How many shots would it take to kill you?

Coffee beans in a heart shapeHow much coffee would it take to take you down? Ultimately, the answer to the question depends on what type of coffee you’re drinking, as each will contain a different amount of caffeine. A mug of filter coffee contains the most caffeine, at 120 mg. Instant coffee provides 75g and espresso 107 mg, although you’re unlikely to have an entire mug of pure espresso.

According to caffeine information site energyfiend.com, if you weigh 160 pounds (approximately 11.5 stone or 72.5 kilograms), then you would have to drink 142 shots of espresso in one day to die from the resultant caffeine overdose. That’s equivalent to about 6.29 litres, so hardly a normal amount. By contrast, you’re about as likely to die from the water itself if it’s consumed in a short period, particularly if you’re being physically active at the same time. Instant coffee would kill the same person in 192 cups, while filter coffee kills in just 75 cups.

The lesson here? It’s unlikely you’d be able to drink enough coffee to kill yourself. However, there are drawbacks to caffeine consumption besides death – nervousness, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations are all symptoms of a caffeine overdose. The Department of Health reckons that you shouldn’t drink more than five single espressos per day, although this varies person by person.  That’s equivalent to seven cups of instant coffee.

If you’re beneath the limit though, side effects are generally considered to be mildly good. If you have one or two ESE coffee pods per day (which contains a single shot of espresso each), studies have shown that you are less likely to develop prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease and even some form of diabetes. You’re also more likely to suffer from headaches and acid reflux, though.

So keep drinking coffee in moderation… but try not to drink 75 cups of filter coffee, 192 cups of instant or 142 ESE pods in one day, OK?

This article was written by William Judd. Will writes for Mobile Fun, who imbibe rather a lot of coffee as well as being the UK’s leading online retailer of the Amazon Kindle light and Yoda ringtones.

Bad Science [infographic]

Science is fun! Seriously – poking around to learn how the world works and, perhaps, even making it a little better in the process. And if you’re lucky, you might get to blow something up :)

Every now and again, I realise that science can also be controversial. Or, perhaps, certain “discoveries” can like when the scientists at CERN appeared to have seen neutrinos moving at faster than light speed. But surely, if there’s one thing we can trust scientists to do, it’s to report on their experiments truthfully? Jen Rhee recently sent me this nifty info graphic that would suggest otherwise:

Bad Science
Created by: Clinical Psychology

What do you think about this? Do you trust scientists to report in an unbiased way, or are you of the opinion that there is always a bias in scientific research and reporting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Get good food delivered to your door [UK]

Graze Box of fruit and nibblesWorking all day in an office? Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end? What do you eat to keep those energy levels up? If you’re anything like me there will be a good number of sugary snacks in the mix somewhere which, whilst good for quick bursts of energy, aren’t exactly the healthiest option.

A few years ago I discovered Graze, a company that will package up small boxes of fruit, nuts, berries, and other goodies, and deliver them to you in the post! How cool, tasty snack treats arriving in the mail. You can have them delivered to your house or to your office for snacking throughout the day. I stopped getting them for a while, but I notice they have just unveiled a range of dips and dippers that tempted me to resurrect my account.

Each Graze box is nutritionally balanced (note: it won’t replace meals!) and designed not to give you that sugar rush followed by a crash. If you get something in the box you don’t like, just pop onto the Graze website and rate the items so that they will have more of an idea what to send you next time.

I’ve signed up for the grazeeatwell box, which costs just £3.49, but you can pick from a variety of boxes containing things like a range of small nibbles, or foods with a low GI rating. The box is recyclable too, so as well as eating well you’ll be able to reduce your environmental impact by popping it in the recycle bin.

If you’re in the UK, and you want a tasty snack delivered to your door, give Graze a go. You can try Graze out for free, and receive your second box at a discount, by using this code when signing up: MN3J7VP. Enjoy!

Full disclosure: using the discount code will, as well as getting you a free box followed by a discounted one, earn me £1 off my next box. Obviously I’d be really pleased if you chose to use it :)

Get 25% off everything at StudioPress

Studiopress ThemesBlack Friday and Cyber Monday are slightly strange events in the UK, given their close association with the US holiday of Thanksgiving. But, still, who are we to pass up on some bargains?

If you’ve been looking for the opportunity to snazzy up your WordPress blog for a while, you couldn’t do much better than checking out this great deal from StudioPress. StudioPress are the makers of the Genesis theme framework and some gorgeous child themes. You’ll want to check out their site and see what’s on there… there are some really beautiful designs. Although I haven’t used Genesis on this site (I plan to, I just haven’t got round to actually making the switch) you can see a few of the designs in real-world situations on my photography and consultancy sites.

If you do choose to buy anything, use the coupon code THANKS at the checkout to get a 25% discount.

1. Get the Genesis Framework for only $45.

2. Snag most Genesis / design combos for a song and save close to $20.

3. Wipe the entire shop clean and get the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package. Get Genesis plus every design they’ve made, plus every design they make in the future, and save more than $74 off the regular price and over $875 off the retail price — and that’s just the existing 43 designs!

All you need to do is use the code THANKS when you check out and you’ll save 25% on anything and everything at StudioPress.com.

This deal ends promptly at 7:00 pm Pacific time on Monday, November 28, 2011. Hurry up and claim your new WordPress theme before the code expires!

A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects - book cover

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Dr Neil MacGregor

Have you ever wondered what future generations will make of our lives when they look back? Will our descendants wonder why we continued to burn fossil fuels to drive our transportation network? Will they be fascinated by the details of how we recorded our favourite television shows on Sky+? Will they even be able to see many of the photos we are taking these days and storing in digital format?

I love history and archaeology, and the idea of objects from the past telling a story is compelling. That’s why I loved reading through Neil MacGregor’s “A History of the World in 100 Objects”. Neil has been Director of the British Museum since 2002, and presented a series on Radio 4 on the same subject as the book I am reviewing here.

The 707-page (including indices) book takes a look at various objects from different ages and area of mankind’s journey through time. It isn’t a purely chronological affair, but the objects do generally follow a progression from ancient to modern.

What sort of objects? How about an Egyptian mummy, which tells us something of how people lived in those times, but also how they died and what they believed happened to them afterwards. Or a bird-shaped pestle, which, Dr MacGregor writes, helps us understand the changing scene surrounding what we ate, and the fact that humans display an impressive intelligence in knowing how to cook.

We move through objects like the Standard of Ur, and a tablet which seems to tell the story of Noah’s Ark from a different time and place. Objects detailing the social climates are the most elusive and intangible to me. They tell us what people enjoyed as much as what they did.

The most modern objects are, I think, the ones that I was most interested in finding out about. Not just because they may be things I remember (not all of them are!) but because I wanted to see what Dr MacGregor would select as being the important objects to define this present age. We see a plate commemorating the Russian revolution, a throne made from various parts of weapons, and a credit card among other items. These got me thinking…

What would you choose to represent life today? A computer? A smartphone? Credit card? Car? What do you think will actually last long enough to be picked up by a scholar in a few hundred or thousand years time, allowing him or her a window back into the 21st Century? Will ditigal information survive? These are all questions I don’t really have an answer to, but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Coming back to the matter at hand – the book – it’s a genuinely fascinating walk through history from the point of view of the objects dropped along the way. It’s great for anyone interested in history, or archaeology, or just for looking at some beautiful pictures of artefacts. And it’s hard not to read it without thinking, “I wonder what impression we will leave for future scholars”.

A History of the World in 100 Objects is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Can You Crack It?

Locked door with rusty padlockThis is a sponsored post. Click here to find out what that means.

Time does strange things to your memory, doesn’t it? I mean, I look back on my time at university, studying Computing Science, as some of the happiest of my life. When I think harder, though, I remember how difficult it was to complete my assignments on time, and the all-nighters I pulled on multiple occasions to make sure everything was done. But, still, I remember it as being happy.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me reminisce, did you? What’s got me thinking about university is that, at the time, I was very interested in cryptography – the art and science of securing information and communication. I used to spend hours in the library looking through books on the subject, before eventually deciding that I just didn’t understand it!

Which means I would be terrible at this cyber code challenge - a website that has sprung up inviting you to “crack the code”.

It’s one of these sites that draws you in with a sense of mystery: Who is behind it? What happens when you crack the code? Are we talking some Stargate Universe-style opportunity to join a mission to another planet? OK, the answer is almost certainly “no” but the point is you don’t get to know what the story is until and unless you crack the code.

I guess the question is, can you crack it? I would love to say I can… but given my previous inability to master the dark art of cryptography, either for encoding or decoding, I think it’s beyond my reach. Reckon you can do any better?

Sponsored Post – I will receive financial payment for posting this article. Please be aware that I will never accept offers of paid posts where I am required only to give a positive opinion – objectivity is important to me and you can be sure that what I write, even in paid posts, is what I really think.

Eco Apps, mobile recycling and more tips for a greener mobile life

This is a guest post by Richard Osbourne who is a self confessed gadget geek and a regular contributor to technology and mobile blogs and news sites.

A large emphasis is being placed on ways to be friendly to the planet these days. While many people are unaware of ways to give back to mother earth, starting with their mobile phones may be the best place to begin, especially since mobile phone subscriptions are increasing to over 4.6 billion in worldwide. Mobile technology has been creeping its way into just about everyone’s lives over the recent years, so being eco-friendly with these devices becomes nobody’s responsibility but our own. Let’s take a look at a few ways we can use our mobile devices and not harm our environment.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!!

One of the easiest ways to be environmentally friendly is to recycle, and just about everyone knows this simple rule. With technological advancements happening at racing speeds and new phones being developed and released almost on a daily basis, as a person gives up that old phone it is imperative to remember they can recycle it. While many service providers have bins for recycling old phones a person might also want to keep in mind they can easily make money from reselling their phones. With a quick visit to one of many phone recycling sites you can see just how much your old phone is worth. Yes, recycling is that easy plus many sites will either pay you for your old phone or donate to a charitable cause on your behalf!

Monitor Mobile Phone Energy Usage

There are many energy monitoring sites which enable mobile phone users to compare mobile devices and see which ones use less energy, which in the end enables a person to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. And for those phones that are a must-have, yet use a lot of energy, a scan of the manual may reveal different settings that can be activated to help cut down on its energy usage.

Green Apps

This one may sound crazy but environmentally friendly apps do exist. In fact, there are actually a large number of apps that fall under the ‘green’ category. These apps can perform a range of different functions including providing consumers with ideas and tips on how to live a ‘greener’ life, and some apps even allow a user to scan bar codes on products and items and see what the products environmental impact is. This makes purchasing products that are friendly to mother earth about as simple as it gets. Other apps with an environmental spin include maps to connect you with ‘green living sites’ nearby, and tips on which cars are most efficient and how to drive them to the best effect.

Environmentally Friendly Broadband

OK, lastly, there are several broadband service providers that donate a portion of any proceeds they obtain to different charities or that go for carbon neutral status.. When seeking a mobile broadband service provider, keep in mind that partnering with an environmentally friendly service provider is the ‘greenest’ way to go.

Over To You

So, there are some ideas on how you can go green with your mobile life. Do you have any tips you would add to the list? Have you heard or used a mobile tool to help you live in an environmentally beneficial way? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Infinity Blade for iPhone [Review]

Infinity Blade, a 3D fantasy game for iPhone and iPad, comes from the venerable publishing house Epic Games. Epic’s other franchises include Gears of War, Bulletstorm, and they were the producers of the classic FPS Unreal.

So Infinity Blade has some pretty big shoes to fill if it’s going to live up to its predecessors, but could a game on iPhone and iPad really live up to these giants of gaming?

I first saw Infinity Blade in an advert for the iPhone 4 and was immediately hit by how detailed the graphics looked. It was almost like a screenshot from a dedicated games console. Oddly, soon after seeing the advert I forgot all about it again until last week when I decided to take a look. The graphics certainly are excellent and, since you hold your phone much closer to your face than you would a TV, the screen size is comparable.

The geek in me wants to know how Epic have managed to squeeze such high quality graphics out of the iPhone, and I can’t decide if some sections are pre-rendered or not. It doesn’t matter to any extent, really, I’m just curious. However they’ve done it, the results are astonishing.

The gameplay is fairly simple, and employs a recursive storyline to make up for lack of content. I guess  I’d better explain that, hadn’t I? Infinity Blade starts off with a warrior being killed by an unnamed enemy. You then jump forward about twenty years as another warrior pledging to avenge his father’s death. This is done by battling through numerous enemies by dodging, parrying, blocking with your shield, casting spells and plain old hacking (that’s with a sword, not an Internet connection).

As you fight through all the enemies, you realise you’re working your way back to the place your father was killed… and the being who killed him. Chances are you’ll get there and die a very quick death, but this is where that recursive story comes in. You jump another twenty years as another warrior pledging vengeance. Fortunately you keep the skills and upgrades you earned during the last bloodline, giving you a better chance when you reach the big boss again.

And that’s it, really – wash, rinse, repeat until you’re strong and skilled enough to beat the end boss.

It might sound a little repetitive, but there are plenty of different enemies to defeat, with different attack and defence techniques to overcome for each. There is also an equipment upgrade system that encourages you to try out new items. Some of those items are better for attack or defence than others, and some give you extra abilities like spells or increased loot drops.

Infinity Blade is a great mix of stunning graphics and simple yet compelling gameplay. It’s not got an epic (boom boom!) storyline or anything but, to be honest, not many mobile phone games do! If you want to see what your iPhone (or iPad) can do, it’s well worth checking out. And it’s even fun :)

Merry Christmas from Geek-Speak

It’s Christmas day! What are you doing on the Internet!? :)

Really though, I wanted to wish you a very happy Christmas. I hope you have a fantastic day. I also wanted to say a very big thank you for reading the site up to now, I very much appreciate knowing that there are people who enjoy my often random ramblings.

Have a great day today, and try not to overdose on turkey! Happy Christmas again.

There will be a short break in posts until the first Monday of 2011 – so have a great New Year when it comes around too.

Winter gadgets and goodies

Well, winter has well and truly arrived here in the UK. Some parts of the country are reporting feet of snow – here it’s about 1 foot. I’ve given up on trying to clear the driveway, although I can see some of my neighbours making a valiant effort… and here comes the snow again!

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to think about some winter gadgets and goodies – assuming the postie is still delivering to your area!

  1. The Zippo Hand Warmer makes the list again, because of the combination of stylish looks and practical use. Sometimes gloves just aren’t enough, so having a little heater in the palm of your hands can make all the difference. Don’t forget that the hand warmer also needs lighter fluid to work.
  2. AeroPress Coffee Maker – In need of a quick heat and caffeine boost? You can’t beat the taste of proper ground coffee, but it’s a bit of a pain to make when you’re in a rush. The AeroPress uses air pressure and a micro-filter to quickly brew that much-needed drink.
  3. Smartouch Touchscreen Gloves – I love my iPhone… I also love having warm hands… but if I want to do anything with my phone I have to take my gloves off or the touchscreen won’t work. My wife, on the other hand, has a pair of gloves with foil threads throughout which allows her to use her iPhone without taking them off. They aren’t Smartouch gloves (they were a present and we don’t know where they were bought from) but Smartouch seems to work the same way – conductive threads on the index finger and thumb allow your touchscreen to recognise your touch. If you have a device with a capacitive touchscreen, these gloves should work for you.
  4. HotCans self-heating food – I can’t decide if this is brilliant or insane, but you might remember a few years ago it was possible to buy self-heating cans of coffee. HotCans are similar, but they’re actually cans of food. Just the thing to warm you up when you’re stuck in a snow-induced traffic jam.
  5. Giant Microbe Christmas Tree Ornaments – A few years ago I bought myself a couple of giant microbe plush toys… the common cold, bad breath and e-coli if I remember correctly. Now you can have the same geeky, biological, and slightly disgusting things on your Christmas tree – or give them to a friend and see if they put them on their tree. The pack includes the common cold, e-coli, an amoeba, kissing disease, and a neuron (brain cell).

Just a few wintry ideas. Personally, I have a pair of Smartouch gloves on pre-order so I can use my phone while staying warm. Is there anything you would add to the list? What winter goodies would you like? Let us know in the comments.