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9 Pointlessly Expensive Items You Can Buy

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By Dylan Moore, University of Arkansas

Some expensive stuff that people choose to spend their money on—jet skis and yachts, or really anything water-based—is pretty cool. But some things are weird ... and then some are just absurd.

1. A rock that looks like meat

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Currently for sale on eBay is a rock that looks like meat—like a cut of pork, maybe—and it can be yours for just $1,255,000! Buy it to impress your friends ... or trick them. Do whatever your heart desires with this meaty-looking rock!

2. Kanye West-designed shirt

Designer t-shirts can cost quite a bit of money. Sometimes it's because designers are using expensive fabric, which makes sense. Sometimes it's because of the designer: The more famous he is, the more expensive his shirts are. That also kind of makes sense. So you might be wondering why we’re saying that a shirt designed by Kanye West (really famous person) is “pointlessly” expensive. Let’s look at this shirt:

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It’s just a plain white cotton t-shirt. That costs $120. Granted, it was created in partnership with high-end brand A.P.C. ("A.P.C. Kanye" is even silkscreened along the interior neckline) and is made of 100 percent Egyptian cotton, but still—this shirt isn't exactly reinventing the wheel. You can get one just like it for at least a hundred dollars less almost anywhere else.

3. Diamond contact lenses

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One option available to those people with less than 20/20 vision—who also don't want to wear glasses or traditional (read: invisible) contacts—are these diamond contact lenses. "If your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away,” says creator Chandrashekhar Chawan of Shekhar Eye Research. What will it cost to put this strange twinkle in your eye? A mere $15,000.

4. Million dollar fishing lure

BoingBoing

Fishing has traditionally been a somewhat minimalist endeavor, requiring just a pole, some line, and a lure. A cheap, cheap lure. Or, if you have a bit more money to throw around, you can instead procure a $1 million lure—made of three pounds of gold/platinum and encrusted with diamonds and rubies—that probably won’t work any better.

5. Toilet paper

Renova

If you think your butt deserves better than plain white toilet paper, you can buy TP in colors—black, blue, pink, purple, green, and more. The cheapest option is a two pack for $6. It isn’t near as much money as the other items on the list, but it’s crazy expensive compared to regular old plain toilet paper, which clocks in at under $1 per roll.

6. Parking spot

It's hard to put a price on a prime parking spot, but one thing's for sure: People are willing to pay for it. One space in San Francisco recently sold for $82,000, and two spots in Boston were auctioned off for $560,000.

7. Snoop digital pot sticker

CNET

Marijuana can be really expensive, so it might also stand to reason that other pot related items would be equally overpriced. And, as in the Kanye example, a famous person’s name being attached would logically raise the price, right? So it makes sense that people are paying just under $100 for digital pot stickers from Snoop Lion (via his app, Snoopify). That’s right, stickers. Well, not real stickers. Digital stickers.

8. Gold and diamond game boy

SlashGear

Game Boys were pretty great. But now that the classic handheld system is obsolete, getting one should be pretty cheap, right? Well, not if it happens to be covered in pieces of gold and diamond—that will cost you $25,000. Which is a bummer, because the gold and diamond is essential to the system's functionality. How can you play Pokemon Gold if the Game Boy isn’t covered in gold itself? It just doesn’t make any sense.

9. Gold plated staples

Luxuo

Want the tiny pieces of metal holding your papers together plated in gold? Like most things plated in gold, there is absolutely no reason for this. (And we’re pretty sure you could get staples spray painted gold and have the same effect.) Twenty-four of them will cost you $210.

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Big Questions
Where Does the Word 'Meme' Come From?
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By Jenna Scarbrough

Certain fads, catchphrases, dances, and songs bombard our society—nowadays, almost all of these are either born on or popularized through the Internet. Grumpy Cat, Rickrolling, Left Shark, the optical illusion dress—all of these ubiquitous cultural sensations have this in common. Some of these stick for a while, some don’t. Those that stick are branded as memes. But what exactly is a meme?

In 1976, Richard Dawkins, the English evolutionary biologist, proposed an idea in his book, The Selfish Gene: What if ideas were like organisms, where they could breed and mutate? These ideas, he claimed, are actually the basis for human culture, and they are born in the brain.

Dawkins’s research is primarily in genetics. He has argued that all life relies on replication. But unlike cells, ideas do not rely on a chemical basis for survival. They begin from a single location—the brain—and spread outward, jumping from one vessel to another, battling for attention. Some ideas are more successful, which may be due to an element of truth they carry, while others slowly die out. Some may not be accurate, but society has accepted these ideas for so long that they are just accepted (think about pictures of Jesus or George Washington; while these may not be what they actually looked like, almost all art now portrays these men in the same way).

Dawkins needed a name for this concept. He proposed calling it mimeme, from the Greek word meaning “that which is replicated.” He wrote in his book, “I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme.” He felt the monosyllabic word would be more fitting because it sounds similar to "gene." “If it is any consolation,” he continued, “it could alternatively be thought of as being related to ‘memory,’ or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream.’”

Although he probably couldn’t imagine the possibility of Internet memes during his initial research in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Dawkins has now accepted the appropriation. Because it’s still viral, he said in an interview with WIRED, this popularity increase goes right along with his theory that ideas are similar to living things.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Words
25 Awesome Australian Slang Terms
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by Helena Hedegaard Holmgren 

Australian English is more than just an accent, and the Aussie vernacular can easily leave both English speakers and foreigners perplexed. Australian English is similar to British English, but many common words differ from American English—and there are many unique Aussie idiosyncrasies, slang terms, and expressions.

The term for Aussie slang and pronunciation is strine, and it is often characterized by making words as short as possible; the story goes it developed by speaking through clenched teeth to avoid blowies (blow flies) from getting into the mouth. So if you plan to visit the world’s smallest continent, this list of some of the most commonly used slang expressions is for you.

1. Arvo: afternoon

2. Barbie: barbeque

3. Bogan: redneck, an uncultured person. According to the Australian show Bogan Hunters, a real bogan sports a flanno (flannel shirt), a mullet, missing teeth, homemade tattoos (preferably of the Australian Flag or the Southern Cross), and has an excess of Australia paraphernalia. This "species of local wildlife" can be found by following their easily distinguishable tracks from burnouts or the smell of marijuana.

4. Bottle-O: bottle shop, liquor store

5. Chockers: very full

6. Esky: cooler, insulated food and drink container

7. Fair Dinkum: true, real, genuine

8. Grommet: young surfer

9. Mozzie: mosquito

10. Pash: a long passionate kiss. A pash rash is red irritated skin as the result of a heavy make-out session with someone with a beard.

11. Ripper: really great

12. Roo: kangaroo. A baby roo, still in the pouch, is known as a Joey

13. Root: sexual intercourse. This one can get really get foreigners in trouble. There are numerous stories about Americans coming to Australia telling people how they love to "root for their team." If you come to Australia, you would want to use the word "barrack" instead. On the same note, a "wombat" is someone who eats roots and leaves.

14. Servo: gas station. In Australia, a gas station is called a petrol station. If you ask for gas, don’t be surprised if someone farts.

15. She’ll be right: everything will be all right

16. Sickie: sick day. If you take a day off work when you are not actually sick it’s called chucking a sickie.

17. Slab: 24-pack of beer

18. Sook: to sulk. If someone calls you a sook, it is because they think you are whinging

19. Stubbie holder: koozie or cooler. A stubbie holder is a polystyrene insulated holder for a stubbie, which is a 375ml bottle of beer.

20. Sweet as: sweet, awesome. Aussies will often put ‘as’ at the end of adjectives to give it emphasis. Other examples include lazy as, lovely as, fast as and common as.

21. Ta: thank you

22. Togs: swim suit

23. Tradie: a tradesman. Most of the tradies have nicknames too, including brickie (bricklayer), truckie (truckdriver), sparky (electrician), garbo (garbage collector) and chippie (carpenter).

24. Ute: Utility vehicle, pickup truck

25. Whinge: whine

Good onya, mate! Understanding the Aussies should be easy as now.

Additional Sources: Urban Attitude; All Down Under - Slang Dictionary; Australian Words - Meanings and Origins; Australian Dictionary; Koala Net; Australian Explorer; Up from Australia; YouTube, 2; McDonalds.

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