Now that spammers are being sentenced to jail terms in the U.S., it seems that some of them have decided to take up a new career as BBC science reporters. In a BBC News article recently discussed by Ray Girvan at the Apothecary's Drawer Weblog, some anonymous ex-spam-artist reveals that "Bust-Up gum, when chewed three or four times a day," can not only "enhance the size, shape and tone of the breasts", but also "improve circulation, reduce stress and fight ageing".
The BBC tells us that "The gum works by slowly releasing compounds contained in an extract from a plant called Pueraria mirifica", and that the gum's manufacturer
...cites tests carried out by Thailand's Chulalongkorn University which found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size by 80%.
Further tests carried out in England found that the plant had a beneficial effect on the skin, and hair, as well as the breasts.
If you think about it, this approach makes a great deal more sense than spam. You can safely reach millions of readers by publishing ads for your breast and penis enlargement products on BBC News, whose production is actually subsidized by the British government. And rather than being angry, the audience will mostly be grateful to you for providing them with this marvelous opportunity for personal enhancement.
This doesn't have much to do with language, I admit, but it helps to explain why the BBC's science reporting in language-related areas is also so erratic: presumably the ex-spammers need to provide themselves with cover by occasionally writing something other than advertising copy for dubious products.
[Just to keep things clear, this post is a joke -- I don't really have any evidence that BBC health and science reporters are spammers on the lam. But how could you tell the difference?]
Posted by Mark Liberman at April 9, 2005 02:06 PM