Eight.  A Fibonacci number.  The first prime, cubed.
The number of bits in a byte.  The number of days in
one of the Beatles' weeks.  The number of fluid ounces
in a cup.  <-- (subtle foreshadowing)

These are all interesting and important facts about
the number eight, but in a moment they will seem puny
and insignificant compared to what is about to be
revealed.  Brace yourself.  Ensure that you are wearing
safety goggles to protect your eyes, gloves to protect
your hands, and other appropriate safety items for
protection.  Check to be sure that you are wearing two
pairs of socks, because the first pair is about to get
knocked right off.

    Eight is also the number of this year's CoffeeWars.

That is correct, DefCon attendees.  For the past se7en
years (ha!), on Friday morning when the con begins, and
everyone is trying to get through the registration lines
so they can buy the black t-shirts they've been dreaming
about all year, we've been hard at work.

Each year, intrepid contestants bring their beans from
the far corners of the earth.  We take those beans.  We
treat them with respect.  We apply a standard grinding
and brewing technique honed and perfected through a
lifetime of experience and-- as has been mentioned--
the previous seven coffee battles.

A select team of experienced, refined, and opinionated
judges will sample each brew and arrive (by blind voting)
at the answer to the universally acknowledged most
important question of the year:

     Which hacker has the best coffee of them all?

In the novel FOR EVERY SIN, Aharon Appelfeld tells the
story of camp refugees coping with the immediate aftermath
of release at the end of World War II.  The following
conversation takes place between the main character and
a woman he meets along his way:

     "...Drink, dearie, this coffee revives the soul"
     "Thank you.  I have nothing to give you."
     "No need.  I'm glad to be serving it.  If there
     is some meaning to life, it's coffee."
     [Appelfeld, Aharon. FOR EVERY SIN. New York:
      Vintage, 1989. p. 58]

There it is, my friends.  There it absolutely is.  And so
we issue our annual invitation: furnish your own lives
with additional meaning by joining in our contest.  The
rules are few, simple, and obvious.

   1: ONLY WHOLE BEANS.  No pre-ground stuff.  No crystals.
      Beans are the only acceptable entry.  We recommend
      submitting about 1/2 lb, so there is enough in case
      of a mishap.

   2: BEANS MUST BE UNFLAVORED.  We are into coffee-
      flavored coffee, not hazelnut-blueberry-acetone-

   3: WE ONLY DO COFFEEWARS.  We don't know who is in
      charge of other aspects of the con, we cannot
      answer questions about other events, etc.

   4: NO DECAF.  By all that is sacred.  Please.

   5: YOUR ENTRY WILL BECOME OURS, unless you make a plan
      with us at the time you submit it to recover the
      leftovers at the end of the contest.  Sorry-- it
      is just too much to keep track of otherwise.

   6. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER CONTESTANT. So lead with your

So feel the pride.  Bring your favorite beans, and see
how they measure up against the rest of the hacker coffee
field.  This is one of the craziest contest ideas ever,
and you'll feel happy and fulfilled for having played a
part in this, the eighth instantiation.  Plus, you just
might win.  Somebody will, after all.

The contest will begin when the con begins, and it will
end when we can't take it any more, or when we run out
of coffee, whichever comes first.  There is probably some
upper limit to the amount of coffee that the judges can
consume, so serious entrants may wish to ensure their
beans a slot by pre-registering.  Just send e-mail to
foofus at foofus dot net, and we'll set aside an entry
form for you.

Good luck, and see you at the con.


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