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Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

The Possible Advantages of Square Cigarettes [focus-group report, 1999]

Monday, September 13th, 2021

What might be the advantages of “square” cigarettes? In 1999, the US tobacco company R.J Reynolds employed the Opinion and Marketing Research firm Delta Research to investigate.

Participants of two “Consumer Idea Generation” (CIG) focus groups from Indianapolis were paid $35 each (plus dinner) to list (amongst other things) possible advantages of “Square” cigarettes. The findings :

• Won’t roll off a table
• Easier to package
• Easier to hold
• Prettier
• More tobacco in each cigarette
• Less awkward
• Won’t roll into the ashtray
• Could be packed tighter
• Would fit into an ashtray better
• Easier to put out
• Won’t roll into sink
• Could wrap sandpaper around a square cigarette and use it to sand small places
• Could get more in the same sized package, or get the same number in a smaller package
• Square cigarettes wouldn’t bend as easily
• Could do better bar room tricks and games
• Would use less paper
• Wouldn’t have to chase down a rolling cigarette to step on it to put it outlined
• Safer, because a lit cigarette wouldn’t roll under things (furniture)
• You could build model log houses with working chimneys

See : Page 25 (27 in the original) of R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO CO. CONSUMER IDEATION FOR PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA–MARCH 30-31, 1992 (920330-920331). Acquired in 2002 by the University of California San Francisco as part of the The Truth Tobacco Industry Documents archive.

Research reserach by Martin Gardiner

Embodying a new cross-sectional paradigm for a smokable rod [square cigarettes patent]

Monday, September 6th, 2021

“A cigarette typically is employed by a smoker by lighting one end thereof and burning the tobacco rod. The smoker then receives mainstream smoke into his/her mouth by drawing on the opposite end (e.g., the filter end) of the cigarette.”

– explains a patent granted to Big Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds.

U.S. patent 7,967,018 B2, issued June 28, 2011, stuck broadly to the traditional approach outlined above – but described a new variant. The cigarettes are square rather than round.

“It would be highly desirable to provide manners and methods, and associated equipment, for producing smoking articles, such as filtered cigarettes, that have a cross-sectional shape that can be characterized as not being generally circular or oval in nature.”

The patent fails to clarify (at least at first-glance to a non-expert) why the production of square cigarettes would be “highly desirable”, and what might be the possible advantages of square cigarettes.

COMING SOON : The possible advantages of square cigarettes

Note : Previous patents have been granted for non-circular cigarettes – see for example, Daniel J. Campbell’s Oval Cigarette (1897) S.C. Miller’s square cigarettes (1931) George A, Shouse’s triangular and ‘squovoid’ ( squarishly oval) cigarettes (1994)

Patent Research Martin Gardiner

Pubic Hair Forensics (Improbable Research)

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

The review column “Public Hair Forensics” is a but one of many featured items in the special Forensics issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. The article is free to download:

Recent Ups and Downs of Coffee Enemas

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Two recent medical studies add milk and sugar, so to speak to what we know, medically, about coffee enemas.

Up with Coffee Enemas (2020)

Coffee Enemas: A Narrative Review,” Linda L Isaacs [pictured here], Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, vol. 21, no. 12, December 2020. The author, an M.D. in Austin, Texas, explains:

Coffee enemas have been in use for at least 150 years, despite the efforts over the last several decades by some in the orthodox medical community to stamp them out as “quackery.” The author and her patients, and other practitioners, find them very useful for the alleviation of a variety of symptoms. In this review, the history of their use, possible mechanisms of action, and risks are discussed, as well as the validity of the attacks against them.

In this video, Dr. Isaacs present her view of coffee enemas:

Down with Coffee Enemas (2020)

The Safety and Effectiveness of Self-Administered Coffee Enema: A Systematic Review of Case Reports,” Heejung Son, Hyun Jin Song, Hyun-Ju Seo, Heeyoung Lee, Sun Mi Choi, and Sanghun Lee, Medicine, vol. 99, no. 36, 2020. The authors, at Seoul National University, Chungnam National University, and several other institutions in South Korea, and the University of Florida, report:

Relevant studies were retrieved from [the major medical literature databases]….

Nine case reports that describe adverse events were identified and included in the analysis. Of these, 7 recent ones reported colitis after self-administration, mentioning that the most plausible cause assumed was the coffee fluid itself, which contained numerous chemical substances. Two others reported more critical adverse events. All 9 case reports with acceptable quality of evidence warned against the self-administration of the procedure. No study that reports the effectiveness of coffee enema was found.

Conclusions: Based on the evidences reviewed, this systematic review does not recommend coffee enema self-administration as a complementary and alternative medicine modality that can be adopted as a mean of self-care, given the unsolved issues on its safety and insufficient evidence with regard to the effectiveness.

Previous Research on Coffee Enemas

We have reported, in the magazine and here on the web site, on some earlier research studies about coffee enemas. among the more popular of these are:

The Royal Treatment

Amateur research, some of it, speaks of coffee enemas as a refreshing approach to good health. Prince Charles of the UK has been reported to regularly boost and use coffee enemas as a health measure.

In this action video, a possibly amateur scientist nominative-determinedly named Anna Blackpool demonstrates the kind of therapy that Prince Charles supported on a gut level:

Study Hints that Low Viagra Price Enlivens Men in Sweden

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Cheap thrills save lives, some might infer from this new study:

Sildenafil and Suicide in Sweden,” Ralph Catalano, Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Tim A. Bruckner, and Terry Hartig, European Journal of Epidemiology, epub 2021. (Thanks to Staffan Yngve for bringing this to our attention.)

Here’s a plot of data from the study, which comes with the explanation “Observed (points) and expected (line) suicides among Swedish men aged 50–59 for 120 months beginning January 2005 and ending December 2014 (first 6 months of expected values lost to modeling). Lower than expected sequence of observed suicides marked with ‘X’ “:

The authors, at Uppsala University; and at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Merced; and the University of California, Irvine, explain:

We use an intent-to-treat design, implemented via interrupted time-series methods, to test the hypothesis that the monthly incidence of suicide, a societally important distal measure of mental health in a population, decreased among Swedish men aged 50–59 after July 2013 when patent rights to sildenafil (i.e., Viagra) ceased, prices fell, and its use increased dramatically….

Consistent with the argument that suicides fell below expected values after the introduction of relatively inexpensive sildenafil, the differences between expected and observed values appear increasingly negative in the last 18 months.

Improbable Research