September 14th, 2006


Rat Coffee

How big exactly is a large Tim Hortons coffee? I don't mean a vague approximation, like "about the size of a large rodent." I mean how many ounces or millilitres or whatever actually go into the cup. I've been searching the 'net for about twenty minutes now and I haven't got a clue.

Mostly I'm concerned because my coffee only cost $1.50 - $1.39 for the drink and 11 cents towards the Tim Hortons charity box as I've already got enough loose change. The vending machines around here sell 600 mL soft drinks for $1.75, so if I knew how much coffee I was getting, I could do a per-volume comparison. I suppose it's because I'm just curious; if I really wanted the most cost-effective way to get caffeine from a beverage to my bloodstream, I'd go with tea, which is both cheaper and has more of the better kind of caffeine than coffee. But some days you just have to get some of that Tim Hortons blend, right?

I guess I could use my earlier approximation to at least get a starting point. Typing 'large rodent' into Wikipedia gets me to the Shagrat, a fictional marmot descendant that roams the frozen tundra in five million years' time. My coffee isn't quite that big. Further refinements in my searching process lead to Phoberomys pattersoni, a 700-kilogram prehistoric rat that lived on the Orinoco River delta. Damn! If I've got 700 kilograms of coffee then I'm probably this rat's uncle. Let's see if we can't get something a little more domestic.

Aha! "For pet rats, see Fancy rat." Now we're in business. The male pet rat can reach 800 grams. I think my coffee is closer to a female rat in size - about 400 grams. As we all learned in Canadian science class, a gram is equal to a millilitre, so I probably have around 400 mL of coffee here. (Had, actually. It's all been drunk. I wasn't about to leave it cooling on the windowsill while I researched it.)

Time for some simple arithmetic. Start menu -> Run -> calc. 400 mL / 150 cents = 2 1/3 mL per cent. 600 mL / 175 cents = 3 3/7 mL per cent. Diet Coke beats rat coffee by just over a mL per cent.

But now let's compare caffeine levels. Wikipedia's got us covered again, this time in the form of a relative content comparison. 470 mL of coffee contains 200 mg of caffeine. To get the same amount from Coca-Cola Classic would require a two-litre bottle. That means our good buddy, Mr. Overpriced 600 mL Bottle, has only 60 mg worth. I'll spare you the math this time: my coffee gave me 1.13 mg/cent, while the Coke would've only gotten me 0.35. Less than half a gram per cent. Bastard!

So there you have it: rat-sized coffee is definitely giving me more than my money's worth of caffeine intake. Rats are pretty smart animals. They make you go "awww," too.

Yeah, this is what I do during class when I'm supposed to be working.

Latest on the Dawson College shooting

Kimveer Gill, the gunman from yesterday's shootings, apparently enjoyed playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG. (Source)

Back in May, I wrote the following: "It's true, the next time someone shoots up a school, I'm not going to be able to blame columbin for "causing" it. [...] But I think it's okay to blame the people who pulled the trigger and fired the bullets." (Full entry)

I just felt I needed to reiterate that: video games don't kill people, persons with delusions of "vengeance" kill people.

I'm upset because the layered proximity was somewhat unexpected: it happened in Canada, and then it turns out the guy is a blogger, and then his favourite game was one I'd decried earlier in the year. So it's all kind of eerie. I'm chalking it up to cosmic coincidence but it's still sort of putting me off.