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PETA recently offered a $1 million reward to the first company that can produce In Vitro meat in commercially viable quantities by 2012. (AussieBruce posted about it in the forum.)

But Daniel Engber, writing for Slate.com, explains why PETA's prize has so many strings attached that it's basically a bogus offer.

1) According to the contest guidelines, the fake-meat must be sold in stores to qualify for the prize. Engber writes: "Fake-chicken entrepreneurs have to demonstrate a "commercial sales minimum" at a "comparable market price"; in plain English, they need to move 2,000 pounds of the stuff at supermarkets and chain restaurants spread out across 10 states during a period of three months. And the Franken-meat can't cost more than regular chicken."

2) This is an impossible condition to meet, since the FDA would have to approve the fake-meat before it could be sold in stores. And there's no way a product like this could be invented and make it through the FDA's approval process in the next four years. The FDA review process itself typically takes years to complete.

So don't expect anyone to win PETA's prize.

I'm still waiting for those "Meat Trees" (genes from cattle spliced into the reproductive cells of grapefruit trees) described by the Weekly World News back in 2003 to become a reality. (Thanks, Christopher)
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 24, 2008
Comments (10)
Don't miss out on this gem on eBay. The seller says: "I have here for auction one ruffled potato chip that looks like Bigfoot. Just for fun, let's call him Chipfoot. grin The chip is in very good/stable condition and should ship quite nicely."

I'd make a bid, but at $3 it's already too pricey for me.
Categories: eBay, Food, Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 22, 2008
Comments (12)
The German website pundo3000.com has assembled a collection of 100 food products and compared what each one looks like, as shown on the packaging, to the actual product. In the majority of cases the difference is quite dramatic. But a few of the food products hold up pretty well in real life. For instance, the Milka chocolate bar looks almost exactly the same as it does on the packaging. But the roll (shown below) looks pretty unappetizing.

Funtasticus.com has collected all the images together into an easier-to-view format.

Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 25, 2008
Comments (12)
This video of a burqa-wearing woman very awkwardly trying to eat spaghetti is doing the rounds. It's titled "Why Italian Restaurants Failed in Dubai."

All you have to do to find out it's fake is read the comments on youtube, where quite a few people have pointed out that the footage comes from a British comedy show, "3 non-blondes." It's a candid-camera style show, in which the performers pull various bizarre stunts in public to see how the people around them will react. Wikipedia reports: "Ninia Benjamin, Tameka Empson and Jocelyn Jee Esien play a range of comical characters to the unsuspecting public. Varying from a fictional celebrity named Marcia Brown, to a charity worker who only wants a kiss or a hug instead of a cash donation."

I've never seen a woman eat while wearing a burqa, but I assume she would lift the fabric covering her mouth up. She wouldn't try to shove food down from the top.

Categories: Food, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 19, 2008
Comments (6)
Here's a recent example of what I call the "gross things found in food scam." The Post Tribune reports:
Tiffany Vance of Merrillville and her dinner date, Christopher Egnatz of St. John, tried to make a scene Tuesday night after dining at Applebee's, but it didn't play out as the pair had planned.
Servers at the crowded restaurant let the couple walk out on a $57 meal after Vance loudly complained she had found worms wriggling in her salad after the two had almost finished eating, a police report states.
But Vance left behind her purse, with a plastic container of maggot-like bee moth worms inside it, when she and Egnatz left.
A waitress searching for identification in the purse also found the container, and called police. As a police officer was taking a report at the restaurant a few minutes later, Egnatz returned, looking for the purse.

Egnatz later confessed.
Categories: Food, Scams
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 10, 2008
Comments (5)
Trifter.com has collected examples of foods that have either been made to look like Viagra, or have been renamed after it. The list includes Viagra Gelato, Viagra ice cream, Viagra spam mousse, Viagra cake, and Viagra musubi.

The Viagra spam mousse seems particularly appropriate, since the drug is such a favorite topic of spammers.


Categories: Food, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 05, 2008
Comments (2)
A video on youtube discusses a recent study that claimed to find all kinds of harmful microorganisms, including fecal bacteria, on the lemon wedges restaurants place in drinks. Microbiologist Anne LaGrange reported that when she tested some lemon wedges "it was like they had dipped it in raw sewage."



Apparently the problem is that restaurant workers often handle the wedges with their bare hands and they cut the lemons with knives they may have just used to cut meat.

David Emery of About.com has analyzed the claims in this video and finds them to be basically true. There was a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health in December 2007 which found significant microbial content on a high percentage of lemon slices from twenty-one different restaurants.

However, David also notes that health experts don't consider dirty lemon slices to pose much of a risk to public health. But if you're freaked out by the idea of germs, you might want to say no when your waiter asks if you want lemon in your drink.
Categories: Food, Gross
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 29, 2008
Comments (10)
Here's an ad, apparently created by a Brazilian extermination company, that is placed inside pizza boxes. The ad shows a photo of a dead roach, but it's only revealed as the pizza is removed from the box.

I'm sure the ad would attract people's attention, but I find it surprising that a pizza company would agree to place an ad like this beneath their food.

No word on if it's a real ad campaign, or just a mock up. (via nulovka via adrants)



Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 14, 2008
Comments (9)
Caught Lipsyncing
Amusing video on youtube of a guy caught lipsyncing. I like how he tries to pretend that nothing happened.


Live Frog in Lettuce
Yet another case of a family finding a live frog in their lettuce. The amazing thing is that instead of trying to sue someone, the family has adopted the frog as a pet. They call him "curious."


Fake Leg as Weapon
"Police said Donna Sturkie-Anthony took her elder sister's prosthetic leg and beat her with it."
Categories: Food, Law/Police/Crime, Music
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2008
Comments (4)
Renee Brewster of Florida found Jesus while preparing potato salad. His image was clearly visible in the moldy rot that had formed in the center of the first potato she split open. She put aside the holy potato and finished making the potato salad, which reportedly tasted excellent.

According to MyFoxOrlando, Renee and her husband feel that "the site of their savior in a potato has reinvigorated their faith."

But Cranky Media Guy wonders if this is manufactured pareidolia, noting that, "For the first time in memory, I can actually make out the figure they think they see."

If one Jesus-in-a-potato isn't enough for you, then you're in luck, because the MyFoxOrlando article links to a second story, from just a few weeks ago, about a Houston woman who also discovered Jesus inside a potato. But I think the Florida Jesus-Potato is better.
Categories: Food, Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2008
Comments (7)
If you've been to Starbucks in the past week or so, you've been at risk of finding yourself trapped in a "cheer chain." What this means is that the person in line in front of you pays for your drink, and in return you're supposed to pay for the drink of the person behind you. This goes on and on, ad nauseam. The Associated Press reported on one cheer chain that totaled 1,013 customers.

The question is, are these cheer chains a true spontaneous phenomenon, or are they a cynically created pr stunt? The phenomenon supposedly began when Arthur Rosenfeld offered to pay for the drink of the guy behind him in the drive-thru line who was honking and yelling. Rosenfeld is a tai-chi master, and he wanted to change the man's consciousness through a random act of kindness. The guy who was honking decided to pay for the car behind him, etc. etc.

But I'm in the camp of those who, like consumerist.com, believe they're a pr stunt. Consumerist points out that Starbucks is even issuing coupons to encourage the cheer chain movement, plus they've set up a website about it. (Thanks, Bob)

Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 23, 2007
Comments (16)
I'm not sure what to make of this video. Is it true or false?

It describes how to charge an iPod with an onion. The instructions are that you first poke a hole in the onion, then you soak it in an electrolyte solution (Gatorade). Once the onion has soaked up enough of the Gatorade, you simply push the usb adapter of your iPod's power cable into the onion, and according to the guys who made the video "your iPod will power up and it should begin charging."

I'm sure that the onion would generate some electricity. It's the part about sticking the usb adapter directly into the onion that surprised me. Somehow it just seems too easy. And I don't want to potentially ruin my iPod by testing it out.

Categories: Food, Photos/Videos, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Comments (25)
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