The term “blind-drunk” is used by adults to mean someone has a problem, and by college kids to mean someone’s having a good time. In the third word, sadly, the same phrase could be used, but it would have a vastly different meaning attached.
Alcohol in developing countries can (and often does) cause blindness and even death. Ethanol is the type of alcohol that gets people to flock to happy hours after particularly difficult days. Methanol is the type of alcohol you’re not supposed to drink.
There are a few reasons why methanol would show up in your drink. It's not uncommon in accidental home distilling mistakes, though it can also be a sign of criminal intentions. Cutting standard alcohol with methanol can result in cheaper drinks and higher profits.
The problem is that these alcohols are identical in appearance, taste and smell. So the martini that can kill you and the martini that’ll just make you smile are identical in every discernable way. Until now.
Scientists have invented a reusable chip that can analyze the proportion of these two alcohols in a drink. The chip, at the moment, is a fraction of the size of a penny and requires an antenna to work. Though, for $5, it’s not a bad deal. In two years, they hope to have a commercial product that sends information to your cell phone.