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Human Hair Market Growing Fast
Sarasota Herald Tribune / The Associated Press ^ | January 6, 2008 | By Tere Figueras Negrete

Posted on 01/06/2008 10:31:37 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL

(FLORIDA CITY) -- Walking into the small Florida City warehouse, Blair Blacker pauses to survey the towering pyramid of canvas bundles, each about the size of a punching bag, that contain the stock-in-trade of his business: human hair.

About 15 tons of it on a recent day, imported from China, neatly pressed into mats and ready to ship to farmers and nursery growers who swear by the horticultural benefits of Blacker's hairy wares.

"If you had told me when I was flying combat helicopters in Vietnam that one day I'd be sitting on 30,000 pounds of human hair," said Blacker, a retired Army colonel-turned-entrepreneur, "I'd have said you were crazy."

The mats stored in southern Miami-Dade County are part of a world marketplace for human hair. Uses range from the obvious, such as false eyelashes and wigs, to the more obscure: it is a common raw-material source for l-cysteine, an amino acid frequently used in baked goods such as pizza dough and bagels.

China and India exported more than $154 million worth of human hair last year, according to United Nations trade statistics. They are Blacker's main suppliers.

"It's not processed or dyed like a lot of hair we have here," said Blacker, whose own hair is silvery and neatly cropped.

The product, marketed as SmartGrow, is effective in keeping out weeds, and has even shown signs of increasing yield in crops like tomatoes, according to University of Florida scientists.

"It's really exciting. The first trial was just outstanding," said Aaron Palmateer, an associate professor of plant pathology who has conducted tests on the SmartGrow product at UF's Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead.

There is an admitted yuck factor to using hair in lieu of herbicide, but Palmateer points out that common agricultural methods can be similarly unappetizing.

"For people who say, 'Oh my God, this is hair' and think it's disgusting, they should know these farmers put manure on tomatoes like it's going out of style," said Palmateer.

Luis Naranjo, owner of one of the largest wholesale nursery operations in South Miami-Dade, swears by the hirsute stuff.

"In the beginning, we were saying, 'Human hair? What is this?'" Naranjo said. He now expects 80 percent of his nearly 1 million plants, like ground orchids, at Octavio Taylor Nurseries will be cozily blanketed with the mats by this spring.

The hair mats saved him $45,000 in pesticides last year, and $200,000 in labor. "We can't raise our prices the way the market is today, so we need to keep expenses down," said Naranjo, who has been a grower for two decades.

The mats range in size from 25-foot sheets that can be custom-cut for row crops like tomatoes to golfball-sized cubes to tuck around the roots of potted ficus trees.

Wal-Mart began selling the mats for home gardeners last spring in about 60 stores in Central Florida. Dollar General just signed on to sell the smaller-size sheets at 1,000 of its stores.

SmartGrow relies on two hair brokers -- in China and India -- to procure the hair, which is boiled in 120-degree water, dried, loaded onto 40-foot boats and shipped via waterway to a port city in China. Then it is transported to the small town of Zhaoyuan, home of the SmartGrow factory.

The mass of strands is loaded onto an old-style needle-punch machine, formerly used to make carpets.

A hopper blows air through the hair to loosen it, and the strands are then woven into a loose felt-like mat of mostly dark and shiny follicles, with the occasional gray strand peeping through.

SmartGrow began as the brainstorm of Phil McCrory, an Alabama hairstylist, nearly 20 years ago. McCrory was watching television coverage of the massive oil spill in Alaska caused by the Exxon Valdez in 1989, when he noticed oil-covered otters swimming to shore.

"I noticed how their fur soaked up the oil, and it just clicked," said McCrory, who used the clippings from his Huntsville salon -- and his wife's pantyhose -- to develop a prototype.

A few years later, Blacker was running a company in Alabama, World Response Group, that specialized in oil and chemical remediation products when a colleague walked into his office with a matted wad of McCrory's making.

Blacker bought the patent from McCrory -- but found the oil industry was not interested. Then he started getting calls from growers wanting to buy his product in bulk.

"That blew my mind," said Blacker, who was surprised to learn that hair had a folk-remedy reputation for repelling deer and fertilizing plants.

"It was sort of an old wives' tale," said Blacker. He shut down the business, boned up on the science of hair, and decided to relocate to the Homestead area to be closer to the agricultural industry -- and potential customers.

McCrory gave up hairstyling to sell what he used to sweep into the garbage. He also stands to make royalties if SmartGrow takes off.

The company's sales team has been met with a few raised eyebrows.

One grower in North Carolina, after hearing the sales pitch, "asked if he was on 'Candid Camera'," said Mike Foley, executive vice president in charge of sales.

The hair mats recently received certification from the Organic Materials Review Institute, allowing it to be used on farms complying with USDA-approved organic methods. Another group of UF scientists at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm are studying the hair mats' effect on bell peppers, blueberries and other crops.

Palmateer, the UF scientist, is now examining why the mats are increasing plant growth and crop yield.

"It's still one of the unknowns," said Palmateer, who said he has noticed a "significant" increase in the yield of tomato plants grown in containers.

The original use for the mats may be making a comeback, too.

The oil-capturing hair mats, marketed by Blacker's company as Ottimats, were used after an oil spill off the coast of California in November.

A video of activists using the hair mats to swipe the tarry mess off a San Francisco beach has been posted on YouTube.

"It seemed to work pretty well, and it's bio-neutral," said Lance Contreras, San Francisco's operations commander for the cleanup effort.

Which is good news for Blacker, who is considering broadening sales beyond the Southeast to the West Coast.

"Here we are in little ol' Florida City," Blacker said. "And we're going to help the world go green."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; hair; india
HUMAN HAIR
1 posted on 01/06/2008 10:31:38 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: Duchess47; jahp; LilAngel; metmom; EggsAckley; Battle Axe; SweetCaroline; Grizzled Bear; ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(Please FReepmail me if you would like to be on or off of the list.)
2 posted on 01/06/2008 10:31:57 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: JACKRUSSELL
it is a common raw-material source for l-cysteine, an amino acid frequently used in baked goods such as pizza dough and bagels.

Blecchhh!!!

3 posted on 01/06/2008 10:34:51 AM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Fascinating. Typical, too, that the Chinese are the major sellers of human hair, but that it was a couple of innovative Americans (NOT scientists on research grants, either) who thought up the ideas of how to use it.


4 posted on 01/06/2008 10:38:14 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
There are domestic sources of the stuff...


5 posted on 01/06/2008 10:38:42 AM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“About 15 tons of it on a recent day, imported from China”

No need to guess where the ChiComs are getting it. When he buys a certain quantity, they probably throw in a matched pair of kidneys.


6 posted on 01/06/2008 10:44:07 AM PST by Spok
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To: billorites
Me and my Nascar friends could collect 30,000 lbs in no time!


7 posted on 01/06/2008 10:44:18 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: JACKRUSSELL
From this picture, it appears it is used a mulch. I could see how it would work that way.

I wonder if the Chinese get some of their hair from condemned criminals, Tibetan monks, Christians, etc.? That would certainly be their style.

8 posted on 01/06/2008 10:47:33 AM PST by hellbender
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To: JACKRUSSELL

This wasn’t quite the use that Joe Biden had in mind.


9 posted on 01/06/2008 10:48:52 AM PST by mrmargaritaville
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I seem to recall in the Borat movies that that pubic hair was a very valuable commodity.


10 posted on 01/06/2008 10:51:33 AM PST by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“surprised to learn that hair had a folk-remedy reputation for repelling deer “
Works very well for this purpose. I just used to get it at the local barbershop.


11 posted on 01/06/2008 10:51:37 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Hardly original, similar governments have done it.


12 posted on 01/06/2008 10:52:43 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“Waiter, there’s a hair in my soup!”

“Yes, and that’s why we charged you extra.”


13 posted on 01/06/2008 10:54:57 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Keeps the deer from eating the newly planted grass in the ballfield, too. /obscure


14 posted on 01/06/2008 10:56:27 AM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: JACKRUSSELL; HungarianGypsy; neverdem; Gabz; pandoraou812
Uses range from the obvious, such as false eyelashes and wigs, to the more obscure: it is a common raw-material source for l-cysteine, an amino acid frequently used in baked goods such as pizza dough and bagels.

There is an admitted yuck factor to using hair in lieu of herbicide, but Palmateer points out that common agricultural methods can be similarly unappetizing.

Hair used in an agricultural context has far less of a YUCK factor than hair used as a source for food products used IN food.

15 posted on 01/06/2008 11:00:07 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Isn’t this supposed to be an ingredient in soy sauce???


16 posted on 01/06/2008 11:02:30 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
Hair Soy Sauce: A Revolting Alternative to the Conventional
17 posted on 01/06/2008 11:06:06 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: TexasCajun

It would take about three races, and the good thing about it—it will grow back!!!


18 posted on 01/06/2008 11:20:38 AM PST by xc1427 (It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees...Midnight Oil (Power and the Passion))
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Good for this guy. If his product is good; I hope he makes a bundle and I would be very curious to use it growing my orchids.


19 posted on 01/06/2008 11:22:35 AM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: JACKRUSSELL; MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Mr. Brightside; Rb ver. 2.0; lesser_satan; Taffini; jdm; ...

Jerry: Who you calling?

George: China.

Jerry: China really?

George: Yeah. I’ll pay for it.

Jerry: What for?

George: What for? . I’ll tell you what for.... for hair.

Jerry: Hair?

George: The Chinese have done it my friend . The Chinese have done it.

Jerry: Done what?

George: Discovered a cure for baldness.

Repairman: Did you see that last night?

George: It was on CNN. This Chinese doctor Zeng Zau has discovered a cure for baldness.


20 posted on 01/06/2008 11:23:14 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: TexasCajun

ROTFLOL


21 posted on 01/06/2008 11:23:24 AM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: TexasCajun

It would take about three races, and the good thing about it—it will grow back!!!


22 posted on 01/06/2008 11:25:00 AM PST by xc1427 (It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees...Midnight Oil (Power and the Passion))
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To: freekitty

I might try it on my peppers. Wonder if it would work on Roses, I’ve been having good luck with fine Pine Bark mulch.


23 posted on 01/06/2008 11:27:34 AM PST by Blue Highway (The only cure for RINOvirus - Fred Thompson)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
>>>>>>The mats stored in southern Miami-Dade County are part of a world marketplace for human hair. Uses range from the obvious, such as false eyelashes and wigs, to the more obscure: it is a common raw-material source for l-cysteine, an amino acid frequently used in baked goods such as pizza dough and bagels.

China and India exported more than $154 million worth of human hair last year, according to United Nations trade statistics. They are Blacker's main suppliers.

 

Background:
 

http://blog.barofintegrity.us/2008/01/06/human-hair-market-growing-fast.aspx

 

Abstract
Recent reports of problem foods in Mainland China have raised global concerns about the safety of Chinese food products. Drawing on reliable data extracted from Chinese newspapers, magazines and the Internet, this report, the second in the series, takes a closer look at the hair-made soy sauce, a common kitchen-accessory for marinating and seasoning foods. It seeks to inform the scientific and medical communities regarding the potential short- and long-term epidemic consequences of consuming such soy sauce

 

 

[NOTE:  The journalists then found the amino acid syrup manufacturer (a bioengineering company) in Hubei province. When asking how the amino acid syrup (or powder) was generated, the manufacturer replied that the powder was generated from human hair. Because the human hair was gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country, it was unhygienic and mixed with condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe, etc.]

 

 

This company makes amino acids and sells them as a food supplement out of Shenyang. I can't help but wonder what else the amino acids are made out of. The hospital they harvest body parts from is right there.

The technicians admitted that they would not consume the human-hair soy sauce because the dirty and unhygienic hair was used to make amino acid syrup ( 1, 2 ). A quality monitoring staff also revealed that though the hair may not be toxic itself, it definitely consisted of bacteria and other micro-organisms ( 1 ).

See main link for foot notes. I'm too grossed out to update all the html

http://www.ispub.com/ostia/index.php?xmlFilePath=journals/ijto/vol2n1/soy.xml

Step one: collect Human Hair from Hospital.

WHAT HOSPITAL? Liaoning Provincial Thrombosis Hospital?

 

 

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060323-114842-5680r.htm
China harvesting inmates' organs, journalist says

Excerpt:

A Chinese official was the first person to reveal that secret medical work was being done at the Liaoning Provincial Thrombosis Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, in Sujiatun, a suburb of Shenyang, the major city in northeastern China, he said.

Mr. Jin then said he found out that a large underground prison was built beneath the hospital and that members of the outlawed Falun Gong religious group were being held there. As many as 6,000 people are thought to be held prisoner at the underground facility, he said.

The hospital is harvesting the organs of the prisoners, including kidneys, livers, and eye parts, he said. The organs are then sold to people, from both China and abroad, who need medical organ transplants.

 

 

 

The National Traditional Chinese Medicine Thrombus Treatment Center in Shenyang City. According to a former nurse who worked there, the Sujiatun death camp is in an underground complex connected to this hospital.

The furnace unit on the southwest side of the hospital. There are two doors leading to the underground complex of the Sujiatun death camp. According to the witnesses, the remains of Falun Gong practitioners are incinerated here after their organs are extracted.

24 posted on 01/06/2008 11:39:56 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: KylaStarr; Cindy; StillProud2BeFree; nw_arizona_granny; Velveeta; Dolphy; appalachian_dweller; ...

HAIR is what’s for dinner.


25 posted on 01/06/2008 11:40:57 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: metmom

yuppers


26 posted on 01/06/2008 11:42:12 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: Larry Lucido; Cagey; MotleyGirl70; Gamecock; Rb ver. 2.0

27 posted on 01/06/2008 11:44:12 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: Blue Highway

If what you are using works, I wouldn’t change it; but if you are an avid gardner like me; the new is always so tempting. LOL


28 posted on 01/06/2008 12:01:37 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: JACKRUSSELL

29 posted on 01/06/2008 12:09:59 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (I'm not celebrating Kwanza!)
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To: freekitty

Yeah I am a sucker for using new things so long as it’s got some benefit. Been happy using coconut coir to substitute for peat moss. Has a neutral pH and stays moist and aerates well.


30 posted on 01/06/2008 12:40:27 PM PST by Blue Highway (The only cure for RINOvirus - Fred Thompson)
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To: Blue Highway

I have some new Austrailan orchid bark that I will be using pretty soon. I like peat moss but it can drown your plants if you use too much and that’s easy to do. I love to use beer on the plants. It does something to the enzymines. You have to be careful indoors for plants on the ground as your pets seem to love the soil mixed with beer. I came home one day to find all of my floor plants overturned with the soil all over the place and pups with dirt all over their faces. LOL


31 posted on 01/06/2008 1:00:59 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: freekitty

My in-laws didn’t understand what “root-tone” was ,, (spoke limited English) and administered it via a pump sprayer to about 1/4 acre of orchids ... I’m not endorsing this use but in their case it caused tremendous root growth and subsequent increases in foilage and bloom quantity ... I use the coconut mat for orchids.. the best product for other plants I’ve found is super absorbent polymer ,, the soil here is 100% sand and drains too fast ,, this will hold moisture but not cause rot... using that you can get your plants up to size in about half the time with less watering... try saturating the crystals with a dose of liquid fertilizer before you mix it in the soil!


32 posted on 01/06/2008 1:49:48 PM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: hellbender

Nah, the Chinese have enough folks that, just in a typical day, hundreds of thousands of them are likely getting their hair cut. That’s a lot of potential mats!


33 posted on 01/06/2008 1:56:55 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: freekitty

That would all depend on his source for the hair. If China is getting this hair from persecuted Christians and other political prisoners (which is likely) then trading in this hair would be in the same moral league as those who sold the hair that the NAZI’s removed from the jews before they were murdered at Auschwitz.


34 posted on 01/06/2008 2:20:42 PM PST by dschapin
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To: Neidermeyer

Believe it or not; I have heard of that use with root tone. I say why not because of the orchids roots usually hanging all around and outside of the pot. LOL Try removing one of those puppies from the pot after neglecting the repotting for a while. Just get your chainsaw out. Also, I don’t grow my orchids in soil(except terriestrial ones). They are grown in bark. I am not a big fertilizer like I was when I started out. Of course, I did everything wrong; now I still do everything wrong; but not as much. You cannot say you grow anything unless you have killed a plant.

Sorry, I don’t understand about the crystals; but it sounds like a good idea. Are you referring to marbles?

I prefer the catts even though they don’t don’t bloom as long usually as the phalonopsis(moth orchids). Dendrobiums are great except that noble. It can be tricky.


35 posted on 01/06/2008 3:29:44 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: SuziQ

I wouldn’t put it beyond them to shear corpses, prisoners, and non-humans like yaks if they could pass that off as human hair.


36 posted on 01/06/2008 4:04:15 PM PST by hellbender
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To: LibFreeOrDie; JACKRUSSELL

oh man, no kidding. I’m SO GLAD I stopped eating white bread, bagels....but pizza dough? UGGGH!


37 posted on 01/06/2008 4:31:39 PM PST by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: metmom; Diana in Wisconsin
Hair used in an agricultural context has far less of a YUCK factor than hair used as a source for food products used IN food.

I totally agree.

It really does work as a deer repelant, but so does dog hair.

But I never did think of it for mulch.......hmmmmm

38 posted on 01/06/2008 4:38:33 PM PST by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: Calpernia

thats disgusting.. but what about soy sauce in Chinese restaurants in US ?


39 posted on 01/07/2008 1:26:34 AM PST by design engineer
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To: Calpernia

When I think of hair, I always recall that the Food Handlers classes put on my the Health Departments, considered it a
health hazard, back in 1950.

We had to wear hair nets, to keep it out of the food we served.

If you look back at the paintings of several hundred years ago, the women wore ‘nets’ on their hair, to confine it.

In the new world we can eat it...........no thanks.


40 posted on 01/07/2008 3:13:16 AM PST by nw_arizona_granny (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1886546/posts?page=4972#4972 45 Item Communist Manifesto)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
SmartGrow began as the brainstorm of Phil McCrory, an Alabama hairstylist, nearly 20 years ago. McCrory was watching television coverage of the massive oil spill in Alaska caused by the Exxon Valdez in 1989, when he noticed oil-covered otters swimming to shore. "I noticed how their fur soaked up the oil, and it just clicked," said McCrory, who used the clippings from his Huntsville salon -- and his wife's pantyhose -- to develop a prototype.

Nice post - thanks.

41 posted on 01/11/2008 4:47:33 AM PST by GOPJ (Drug dealers are NOT "unlicensed pharmacists" - - Illegals are NOT "undocumented workers". Bailey)
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To: Calpernia

Is there a way to do a DNA on “bone china” from China? They’re putting out a lot of it — don’t see a lot of cows over there...


42 posted on 01/11/2008 4:51:16 AM PST by GOPJ (Drug dealers are NOT "unlicensed pharmacists" - - Illegals are NOT "undocumented workers". Bailey)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
They boil it in 120 degree water? That's a trick.

Carolyn

43 posted on 01/11/2008 5:07:23 AM PST by CDHart ("It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b@#$%^&s."--Claire Wolfe)
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To: CDHart

Ugh.

Now I’ve seen everything.

Soylent Yellow — for real!

This is revolting beyond belief.

WHERE’S the damn OUTRAGE???

I won’t even say what everyone is thinking — other than to say that yeah, I’m thinking it too. And it makes me want to vomit to think that they’re most likely doing that.


44 posted on 01/23/2008 3:36:00 AM PST by Don Joe (We've traded the Rule of Law for the Law of Rule.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I think the “product” from some supermodels having their Brazilian “bikini waxes” would make for a thriving market in human hair product..... think of all the guys who would pay more for tomatoes grown with such assistance....


45 posted on 01/23/2008 3:43:51 AM PST by Enchante (Patriots, 18-0 baby!!!!!!!!! Jon Cary is thrilled that Manny Ortiz led the Pats to victory!!!!)
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