An end of year tradition — now in its second year — I’d like to share some of the studies I failed to mention during this passing year, and pay tribute to some outstandingly ridiculous achievements in food, health and weight-loss.
Beware of the beard bugs
Fall season is celebrated with many beautiful and tasty traditions, and one fall event I really look forward to is the Ig Nobel ceremony. The Ig Nobel awards are a parody of the Nobel Prizes, and have been awarded for the past 20 years for funny, absurd or unexpected (but all too real and methodically correct) scientific research in a ceremony attended by all too real Nobel laureates at Harvard University.
As a testament to the credibility of the Ig Nobel research and researchers, I want to mention that one of this year’s physics Nobel Prize winners, Andre Geim, already has an Ig Nobel to his name — his Nobel is for experiments with graphene; the Ig Nobel for levitating a frog. We can only wonder whether both are displayed on the same shelf.
And since food safety has been on our minds this year — and for good reason — I’d like to mention the Ig Nobel 2010 Public Health Prize. Long overdue, the prize was given to Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews, and Larry Taylor for proving that microbes cling to beards and can be a source for microbial spread.
Their study, conducted on bearded scientists, showed that beards retained harmful viruses, bacteria and toxins despite washing with soap and water.
Perhaps that’s why we expect men (and women) working with food to be clean shaven, or for beards to be neatly covered. Can you think of famous chefs with beards? James beard had no beard. The quintessential American chef not only was clean shaven — his bald head was his trademark. Baldness is good for food.
Running to look for a clip for my long, unruly locks.
Even faster fast-food
Embarrassing, but this genius idea was not invented here – it originated in South Korea. BBQ Chicken and its South Korean sister BHC Chicken offer the ultimate hybrid, the Col-Pop: A cold drink cup topped with fast food upper layer container, ensuring maximal stuff-your-face technology at minimal effort. As reported by seriouseats: “It's perfect for handy snacking while walking, driving, talking on the phone, or—as we discovered the other day—blogging”.
Are we losing our edge? Is our lead as the fattest nation under threat? C’mon, we have to make sure we’re no 1 in at least in something. We can make a better Col-Pop. How about a cup that freshly grinds the solid part of the Col-Pop, and delivers the chewed food through the straw? Saves on chewing, frees the snacking hand.
Dieters dream come true
Girdles have been around for a while and they work! They have been boosting butts, taming tummies and shaping the shapeless, and today’s body shapers are allegedly even a little bit comfortable (let’s see men wear them!), and such an upgrade from the tight corsets that caused the fainting epidemic of the Victorian era.
But did you know that there’s clothing you can wear that can slim you down? Yes, Skineez shaping garments contain “fat fighting cream” that will “smooth, firm and soften your skin” with a “balanced combination of anti-cellulite ingredients”. The jeans, at the bargain price of 159.99 are a great deal, because: “Skineez is proven to reduce inches and firm loose skin without diet and exercise!” and “You will see results in as little as five days!”
Every time you see “without diet and exercise” an alarm bell should ring, but when a product also claims to fight cellulite, your incredulity should be at maximal alert. Girls, I hate to break it to you, there is no cure for cellulite, just like there’s no way to lose inches without diet or exercise. The only thing Skineez can add to achieve less credibility is magnetic fields and alien visits.
So how come this is on TV? I’m just as baffled. Does anyone at the Federal Trade Commission ever suffer from insomnia? Late night TV infomercials are so loaded with fraud and quackery that it boggles the mind.
Genetically modified food to the rescue
Genetic modification of food promised to make the world a better place: Increase the nutritional content of food, provide drought and pathogen resistance crops that can solve world hunger, and decrease the need for chemicals in agriculture.
What genetic modification provided, for the most part, were Round-up ready patented seeds, lots of profit for Monsanto, and lots of worry for everyone else.
And now, a great development that I have no idea how we could live without: The genetically modified apple that resists browning. A Canadian company is awaiting the USDA’s approval for its patented technology, which silences the browning reaction the apple mounts when it’s bruised or cut. Hey, it might get some fussy kids eating more apples! GMOs to the rescue of human kind.
Feel free to share what impressed you most this year.
Reposted as part of Food Renegate's Fight Back Fridays--go join the food fight!