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OBSCENELY HIGH PROFITS ARE A GAS • ANOTHER COOL INVENTION THE MILITARY WILL KEEP FROM US • A BILLION STARS CAN'T BE WRONG • IF THAT TAP TAP TAP SOUND DOESN'T DRIVE YOU INSANE FIRST • LAND OF THE FREE, HOME

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OBSCENELY HIGH PROFITS ARE A GAS

If you suspect that you're being completely gouged with the constantly increasing price of gas, you're right. A study carried out by a group called The Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in California reports that over 60 percent of the recent gas price spikes are the result of corporate markups and profiteering. "Oil companies are opportunistically using the rising world price for crude oil as an excuse to excessively raise gasoline prices and pump up their profits, even though the spot market price for crude has gone up far more slowly than gasoline prices," said FTCR president Jamie Court. Meanwhile, if gas prices are really getting you down, you can move to Venezuela, where the government-owned oil company has kept the price of gas at 14 cents per gallon. (ConsumerWatchdog.org)

ANOTHER COOL INVENTION THE MILITARY WILL KEEP FROM US

American chemists are working on "chameleon clothing" that would allow you to change the colors of your clothes in order to blend into the background. The new fabric will be made of electrochromic polymers which will be able to absorb different wavelengths of light in order to change colors to suit the wearer's mood. After these fabrics are perfected, the clothes could be hooked up to a camera in order to display the pattern and colors of the wearer's surroundings and enable him to completely blend into the background. (New Scientist)

A BILLION STARS CAN'T BE WRONG

If you were born between the dates of Aug. 23 and Sept. 22 you might be interested to know that most of the world's billionaires share your zodiac sign. Forbes magazine researched the birth dates of 613 of the world's richest men and women and found that most of them (12 percent) are Virgos, while only 6 percent of billionaires are Sagittarians. (Forbes)

IF THAT TAP TAP TAP SOUND DOESN'T DRIVE YOU INSANE FIRST

If you've always wanted to get into the Guinness Book of World Records but don't have any talent, I've found a simple one for you to go after. If you can type the words one through one million on a manual typewriter in under 16 years, you can knock off Les Stewart of Australia who currently holds this most pointless of pointless records. The boring tale of Les can be read at RecordHolders.org, where you can learn the secret of his success: type 20 minutes on the hour, every hour, averaging three pages a day, for 16 years. Go for it!

LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE FAT

With a plan stolen directly from Homer Simpson, 22-year-old Adam Ballard of Missouri is trying to gain enough weight to force the army to discharge him for exceeding their body-fat maximum limits. Ballard foolishly joined the Army two years ago in order to get, he says, "a big pile of money." After figuring out that joining a war is an easy way to get yourself killed, Ballard decided to get kicked out by turning his body into a tub of lard. "Some days, I'll totally pig out on things like pasta, or maybe I'll go to a restaurant ... I basically eat what I can to get full and then just go to sleep." (Columbia Missourian)

THE NEW EXERCISE FAD FOR KIDS: KILLING IMAGINARY ENEMIES

A study from the University of Miami claims that video games give young children a physical workout equal to walking or cycling. The study found that when children between the ages of 7 and 10 played video games, their heart rates and breathing sped up and they burned more energy. Dr. Arlette Perry, writing in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, suggested that video games might actually help stop the onset of childhood obesity and should no longer be classified as a sedentary pastime.

THANK GOD FOR THAT MUTE BUTTON

Here's an invention we can live without: Royal Philips Electronics has created a device that will lock in a television channel so that you will be forced to watch commercials during your favorite programs. Philips suggested that future consumers might have to pay broadcasters a fee if they wished to bypass the anti-channel-changing device. (AP)

Much more at www.curioustimes.com.