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August 2007
image Over the years I've posted about quite a few dubious bust-enhancing products. There's Bolibao, a pill that supposedly transfers fat from a woman's thighs to her breasts; breast-enlarging ringtones; and in Hippo Eats Dwarf I wrote about Bust-Up chewing gum -- chew enough of it and gain an extra bra size (so it's manufacturer claimed).

We can add F-Cup Cookies to this list. The maker of these Japanese cookies claims that eating just two a day will make breasts bigger. Q-Taro.com reports that:
They come in packs of 4 for ¥290, each cookie containing 50mg of that miracle breast enlarging herb Pueraria Mirifica. How many cookies you'll have to eat to get size F Cup is unknown.
I doubt Pueraria Mirifica will have much effect on breast size, but I'm pretty sure that eating enough cookies, of any brand, will eventually cause your breasts to grow larger, whether you're a man or a woman. You may have to eat a LOT of cookies, however, and your stomach and thighs will get larger as well.
Categories: Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Comments (16)
image Just last week Intel got in trouble for a poorly thought-out ad. And now another technology company is in hot water for the same reason. Quite a few blogs have been posting a picture of a print ad created by QSOL.com. It shows an attractive woman's face with the caption, "Don't feel bad, our servers won't go down on you either."

Intel could credibly claim that they didn't intend for their ad to be racist, but it's hard for QSOL to argue that they didn't intend for this to be sexist. Someone at QSOl must have thought that a bit of frat-house humor would appeal to the purchasers of their technology, whom I'm guessing are mostly male.

The ad does appear to be real. It is said to have appeared in the August, 2007 issue of Linux Journal. However, QSOL.com makes no mention of the ad on their website.
Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Comments (11)
If you ever visit Beijing, no longer will you be able to buy soft drinks and snacks while relieving yourself in a public toilet. Chinese authorities have put an end to this practice, stating that, "It is not proper to sell soft drinks or snacks right at the toilets."

Thanks to Big Gary for the link. I can only echo his comment: "What? They sell food in the toilets?"

It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw in Mad Magazine about businesses unlikely to succeed. It showed "Bob's hand-made sandwiches and urine analysis".
Categories: Gross
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Comments (8)
image Kevin Keeble stirred up a lot of excitement when he sent pictures to the Newquay Guardian showing a great white shark that he claimed to have spotted about a mile off the coast of Cornwall. At the time he said, "We were out about one mile off Towan Head and I saw this fin in the distance. We were reeling in the mackerel but I picked up my camera and caught a picture with my telephoto lens. The shark was about 100ft away. It was only there for a few seconds before it disappeared."

A shark mania ensued. Others sharks were spotted, but they turned out to be harmless basking sharks.

Now Keeble has changed his tune, confessing that it was all a hoax. He's told a rival paper that he actually took the photo of the shark, "whilst I was on a fishing trip in Cape Town and just sent it in as a joke. I didn't expect anyone to be daft enough to take it seriously."

So it's once again safe to go swimming in Cornwall.
Categories: Animals, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Comments (1)
image C.P. Smith, an editor at the Orange County Register, has accepted a buyout and will soon be leaving his job. And during his final days at work he's decided to become a prankster. After all, what can management do? Fire him?

When interviews are being filmed in the paper's offices, he becomes "loud, disruptive, and performs antics for the camera." Here's one of his antics, as described by the KOCE-TV news director:
During an interview, which will air tonight, with Register reporter John Gittelsohn another Register employee [Smith] walked over to the interview area, intentionally stood behind John, faced the camera, picked his nose, and wiped it on his shirt. Unfortunately, this was part of our live-to-tape 30 minute broadcast which airs tonight at 6:30 for all to see.
I'm guessing there's more to this story than we're being told.
Categories: Business/Finance, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Comments (5)
The first review of Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments is in. It's from Kirkus Reviews:
The author of Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. (2006) enters the realm of reality, albeit from an odd angle.
Boese is a student of the weird. An inquisitive (read: obsessive) sort, he seems to be the sort of guy who, once he gets a superb idea, sees it through to the end and then some. Here, he offers a compilation of weird (there’s that word again) scientific and sociological experiments performed over the past two centuries. Some of the many highlights: a 1931 test to determine whether it’s possible for a chimp to raise a human baby; a 1977 examination on the validity of scratch-’n’-sniff paper; a gentleman who, in 1928, proved males could be multi-orgasmic to the tune of six ejaculations in 36 minutes; and, of course, the titular experiment to determine what happens when elephants are dosed with large quantities of LSD. Boese structures the book in such a manner that it can be read comfortably either front-to-back or at random. Very well-researched and delivered in an engaging, breezy, wink-wink tone similar to that of Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg’s Why Do Men Have Nipples?, this will likely be enjoyed equally by science buffs and casual aficionados of the curious.
One the finest science/history bathroom books of all time.
Then again, it may be the only science/history bathroom book of all time.
The part of the review in bold is what appears on Amazon. The review botches the details of most of the experiments it mentions, but that's a minor matter. What I really like is that line, "One [of] the finest science/history bathroom books of all time." But, of course, while good reviews are nice, what really matters is that people buy the book. (Hint, hint.)
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (8)
image I got an email from my wife with a link to a JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank being sold on Amazon. She had a single question: Is this real?

I think most of the reviews of the product are tongue-in-cheek, but the Badonkadonk itself does seem to be real. Methodshop.com sheds some light on this curious product:
The JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser (ba-donk-a-donk) is a custom made tank that looks like it was modeled after Jabba the Hut's Sail Barge from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Nicknamed the "Donk," the JL421 Land Cruiser made its debut in 2002 at the Burning Man festival in Nevada, and has since made numerous appearances as a support vehicle for the Stanford University Marching Band.
Apparently the Badonkadonk was dreamed up by two Stanford University Band drummers, Neal Ormond and Frank Pollock. It's built by NAO Design, and each one is custom made. There's even an option to have flame-throwers installed on it. Owning one will set you back about $20,000. But don't expect to drive it around town. It's not licensed for use on public roads.

Why it's called a Badonkadonk is a bit of a mystery. According to Wikipedia, Badonkadonk is "a slang term for a woman's buttocks that are voluptuously large and firm."
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (3)
Cornell University researcher Brian Wanskin arranged to give diners at a prix-fixe restaurant a complimentary glass of wine. The diners were shown the bottle before the wine was poured into their glass. Some of the diners were shown a wine bottle apparently from a fancy California winery called "Noah's Winery." Others were shown a bottle from a North Dakota winery. But in all cases the wine they were served was actually the same. It was a cheap Charles Shaw Cabernet (familiar to Trader Joes shoppers as "two-buck chuck").

Predictably, the diners seemed to appreciate the wine and their meal more when told that they were drinking a high-class California wine, as measured by how long they lingered at the table and how much food they ate.

I guess no one associates North Dakota with fine wine. Obviously they've never tried North Dakota Pumpkin Wine!

Wanskin concludes that, "Within limits, a food expected to taste good will taste good, and a food expected to taste bad will taste bad."

My theory with wine has always been that while there may be a noticeable difference between a $2 and a $15 bottle of wine, once you get over $15, there's really no appreciable improvement. People just expect very expensive wine to taste better, so they convince themselves that it does taste better. (via New Scientist blog)
Categories: Food, Science
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (12)
This video of a guy repairing high voltage cables from a helicopter has been going around a while -- for instance, it was posted on boing boing a few months ago, as well as digg -- but it was new to me. It has a surreal, science-fiction quality that makes it seem fake, especially when you see the repair guys sliding down the wires on all fours like spiders, but apparently this really is how live high-voltage wires are often serviced.

The guy doesn't get fried by the electricity because he's wearing a metal-fiber suit that acts as a "faraday cage" allowing the current to flow around him without harming him. Because the helicopter isn't touching the ground, it can safely be brought to the same voltage potential as the line, "like a bird on a line." (I really don't understand the technical aspects of electricity very well, so I'm just parroting the explanation given in the movie.)

The footage comes from an IMAX movie called Straight Up: Helicopters in Action, which is a Smithsonian documentary about "helicopters and their many and vital roles in contemporary society."

image
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (3)
About a week ago Lydia Irvin gave birth to a daughter while riding on a New York City Transit bus. Apparently it even specifies on the baby's birth certificate that she was born on a bus. So now Ms. Irvin is hoping that her daughter will qualify for free bus rides for the rest of her life. She'll just have to wave her birth certificate at a driver, and be able to go wherever she pleases. After all, according to urban legend that's the freebie that bus-born babies get.

However, the transit authorities have splashed cold water on Irvin's hopes:
MTA officials said if that ever was the policy, baby Lydia missed the bus by some 60 years. "I don't know if we've ever done that," a spokeswoman said. "Maybe in the 1940s, but that's before my time."
Gee, you would think they could at least give her a free one-month pass, or something. (Thanks, Joe)
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (2)
image Mike Wood of West Salem, Ohio has figured out an ingenious way to slow traffic in his neighborhood. He makes life-size cardboard cutouts of his children. Then he places the cutouts along the side of the road. People driving by think there's a real kid standing by the side of the road and they slow down.

I could use some of these on my street. I live on a busy road and sometimes people just go tearing up it. Though some traffic cones and a detour sign might be able to eliminate the speeding cars altogether.
Categories: Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 08, 2007
Comments (11)
85-year-old Gladys Wagner purchased a loaf of bread from her local convenience store on November 10, 2006. When she got back home, she cut off two pieces from it to make a sandwich. Then she rewrapped it in its bag and put it in her cupboard. The next day she went to live with her daughter for the winter, forgetting about the bread. But amazingly, when she returned home in the spring, THE BREAD WAS STILL FRESH! There wasn't even any mold on it.

Ever since then, the bread has sat on a shelf in her daughter's home, refusing to go stale. Finally, Gladys contacted the media about it. The academic community is at a loss to explain this miracle bread. The Canadian National Post reports:
Koushik Seetharaman, a University of Guelph professor, said Ms. Wagner appears to have accidently achieved a goal that has eluded many researchers.
"We've been working to create breads for NASA's shuttle program that last that long and haven't succeeded," he said yesterday.
The company that baked the bread speculates that the bread might have frozen during the winter, but they have no explanation for why it would still be fresh. They insist there's nothing unusual in the bread.

Sounds to me like Gladys should try selling her loaf of bread on eBay. Though it would fetch a higher price if it bore an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, in addition to being forever fresh.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 06, 2007
Comments (8)
image Here's yet another image of Jesus on a tree to add to my collection.

Irma Lopez, of Moorpark, CA, was watering her front yard when, she says, "I noticed an area on the tree that resembles Jesus. I threw down the hose and told my daughter Lisa to come outside." Lisa happens to be pregnant, and neighbors are suggesting that the image and her pregnancy might somehow be related... i.e. that the sudden appearance of the image is a "sign of God," "a true blessing for her and her family." More likely, it's just another case of pareidolia.

Sometimes these faces in trees are easy to see, but quite frankly, I'm not seeing anything on this tree.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 03, 2007
Comments (14)
Pictures of so-called "redneck limos" are very popular on the internet. There's quite a few of them to be found, and here's a selection of the ones that seem to be most frequently posted on blogs.

Are they real or fake? My hunch is that most of them are probably real. After all, there's no reason vehicles like this couldn't be built, and there are companies that specialize in building things like this. One such company is SuperDuty Headquarters, whose sign can be seen in the rear window of the truck in the first picture below (although I can't find any pictures of that truck on their website).

The picture I'm most skeptical of is the one of the white stretch limo with the trailer attached to the back. That trailer could easily have been photoshopped on.

image

image

image

image image image
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 03, 2007
Comments (8)
I found this news story from India intriguing:
Farmers in and around Ooty have expressed concern over the sale of fake organic manure in some fertilizer shops and also by some private parties involved in the fertilizer trade. KN Bhudhi, a farmer of Nanjanad village near here said, "Some fertilizer traders from Thiruchengode area came to our village and sold organic manure. I bought it with the hope that it would enhance yielding capacity. I spent Rs 36,000 to purchase that manure, but it failed to give desired results. This happened with other farmers also."
So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that these farmers are complaining about fake bullshit. Obviously they're in the wrong country. They should come to America, because no country mass produces truer bullshit than us. It's one of our country's leading exports.

But what exactly is fake manure? How do you produce such a thing? I'm confused.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 03, 2007
Comments (8)
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