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Quick Links: Square Watermelon, etc.
Flora and I have decided on a more efficient way to post links that really don't need (or don't deserve) an entire post of their own. We'll just dump them together in a "quick links" post whenever we accumulate a bunch of them. Should mean more stuff gets posted. Here's the first such set of links:

image Square Watermelon
Soon to be on sale in Britain. Really. "Boxes are placed around the growing fuit which naturally swells to fill the shape." Buy two and get a bonsai kitten free! (Thanks, Lou)

Reuters admits altering Beirut photo
Bloggers spot repeating symmetrical patterns in Beirut smoke. Cry photoshop.

Amazon Milk Reviews
Amazon now selling groceries. I suspect some of these user reviews for "Tuscan Whole Milk" might not be completely serious. (via Metafilter)

Tom Cruise Can't Throw a Baseball
YouTube video offers slow-motion analysis of the scene in War of the Worlds where Tom Cruise throws a baseball. Or rather, pretends to throw a baseball.

The Ring Prank
Annoying online prank inspired by "The Ring." Enter your friends phone number and email address in the online form. Your friend will receive an email with a link to "The Ring" video. Once they watch the video, they'll then receive a phone call with a computer-generated voice telling them "You will die in seven days." The best way to get revenge on someone who does this to you is to fake your death after seven days. They'll feel guilty then.

Popularity Dialer
Mobile phone application allows you to pre-plan excuses to escape from unpleasant meetings. "Via a web interface, you can choose to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). At the elected time, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation and will easily fool those around you." Reminds me of Escape-a-date. (via Boing Boing)
FoodJournalismPhotos/VideosPranksTechnology
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 07, 2006


Square watermelons are real. As the post says, they are made by placing a square mold around a developing melon. I understand they have been available in Japan for several years now.
Why would you want a square melon?
1. Novelty
2. They fit in a refrigerator with less wasted space.
3. They can be stacked for shipping and storage.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Plainview, Texas  on  Mon Aug 07, 2006  at  04:05 PM
The Ring Prank looks to me like an ideal tool for spammers. It won't last long.
Posted by Terry Austin  in  Surf City USA  on  Mon Aug 07, 2006  at  04:15 PM
I wouldn
Posted by nitedrive  in  sweden  on  Mon Aug 07, 2006  at  07:49 PM
Sadly, Square watermelons are real. The yound watermelons are put in a cube-shaped container and they grow into the shape of the container. They actually showed this on TV Japan/NHK World Premium a few months ago. Like Big Gary said, they did this primarily so it could fit into a refridgerator and to make shipping the product easier, if I recall the captioning on the show correctly.

I also recall the captioning saying that it is way more expensive than regular watermelons, but many Japanese interviewed on the show say they won't mind the high costs. Sheesh...
Posted by RAMChYLD  in  Malaysia  on  Mon Aug 07, 2006  at  10:31 PM
Bonzai kitten for water melons
Posted by samemo  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  05:51 AM
I dont know if the Beirut photo has been photoshopped but if it has then could we have a more reliable source to confirm it than the ynetnews which also advetises jewishlove.com. I think if u ask this site how many lebanese have died they are likely to estimate a figure close to the no of israelis dead which is 90 (80% soldiers), the lebanese figure is 730 (90% civilians). So doesnt matter if the photo is not real we can just see the numbers, those are facts.
Posted by Merve  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  05:53 AM
How's this?
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  06:24 AM
haha if someone did that ring thing to me i would so fake my own death.... i mean the prank is so cruel they would desrve to be wracked with guilt for a day
Posted by joodd  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  07:58 AM
these have actually been around for some 20 years in Japan. there were stories about it at least 6 years ago.
those Niponese, always ahead of the curve.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1390088.stm
Posted by joel  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  12:43 PM
The Tom Cruise thing is pretty simple. If he had a real baseball in his hand, he'd quite likely hit some equipment or a crew member with it when he let go. This is not an uncommon thing in the film industry. We constantly have to fake things like that for various reasons. They likely just assumed that the shot tight enough and the action fast enough that no one would notice.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  01:17 PM
"... Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon."

So ... a regular watermelon costs $30-$50 in Japan?

Yikes.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Lufkin, Texas  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  06:18 PM
Watermelons: you can also buy molds to fit around your zucchini so that they'll come out as hearts in cross-section and other shapes.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  08:15 PM
Thanks Boo thats better at least now im inclined to believe it.
Posted by Merve  on  Wed Aug 09, 2006  at  01:50 AM
...Also whatever happened to seedless watermelons? I thought they were supposed to be in circulation and i have never come across one.
Posted by Merve  on  Wed Aug 09, 2006  at  01:54 AM
Merve, I'm not sure where you are, but seedless watermelons are sold at most of the supermarkets and produce stands here in Texas.

"Seedless" is a slight exaggeration, since they usually conatain a few, underdeveloped seeds.

You can also buy seeds to grow your own seedless watermelons (I know that sounds weird, but the vines that produce the seedless melons do grow from seeds). They are apparently basically sterile hybrids (not unlike the "hoose," "liger," and mule discussed here recently) that set melons without viable seeds. You need to grow another watermelon nearby to pollinate the seedless plants.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Fairfield, Texas  on  Wed Aug 09, 2006  at  06:59 PM
Hey Gary, I am surprised indeed. My base is Athens Istanbul and London. You guys in the states get all varieties of stuff. I mean most people here in athens and in turkey still buy their fruit and veg from green grocers who grow them on a nearby farm. We have huge supermarkets of course but fresh produce just doesnt taste the same there.. Do u these watermelons taste good?
Posted by Merve  on  Thu Aug 10, 2006  at  01:06 AM
"Do these watermelons taste good?"

Seedless watermelons taste about the same as the ones with seeds, although one might argue that if you can't spit the seeds when you eat a watermelon, you've missed half the fun.
I would say that I've never tasted a seedless watermelon that was as good as the best regular watermelons I've eaten, but then I've tasted a lot more regular watermelons than seedless ones.

The square watermelons I've never tried (so far).
Posted by Big Gary  in  Athens, Texas  on  Thu Aug 10, 2006  at  07:07 PM
If you want to try growing your own, here's the best source I know for seeds to grow either seedless or seeded watermelons:

http://www.willhiteseed.com/categories.php?cat=82

(Disclaimer: I have no connection whatever with this company.)

I didn't notice square watermelons in their catalogue, but it's probably only a matter of time.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Dilley, Texas  on  Thu Aug 10, 2006  at  07:24 PM
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