For a culture that is known for its love of tea, the British apparently don’t know shit about caffeine. Northumbria University was fined 400,000 pounds sterling, roughly half a million US dollars, for an experiment they ran that led to the hospitalization of two students. The study was aimed at determining the effect of caffeine on exercise. Each student was supposed to be given 0.3g of caffeine, about the equivalent of three cups of coffee. However, due to a misplaced decimal point on the smartphone calculator that was used (very professional), each student was given 30g of caffeine instead. No word on whether it was an iPhone calculator or a Galaxy Note 7 calculator.
To give you a visual, 30g is about 1/15th of a pound. Have you ever held a bag of a pound of sugar or flour? Yeah, 1/15th of that, but of pure caffeine. You would think as they were measuring out 1/15th of a pound of pure powdered caffeine something would click in their head that it seems like a lot of freaking caffeine. Or maybe they’d double check their calculation because they’re, you know, in a lab in a university testing a stimulant on humans. Just a thought. That way you don’t end up having two subjects in the ICU on dialysis.
I tried to imagine what 30g of caffeine, approximately 300 cups of coffee, would feel like. Throughout an 8 to 10 hour workday, I probably max out, on a really rough Monday, at 5 cups (1 when I wake up, 1 when I get to work, 1 around lunch, 1 in the mid-afternoon, and 1 in the evening if I have to work late). By cup number three I’m pretty much bouncing off the walls, tapping my feet, pacing, and/or working standing up. Drinking 60 times that in a single, concentrated serving? I imagine my heart would beat at 300 beats per minute before exploding as I watch individual oxygen atoms float through the air and my short term memory is completely obliterated before I lose consciousness. It certainly wouldn’t help me get my sales report done any faster.
The university is just lucky this didn’t happen in America. It’s not a half million dollar fine here. That would be a $10 million settlement plus a fine from the state. I think I’m going to try to decrease my coffee intake from now on..