Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Point/Counterpoint: Disney World as a Global Melting Pot.....

Disney World Provides a Magical Opportunity for People of Various Cultures to Come Together

By Amy Jones
Optometry Student
Memphis, TN
I will never forget my magical journey to Disney World. From the moment I arrived, my education began as the wonders of the world were opened up to me. I was able to experience the coming together of people from across the globe and my curiousity for adventure and discovery was met without even the need to cross an ocean.

Only at Disney World, where dreams truly do come true, can a simple southern girl from Memphis come to see the wonders of the diverse customs and characters of different countries and cultures from around the world. At Disney's amazing Epcot World Showcase, I travelled from country to country, soaking in every ounce of their unique cultural experiences. And did you know that the shops and restaurants are staffed by actual citizens of each country? Those accents aren't fake because they are the real deal!

But at Disney World, it isn't just about the staff and attractions. My fellow visitors hailed from around the world as well. Just people-watching in the lobby of my hotel taught me more about the ways of the world than any college course. If the spirit of mutual respect and admiration infused in every nook and cranny of Disney World is any indication, then there is hope for all people to one day join together in peace and harmony.

I'm Not Mulan!

By Nancy Chien
Harvard University

I'm not Mulan! For the love of god please stop asking for my autograph. Do I look like a Disney Princess? Can I please just eat my giant soft pretzel in peace?

Oh my god! Seriously people! I've never even been to China. I was born in Chicago. I've never even seen the movie!

I realize you want to get autographs for your kids. But didn't the fact that there wasn't a line and a 90-minute wait to approach my table seem a little odd? No? Fine, just give me the damn book! Who do I make this out to?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Area Dog has Adorable Seizure Disorder.....

Lafayette, LA- When 2-year-old Havanese Paw Paw Le Chien began having complex partial seizures related to a brain tumor in September, the last thing his owner expected was to become an overnight internet sensation.

An extremely complicated graph, shown here just moments before proving that stupid people aren't smart enough to understand it
"The seizures didn't happen very often at first so the veterinarian asked me to try to record the next one," Le Chien's owner Carlene Rasmussen explained. "When I watched the video and saw just how crazy adorable it was, I had to put it online. The next thing I know it's gone viral, we've got a million hits and Ellen is calling to see if we'll come on the show."

The seizures, which have increased in frequency over the past two months, have left the purebred canine severely cognitively impaired and barely able to move more than a few feet without assistance. And according to Rasmussen, he receives his feeds via a tube inserted directly into his stomach. "If it weren't for the book deal and the reality show we're filming for E!, I would probably have just gotten a new dog."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Starbucks to Offer Retail-Based Health Care Clinic.....

Seattle, WA-Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse company in the world, announced earlier today that it would begin opening retail-based health care clinics in select locations, likely in time for cold and flu season.
A picture of a dog
According to Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz, the decision to expand into medical care was inspired by the growing popularity of clinics in supermarkets and pharmacies.
“Folks are hurting out there, and retail-based clinics are a more economical option in many circumstances,” Schultz explains. “Starbucks will offer convenience and reasonable prices for the treatment of common medical concerns just like we do for whole bean organic Mexican shade grown medium roast coffee.”
Clinic operations will be overseen by Mort Fishman, a practicing Naturopathic physician in the Seattle area who is also one of only three Grand Wizard baristas in North America. According to Fishman, Starbucks won’t simply be unveiling another version of the CVS MinuteClinic or Walgreens Healthcare Clinic. “The last thing that sick people need is the unfriendly and sterile environment of a doctor's office or pharmacy waiting area. We want them to feel comfortable in an environment conducive to the sharing of ideas so that perhaps one might incubate and ultimately be born as full concept which might more easily spread from person to person."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Miracle Gerbil Alerts Family to Babysitter Abuse.....

Charleston, SC- Dogs may be known as man's best friend, but you may soon be referring to the common household gerbil as your baby's bodyguard. One South Carolina family certainly is after one of the pint-sized rodents helped them to discover the abuse of their infant child at the hands of a trusted live-in nanny.

A home defense gerbil, shown here armed with an F3000 Assault Rifle with 40mm grenade launcher, mere moments after completion of a certified home defense course offered only in southern Afghanistan and Texas. The gerbil has no name in order to avoid development of a personal identity and foster a drive to sacrifice his life if necessary in the defense of the home
"I became suspicious that she might be abusing our child when I noticed that our Silver Nutmeg Mongolian gerbil Sir Stinkypaws became agitated whenever she picked up the baby," thankful father Greg Stevens explained. "One time he even had to be physically restrained. So I set up hidden cameras that targeted likely areas of abuse like the nursery and the guest bedroom and shower."

The Stevens' nanny, 25-year-old Jordana Brewbacher, had been living with the Stevens family for about 2 months at the time of the hidden camera investigation. After collecting many hours of footage, which Mr. Stevens analyzed several times a day for many weeks, usually after Mrs. Stevens had gone to bed or while she was at work, he found what he was looking for. "I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. We were very clear about the schedule for naps and snack time."

Brewbacher, who confessed to giving the Stevens' infant son an extra afternoon snack to keep him from fussing, has been placed on the appropriate registries. After completing her time in prison she will never again be allowed to work near children or gerbils. Mr. Stevens is now raising awareness of the benefits of hidden cameras in the home and offering his experience in service to other families. "If anyone out there has hidden camera footage of their nanny, I would be happy to help analyze it."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NPR Listener Rends Fabric of Space and Time.....

Philadelphia, PA-Chaos broke out today at the studios of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia when a caller refused to turn down his radio resulting in a tear in the very fabric of space and time, and the death or disappearance of hundreds of studio employees.

Fresh Air host Terry Gross, shown here mere seconds before evaporating into quantum foam, possibly because of the appearance of a strangelet in her recording studio
“I don’t know what the heck happened over there”, Rick from Tuscon explained. “One minute I’m asking that dude from The Shield where he got his motivation from and the next all hell is breaking loose.”
Scientists are scrambling to piece together what may have happened, and are thus far baffled as to why many of the people working at WHYY-FM that day are now dead or missing without a trace. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku of the City University of New York believes that there are a number of possible explanations. “The infinite feedback loop caused by the callers radio may have somehow elevated the harmonic of the missing individuals, carrying them fully, or partially, into a higher dimension. Also this may just be a big coincidence and a black hole simply formed in the middle of the building.”
Maggi Leyden, Executive director of Donor Relations at WHYY-FM and one of the few survivors of the horrific event, remains hopeful about the future of public radio. “I can’t say that I’ll ever truly get over seeing Terry Gross ripped in half at the waist, but I can say that now would be the perfect time for listeners out there to support their local NPR stations.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Facebook Group Secedes from the United States.....

Cambridge, MA-In a surprising move earlier today, administrators of the Facebook social group, “1,000,000 People Who Love Kittens!!!”, officially declared their secession from the Unites States.
Monsieur Muffin, seen here praying for forgiveness for his role in the events leading up to the 2nd Civil War and ultimate dissolution of the United States of America
The group, started by New Jersey homemaker Jeannie Baker in August of last year, currently consists of Jeannie, Jeannie’s best friend Luanne Watkins, and a man listed only as Steve. Displayed in the group’s photo section are nearly three hundred pictures of Jeannie and Luanne’s cats, Monsieur Muffin and SeƱor Whiskers respectively, as well as a number of drawings of cats by Steve.
President Obama, upon learning of the secession, reacted by ordering an immediate review of the groups submitted secession paperwork. “I immediately put my best people on this,” Obama explained. “But after a thorough review, it’s all there and the administration’s hands are tied on this.”
Constitutional scholar Moises Turpin agrees. “This isn't the first time a small group of organized citizens has left the Union. Of course we all learned a powerful lesson from Reagan’s 1983 thermonuclear strike on the Greater Newark Dungeons & Dragons Club. Diplomacy is really the way to go here.”
When told of the groups secession, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed regret but also understanding. “I can’t say I didn't see this coming. My wife told me that one day my free-access social networking website was going to end up tearing this nation apart.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Maker of Popular E-Cigarette Brand Deny Targeting Kids with New Product.....

Bristol, United Kingdom- Manufacturers of Safe-T-Vape brand E-cigarettes have drawn significant criticism over their latest product, which combines a standard E-cigarette nicotine delivery device with a handheld video game, but deny that they are targeting young children.

Chaos Unit 1972-11-1 Blond Female, shown here running a priority B program
"We are absolutely not attempting to entice school-aged children into using our products," Royal Tobacco Chairman Lance Rapier explained. "There are reams of papers showing that adults enjoy gaming as much if not more than minors."

There are currently two versions of the device available for purchase online or in select retail outlets. The Scorpion comes in red and has a giant flame-spewing robotic scorpion on the back that is depicted crushing an army tank with a ninja warrior impaled on its stinger. For female consumers, the Princess comes in pink, covered in glitter and with a shirtless picture of Justin Bieber in place of the metallic arthropod.

In addition to the gaming feature, which industry analysts believe will help to significantly increase the market share of Safe-T-Vape, each proof-of-purchase can be redeemed for a chance to win two tickets to any Six Flags amusement park in the continental United States or a birthday party with the cast of Disney's animated hit Frozen. When the 1.1 ml tank reservoir is near empty or the rechargeable battery power falls to 25%, units can be programmed to play either "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry or adorable kitten noises.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Study Links Improved Diet to Fewer Pirate Baby Birth Defects.....

Secret Pirate Island-A new study released today by the joint Council of Pirate Nutrition and Plank Walking appears to confirm the anecdotal reports of significant decreases in pirate baby birth defects seen since the release of updated dietary guidelines in 2004.

A pirate baby born with a unilateral eye-patch prior to the publication of the 2004 dietary guidelines
"We can now finally say with scientific certainty that our recommendations are actually paying off," pirate physician Mort Fishman explained. "Our data shows that among pirate babies born today there are 15% fewer peg legs, 30% fewer hook hands, and a shocking 70% drop in unilateral eye-patches when compared to buccaneer infants from just ten years ago. Arrrr."

Though long known for their poor nutrition while on lengthy sea voyages as well as high rates of scurvy and other deficiencies in micronutrients, attempts at improving pirate health have historically been met with much skepticism among pirate epidemiologists. But the evidence that the dietary changes begun in 2004 have led to major advances in pirate health are compelling, particularly among newborns. The decade old dietary recommendations included increased intake of vitamin C and folic acid, as well as reductions in high fructose grog and rancid weevil infested gluten containing carbohydrates.

Friday, October 3, 2014

NASA Teams with National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to Study Alternative Medicine in Space.....

Washington, DC- Two federally funded scientific organizations tasked with the advancement of our understanding of the cosmos are teaming up for the first time to study alternative medicine in space.

Reiki Master Jim Tyranus, shown here demonstrating space Reiki
"Frankly I'm surprised it took this long for the two agencies to get together," National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) director Josephine Briggs explained. "Until now, we've been handicapped by our inability to study alternative therapies beyond the Karman line. How else can you explain so many years of negative studies?"

For more than two decades, the NCCAM has investigated a wide variety of natural healing practices and herbal remedies supported by tax dollars as a component of the National Institutes of Health. So far, despite trying really hard, they have had little if anything to show for their efforts. This failure to produce proof of efficacy hasn't sat well with some of today's modern congressional leaders, like Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.

Harkin has been a vocal supporter of alternative medicine since the early 1890's when he recovered from a viral upper respiratory infection with the aid of an elixir he bought from a travelling salesman in Des Moines. A century later in 1992, he would be instrumental in the formation of what would become the NCCAM. Senator Harkin was also the force behind this unprecedented collaboration.

The first NCCAM trial to be run with the assistance of NASA will take place on the International Space Station and study an energy-based healing therapy known as Reiki. Developed in 1922 by some guy in Japan, Reiki practitioners tap into and manipulate a patient's Ki, the universal life energy that, according to Reiki practitioner Ben Kenobi, "surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."

Until now, evidence of any benefit from the practice has been lacking, leading some to question the existence of this elusive "force". H. Solo, a member of the Corellian Skeptical Society, has even gone on record denying it entirely:
"...I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny."
According to Briggs, space is the perfect environment for studying Reiki because it is far, far away from the many potential sources of interference on Earth, like overhead power lines, Wi-Fi and skepticism. "We are of course primarily interested in its healing ability, but I think we'd all love to see a mind trick or some Reiki Lightning."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cutting Edge Microbiome Based Diet Revolutionizes Weight Loss.....

Laguna Hills, CA- Researchers at the Laguna Hills Aesthetic Endocrinology Institute held a press conference today to reveal the amazing results of a study of their revolutionary microbiome-based diet, or MBD.

Example of one of several microbiome-based diet (MBD) meals, designed to specifically target an individual's gut flora in order to induce weight loss 
"There has never been a diet like this before," lead researcher and co-founder of the Aesthetic Endocrinology Institute Dr. Mort Fishman explained. "We design every meal specifically to interact with the client's microbiome in order to encourage the growth of healthy intestinal flora while at the same time weeding out any organisms that might lead to weight gain."

The study, which lasted 6 weeks and involved twelve healthy subjects, found that significant weight loss is possible when the MBD is followed strictly. Dr. Fishman and his team took samples of each subject's stool in order to determine their individual microbiome. Then using a patented scientific process they determined which specific foods best complemented each participant's gut flora. Institute nutritionists then designed the individual meal plans, which ranged from 500 to 800 daily calories.

The results were nothing short of miraculous. Half of the participants lost an average of thirty pounds, with the remaining six subjects being disqualified for going off protocol. Fatigue, severe constipation and difficulty sleeping were reported by most of the subjects, however Dr. Fishman attributes these complaints to prior conditions or anxiety.

The study adds to a growing body of research linking the microorganisms in our intestines to a variety of health concerns, including weight gain. Until recently, according to Dr. Fishman, much of the focus has been on the use of probiotics, but evidence has been mixed. "We recommend a gentler and more natural approach. Why replace when you can nurture?"