh are capable of limited flight, and can go up as well.) Anyway, they discovered that the extremely drunken crowds didn’t flow very well, especially the crowd where David Evans (or was it Jones?) was coating most of the alley in a toxic mix of Campari and Welsh rarebit.

They hope their research will lead them to creating better streetscapes to deal with such situations. If successful, they then hope to do something about the yobs in London.

Here is what a model of the sober crowd looks like:

No Drunk!

And the 50% drunk crowd:

Half Drunk!

Now, here is the 100% drunk crowd:
All Drunk!

You can find the actual animations here, the New Scientist story here (you’ll need a subscription to read the whole thing), alltop here and humor-blogs.com here, where you can vote for this post, if you feel so inclined.


  1. Wait wait wait… so instead of trying to get people to drink less, their just going to change the streets so drunks/the Irish can get around properly. I take back everything bad I ever said about science, it is truly helping the world like nothing else.

  2. Campari.

    Worst. Drink. Ever.

  3. Thanks for noting this Alex. Personally, I’d like to see a big rumble between all the scientists helping prove that alcohol (in moderation) is good for us in a battle royale (perhaps the only arms allowed would be wiffle bats with thumbtacks in them) with all those trying to prove alcohol is all bad.

    Mark — you’ve obviously never had rakshi. 🙂 m.

  4. Can I just say “LOL”?

    Being clever is soooo passé ..


  5. Bocce? Bah, Rickey’s a strictly batonk man himself.

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