Thursday, November 16, 2006

One Company I'm Not Sending My Resume To

On some site today a Google ad caught my eye -- alas I cannot remember why -- and I found a site for NEXTgencode. However, it doesn't take long to realize that this isn't a real company . The standard links for a real biotech company, such as 'Careers', 'Investors', etc. are missing.

Clicking around what is there leads to a virtual Weekly World News of imaginative fabrications, though some have previously been presented as true by places that should know better, such as the BBC. I think I saw an item on grolars (grizzly-polar bear hybrids) in the press as well. Also thrown in is a reference to the recently published work: "Humans and Chips Interbred Until Recently".

Various ads show products in development. My favorite ad is the one for Perma Puppies, which never grow old or even lose their puppy physique (though their puppy isn't nearly as cute as mine was!). There's also the gene to buy with the HUGO symbol BLSHt.

The giveaway is the last news article, which describes a legal action by the company
Michael Crichton's book "Next" claims to be fiction, but its story line reveals proprietary informaiton of Nextgencode, a gene manipulation company.

Surprise! "Next" will be released at the end of the month.

When I read Andromeda Strain as a kid, I fell hook, line & sinker for a similar ploy in that book -- all of the photos were labeled just like the photos of real spacecraft in books on NASA ("Photo Courtesy of Project SCOOP"). It took some convincing from older & wiser siblings before I caught on.

Going back over the news items with the knowledge of who is behind it was revealing. Crichton has become noted for throwing his lot in with global warming skeptics. "Burn Fuel? Backside Fat Powers Boat" is the tamer of the digs; another item suggests Neanderthals were displaced by the Cro-Magnon due to the Neaderthals environmentalist tendencies.

Well, at least it's a tame fake -- a fake company purely to hawk a book. Sure beats the shameless hucksters who set up companies to peddle fake cures (we have stem cell injections to cure hypochondria!) to desperate patients.

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