Trivia: Coffee in International Commerce

Coffee is the world's second largest item of international commerce. The first item? Petroleum.

If you think about it, both are just different types of fuel.

What is caffeine doing to you? Find out at Neatorama's Caffeine Facts article.

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When I was a grad student, I read that an economist was awarded a Nobel Prize for his research on the link between technological advancement and national prosperity. I pointed out to my lab-mates that:

1. Scientific and technological advancement is driven by the work of graduate students in our many universities.
2. Grad students subsist on a diet largely consisting of ramen noodles and coffee.
3. Our nation's prosperity depends on a continuous flow of new technologies.

It was clear to me that the "fuel" of prosperity, Ramen noodles and coffee, are vital materials, and that we should take steps to ensure their uninterrupted supply. Therefore, I proposed that the U.S. invade and annex Japan and Brazil.
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Well, caffeine isn't quite the same thing as fuel. It contains no potential for energy. People just think it does. (Pretty much the first thing mentioned in the Caffeine Facts posting.)
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