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Today in counterintuitiveness: Nestlé food scientists developing food to make you full faster

Nestlé, putting the squeeze on your appetite

Canada may not be among the fattest countries in the world, but the fact that magic slimming concoctions keep making their way here shows that the lure of fast-tracking toward a thinner body is still strong—which is probably why scientists at Nestlé are developing new foods that trick the body into satiety. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, products based on the research could be available within five years.

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Magic weight-loss crystals coming to Canada for some reason

Does the secret to weight loss lie in exercise, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle? Probably. But why waste all that time? Sensa’s coming to Canada. These diet crystals have been available for the past two years in the U.S. and promise weight loss with little to no effort, aside from having to sprinkle them on every meal. They work on the following comical premise: the crystals manipulate one’s sense of smell, triggering a sense of satiety in the imbiber.

And no, this is not a joke.

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The Informer

People

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Margaret Atwood accused of thinking moon landing was a hoax

When Margaret Atwood entered the Sun TV debate (in vehement opposition, of course), she opened herself up to the wrath of right-wing bloggers across the country. After a Twitter-based feud with SunMedia columnist Ezra Levant, her detractors began searching for skeletons. Good luck, we thought. It’s hard to imagine Atwood has done or said anything that she wouldn’t own up to. But the investigators did find something: a 2009 radio interview with a Sudbury high school student, who accused Peggy of believing the moon landing was a hoax.

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TIFF Talk

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Media alerted to Joaquin Phoenix imposter tricking fans at TIFF

The real Joaquin at TIFF in 2007 (Image: Attit Patel)

This whole Joaquin Phoenix thing is getting weirder by the minute. We just received a press release (from Mass Media Distribution LLC of Atlanta) warning us of a Phoenix imposter making red carpet appearances at TIFF and tricking fans—all this before any actual red carpet events have even gone down. Our two favourite details in this highly suspicious release: the assertions that the putative imposter is allegedly accompanied by “scantily clad female groupies,” and that “It is the other Joaquin Phoenix who is the fake!” Is this for real? Or is it some elaborate prank devised by Casey Affleck and Phoenix to promote their documentary I’m Still Here, screening at TIFF? Who cares? It’s pretty awesome either way.

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People

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Hot or not? Shirtless men shilling Stayfree pads

Check out the creepy new Old Spice–influenced viral marketing campaign for Stayfree (at left), done by the Toronto ad firm BBDO. Titled “A Date With Stayfree,” the promos feature buff shirtless men doing things women stereotypically find charming—like cleaning, cooking and, of course, making toys for underprivileged kids—before launching into an unnerving pitch about the absorbency of Stayfree. Sure, the guys are hot, but any dude who busted out a display table of pads (“They’re as thin as a butterfly’s wings”) on the first date would send us running.

J&J aims to please with Stayfree hunks [Marketing]

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Culture

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Outrage of the day: Scott Pilgrim limps to finish fifth at box office

Scott Pilgrim vs. The Expendables

That must hurt worse than exploding into a handful of coins: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opened to a paltry $10.5 million this weekend, behind The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, The Other Guys(???) and Inception. With a gross that anemic, it’s difficult to see the Toronto-based geekfest making back its $60 million budget at the box office. If a fun, video game-besotted romp around some of Toronto’s greatest landmarks can’t bring the crowds to a theatre—especially after the whole Chloe thing—it’s possible Toronto is going to have to go back to playing, oh, every other vaguely post-industrial city in North America.

So what have we learned from this whole affair?

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The Informer

Politics

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Breaking news: Rob Ford has said some offensive things in the past

(Image: from fordonford.com)

The George Smitherman campaign unveiled its latest attack on Rob Ford yesterday, fordonford.com. If anyone wasn’t aware, Ford has said some nasty things about Asians, cyclists and people with HIV/AIDS. Since we’re aware of all that, we can only wonder how much damage this will actually do.

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City tries, fails to privatize ski hills

This goes a long way to explaining why the city still owns golf courses: sometimes it’s hard to get rid of things, even when you really want to. Today’s example comes from the Globe and Mail, from whom we learn that the city has been trying to contract out the running of two public ski hills—and failing to find even a single interested party.

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The Informer

Politics

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Extra! Extra! David Miller still not running for mayor

David Miller catches a quick nap while onstage with Councillor Pam McConnell, MP Jim Flaherty and MPP Glen Murray at the opening of Sugar Beach this morning (Image: Carley Fotune)

As the media tries to wrap its head around the fact that John Tory simply isn’t running for mayor, some are hinging their increasingly ridiculous hopes on other non-candidates. Today, that non-candidate was David Miller, who was asked by reporters at the opening of Sugar Beach if he’s reconsidering his decision to not run for re-election.

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The Informer

Politics

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How Iggy got his groove back? Michael Ignatieff comes to MuchMusic, dances on the street

For weeks now, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has been touring Canada (well, mostly Ontario so far) by bus to wile away the summer days doing something productive: namely, adding yeast to poll numbers. The Liberal Party Express took Iggy to downtown Toronto yesterday, where he proceeded to dance to a calypso beat in front of MuchMusic’s HQ at Queen and John. The Liberal Party provides this video:

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The Informer

Culture

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CBS cancels Canadian cop drama The Bridge after three episodes

Aaron Douglas stars in The Bridge (Image: CTV)

According to New York’s Vulture blog, CBS has cancelled The Bridge after three episodes. The CTV cop drama is loosely based on a Toronto officer’s experience working both the Rosedale and Regent Park neighbourhoods. But not even Battlestar Galactica alum Aaron Douglas could entice viewers in the States to watch.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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The five best Web pranks pulled by Moot and the 4chan crew

Moot point: Christopher Poole's moniker has been taken out of the running in condo-naming contest (Image: Andrew Dupont)

When Toronto development company Cityzen decided to set up an on-line poll to name a new condo going up at Yonge and Esplanade, it failed to take into account the power of Moot and his Web disciples. As of yesterday, the Toronto condo development was on a fast track to being dubbed “Moot,” the pseudonym of Christopher Poole—on-line prankster and the founder of 4chan.org, an anonymous image-sharing forum. The community of Web-savvy individuals is powerfully coordinated and has a tendency to hijack the results of on-line polls. Moot has been officially disqualified from the condo-naming contest, but the fact that he had about three times as many votes as the second place competitor—the decidedly less interesting “Euphoria Towers” (will there be atomized MDMA in the heating ducts?)—is a testament to 4chan’s influence. Yet this is small peanuts compared to his other exploits. To celebrate the group’s almost-victory on the Esplanade, we’ve rounded up five of 4chan’s most notable on-line pranks.

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The Informer

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Hold the phone: eight other mobiles that apparently fall victim to the Apple death grip

Yesterday, we rounded up the reactions of such companies as RIM and Nokia after a seemingly desperate Steve Jobs spread the blame around the industry in noting that their phones also drop calls when the user squeezes the external antenna. Turns out there was some truth to his claim, so today we’ve compiled a collection of YouTube videos that seem to show how eight other cellphones fall victim to the now-legendary Apple death grip. Enjoy »

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People

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Sun TV licence rejected by CRTC: how will the right-wing news organization respond?

As far as prognostication goes, the Globe and Mail is doing better than, say, the Toronto StarJeffrey Simpson used his column on Wednesday to reassure Canadians that, for somewhat arcane reasons, the CRTC would reject the licence application of Sun TV. (Basically, Sun TV wants a class of licence the CRTC is no longer issuing.) Sure enough, word came late yesterday that the CRTC is denying the application in its current form.

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The Informer

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I-Doser MP3s (a.k.a. digital drugs) all the rage among cheap teenagers looking to get high

Getting high the old-fashioned way is apparently getting too inconvenient: Health Canada sells mostly shwag, and even mayoral candidates can’t help anyone get drugs without starting some kind of controversy. Then there’s that issue known as the “law” to deal with, so it’s no wonder that teens are now experimenting with a digital drug called the I-Doser. The Web service sells “drugs” in the form of audio tracks that apparently replicate the effects of cocaine, opium, peyote and other narcotics. It’s also prompted a slew of embarrassing videos on YouTube featuring teens enjoying what appears to be a psychedelic effect. According to I-Doser’s Web site, the audio tracks contain “advanced binaural beats” that affect brain waves, potentially altering one’s mood state.

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