World in Briefs (11.19.12)
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, he called it a, “giant leap for mankind.” Those words have never been more relevant until five Harvard students launched a hamburger into the atmosphere on the 9th. Putting their Ivy League education aside, the group of friends rigged a hamburger and camera to a weather balloon and sent it on its maiden voyage. The video captured the heartwarming journey of the burger ascending 90,000 feet before plummeting back down to Boston. This achievement came at a cost however, as the burger, which had been coated in chemicals so it wouldn’t fall apart during the trip, could not be eaten.
Earlier in the month, Pepsi Japan started to distribute a new drink that has apparently revolutionized the industry; they invented a soda that blocks fat absorption. While the company may not understand that soda aides in the opposite of that, the drink has benefited rats in tests, but no actual benefits have been proven in the species that is actually going to be drinking the soda. Pepsi Special isn’t the only drink to claim such miracle properties as millions of con men have possessed in the past; Kirin, a beer company, launched a similar idea in the beginning of the year. Alternatives like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are also ways to lose weight or stay in shape, but why do that when you can buy a wonder-drink from a company that sells millions of sugary drinks each year?
The next time you yawn during a boring class or dull business meeting and get in trouble for it from a professor or boss, you can, thanks to science, tell them that you were building an emotional bond with them. Researchers at the University of Pisa have gathered evidence suggesting that yawning builds and strengthens friendships and bonds. After studying a group of chimpanzees, the scientists concluded that humans yawn more around friends than strangers and is, in fact, a form of communication.
No, this is not an attempt to be meta, but if it were, philosophers like Camus and Kierkegaard would be dazzled. Back to business, on the 15th, people around the world will be participating in the eighth annual Guinness World Record Day. Many of the potential record-holders join the competition out of the kindness of their incredibly odd hearts to help out various charities. Some are attempting to lift 51 pounds with their eye sockets, while other, more down-to-earth people will attempt to smash coconuts or throw shaving-cream pies. Scratch your head and wonder how some of these people discovered these talents if you like, but just remember that it’s all for a good cause.