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Category: Business/Finance
Breath Capture
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 21, 2005
Status: Real (but possibly a publicity stunt) Breath Capture is a company that's selling air. Or more specifically, they're selling tubes. The customers themselves are supposed to provide the air by breathing into the tubes. They promote these tubes as a way to "Capture the breath of a loved one or friend and keep them close. Forever." So it's a gimmick, kind of like pet rocks, or buying land on the Moon. But what gets me is this claim the company makes on it site: Breath Capture is a patent-pending method and apparatus for collecting human breath as a keepsake…
Chinese Company Bids $450bn for Exxon
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 02, 2005
Status: Hoax I find this very strange. A Chinese company, King Win Laurel, has filed paperwork with the SEC indicating that it's planning to make a bid to buy oil giant Exxon for $450bn. But analysts are dismissing the bid as a prank, since King Win Laurel doesn't have the kind of money necessary to make good on such an offer. Apparently King Win Laurel has a history of making hoax bids. Last year, for instance, it made a fake bid to buy Telstra. It also tried to buy a New Zealand firm called Restaurant Brands, but that offer was rejected by local regulators. So what we have here is a Chinese firm that simply likes making…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (5)
Gillette’s 5-Blade Razor
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 15, 2005
Here's a great example of satirical prophecy (defined as a joke becoming a reality). Back in February 2004 The Onion lampooned the razor industry with a spoof article, supposedly written by the CEO of Gillette, declaring that his company was going to one-up the competition by inventing a five-blade razor with two lubricating strips: Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way…
Outsourcing Blogging
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 19, 2005
I always feel guilty when I don't update my weblog regularly. Like when I was finishing my book and didn't have time to post, or this past week when I got the stomach flu and didn't feel like sitting at the computer. The guys at Blogoriented have an ingenious solution to this problem. They're outsourcing blogging: We are outsourcing blogs to China. Our general business model is a two tiered effort to hire Chinese citizens to write blogs en masse for us at a valued wage... These blogs will pop up in various areas of the net and appear to the unknowing reader to be written by your standard American. Our short term goal for…
Categories: Business/Finance, Websites Comments (13)
Rent My Son
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 22, 2005
For all those occasions when a kid would come in handy (I can't think of any), RentMySon.com offers the solution. Just call them up and they'll send a kid over. They rent out kids for proms, birthday parties, father/son events, etc. And if you'd like to make a little bit of extra money by hiring out your kid, they'll arrange that too. (Yes, the site is a hoax).
Categories: Business/Finance, Websites Comments (21)
Upgrade My Wife
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 17, 2005
What is it with this thing about begging for money to pay for plastic surgery? It's become the new online phenomenon, as if the most deserving people in the world are those who need a tummy tuck or boob job. As it happens the guy who created Upgrade My Wife is hoping to get both those surgeries for his wife. And he wants internet surfers to pay for them. He writes: I created this web site because my wife has been considering a tummy tuck and breast augmentation for quite a few years, but neither of us knew how much it would cost. She made the appointment to see her doctor and went through the…
Man Arrested For Paying With Two-Dollar Bill
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 12, 2005
The Baltimore Sun reports on the case of Mike Bolesta, who was recently arrested for the crime of paying a bill with $2 bills. This seems to be an example of an urban legend come to life--the urban legend being the one about a clerk in a store who doesn't realize that $2 bills are legal money and reports a customer who uses them to the police. In the case of Mike Bolesta, he did use A LOT of $2 bills, 57 of them in all, to pay a bill at Best Buy. But still, there doesn't appear to have been any good reason for the store to have him hauled away to the police station for this.…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (30)
The Nike Swoosh
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 06, 2005
Was the Nike Swoosh (which is perhaps one of the most famous corporate logos in the world, second only to McDonald's golden arches) really designed by a graphic design student who got paid only $35 for it? It sounds like an urban legend playing off of Nike's use of cheap Asian sweatshop labor. But apparently the story is true. At least, the Nike website confirms it. The swoosh was designed in 1971 by design student Carolyn Davidson, and she did only receive $35 for it. However, in 1983 the company gave her a gift of stock as a token of their appreciation.
Sonic Stain Remover
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 06, 2005
Would this thing actually work? It's described as an ultrasonic stain remover that "will remove virtually any clothing stain, no matter how stubborn." The fact that the ad copy keeps repeating the phrase 'utilizes ultrasonic technology' without actually explaining how or why it's supposed to work makes me skeptical. I guess the ultrasonic sound waves are somehow supposed to break up stain particles? If it did work as advertised, it would be useful. (via Red Ferret)
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (28)
Credit Card Prank, Parts I and II
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 29, 2005
Zug's Credit Card Prank was widely linked to a few years ago. This is the prank as he describes it: Every time you make a credit card purchase, they're supposed to match your signature against the one on the back of your card. Nobody seems to check anymore, so I tried to see how far I could push it with wacky signatures like "Mariah Carey" and "Zeus". Now Zug has posted a sequel to the Credit Card Prank in which he makes his signatures even wackier and tries to discover what he can get away with. He draws pictures of Shamu, diagrams of the large intestines, and musical notes. They're all happily accepted.
Categories: Business/Finance, Pranks Comments (16)
Social Security for Sale
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 24, 2005
'Billionaires for Bush' placed the American Social Security System up for sale on eBay. Apparently it was quickly pulled, but Billionaires for Bush has archived the auction on their own site: Due to the surprising failure of carefully staged "conversations" across America to convince the American Public that Privatizing Social Security is a good thing, we have decided to take matters into our own hands. As a favor to President Bush and offered exclusively here to the winning bidder who meets our reserve, (must be a private Brokerage Firm, see details below) Billionaires For Bush can't wait to pull the switch on retirement security by circumventing Congress, the Will of the People, and good sense.…
Categories: Business/Finance, eBay, Pranks Comments (3)
Is McDonalds Outsourcing their Drive-Thru Windows?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 18, 2005
The rumor I heard was that McDonalds would be outsourcing the job of taking orders at the drive-thru window to some company in North Dakota, because the minimum wage in North Dakota is only $5.15, whereas it's higher in other states, so they figure they can save some money. In other words, you could be going through a drive-thru in San Diego and giving your order to some guy in North Dakota. This struck me as very odd. But it appears that the story is basically true, except that McDonalds denies that its reasons for doing this has anything to do with trying to pay their employees less. They claim that when employees have to take…
Categories: Business/Finance, Food Comments (81)
The Money Blog Experiment
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 04, 2005
The Blog Experimenter, as he calls himself, is a "30-something guy living in the midwest United States." His experiment is to create a blog, put Google Ads on it, and see how much money he can make off the venture. Except he's really created two blogs. The first one is 'the money blog', which is the blog that is the subject of the experiment. The second is the 'blog money experiment', on which he chronicles his efforts to make money with the google-ad-driven 'money blog'. He doesn't tell you what the url of the money blog is, or what subject it covers. And from what he says, it doesn't appear to be attracting much of a following. His…
Categories: Business/Finance, Websites Comments (26)
An Interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 07, 2005
An interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, has been doing the rounds. It's supposedly published in the February issue of Wired. The interview is quite colorful, to say the least. For instance, at one point Yamauchi claims that during a meeting with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer he said to him, 'hey, Ballmer, why don't you suck my tiny yellow balls.' This was his response to Microsoft's offer to buy Nintendo. The quotation is offered up in bold letters in the sidebar, so there's no chance you'll miss it. There's also some other equally outrageous stuff. Is any of it real? No. It's a fake interview and a fake Wired…
Salvation Army Gold Coin Mystery
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 22, 2004
A coin dropped into a Salvation Army kettle last week in Naperville has made headlines. It was a $400 gold coin wrapped in a $1 million bill (the $1 million bill was fake). This brings up the mystery of just who's behind this tradition of dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles. Apparently the tradition dates back to 1982, when a gold coin was dropped into a kettle in a Chicago suburb. Gold coins have shown up in kettles in many states ever since then. Some think the coins are donated by people who benefitted from the charity in the past. But others suspect it may all be a publicity stunt engineered by the Salvation Army…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (33)
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