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Interview with genius Olive Garden reviewer

A nice old lady reviews the grand opening of an Olive Garden in a small town (grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/231419/). Soon the review goes viral, garnering both sincere and sarcastic responses from across the interwebs (reddit.com/r/offbeat/comments/qn6qr/big_happenings_in_grand_forks_nd_where_an_olive).
Reporter Kevin Hoffman tracks her down and interviews the woman who is now hailed as the author of the greatest restaurant review of all time. When the rhapsodizer of breadsticks and lemonade was asked about all the attention she was getting online she said, I tell ya, I really don't have time to sit and read what people think, because I have a deadline.

She's hard at work, unlike the rest of us. Read the rest of the interview here:

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Marilyn Hagerty: Interview with genius Olive Garden reviewer – Minneapolis Restaurants and Dining – The Hot Dish
​Everybody online today is enjoying the publication of The Greatest Restaurant Review Ever Written, a piece entitled "Long-awaited Olive Garden…

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You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals

capuchin-monkey-porn

Their time will come

In a Yale University study which taught capuchin monkeys to understand the fungible value of currency, the first monkey prostitutes and bank robbers were born. The research, undertaken by behavioral economist Keith Chen and psychologist Laurie Santos, taught the primates that a silver disc could be exchanged for things like Jell-O and grapes. They quickly learned behaviors that are not unlike our own.

In Chen’s earlier experiments with tamarin monkeys at Harvard, his team taught a monkey to be altruistic so that when it entered a cage with a lever that dropped marshmallows into a neighboring cage, it would pull it constantly, inundating its primate pals with treats. In turn, the monkeys in the adjoining cage happily reciprocated and pulled their levers too, dropping marshmallows into the altruist’s cage. But, when they realized this monkey was nothing but a push over which would pull the lever no matter what, their reciprocation rate dropped dramatically. Kind of like a brat who is spoiled by their parent no matter what, and in turn has its bad behavior reinforced.

Similarly, in the same experiment, the scientists trained a monkey to be selfish and to never pull the lever. The monkeys in the adjacent cages reacted furiously and screamed and hurled feces at the selfish little bastard every time it was introduced into the cage next to them.

For his next experiment in collaboration with Santos, Chen taught capuchin monkeys that little silver discs could be exchanged for food treats like grapes. They learned exchange values and “price shocks” in which some food items would be devalued, giving them, for example, two cubes of Jell-O rather than one for a single coin.

In an astonishing moment of clarity, one of the monkeys stole a tray full of coins and made off with the loot. Only after bribing the monkeys with food were the researchers able to get the money back.

But it was at this moment that Chen said he spied something incredible. During the ruckus he saw how one monkey exchanged a coin for sex. The sex-giver afterwards presented the researcher with the coin in return for a grape.

Thieves and prostitutes were born with the invention of money.

This reminds me of the experiment a few years back when researchers at Duke University Medical Center tested a hypothesis that monkeys would forego valuables (in this case squirts of juice) in exchange for seeing photographs of familiar monkeys. They found that they were willing to give up squirts of juice in exchange for viewing pictures of monkeys with higher social status. The lower the social status, the less juice they were willing to give. Male monkeys, they discovered, were willing to pay with juice for views of female hindquarters.

One can imagine that given proper time a monkey magnate will be born who will create a tabloid empire exploiting the desires of his primate brethren. For, you see, porn, thievery and prostitution is monkey business after all.

Monkey Business, by the Freakanomics guys in the New York Times.

Monkeys pay for sexy pics, Nature News

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A lesbian trapped in a man’s body

Two days in a row we’ve been hit with the news that prominent blogs written by lesbian activists were actually written by men. The first instance of sock puppetry came to light when a young woman in London confronted the Guardian when she noticed they had been using her own personal Facebook pictures in a story they ran about a wildly popular blog called A Gay Girl in Damascus. Ostensibly it was written by a lesbian living in the Syrian capital, and its day-to-day observations of the turmoil there, and the tribulations a gay woman had to face in that society, had the world riveted. After the young woman whose identity was stolen came forward, a man named Tom MacMaster admitted he was behind the hoax.

The next day another prominent lesbian blogger’s facade came crumbling down. Lez Get Real recounted the quotidian life of a lesbian in the United States. A mother of two, deaf and only able to communicate through her father when asked to speak on the telephone, she also had a large number of followers. She had also communicated with A Gay Girl in Damscus on her site. But when the Syrian blogger’s identity was revealed, journalists at the Washington Post also got suspicious of Lez Get Real’s identity, and after discrepant information in background checks, they confronted her and she revealed that “she” was actually a “he” named Bill Graber.

In an astounding bit of meta sock puppetry, Lez Get Real and A Gay Girl in Damascus had both been flirting with each other since February, unbeknownst to either of them that they were both middle-aged men.

There’s still a part of me that is skeptical when it comes to the guy supposedly behind A Gay Girl in Damascus, as a sock puppet destabilizing the Syrian regime across highly influential social networks is in quite a few people’s interests. But, to be honest, I don’t think that’s the real issue here. After all, you can peel back countless onion layers, revealing all kinds of “inauthenticity”. What fascinates me most is the momentum both voices engendered. The impulse, the rupture that came from each of these middle-aged men posing as someone else. At what point does authenticity cease to matter? At what point had it ever existed? Because, if thousands of people believe in a sock puppet, be it a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, Allah, Yahweh, God or the Spaghetti Monster… does it make it any less real in terms of tangible effects? Put it this way, the mere belief in something affects everything around you. It colors your perspective, causes ripples, and changes things all around us.

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