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The 6 Strangest Bootlegged Items

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ThinkStock

Bootlegged and counterfeited items are commonplace. Wherever there's a profit to be made, there are sure to be people bootlegging and counterfeiting in an attempt to make a quick buck. Our food supply, our history, our safety, and even where we shop can be bootlegged by committed criminals. Here are six of the strangest things to be bootlegged.

1. An entire Apple store

In 2011, 22 Chinese Apple stores were discovered to not actually be Apple stores. They were just convincing bootlegged fakes, right down to the decor and posters. The geniuses manning the store wore the same blue t-shirts legit Apple employees wear, and many of them didn't realize their store wasn't affiliated with the Cupertino, California-based company. The fake stores still keep running, with new ones popping up all the time, taking advantage of China's lax intellectual property laws.

2. Maple syrup

Last August, 2.7 million kilograms of maple syrup, worth $17.5 million, disappeared from Quebec’s Global Strategic Maple Syrup reserve. Twenty-three people alleged to be involved in a stealing-and-smuggling ring have been arrested, the last of whom was caught this month, accused of siphoning off the syrup and delivering it under their own terms to customers.

3. Olive oil

Maple syrup isn’t the only liquid foodstuff that gets bootlegged. That prime Greek olive oil you fill your supermarket cart with every week? It may well not be Greek—and it may well not be olive oil, either. Unscrupulous traders often pass off lesser oils as olive products, and take the profits, as one journalist discovered.

4. Baby milk formula

Maple syrup and olive oil bootlegging is criminal, but ultimately, it hasn’t yet harmed people. Some bootlegging of food items can harm, though, as evidenced in China. Chinese supplies of baby milk formula have been tainted and bootlegged with melamine—a chemical used in plastics and adhesives.

5. Dino bones

Cast a skeptical eye over any fossils you see displayed in exhibits. An awful lot of them were sourced from China (because its present-day landmass was a locus of dinosaurs in prehistoric times), and an awful lot of people got rich. And where there's the opportunity of profit, bootleggers often step in. In the 1970s, fakes began entering the market, and now it can be difficult to trace what's a true fossil and what is a whittled chicken bone.

6. Bomb detectors

The ADE 651 bomb detector was sold worldwide to 20 different countries. At $60,000 per detector, it wasn't a cheap investment, but in places like Iraq, its proven detection ability—finding bombs buried up to 1 kilometer below ground—was worth it for safety. The Iraqi government spent $85 million on them. Problem was, they were fakes—and they didn't work. The British businessman who willingly sold the bootleg devices to governments, armies, and police forces was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this year.

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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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