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May 2004
image CIO Magazine has a little blurb about these night-vision contact lenses available for a mere $300 from Phoenix Sight (scroll down to find the listing). They're powered by blinking your eyes. But actually, there is no such company as Phoenix Sight, so don't go asking your optician for these just yet. The source of this wild-eyed invention is a Design Challenge sponsored by Popular Science and Core77. The relevant entry is here. The description notes that to get the contacts to work, even in theory, you'd first have to rub neodymium-iron-boron gel in your eyes, which really doesn't sound very pleasant. I have no idea if the military ever has experimented with anything like this. (via Jeff's Super Happy Funtime Blog)

Update: Core77 has a pretty cool illustration of how the contacts are supposed to work.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Sun May 09, 2004
Comments (11)
image According to this official looking website, the military is now readying for a general draft. But wow, they're sure asking some weird questions of draftees. For instance, under the Mental Fitness Pre-Screening section, they want to know if you suffer from "NPR listenerism." But wait a second. You guessed it. It's not really a military website, despite the official-sounding URL they managed to acquire. No, it's just another gimmick to sell some t-shirts. The site is pretty well-designed, however. It had me going for a second or two.
Categories: Military, Websites
Posted by Alex on Sat May 08, 2004
Comments (4)
The Bush Voters have Lower IQ's data, which I posted about a few days ago, is getting a lot of attention now that it's been printed by the American Assembler. Their reprint of it is #3 on Blogdex. But while they're now aware that the source of the info is not IQ and the Wealth of Nations, as they originally claimed, they don't seem aware that the true source of the info appears to be a student at UMass.

Scratch that. The student at UMass definitely helped disseminate the chart by posting it on his website, but he seems to have simply picked it up off the web, specifically from a guy named Robert Calvert who posted the data to a usenet group for members of Mensa back in 2002. Where Robert Calvert got the data is a mystery. Presumably he made it up, since I haven't been able to find figures for average IQ by state anywhere.
Comments
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Fri May 07, 2004
Comments (0)
image The Indian Army has admitted that some battles fought last year high up on the Siachen Glacier north of Kashmir were completely fake. The reports of enemy casualties were made up, and the video footage of a Pakistani bunker being blown up was staged. The bunker actually had been built by Indian troops. The army officers apparently did all this in order to win awards for gallantry.
Categories: Military
Posted by Alex on Fri May 07, 2004
Comments (0)
image I had come to think I was never going to get my Ph.D., but I shouldn't have been so pessimistic. All I need to do is lower my standards a bit and sign up for one of those PhDs that Saint Regis University is practically giving away. A Georgia math teacher did, and she got a $16,000 pay raise. Or you could save even more money and get any degree you want, from any institution of higher learning, from BogusPhD.com.
Categories: Business/Finance, Con Artists
Posted by Alex on Fri May 07, 2004
Comments (0)
image Are you tired of cleaning dirty cat litter? Then "Don't change the litter. Change the cat." Get some Catch-It Diapers for Cats. Actually I had a dog that had to wear diapers for a while (really), but somehow I don't think a cat would take too kindly to these things. Which must be why Catch-It also offers a line of bandages and other first-aid supplies.
Categories: Animals, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri May 07, 2004
Comments (2)
Are you constantly swatting away mosquitoes as you work at your computer? Here's your solution: anti-mosquito software. A Thai computer programmer named Saranyou Punyaratanabunbhu developed it about two years ago, and it proved so wildly successful that he soon came out with version 2.0, that also promised to repel cockroaches and rats. It drives away the nasty critters by making your computer speakers emit high-pitched frequencies. But does it actually work? Well, I wouldn't bet on it. As the pest control experts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln note in their Cockroach Control Manual, "There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cockroaches (or any other insects) respond negatively to ultrasonic sound waves." Still, this hasn't stopped a South Korean phone company, SK Telecom, from offering anti-mosquito software that you can download to your cellphone. (Thanks, Steve)
Categories: Animals, Technology
Posted by Alex on Fri May 07, 2004
Comments (1)
image Here's your chance to bid on a rare collectible item: an unopened 24-pack of Angel Soft toilet paper that shows the baby sporting a gaping flesh wound. The seller suggests it's a manufacturer's misprint. Or maybe the toilet paper is cursed (the seller didn't suggest this, but he should have, since everyone knows that demonically possessed items sell like hotcakes on eBay) . It could be like those photographs in The Omen that foretold how people were going to die. Whatever it is, misprint or mark of the devil, the wound seems a little hoaxy to me, though I suppose a printing error could cause something like this.
Categories: Birth/Babies, eBay
Posted by Alex on Thu May 06, 2004
Comments (1)
Residents of Gahanna, Ohio have worriedly been following reports about a lion loose in their vicinity. Police have fanned out to search for the creature, but with no luck. Now some are beginning to suspect that the lion sightings were just a prank, perhaps engineered by local college seniors. Ohio is, of course, no stranger to non-existent wild beasts on the loose. Those with a long memory might remember the Paulding County Hyena that terrorized people back in 1858. But the greatest escaped-animal prank of all time was the Central Park Zoo Escape of 1874. On the other hand, the Gahanna Lion might suddenly turn up. Here in Southern California we have to deal with mountain lions wandering around all the time. (Thanks, Rita)
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (3)
The Whizzinator is a prosthetic penis attached to a plastic bag that you tie around your waist. Put heated urine in the bag (dehydrated urine provided), and you're all set to cheat on a drug test. Rather ingenious. But now Illinois officials are cracking down on this product. The Illinois Senate voted 56-0 to outlaw it. Meanwhile the far more morally offensive Brief Safes are still legal. What kind of upside-down world do we live in?



Categories: Body Manipulation, Gross, Politics
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (1)
image For a brief while, there was a chance to buy a Lavender iPod on eBay. But now the item has been pulled. Probably because lavender iPods don't exist. (via engadget)
Categories: eBay, Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (3)
image If you're a woman who wants breast augmentation surgery, but can't afford it, then try signing up at InvestInMyBreast.com (mostly safe for work, though some nudity if you look around enough). This site connects women who want breast implants with charitable-minded people who want to help them achieve this goal. So women simply post their pictures, state why they want implants, and the donations start rolling in. Sounds great (well, actually, it sounds bizarre), but as soon as I started checking out the site my baloney detector started to go off. The big catch is that women will only ever receive their donations if, and only if, they reach their goal amount (usually $4000-$5000). It's an all-or-nothing system. But during the year that the site has been up, it doesn't appear that any woman has come anywhere close to achieving their goal amount. So what happens if, as is probable, a woman never reaches her goal? If the system was fair, the donations would be refunded to the donor. This doesn't happen. Second most fair would be to pay out the donations to the women, after a certain amount of time. This doesn't happen either. Instead, all donations are kept by the owners of the website itself. In other words, if you do donate money it's almost certain that your 'donation' will never result in a woman getting breast implants. Instead, it'll line the pockets of the site's owner. Of course, then there's the question of whether these women are who they say they are. I suspect that at least some of them are either shills or fakes. And if you search long enough, the site itself does admit, in its users agreement, that "InvestInMyBreast.com cannot and does not guarantee any user's identity." (via NewYorkish)
Categories: Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (11)
I'm filing this one in the Gross category. Shomer-Tec offers the 'brief safe.' It's a money pouch disguised as a pair of soiled underwear, complete with fake skid marks. Their ad copy states, "Leave the 'Brief Safe' in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will 'skid' to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?)" I guess the idea does make sense, but what if guests happen upon this thing? Great way to make a first impression. The ad copy also makes a point to note that the briefs come in one color: white (and brown). (via NewYorkish)
Categories: Gross
Posted by Alex on Tue May 04, 2004
Comments (2)
Read this question carefully: Have you ever "seen a being with huge, dark, watery-looking, almond-shaped eyes and wrinkled, gray skin? Was it wearing a skin-tight metallic body suit that lit up? Did its huge head seem out of proportion to its frail body?" If you answered yes, then you either live with this guy, or you're a possible victim of alien abduction and might be carrying around an alien implant inside of you. If it's the latter, then you're in luck. The folks over at abduct.com specialize in alien implant removal and deactivation. But please don't laugh. They seem very serious about this. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life
Posted by Alex on Tue May 04, 2004
Comments (1)
A table that breaks down states by income, average IQ, and whether they voted for Bush or Gore has been making the rounds. It appears to show, pretty dramatically, that the states with higher average incomes, and higher average IQs, voted for Gore. Whereas the lower income, lower IQ states went for Bush. The comment accompanying this table is usually 'Come to your own conclusions," or something like that. My first thought, on seeing this, was that it's awfully similar to the Lovenstein Institute IQ Report. But I suspect that the figures, in this case, might be correct... in the sense that they were produced by actual research, not just invented out of whole cloth. They appear to derive from a book published in 2002 titled IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen. I haven't actually seen a copy of this book (and since it costs $81.95 I'm probably not going to either unless I find it at the library). But the real question here seems to be whether, even if 'actual' research produced these IQ figures, do they mean anything? I've always been skeptical about IQ tests, so I would say 'No, they don't.' And I'm saying this even though I'm a Democrat.

Update: The IQ figures do not come from IQ and the Wealth of Nations, as confirmed by Richard Lynn, the book's author, whom I emailed to inquire about this. Therefore, it seems right now that the figures have actually been pulled out of thin air. In other words, it's a hoax. But it looks like The American Assembler fell for it, among others.

Update 2: The person responsible for the hoax appears to be a guy named Robert Calvert who posted the data to a Mensa newsgroup back in 2002. Presumably he did make the data up, since I haven't been able to find any info anywhere that would corroborate it.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue May 04, 2004
Comments (55)
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