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We're getting stupid: Here's proof

Friday November 16, 2012 09:36:08 AM, Nury Vittachi, IANS

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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 schedule.

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 too loud.

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 sold out.

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 go for.

"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





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