Archive for 'Improbable Investigators'

The All-Meat Diet, Then and Now

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

The All-Meat Diet was fictional when it was the centerpiece of “The Atkins Diet Opera” in 2004. Now someone is promoting the All-Meat Diet as a real diet for real people to follow.

Mikhaila Peterson. Sketch by Nan Swift.

That someone is Mikhaila Peterson. Stephanie Lee reports, in Buzzfeed:

Mikhaila Peterson, 26, is now making money off a new kind of diet that allegedly cured her depression and arthritis: all meat, all the time….

It’s the “carnivore diet,” the latest food trend to sweep the internet, and the 26-year-old swears that it cured her depression and rheumatoid arthritis. Yes, she admits, it “sounds absolutely insane,” there is no research to back it up, and she isn’t qualified to give medical diagnoses. But now she’s offering Skype “consultations” about the diet for about $90 an hour, following in her famous dad’s financial footsteps.

Her father is Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto psychologist…

“The Atkins Diet Opera” premiered as part of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. This is the fanciful plot:

Dr. Atkins, observing cats munch on birds, invents the perfect diet regimen: eat only meat. Then, after becoming famous and rich, Dr. Atkins finds a way to top himself: he invents the Coffee Diet.

In Act 3, Dr. Atkins [played by Jason McStoots] sings about his All-Meat Diet. Here’s the second verse of that song (which is sung to the tune “An English Country Garden”):

First, understand that protein is GRAND,
in a perfect diet regimen.
Nice juicy MEAT is what you SHOULD eat,
in a perfect diet regimen.
Eat like an aristocrat—Lots of steak, and lots of fat.
Bloody good eating! And what is wrong with that?
Eat it cooked, eat it raw. Oh, just go ahead and gnaw!
It’s a perfect diet regimen.

You can see video of Jason McStoots singing the All-Meat Diet song, and you can read the entire libretto. Here’s an action photo, taken from the audience at the performance:

But enough about the opera. Back to reality: Mikhaila Peterson writes, on her web site, “Now I only eat beef, salt, and drink water.

We of course wish good health and financial prosperity for Mikhaila Peterson, and for her all-meat-eating father, and for anyone else who ingests their advice!

BONUS: “Portrait of a Self-Recognized Genius: Jordan B. Peterson

The campaign to honor the first cat in outer space

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

A cat named Félicette gets ever-widening recognition as being the first cat intentionally (and probably otherwise, too) launched into outer space.

Félicette has many admirers, and has admired research into the history of the thing, and inspired artists, too.

(Thanks to Brent Freeze for bringing this to our attention.)

NOTE: The saga of Félicette should not be confused with the also delightful—but fictional—story of Esther the Cold War Kitty.

A Grizzly-Bear-Suitably Heroic Obituary of a Modern Don Quixote

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Troy Hurtubise meets his destiny in a grand obituary, written by Tom Hawthorn, in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail. Here are some highlights:

Troy Hurtubise combined the fevered imagination of a mad scientist with the foolhardy bravery of Evel Knievel in his quest to design a suit impervious to bear attack….

The fanatical mission was chronicled over the years in amateur videos showing a besuited Mr. Hurtubise enduring all manner of violence. He was whacked on the arms with sticks; plonked by a plank to his helmeted head; pummelled by a trio of baseball bat-swinging bikers in the parking lot of a bar. A sledgehammer was swung against his chest. He was poleaxed by a 300-pound swinging log. He was pushed over the Niagara Escarpment, tumbling helmet over boot before crash-landing onto shrubbery at the base. His father deliberately drove a pickup truck into him at 50 kilometres an hour, an act repeated 18 times, each resulting in his being catapulted into the air. He survived that test, as he survived walking through flames….

In 1998, his efforts were rewarded with an Ig Nobel Prize, a parody honouring unusual or trivial scientific achievements. He was feted at a playful ceremony at Harvard University and invited to lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among those who sang his praises was Harvard chemist Dudley Herschbach, himself a Nobel laureate.

A charismatic figure who spoke in a rapid-fire patter, Mr. Hurtubise fit in with elite scientists at Harvard as easily as he did among friends at Country Style donuts in North Bay. He was a flesh-and-blood, 5-foot-8 dreamer inside an indestructible, 7-foot-2 suit, a Canadian original who never did get to test his lifetime’s work against a bruin’s brute force.

We have written a bit—well more than a bit— here about Troy, over the years, most recently with our own tribute: “Exit, pursuing a bear: Farewell Troy Hurtubise.”

The farmer, his neuropathic pain and the cow fence

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Documented improbable electrical treatments for pain relief are not restricted to shocks from the Nile Catfish. ‘An interesting Case’ is described by Professor Jock Murray of the Division of Neurology, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, in which he relates the bespoke treatment that a Canadian farmer had developed for alleviating constant pain in his leg. It involved a novel use for a Canadian Cooperative Electrical Cow Fence Machine.

“When he awoke with pain each morning he would dress and walk to the pasture, take off the boot on his painful right foot, and place it on the damp earth. Then he would grab the fence wire with his right hand to experience a repetitive jolt of electricity. He would hold on until the pain in his leg waned and then disappeared over 8–10 minutes.”

In the winter months, he brought the machine indoors and rigged it up to a metal saw blade which he stood on to receive the shocks [see photo].

Professor Murray describes a visit to the farmer’s house to witness the treatment :

“He led me to the basement where the electrical machine was sitting on a shelf. Shaking off his boot he placed his foot on the saw blade, grabbed the metal pipe with his hand, and flicked the switch with his free hand. His body stiffened briefly to the pulsating jolts from the clicking machine. He stopped the machine after a few minutes and turned to me. ‘‘Want to try it now, Doc?’’ “

The treatment evidently worked well, because the farmer continued its use for many years, and did not feel the need for any further (conventional) medical assistance.

See: ‘The farmer, his neuropathic pain and the cow fence’ Practical Neurology, Volume 8, Issue 3.

Update on Association of Dead People’s Award-winning Founder

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Lal Bihari, who founded the Association of Dead People, is back in the news (and he’s still, again, alive). Outlook India magazine reports, with the headline “In UP’s Azamgarh, ‘Living Dead’ Have A Long Legal Battle To Fight“:

… At age 21, Lal Bihari applied for a loan to start a business. The bank wanted proof of identity and other documentation and he went back to his father’s village to get it. That’s when he heard the news of his own death! Now, Lal Bihari didn’t want any property. He just wanted to get on with life. “People called me ghost and satan to my face. They laughed at me. Nobody took it seriously,” says Lal Bihari, who now smiles at every dead joke you can throw at him.

Lal Bihari pleaded with every official possible to rectify the error, but in vain. He also tried many ruses to get an official document to acknowledge him as alive: it became his life’s mission to not be dead….

“I had read of him in a newspaper and kept the clipping for a few years before coming back to it. Since then, Lal Bihari has been like family. His son stayed with me for long periods,” says [Bollywood director Satish] Kaushik. “In 2003, when he won the Ig Nobel awards, the US denied him a visa to go and accept it.” Lal Bihari confirms this. “The US government didn’t want me there. They may have a lot of similar cases there and didn’t want any of them to start staking claims.”

A judgment on Lal Bihari’s case is now taught in some law schools, a scholar is writing a PhD thesis on him…

The 2003 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Lal Bihari, of Uttar Pradesh, India, for a triple accomplishment: First, for leading an active life even though he has been declared legally dead; Second, for waging a lively posthumous campaign against bureaucratic inertia and greedy relatives; and Third, for creating the Association of Dead People.

Lal Bihari overcame the handicap of being dead, and managed to obtain a passport from the Indian government so that he could travel to Harvard to accept his Prize. However, the U.S. government refused to allow him into the country. His friend Madhu Kapoor therefore came to the Ig Nobel Ceremony at Harvard University, and accepted the Prize on behalf of Lal Bihari. Several weeks later, the Prize was presented to Lal Bihari himself in a special ceremony in India.

Here’s a TV news report, from several years ago, about Lal Bihari:

Here’s a report about the slightly-fictionalized movie that Satish Kaushik made about Lal Bihari:


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