The World Takes on a Common Enemy: The Hangover

"First you take a drink," wrote American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, "then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." That final 'taking' is less obliquely described as a 'hangover,' and it's a bugbear which revelers the world over have long sought to slay. Chinese poet and inveterate alcoholic Li Bai preferred the hair of the proverbial dog: His 8th century Tang-dynasty poem Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day describes how Li emerged from a sloshed slumber to find wine nearby; so he filled his cup, and "wildly singing I waited for the moon to rise/when my song was over, all my senses had gone." The fruitless search for a hangover cure, or at least a serviceable placebo, borders on universal. Below are some of the most interesting -- we won't say most effective -- sourced from the FP editors:

China: Chinese often turn to herbal teas to ameliorate a hangover. But researchers at the country's prestigious Sun Yat-Sen University in the southern city of Guangzhou have studied the effects of 57 popular liquid remedies, and they aren't impressed. In a report published Sept. 2013, they claim that only two of the dozens analyzed are "suitable for drinking by humans who consume alcohol excessively." One is a Chinese brand of soda water, the other: humble Sprite.

Germany: The first meal of the day after a night of heavy drinking is called Katerfrühstück, and Germans think it does the trick. Katerfrühstück usually comprises marinated herring, pickled cucumber, or food with a sour smack.

Japan: Umeboshi, pickled plums high in vitamin C, are a favorite antidote. So is green tea, although traditionalists may now wish to consider Sprite as a suitable replacement. 

Korea: Sulguk is a specially-formulated genus of guk , or soup, which literally means "soup to chase a hangover." It usually contains dried cabbage, other vegetables, and ox blood.

Philippines: The ostensibly hangover-busting balut is no ordinary egg; those making first contact with the Filipino street food, a duck embryo that's been boiled alive, are advised to swallow the thing whole rather than hazard a chew.

Russia and Poland: Russians and Poles both drink pickle or sauerkraut juice on those miserable mornings, although some of Poland's more daring revelers imbibe soured milk instead.

United States: As with so many matters of culture and cuisine, U.S. citizens are eclectic, generally willing to borrow whatever works. One southern mainstay: Chicken tenders, biscuits, spicy fries, and water at chain restaurant Bojangles. Such traditions may eventually have to make way for UCLA researchers, who claim in a paper published Feb. 17 to have found the particular enzymes that break down alcohol. All that's left is to find a way to turn them into a pill.

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Sochi Watch: Everything You Need to Know about Russia's Massive Olympic Security Operation

Just five weeks before the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, two bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd have highlighted security concerns in the volatile region, and drawn attention to the massive security apparatus emerging around the Olympic games. Part of the problem is location: Sochi lies near the North Caucasus, an area engaged in civil conflict for 20 years, and a reputed terrorist hotbed. In June, Doku Umarov, the leader of a Chechen terrorist group, released a video charging his followers to disrupt the Olympic games using "maximum force." The sprawling layout of the Olympic games could pose a security challenge, too. The venues are divided into two clusters: mountain and coastal, which are separated by 30 miles, and connected by nine transit hubs -- each a potential target.

In spite of these challenges, Russia's government is maintaining that the event will carry on without a hitch. To that end, participants and spectators will be carefully screened, monitored, and surveilled by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the country's primary counterterrorism and security agency -- formerly known as the KGB. The first measure of security for foreign visitors are spectator passes -- a special form of identification that will give FSB a chance to perform background checks on all ticketholders. (You'll also need one to begin the complicated process of applying for a tourist visa.) From there, Sochi's security apparatus only intensifies. Here's a rundown:

You will be watched:

  • All Internet traffic by Sochi residents, visitors, and journalists will be monitored by SORM, a surveillance system used by the FSB to track telephone and Internet communications.
  • Authorities will also rely on "drones, reconnaissance robots, sonar systems and high-speed patrol boats" to monitor activity in Sochi 24 hours-a-day.

You will be policed:

  • 100,000 security personnel overseen by the FSB will be assigned to Sochi
  • 40,000 (allegedly tri-lingual) police officers (twice the number used in the 2012 Olympics) will work the Games
  • 30,000 armed forces troops will be deployed throughout the Sochi area
  • 10,000 additional troops will secure the Olympic Mountain cluster, supervised by a Russian military team called "Operations Group Sochi"
  • The 58th Army will secure the Russia-Georgia border, to the south

You will show ID (often):

Restricted security zones, as well as special "controlled zones" will cover a wide swath of the Sochi area. Spectators moving through the following areas will need to present both a ticket and a spectator pass, or Olympic accreditation. They may also have to pass through metal detectors and x-ray machines. Restricted areas include:

  • The Olympic Park, Olympic Villages, Olympic Mountain Cluster, and Olympic Coastal Cluster
  • Sochi's national park, airport, seaport, and railroad terminal
  • The internal border of Karachay-Cherkessia, 200 miles east of Sochi, and the external border between Russia's Krasnodar Krai area and the Georgian territory of Abkhazia

Visitors moving through the "controlled zones" -- areas around the Olympic Park as well as all checkpoints along the Sochi and Adler coast -- will also have to submit to police inspections.

Sochi's massive security infrastructure is a mighty show of force by President Vladimir Putin, who regards the Winter Games as his pet project (it's already the most expensive Olympics in history). The obvious question, now, is: What happens to the rest of Russia when all its cops are stuck in one place?