Nov 042009
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

Some of you may recall our column several weeks ago about the Facebook app FarmVille. We queried CSU students, trying, in vain, to discover why it is so popular. When we failed to find a single player of the game on the Plaza one afternoon. We concluded that they must all have been indoors playing it at that time of day.

But then Ryan did something that the rest of us never saw coming. In the name of research, he began playing FarmVille, turning to the Dark Side with good intentions — like Luke Skywalker in that one post-“Episode VI” novel.

In fact, it’s now gotten to the point that some homegrown carrots and artichokes showed up on our kitchen counter two weeks ago. The FarmVille has got to stop.

It’s not that we don’t support food. In fact, we like food very much.

The miracle berry (Synsepalum dulcificum), which, as the name would imply, is nothing more than a fruit — no hydrogenated oils or LSD added, is found natively in West Africa.

The berry works its magic by binding its voodoo proteins to your taste buds and consequently causes sour foods to taste ridiculously sweet. It’s completely nontoxic and, best of all, legal for all ages.

While the berry is of course great for flavor-tripping parties (we’ve had two), it’s also used as a diet tool.

In Japan there are cafes with menus based on the miracle berry. That is to say, if you were to consume any of their products before having a miracle berry you would likely be quite disappointed. None of their products have added sugars. They rely on the miracle berry to add the sweetness, meaning you can enjoy a tasty dessert or drink with out having to count quite as many calories.

Like most other berries, the miracle berry doesn’t travel well. So unless you’re willing to pay the high shipping costs, we’d suggest buying them in tablet form. You can do this by heading over to our favorite gift Web site There you can buy a pack of 10 tablets/20 servings for $15.

Then head to the store and grab anything bitter you can get your hands on. Obviously, citrus fruits should come to mind: oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes. We challenge you to think outside the box; most beers have a bitter taste, as do pickles, radishes and, yes, vinegar. (Don’t expect to start drinking vinegar like its candy water, but you should be able to stomach a spoonful with out a problem. We did.)

You’re now ready to host your very own flavor-tripping party. Simply give everyone a tablet, or break them in half as each tablet is two servings, and then place them on your tongue until they’ve dissolved. They taste a lot like raisins. Then for the next 20 minutes or so, enjoy the psychedelic taste bud trip.

By now you might have noticed that this column doesn’t really fit our tech theme. At a stretch it counts because you order the berries online. And because the phenomenon is kind of underground, which is pretty cool. We think. We geeks get excited when it feels like we’re part of an underground-something.

For a larger dose of tech, check out for our weekly video. See you on the Webz!

Columnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer are both juniors who have something for a major. Oh, we still love you Mr. Kastner. But really, as a senior, you should get on that.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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