Archive for April, 2008

Frankenstein chicken… And a trip to Mars…

Friday, April 25th, 2008

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering $1 million for anyone who can grow chicken meat in the lab… That is, chicken meat - without the live chicken! Here’s an example of one of the many news articles about this…

However, PETA are some of the world’s most clever publicity seekers. Are they really putting $1 million on the line? Or is there something “clever” behind the scenes?

According to Daniel Engber, writing in Slate, when you read the “fine print”, it’s not what it seems. Here it is in his own words…

So what’s wrong with the PETA prize? You need to sell your product in order to win. According to the contest guidelines, the million-dollar meat must be available in stores to qualify for the cash. 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.

(He links to the actual contest guidelines too…)

Very crafty, PETA! They get the publicity, but in all likelihood, will never have to pay out…

It reminds me of another publicity stunt, once done by a company called “Burma Shave” - a brand of shaving cream.

In 1955, they promised to send a person to Mars - if the lucky person could send in 900 empty jars of Burma Shave shaving cream! They thought they were safe - who would send in 900 empty jars?

But one guy did it! They wondered what to do… How could they send him to Mars? After all, they made a big promise in their advertising (and got a lot of publicity as a result)!

Eventually, they hatched a plan. They sent him to a little town called “Moers” (pronounced like “Mars”), in Germany!

Clever, huh?

Artificial insemination, then abortion - in the name of art…?!

Friday, April 25th, 2008

An American art student, Aliza Shvarts, has said she has artificially inseminated herself, then had an abortion, all in the name of art. Of course, it could be a hoax, or a publicity stunt. What do you think?

Here’s the story from the Guardian