caffeine addiction21 Jan 2012
Caffeine is a wondrous substance. Some consider it a basic necessity, like breathing air, others consider it a vice or a powerful drug to be avoided. There’s a saying that programmers/scientists are machines to turn coffee into code/knowledge. Coffee is certainly essential to the functioning of half the planet in the hours when humans are supposed to sleep, for night shift workers and all the overworked masses of today. It’s consumption is ubiquitous and available in many forms from simple filter coffee to beans digested by cats.
Even more so than common coffee its more popular form today is in the form of a caffeinated soft drink. Because this sounds so technical and academic only mentioning its most famous brand name helps: Coca-Cola. Considered the most powerful brand in the world, it has become synonymous with it’s kind of product like “Scotch” in France and “Tesa” in Germany have become synonymous with adhesive transparent tape. American soldiers in the Wold War I considered it one of the vital weapons against the “enemy of heat and thirst”. Coca-Cola is also a symbol for global capitalism in its availability and sameness around the world. Coca-Cola company is a welcome target for protesters against capitalism and alternative thinkers. Especially here in conformant Germany there have recently been a number of initiatives to diversify the soft drink landscape. There’s lemonade made out strictly biological production with less sugar, lemonade made from a south american plant, a cola used for antisemitic propaganda and an east-german cola. More recently a community of cola lovers of the old afri cola flavor started a sort of collective called “Premium Cola” with the sole aim to produce the best coke with the interesting side effect to create a antithesis to the capitalist Coca-Cola company. It’s interesting how such a mundane everyday thing becomes the subject of war and politics. After tasting some of the newer coke brands my personal favorite is this Premium Cola. Some of the stories behind colas can also be found in this great little O’Reilly book on hacker beverages (link to PDF file in German).
Nevertheless watch out for that caffeine addiction! Although curable in 9 days (link in German) it’s nothing to mess with. 10g of caffeine are deadly and caffeine has toxic effects at a daily dosage of only 1g.