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March 8, 2006

This week's stupid scientist: "Vanilla Extracted from Cow Dung". Yup, you read it right. Apparently some Chinese scientists had nothing better to do with their meager existances than figuring out how to make vanilla scented cow poop. Lignon is a chemical compound (which just happens to also be found in cow dung) that is used to produce the vanilla smell. Since cows produce poop for free, it's cheaper than actually buying vanilla beans. Apparently they get one big pooper-scooper and heat it up for an hour (can we say "Dirty Jobs" candidate?!?!) and then extract the vanilla. They've decided to only use it for things like shampoo or candles (which still makes me dry heave). According to their article, "compared with usual vanilla, this component is exactly the same but it would be difficult for people to accept it in food, given the recent rules of disclosing the origins of ingredients". Yeah, I think people would want to know that the wonderful vanilla flavor they are tasting comes courtesy of Bessie the Cow's bowels. What would they do with the poop after it was officially de-vanilla-ized? Put it back where they found it. I say they should skip the whole heating process and just sell poop smell. Lovely, earthy, organic cow dung. The hippies here in Oregon would dig it. That's even cheaper than making fake poop-vanilla................

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