Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Science Sells: Blue Rage Bullet

One more set of marks to compile and a meeting with the Biology Department and my time is mine to manage. Of course the lab is a tip, I am teaching Biochemistry after the break and my old text is no longer available so I will have to use a new text etc. , etc. etc. By the way, has anyone noticed that the students seem a bit dimmer than usual this year?

Anyway, in the name of work avoidance I have given into something that I have noticed now and then in the last little while. Items that are sold or merchandised using either science itself or the icons of science.

This was highlighted in my mind recently by a second year student who had just won a class assignment contest and I announced that as a prize she could pick out any piece of standard lab glass to have for her own. Now in the past when I have done this students had tended towards beakers (candy dishes, pencil holder) and graduated cylinders (bud vases, window decorations) but this young woman announced that a beaker wasn't "Sciency" and her selection was an Erlenmeyer flask. In my opinion that fits with the idea that an E-flask a higher level icon for science than a beaker. Just by it's shape alone pretty much everyone identifies an E-flask as relating to science.

Now science has been used in the past and currently to sell things. It seems that the cosmetics industry is constantly going through a science / anti-science cycle where one year the hair molecules are scientifically matched to the the amino acid balance in the hair dye and then the next year only ingredients squeezed from some rare root by artesimal means (never touched by a scientist!) are used.

This is what caught my eye recently:Now I have to admit that as symbols and icons go it is indeed possible that there is a much higher level symbol being used to sell this energy drink. But then again isn't that one of the endearing things about the test tube ... just the sheer ... manliness ... of the object?

Anyway, the good people of iSatori who make Blue Rage Hardcore Energize Bullet describe the drink as contained in a "vial" (just like a mad scientist potion). Not only that they say that the container is "virtually unbreakable".
A quick look at the ingredient list tells us that the caffeine dose in the "vial" is 300 mg. Now the amount of caffeine in a cup of commercial drip coffee is about 100 mg so this this pretty much the same caffeine load as two large coffees. The rest of the ingredient list seems relatively unremarkable.
I have to comment on the iSatori website. Could someone please explain to me where the young lady has her right hand and does it have anything to do with the shape of the "virtually unbreakable" container of Blue Rage Hardcore Energize Bullet?


I gotta go finish my marking. Take care people, have a blessed break and I hope the New Year is a good one for you. The economists all say that if you didn't have any investments to lose in the first place and if you keep your job through this period that the financial meltdown should have a pretty low impact on your life. That is my prayer.

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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.