According to the study, alcohol stimu-lates a part of the brain that determines attractiveness. There was no mention whether alcohol stimulated other parts of the anatomy.

All right. So everybody knows that, as the song goes, the girls all look prettier at closing time. The French probably knew that before any of us. What we all didn't know is just how much better-looking the opposite sex becomes. The answer, according to a study, is 25 percent.

I'm not making that figure up. The researchers somehow quantified the percentage improvement in appearance. I don't know if the study was submitted for peer review. Speaking experientially, though, I can confirm that a quarter more attractive is just enough to make a fool of oneself, which I regard as perhaps the most accurate measure of behavior involving alcohol.

The scientists call the phenomenon the "beer-goggle effect." The phrase is notable for three reasons. One, it may be the silliest term in the history of scholarship. Two, you wonder if the phrase is real or if researchers overheard it in a bar after a hard day's researching and thought it sounded scientific. Three, the term says nothing about wine.

Ah, but that's where wine drinkers can take heart. Of course, the effect is named after beer. The study, remember, was conducted by Britons. The British are not exactly famous for wine-making. And yet, in what lends ironclad credibility to the study, the researchers found that, despite the beer-related name, four glasses of wine have the same arousing effect as two pints of beer.