Science Hoax of the Week: Human Flavoured Tofu

Science Hoax of the Week: Human Flavoured Tofu

Hmmm fake human...

There are a lot of weird food-stuffs out there, this makes it particularly difficult to tell if an outlandish food is real or a hoax. One product in particular that sought to play with this boundary was HUFU, aka Human flavoured Tofu.

“[Hufu is] a great convenience food for cannibals. No more Friday night hunting raids! Stay home and enjoy the good healthy taste of hufu,” said the Hufu website (which ran from 2005 to 2006), which also offered a range in baby seal tofu.  The product was aimed at cannibals who want to quit their antisocial practice and anthropology students studying cannibalism.

Of course no such product exists or has existed, is was a spoof product created by Mark Nuckols, who at that point was a student at the Tuck School of Business. He claimed that the idea came to him when he was eating a tofurkey (a tofu based faux turkey) sandwich whilst reading a book on cannibalism.

If you want a good laugh and to know a bit more about Hufu then I would recommend checking out The Daily Show’s segment, featuring an interview with Mark Nuckols, below:

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Science Hoax of the Week: Me – April Fools Day Reveal

Science Hoax of the Week: Me – April Fools Day Reveal

So yesterday was April Fools Day, did you get taken in by any hoaxes? There were some brilliant ones going around. Google brought out Google Motion (a programme to control Gmail via kinect like gestures) and Youtube “discovered” some viral videos from 1911:

 

On a much lower key I decided to have some fun with science for April Fools Day. So I wrote this post. Were you fooled by it? Because what it implied was that scientists had discovered the genetic mutation for Zombification in bacteria. Now, there were quite a lot of clues. So if you did cotton on to the hoaxery of the article, how many did you find?:

 

  • Staphylococcus Rabia does not exist. Rabia is latin for ‘rage’ a reference to the dangerous virus that brings about the zombie apocalypse in 28 Days later
  • The Journal ‘Annals of Victus Mortuus’ does not exist and translates as the Annual Journal of the Living Dead!
  • The described behavioural changes are your stereotypical zombie characteristics written in scientific language and applied to bacteria
  • The video is actually of a white blood cell engaging in phagocytosis
  • The photo is again a white blood cell engaging in phagocytosis
  • The authors of the paper “GA Romero, D Boyle and E Wright” are film directors who made, respectively, The Dawn of the Dead Series, 29 Days later & Shaun of the Dead
  • The “WGON lab in Pittsburg” is a reference to the WGON Tv Studio in Pittsburg where the characters hide out in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
  • There is also a comment by Prof Raimi, aka Sam Raimi who made the Evil Dead Series of zombie films.
  • Raimi is referred to as the author of Nyturan Demonta which is the another name for The Book of the Dead (which features in the Evil Dead Series)
  • The mutation in the citation at the bottom of the post was Δ28DL. Another reference to 28 days later.

In hindsight there is one hint I forgot, I did not imply that if a wild type cell was attacked by a mutated cell it would then take up the mutation. But, other than that (and the description of the scientific methods being completely useless!) I am quite pleased with my little hoax.

And also am very pleased that this wont be happening any time soon:

If you happened to read my previous post, were you fooled by it? And what did you think? I’d be very interested to know.

Science Hoax of the Week: Artificial Insemination with a Bullet

Science Hoax of the Week: Artificial Insemination with a Bullet



‘Son of a gun’ 

Dr Capers
 The day was May 12th 1874. Dr Legrand Capers was serving with the Confederate Army in the battle of Raymond. Suddenly, a young man fighting next to him screamed, his tibia had been fractured. The bullet had then ricocheted off the bone, obliterating his left testicle and disappeared. After quickly patching up his comrade he was immediately rushed off to tend to a nearby young woman who had been shot in the abdomen, the bullet had passed into her uterus and “was lost”. Both patients thankfully recovered. But, the girl’s stomach became distended. Dismissing this as a side effect of the injury Capers was shocked when 278 days after her injury she gave birth to boy. However, the greatest shock was still to come when 3 weeks after his birth the baby displayed an unusual scrotal defect. Capers immediately performed surgery and found a small damaged bullet. He then published his findings in the American Medical Weekly in 1874 declaring it to be the same bullet that had injured both patients, thus giving the first example of human artificial insemination by bullet!

There is one slight catch in the story. None of it happened, it was a joke story. This however, did not stop the spreading and becoming widely accepted, as late as 1959 it was being cited as fact by the New York Journal of Medicine.

Science Hoax of the Week:Quarantine the Game Show

Science Hoax of the Week:Quarantine the Game Show

Due to lots of essay pressure I have not been able to complete this weeks theme “The Science of Dating” yet, but will finish it next week. In the meantime, here is this weeks ‘Science Hoax of the Week’ I originally wrote for Felix:

Want to win £100,000 and catch a dangerous disease? Well, a proposed “new reality TV show” advertised just that in its search for contestants.  Asking for individuals who were “Not worried about looking and feeling your worst on live TV?” the show, Quarantine, was to be set in a virology lab with the contestants exposed to infectious diseases. The last contestant remaining in the room would win the money. Published in the Daily Mirror, the advert received over 200 applications. Medical professionals kicked up a fuss condemning the show. However, it was later revealed to be an experiment by the Mirror to see “just how far people will go in the pursuit of fame”.

Science Hoax of the Week – The Nipple Transplant Slimming Technique

Science Hoax of the Week – The Nipple Transplant Slimming Technique

This was originally printed in Felix however, has been expanded on here.

The ficticious Dr. Jonas Zizlesse, M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S.

“Why would you want to diet? It’s hard! You can’t eat what you want when you want!” It’s an appealing case made by the website of Dr Zizlesse. However, this hoax website (viewable here) gives a rather unappealing alternative to dieting, nipple transplants. The theory is that by transplanting nipples onto rolls of fat you tap into societies fixation with breasts, turning the obese into multi-mammary jordan-esque glamour models. It declares in their emails that “FAT IS ONLY UGLY UNTIL YOU PUT A NIPPLE ON IT!”.

Thankfully Dr Zizlesse and the ‘Nipple Addition Surgery’ are completely fabricated having been made up by persistent internet satirist and prankster Hyperdiscordia.

Here are a few before and after shots from the “treatment”

Before

After

Science Hoax of the Week – Musical Condoms

Science Hoax of the Week – Musical Condoms

This was originally printed in Felix however, has been expanded on here.

This is hoax dates back to the mid 90’s when reports in the UK emerged that a Hungarian Scientist had invented a condom which would play music when put on. The stories reported that the song selected for the condoms was ‘Arise, Ye Worker’ (aka the communist hymn The Internationale). Despite their best efforts no one was ever able to find Ferenc Kovacs and his lyrical inventions. But you can enjoy the song here:

The same occurred almost a decade late when reports surfaced that Ukranian Dr Grigorii Chausovskii had produced condoms with ‘sensors’ that would alter the music they played depending on wearers position and would get louder the more vigorous the action. The report it still available on the website of The Sun here. Again it turned out to be nothing more than a hoax with Dr Chausovskii and his invention impossible to track down.

Having done a bit more research into this area of hoaxery, the condom seems to be a surprisingly popular choice! However, one story dismissed as a hoax which had an element of truth was passed round via email a few years ago. The story went that in China used condoms were being manufactured into elastic bands and hair ties and being sold, causing risk of STI’s and generally just being disgusting. The presence of condoms within the hair ties was discovered by a woman who noticed when her hair tie had frayed that the elastic was an unusual colour. Now, whilst this story does appear to be true in certain respects it is not believed that the condoms were used. It is thought that they were factory run-offs that failed quality control and were put to another use.