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Birth/Babies
Status: The intention seems genuine (though it doesn't look like the service has matched anyone up)
Ally forwarded me a link to the website withchild.us, along with this comment:

A friend sent this to me (we used to be part of a young mom's group) and I thought it was really disturbing... Could this site be a hoax? I sure hope so... It's a site that hooks up men who want to adopt with girls who don't want to give up their babies and they have the slogan "Attention Single Men Seeking To Adopt A Baby: Why snatch a baby from a poor 18-year-old birthmom when you can have the baby and the birthmom?" Yeah, weird...

I'm sad to say that I don't think withchild.us is a hoax. Bizarre, yes. But not a hoax. The idea the site promotes, as Ally said, is to pair up guys who want to adopt or find a wife, with pregnant, single women who are considering adoption. The mother gets to keep her baby, the guy gets to have an instant family (wife and kid), and theoretically everyone is happy. But check out the two guys, George Duckworth and Patrick Gibbons, who are listed as seeking pregnant brides:
image image

Not surprisingly, there are no women-seeking-men registered on the site.

Withchild.us is registered to Tom Alciere, who seems to view the adoption industry as an evil business that encourages young girls to get pregnant so it can sell their babies. His alternative is to encourage the young girls to marry guys who would otherwise be shopping for mail-order brides. (He even says, "Why travel to the Philippines to marry an 18-year-old cheerleader when there are young ladies available in your area?") On the surface it seems like a logical solution. Except, of course, that it completely ignores real-world considerations, such as whether any 18-year-old girl in her right mind would want to be saddled with Duckworth for the rest of her life. Alciere is also registered as the owner of internetbrides.info, where he offers info about finding an internet bride, as well as links to sites where you can "get laid tonight". A quick google search reveals that Alciere was a New Hampshire state representative, in which position he stirred up controversy by encouraging people to kill police officers. Charming guy.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Sat Jan 28, 2006
Comments (22)
Status: Hoax Website (political satire)
image We've already seen W Ketchup, so why not Baby Bush Toys? Their website states:

Sure, we all want what's best for our kids, but let's face the truth: not every child can grow up to be Einstein! At The Baby Bush Toy Company, we offer an exciting range of products for the resoundingly average child.

Products include a "Twisty Thing, That is Red" (shown in the thumbnail), and a "Terror Alert Xylophone." Unfortunately, none of these products seem to actually be for sale.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Politics, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 07, 2005
Comments (5)
Status: True-to-life dolls
image Here's a great way to permanently traumatize your kids. Give them some of these creepy Amamanta anatomically correct dolls:

These dolls include true anatomical details such as stitched on genitals and breasts. This means that children and parents alike will find the dolls true-to-life and see themselves as naturally complete and OK... Amamanta family cloth dolls are soft and cuddly and consist of a mother, father, son, daughter and newborn baby. This newborn baby can be placed in the mother’s belly and pulled out of the mothers womb to demonstrate birthing to the child.

I think what makes the dolls creepy is that they look totally fake, with painted on eyes and smiles, and then they surprise you with these ultra-true-to-life bits sticking out. It's disconcerting. My idea is that you could have your kid open them as a present on Christmas morning, and then, with the entire family there (aunts, uncles, and everyone), initiate a frank discussion about genitals and the process of birth. The kid would never be the same. (And a warning in case you're reading this at work: If you search around long enough on the amamanta site, you will encounter pictures of naked dolls.)
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 29, 2005
Comments (17)
Status: Real
image Sightings of a curious abstinence-promoting billboard are being reported throughout Iowa. The message that the billboard offers: Wait For The Bling. While teen pregnancy is obviously a serious problem, these billboards almost seem like a joke (and have a few people questioning if they're photoshopped). But they seem to be real. The fine print on the bottom of the billboard reveals that they're created by the Iowa Department of Public Health's Abstinence Education Program. Maybe they'll have the desired effect, though I doubt it. Seems to me like they could just as easily be interpreted to mean "Don't do anything until the guy gives you an expensive gift." (via Eschaton)
Categories: Birth/Babies, Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 28, 2005
Comments (18)
Status: Seems True
Earlier this year there was a story about a couple who named their baby Yahoo, in honor of having met over the internet. That story turned out to be a hoax invented by a Romanian reporter, Ion Garnod. But now there's a case, apparently true, in which a couple decided to name their baby Google. In response to whether he thinks his son will be teased in school on account of his name, the father stated: "not if he is using Google Search engine and he is building new idea with his friends around The Psychometric and Informational Structural Mind." I have no idea what that means. However, according to the Google Blog, the baby's full name is Oliver Google Kai, which means that Google is his middle name, which isn't quite as odd as if it were his first name.
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 24, 2005
Comments (12)
Status: Not Marzipan
I'm a big fan of Marzipan. In fact, I've made several pilgrimages to Lübeck, home of Niederegger, makers of the best marzipan in the world (in my opinion). So I was intrigued by these pictures of tiny babies supposedly made out of marzipan. I don't see why one couldn't make lifelike dolls out of marzipan, but that's not the case with these dolls. They're actually made by the artist Camille Allen out of polymer clay or resin, and they're not edible. Still, in the past it was apparently possible to buy jelly babies, as well as chocolate babies. So why not marzipan babies? (via Strong Chemistry)

image image image
Categories: Birth/Babies, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 13, 2005
Comments (103)
Status: Hoax
image Babycage.net has been selling "infant confinement" products (i.e. cages in which you can lock up your child) since 2001. Or so it claims. It also offers a Teenager Cage, which looks like it could be very useful. The company's philosophy is straight-forward:

At BabyCage.net we believe that the most important tool you need in life to succeed is discipline. Without discipline and structure, a child may become succeptible to liking rock and roll, doing drugs, or in an extreme case believing in liberalism.

Given that all the company's products are pet cages that have been rebranded as baby cages, I'm pretty confident the site is a joke. I'd categorize it in the modest proposal genre. (Thanks to azog for the link.)
Categories: Birth/Babies, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 23, 2005
Comments (29)
The Mozart Effect is the term for the idea that listening to classical music will improve your intelligence. The idea is baloney, and yet it enjoys wide belief. Check out MozartEffect.com, where Don Campbell sells a variety of products that will supposedly help people use music to improve their minds and bodies. The Skeptic's Dictionary has a good article debunking the phenomenon. Now Stanford researcher Chip Heath and his colleague Adrian Bangerter have published research tracking the evolution of the idea of the Mozart Effect. They trace The concept back to a 1993 experiment that found college students experienced a slight rise in IQ when listening to classical music (other researchers were never able to duplicate these results). From there the concept took off. But even though the original experiment involved college students, it didn't take long before people were applying the idea to infants and teenagers. So Heath and Bangerter came up with the hypothesis that "the legend of the Mozart Effect grew in response to anxiety about children's education." And "Sure enough, they found that in states with the most problematic educational systems (such as Georgia and Florida), newspapers gave the most coverage to the Mozart Effect." It seems like an interesting case study of what fuels the spread of misinformation.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Sun Jul 31, 2005
Comments (38)
image One of the contestants in this year's Baby of the Year competition hosted by the Kent & Sussex Courier was a little different. The odd baby out was Juanzo Bell. The strange grimace on young Juanzo's face was attributed to Wolf Syndrome, "a rare condition in which fur and whiskers grow - eventually obscuring the baby's smile." But in reality Juanzo was the photoshop creation of the guy who created the Vote For Juanzo blog. His aim was to undermine the integrity of the Kent & Sussex Courier's baby contest, since he views it as a cynical gimmick used by the paper to bump up their circulation figures. He was hoping to motivate the internet community to vote for Juanzo en masse. However, the deadline for voting was July 15, so it's too late to help the cause now. No word on how Juanzo fared in the contest. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 28, 2005
Comments (10)
The Guardian reports that numerous pregnant women have been seen lurking around branches of the UK store Harvey Nichols. Why? Because the women heard a rumor that Harvey Nichols gives out £500 gift vouchers to women who go into labor in the store. Supposedly one woman who was going into labor in the back of a car even took the time to phone the store to find out if the rumor was true. I guess she would have directed the driver to make a beeline to the store. However, the rumor is not true.
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 27, 2005
Comments (6)
image I just received an email from Dave Simpson with the attached image. Dave says:

Here is a photo of my son, Connor, on our backyard trampoline in Alabama. He was four months old at the time. Feel free to post it on your site.

So I'm stumped. Obviously a 4-month-old infant couldn't bounce themselves up and down on a trampoline. So how was the picture taken? I have no idea.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 22, 2005
Comments (87)
To you and me it may look like two tape players attached to a belt, but according to Dahlman Industries it's actually a 'Fetal Educator Strap', and they've managed to get it patented as such. What the patent doesn't mention is the type of sounds you should be using to educate the fetus. I'm curious if this will ever get made and if anyone will actually use it. (via Patently Silly, via J-Walk)
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 08, 2005
Comments (2)
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