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Matthew:

1. About 15 years ago, I read a newspaper story about a professor of dentistry at Buffalo University who had invented a mouth rinse that not only arrested decay but actually healed and invigorated teeth to the point that dentists would go the way of blacksmiths. 2. A few years later, I read in a magazine of another innovator who lived in Arizona and had crossed a tropical oil-producing plant with a perennial cactus plant. One acre's growth of this plant equaled one barrel of oil. 3. Then there was the story of a lady who developed a new type of moss that would be the finest fertilizer ever made. She swore she would give the secret to mankind without any kind of remuneration. These were real stories, not written on April first. Were these people bought off by the huge companies or professions they would affect? Be careful! The dentists society, the oil companies, or DuPont and tons of others might put out a contract on you!

-- Dondncr, the net

I don't think so fell into his little logic pit because he won't admit he hangs with fools. Dondncr, on the other hand, you sound like a traditional conspiracy theorist, corporate goons division. I'm surprised you missed the one about the guy with the carburetor that gets 100 miles to the gallon.That's a classic. Anyway, story number one: Back in the mid-'80s, when the University of Buffalo was testing plaque-fighting rinses (something now on the market), a lot of tooth news was coming out of that city. None of it even hinted that dentists would go the way of alchemists. With the boomers heading into the gingivitis years, dentistry must be a gold mine these days.

Number two: A product of the big jojoba ("ho-ho-ba") frenzy a while ago. The weed is grown commercially in the Sonoran desert. And each seed is more than 50 percent high-quality oil. The auto lube industry likes the stuff, but so far it's too expensive. Only the cosmetics thieves have nerve enough to use it in their products. If you cross jojoba with a barrel cactus, do you end up with a barrel of jojoba oil? Nobody's bothered to try, so the field's wide open, Dondncr. As for your magnanimous lady with the magical moss, I haven't a clue. But judging from the other stories, I don't think we're missing anything. You either have a very creative memory or you've been reading too many alarmist magazines.

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