Or, How Not to Die.

(The Hacker's Nutritional Guide is brought to you by the Breakfast of Champions - J0lt Cola!)

Hacker Philosophy of Eating:

Eating is generally viewed by most hackers as wasted time. For example, 10 seconds taken to eat a bite of Cola-Gummi can mean the difference between Morris/Torvalds level concentration (big-endian concentration) and distraction. Time taken for such ridiculous things as sleep, going to the washroom, or food are considered goofing off to the majority of hard-headed coders and circuit-frying hardware weenies out there. Therefore, the hacker diet is most compact and time efficient (except when it is not, which is expected.) Of course, these fine principles of nutrition fade in the face of personal taste, weakness and distraction. But they help for those long nights when you simply must finish the Goddamn Code and there are gremlins on the inside of your SGI that are putting errors in the static libraries you are sure of it!

Eating Habits:

There are two schools of hacker feeding:

    * Nothingness: Eating as little as possible, whenever possible. Usually 20 meals a day.
    * Gluttony: Eating as much as possible in large bursts, usually 1 meal a day.
These schools of thought are variable, of course. When a hacker is on daylight hours (not coding, hacking) and on social occasions, these conventions break down. It is also interesting to note that you can identify a hacker by diet. Anybody who constantly drinks water/Coca-Cola and eats Boost fuel replacement bars is probably a hack.

Four Major Food Groups:

The big four are:


Generally Caffeine/Stimulants/Medicinals can be any substance (usually pharmaceutical in nature) that enhances the performance of the following systems in the body:

Exceptions to this general rule are substances that may be a ritualistic part of hacking. For example, substances like Elacca and mustard powder are used for a total digestive system cleansing after a bad hack. They serve no purpose other than ritual, but then again, that is important to mental health.

A List of Common Medicinals:

A List of Common Stimulants: A List of Common Caffeine Sources:

These are good caffeine sources. Tested and selective. Others may imitate them, but each source has its benefits. To a true Berkeley hacker (esoteric west coast AI coders and ex-BSD project staff) caffeine sources are like wine. An example would be Dr. Pepper. It has a rich, sweet, and acient taste. It rolls pleasantly off one's soft palate, and leaves just the right pressure of CO2 in the sinuses. Best served ice cold in warm weather (when the nitrogen cooler on the Cray blows itself out, or the air conditioning goes.)

Carbohydrate Group:

Carbohydrates are the primary weapon of a person (or what's left of a sysadmin) who has been fasting. It is also the solemn dirge of one who loves to consume until blue in the face. For the nothing school of eating, carbohydrates are best consumed before a long period of work. For the glutton school, they are best consumed all through the period of work. The most effective and time efficient way to consume carbohydrates is intravenously. This is difficult to do for reasons best mentioned, lest a fanatic read this: Intravenous does not work well for people with high blood pressure. It does not, therefore, go down well with our hack heart rates. We could explode the drip bag.


Carbohydrates are best prepared boiled to nothingness (mash potato primordial soup) or dry. There is some leeway with purified water, seeing that cooking is not necessary to produce a completely bacteria-free product. Please make sure that the product you try to cook is SEALED well. Otherwise, there could still be a germ or two left in the food. That just wouldn't do. In the fragile health between coma and hyperactivity, hacks must guard their immune systems well. Remember when the old VM machines were in a glass house? That was there to make sure the admins didn't get colds.

A List of Common Carbohydrate Sources:

Petrochemical Group:

Dinosaur piss is good stuff. For one, it makes up plastic, so why not eat it? Surely if a rubber boot can last 2000 years a human can if he/she eats enough hydrocarbons. There are a couple of ways to purchase the proper petrochemical:

It is best to buy your petrochemicals from a reputable manufacturer. It is a rumour at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) that Saudi Arabian-derived foam bananas are better than the American variety. Many patriotic Canadians died to bring us this information. Use it well. Do not buy from Texaco.

List of Common Petrochemical products:

Sugar Group: The world of sugar consumption is governed by only a couple of rules. For the purposes of this Guide, the reader is left to fend for him/herself in the matter of choice. All sugar is good, be it extruded (candyfloss) or crystalized (rock candy.)

Rules of Sugar Selection:

The Exceptions to the Groups (Because hacking involves exceptions)

Make any exceptions you like. If you are a bisexual gerbil from Romania, and you enjoy fruit sweetened organic carrots, go right ahead. Eat them. See if I care. You are only as good as the number of exceptions you have to this list. As a matter of fact, I am hoping to gauge the health of the hack community by reading all the hatemail that this Guide gets. Flame me, please. Hackdom is better as Spock put it, in Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

Good Dietary Habits:

Eat. If you die, it means that you have either eaten too much or too little.

- by The Laughing Fool, reprinted with permission from the Concrete archives.

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