Space Hops Stolen

Hops seeds that were taken into space
last year and were brought back to Earth
last month on the space shuttle
Discovery have gone missing according
to the Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency, the group responsible for them.

The seeds entrusted to JAXA by a
Tokyo-based science education venture
were taken to the International Space
Station in August last year and were
stored inside Japan's Kibo laboratory
module in space until Discovery's
flight supposedly back them home.

But JAXA has been notified by NASA
that the 120 grams of soybeans, hops
and other seeds were missing whent the
module was opened despite records
showing they were brought back to
Earth by the shuttle.

JAXA officials said the organization will
investigate what happened.

The project aimed to study the impact of
zero-gravity on the taste and smell of the
plants. After the experiment, the hops
were supposed to be given to one of the
leading Japanese brewers, Sapporo.

Sapporo denies receiving the hops and
has launched it's own investigation.  No
monetary value has been placed on the
space hops but a single Moon rock has
been valued at nearly $5 million.
Oktoberfest Beer

Munich’s Oktoberfest will charge 2.5 percent more for beer this year on average,
though U.S. tourists planning a trip to the 200-year-old beer festival may still
get a break because of the Euro’s slide against the dollar.

Breweries will charge between 8.30 Euros ($10.20) and 8.90 Euros for a liter, or “mass,” of
beer -- equivalent to about a quarter gallon -- at this year’s Oktoberfest from Sept. 18 to
Oct. 4. Last year’s prices ranged from 8.10 Euros to 8.60 euros.

The price increase defies near-zero inflation as the German economy struggles to grow. Still,
the European debt crisis may ease the financial burden on Lederhosen-clad beer
lovers exchanging dollars because the single currency has lost 16 percent of its value
against dollar since Oktoberfest 2009.

On the final day of last year’s Oktoberfest, Oct. 4, a beer set a U.S. tourist back as much as
$12.54.  Based on today’s trading, a beer sold at this year’s Oktoberfest would cost no more
than $10.95 at the high end of the range.  

Oktoberfest was first celebrated in 1810, to honor Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage
to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival was gradually moved into
September to take advantage of the warmer weather.

About 6.5 million liters of beer and 111 oxen were consumed at last year’s
beer festival, which generated 800 million Euros in revenue.
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Beer Really Does Make You Happy

People who drink two pints of beer or glasses of wine a day
are healthier and happier than teetotallers, according to a
recent study by the Public Assistance Hospitals of Paris.

Beer and wine lovers are not as stressed, had lower blood
pressure, better heart and lung health and were less likely to
suffer from depression, the study shows.

All drinkers tend to exercise more. Alcohol thins the blood,
improving circulation, and acts as a relaxant, boosting
wellbeing, the French team said.  They speculated that
moderate drinkers may have better general health
and a lower risk of heart disease.  Although they admitted
they could not prove the benefits were just down to booze,
they added: "Our results cannot eliminate the
cardio-protective effect of alcohol."

Dr Boris Hansel and his team from the Public Assistance
Hospitals of Paris analysed the lifestyles and drinking habits
of thousands of men and women over 18.

World Health Organization Complains

Beer and liquor companies that market alcohol to underage
drinkers on social media networks such as Facebook are
coming under fire from the World Health Organization.

Absolut vodka and Smirnoff Ice have nearly 500,000
Facebook fans each, and Heineken boasts 400,000 users
who "like" the beer.  Major brewers say their presence on
social networks in no way promotes underage drinking.
Edited by Jim Attacap