I love a good hoax

June 18, 2009

Last year, there were reports of a man giving birth to a healthy female child.

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Except that the story wasn’t completely true. The man concerned was in fact a transgender person who still retained his/her female reproductive organs.

More interesting were reports of a man, Lee Mingwei who was carrying a child despite having no female organs.

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This one really was a hoax. Going to the website www.malepregnancy.com leads you to the elaborate world of the fictional RYT Hospital and the Dwayne Medical Centre at the non-existent Dwayne University.

Here you have links to a wonderful selection of medical research marvels – nanotechnology robots which operate within blood and tissue.

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Genochoice, which enabled prospective parents to create their own genetically healthy child online

Clyven, the mouse engineered with the same intelligence as a human by implanting human brain cells

And of course the pregnant man.

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This very professionally produced site is full of pseudo-science and appears very credible. Except it is not. It is a wonderfully carried off hoax.

Two questions remains though. Why and who is paying? Unlike the April Fool’s jokes I wrote about in April (when else?) which were advertising stunts, there seems no obvious commercial return for the RYT pages. Perhaps I have become cynical and assume that there must be a financial component for everything on the web. Clearly that is not true. I do this for the fun of it. But the RYT site is so elaborate and clearly a great deal of time went into it. It is reasonable to ask why.  

Incidentally, UK Internet consultant Phil Bradley has a wonderful list of other hoaxes on his website.

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A joke entry in this week’s Guardian Weekly ‘Notes and Queries’ column , the motto of the French navy – “a l’eau, c’est l’heure”, reminded my of a book that I had forgotten about for the last 30 years which makes similar use of homophones.

The so-called, d’Antin Manuscript entitled Mots D’Heures: Gousses, Rames was published in the late 60’s and purports to be a set of ancient French poems.

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The one I best remember went –

Et qui rit des curés d’Oc?, De Meuses raines, houp! de cloques.

The first time I read them, I laboriously tried to understand the French, until it was pointed out that I should read them out loud. Then the penny dropped.

Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.

Another well-know one is –

Un petit d’un petit, S’étonne aux Halles, Un petit d’un petit, Ah! Degrés te fallent

Each poem is accompanied but a straight-faced translation of the French.  “Et qui rit des curés d’Oc? De Meuses raines, houp! de cloques.” is translated as “he who laughs at the curés of Oc will have frogs leap at him from the Meuse river”.

The whole thing is a wonderfully witty read, as I have rediscovered this week.

D’Antin is in fact one time architect and later Hollywood actor Luis van Rooten. Mexican born Van Rooten was a master of languages and accents and found films roles that made use of this skill. 

I have never quite understood why fancy Chinese meals are supposed to taste better if they are accompanied by a bird carved out of a carrot, or elegant meals are somehow more elegant if the butter is shaped like a rose.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but be impressed with things that people with food in the name of art and have posted examples before – https://cyberslacker.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/do-play-with-your-food/

I can’t say that I much like these watermelon carvings by Francesco Scravaglieri but I do at least admire the endeavour.

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Although the main use of the Internet would seem to be for the distribution of erotica and pornography  (apart from its other use as a means of pirating copyright material), I have not been in the habit of writing about it. But as this blog is dedicated to the quest for the absurd and the odd, I cannot refrain from passing comment on this hilarious find – courtesy of Reuters (Shannon Stapleton).

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This is from the tryouts for the Lingerie Football League. Yes that’s right. An American football competition between teams such as the Dallas Desire and the San Diego Seduction.

I suppose it is one way of livening up such a dull game. The exercise is so cynical that it does make me laugh though.

LFL

Polymath

June 1, 2009

Now we are getting somewhere! Having looked at music and maths, art and food, art and science I have finally found a trio – art, maths and food.

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George W Hart is a sculptor and mathematician with a special interest in geometric scupltues. He is the author of the online Encyclopaedia of Polyhedra, in case you are interested in exploring the exciting field of Stellations of the Rhombic Triacontahedron and other such delights, and is a research professor in a computer science department.

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So, art and maths. But what about the food?

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Although it is hard to see in this picture of a mobile entitled  ‘No Picnic’ , these three pieces are made of plastic knives, forks and spoons

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Cute huh?