Funny Business with Jane Wells

Microsoft's Bad Karma, Hamsters, Un-PC Biz Idea of the Day & More


Microsoft's Bad Karma

The company built by the world's richest man takes on the world's largest democracy, and it's a case of cyber culture clash. India-based itVAR News (an IT website) says Microsoft is billing computer retailers in the town of Gujarat thousands of dollars, accusing them of installing pirated Windows software.

The retailers have responded with a strike, a boycott and general outrage, though no one appears to be denying the accusations. One Indian retailer put it this way, "Since we are not charging anything extra for installing the software, it means that we are actually not trading in pirated software. For us, this is just a 'sewa' (selfless act) that we are offering to our customers. Besides, the pricing of their operating systems is way too high for Indian markets."

Is it a selfless act when the gift is not yours to give?

Forget The Fruit Flies... I've Got a New One

As you may know, I'm holding a contest for the best explanation of how new research alleging fruit flies have free will helps humanity. See Friday's blog. You could win a hat.

But wait! There's more! In my inbox was this headline touting yet another new study:

"Viagra aids hamster recovery from jet lag."

I kid you not. It goes on to explain, "Sildenafil accelerates reentrainment of circadian rhythms after advancing light schedules." Oh. That.

Apparently, Sildenafil is Viagra, and scientists injected the stuff into hamsters at night, "before turning on bright lights six hours early. The authors then observed how the hamsters adjusted to the change, by noting how soon they began running in their exercise wheels. Sildenafil-boosted hamsters recovered from the jet lag 25-50% more quickly than unassisted animals. However, the drug only worked when applied before an advance in the light/dark cycle, equivalent to an eastbound flight, rather than the reverse." For all those CEO hamsters on the go.

Here's the best part. Okay, the whole concept of injecting hamsters with Viagra is the best part. Here's the second best part. I received the press release last week with a stern warning that the story was embargoed until Monday night. Why the embargo? No clue. I mean, we're talking about hamsters on Viagra. But yesterday, someone broke the embargo! They... just... couldn't... sit... on... it. Can you blame them? If you knew an article was coming out claiming VIAGRA HELPS HAMSTERS WITH JET LAG IF THEY'RE FLYING EAST BUT NOT WEST... could you sit on it all weekend?

I didn't think so.

The Business Idea That's Left Me Speechless

There is a new energy drink on the market from an entrepreneur who is also a former Special Olympian. It's called... 'Retard Strength.' Don't believe me? Go to It's for sale. The athlete behind the drink, only identified as "Christopher," is said to have "a sense of humor and Downs' syndrome," according to Wireless Flash News, which also reports that a promoter is sending a case of Retard Strength to Paris Hilton to keep her alert behind bars.

Ex-Wife's Revenge

One of the world's biggest yachts, at 354 feet long, ran aground in Cannes, spewing out fuel and forcing a couple of beach closures. The $200 million yacht is owned by Saudi billionaire Nasser Al-Rashid, who named it Lady Moura, after his ex-wife -- whom I assume was not an 'ex' at the time he put down 200 million clams for a boat.

Politics in a YouTube World, Episode VII

is asking people to choose her official campaign song as she runs for US President. Choices include everything from "Beautiful Day" by U2 (an Irish band) to "Rock this Country!" by Shania Twain (she's Canadian). Ok, there are some American artists, too, like the Dixie Chicks, naturally. My favorite is a dark horse candidate: Smash Mouth and "I'm a Believer," from "Shrek." The Senator seeks your help in a tongue-in-cheek video on YouTube.

Though that video may have a hard time competing with one uploaded this weekend of the former First Lady having a rough time during a commencement speech.

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