Human intelligence peaked a couple
of thousand years ago and people are now getting stupider, a
scientist said on Monday. Professor Gerald Crabtree's words in the
UK's Independent newspaper rang true with me.
I'd just finished reading a case sent in by a reader for this
column's dumb criminals file. On Nov 9, a car thief stole a
delivery vehicle from a Chinese restaurant. The carjacker then
proceeded to deliver all the meals to the right addresses. Police
in Connecticut found it easy to catch him. They simply waited at
the next address and he conveniently delivered himself into their
hands, accompanied by a range of tasty snacks. For cops, it was
the best case ever.
Also a few days ago, a famous UK store called Debenhams revealed
that customers couldn't understand modern coffee terms. So they
changed "venti cappuccino" to "Big Frothy Coffee", and "cafe
latte" to "Very Very Milky Coffee" and so on. Presumably staff
will tell buyers: "After buying, insert into mouth."
On an aircraft, a friend of mine was given a packet of peanuts
which carried the words: "Eat after opening." Passengers must have
been trying to swallow the packet whole!
And then there are the comments under YouTube videos, which offer
convincing proof that humans are turning into primitive,
brain-free forms of life, like primeval sludge, moss, nationalist
politicians, etc. Typical YouTube comment: "Your stuped."
When I mentioned this in the bar, someone told me about a sc-fi
movie called Idiocracy which predicts that the human race will
descend into pure brainlessness in 500 years. We're well ahead of
Sad tweet from a female reader: "They say everyone has a
superpower. I think mine is to be able to make any piece of
technology stop working."
A man made a deathbed confession of murder - and then recovered.
Embarrassing! Nashville man James Washington told a law
enforcement official: "I have to get something off my conscience
and you need to hear this. I killed somebody." After confessing to
an unsolved 1995 murder the guy made a full recovery. Bad move,
Jim. In court last month, he tried to withdraw what he said, but
it was too late. I knew an ill guy who gave away all his
possessions and then got better and had to go round asking for
each piece back. Whenever guys say anything important, or make
promises, trouble follows. That's why men don't say much,
especially married men.
In the wake of all the natural disasters recently, I'd like to
remind anyone making disaster readiness plans about an incident in
Gujarat, an Indian province hit by a big quake in 2001. Holy men
said it was caused by immoral TV shows, and 24 TVs were
ceremonially burned in the city of Ahmadabad as "toys of the
devil". There have been no major quakes since.
On a related topic, the single most important thing to do during a
disaster is to keep calm, experts say. Case in point: Anyone
remember the small earthquake in Nantou, Taiwan, a few years ago?
The only victim was a student who dislocated his jaw by screaming
Armpit flower candy is back. Sweets that make your sweat smell
like roses is on sale in China and Korea, and is spreading to
other countries, according to an announcement by Deo Perfume Candy
of Bulgaria. It was available on Amazon until recently, but it has
I can remember when scientists in Japan first developed this
product. It was called Otoko Kaoru (Man Scent) and was sold as
chewing gum for guys in sweaty jobs. No one bought it. Asian guys
would much rather stink of sweat than smell of flowers. If
Japanese scientists can make us smell like credit cards, THAT we'd
"You killed my daughter, you inhuman evil monster. You will now
marry her sister." I don't understand the logic of angry dads. A
woman named Pushpa hanged herself in Bihar earlier this month, the
Gulf News reported. Her horrified parents turned up at the
hospital and threatened to bring charges of murder against the
husband and his family. But they gave him an alternative: marry
the girl's younger sister, Rashmirathi. The man agreed and
inter-family happiness broke out. A boy was dispatched to fetch a
packet of vermillion (a paint used in rituals) and the wedding
took place right there in the hospital. Key point: In none of the
reports I saw did anyone ask the little sister what she thought
about the whole thing. "Aw, gee, THANKS, Dad."
Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine has just filed a court petition
to change the spelling of his surname to "Jacksun". Wacko Jacko is
dead but the wackiness lives on.
Need TO pee? If you find a quiet spot behind a tree in India it
may not be quiet for long. Teams of noisemakers are standing by in
34 villages in Jhunjhunu disrtrict of Rajasthan, India, to "shout,
beat drums or blow a whistle" if they find anyone answering a call
of nature in the open air. The move, reported by the BBC, is
intended to encourage people to use indoor toilets-now available
in nearly 80 per cent of homes in the district.
That's all very well for the majority, but life's going to be
miserable for the 20 per cent who don't have toilets. Imagine
living in a place where marauding gangs of drummers devote their
lives to preventing you peeing. It sounds like a really bad sci-fi
crime movie. "Put your hands up and move away from that bush. Er,
maybe you better lower your hands and pull your zip up first."
Dog owners in Taiwan have developed chastity belts for bitches. I
use that word in the scientific sense of "female dog", not in the
"esteemed lady companions" sense used by gangsta rappers and
teenage boys trying to sound cool. Designer Zhang Daxing said the
pants prevented fornication while allowing dogs to "answer the
call of nature". ("Hello? Is that the dog? This is nature.") In a
Daily Mail article about the doggy-pants, dog lover Chi Sun said:
"It's a brilliant idea. My girl is very sensitive and I find it
very offensive when these rough strays start sniffing around her."
I feel exactly the same about my human daughters. Hmm. Should I
order some for them?
It has just been revealed that the world's worst paid workers are
two women who worked for 40 years cleaning toilets in southern
India for US$3 a year. I felt really sorry for Akku and Leela
Sherigar until I got to the next sentence in the October 22 Daily
Mail report: "And for the last 11 years they worked for free
following a dispute with their employer." This is frankly the most
bizarre salary negotiation tactic I have ever encountered. "Dear
boss, we have worked for you for free for ten years, and we are
going to keep the pressure on by working for free for another
year. Take that."
How people today think: "Several times a day, I take a break from
Facebook and I check my job."
Nury Vittachi is an
Asia-based frequent traveler. Send comments and ideas via