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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Someone at Google is drinking Ayahuasca..

...That's what I thought when I read between the lines of the description of Google Gulp, Google's 2005 Hoax (more on Google Hoaxes), in it you will find a just thinly veiled allusion to ayahuasca. Amazon jungle botanical extracts? Monoamine oxidase inhibitors? These stories sound very familiar.

See if you agree with me...

From forest to freezer: A Google Gulp history

It is estimated that nearly half of Planet Earth's plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests, the vast majority of them undiscovered by humans and therefore not yet subjected to commercial exploitation. For Google, this cornucopia of undigitized data represented an irresistible acquisition target. So, for the past two years, as his 20% project, VP of operations Urs Hoelzle has spent one day a week collecting flora samples in several Bolivian sub-equatorial rain forests. For the most part, the compounds he returned with were nothing special – the usual grab-bag of future steroids, muscle relaxants, skin care appliqués and long-shot cancer drugs.

But on July 11th, 2003, while gathering epiphyte samples in the upper canopy of a kapok tree in the forbidding Cordillera Apolobamba range on the Bolivian/Peruvian border, Hoelzle snagged a leaf from what turned out to be a previously unknown species of strangler fig. Back in the Google Labs, early DNA sequencing and protein synthesis revealed that the compound – informally dubbed Ursa Major within the Googleplex – had certain remarkable biochemical capabilities. Eighteen months' worth of patent applications, trademark inquiries, budget prioritization and Phase II trials later, Hoelzle's intrepid adventuring finds fulfillment in a beverage aisle near you.






1. How does Google Gulp work?

Well, to comprehend the long version of this answer, you'd need a PhD (from Stanford, natch). The short version is, our brains process data by sending electrical impulses called neurotransmitters between billions of neurons via axons running between synapses, much the way buses travel between stations, or MP3 files travel between felonious suburban teenagers. The molecular compound that fuels Google Gulp speeds up this process by, among various startling feats of neurochemical legerdemain, limiting the activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase. You think faster – and feel better.





Sero-Tonic Water – Just try to stay down once your synapses get a blast of this bubbly concoction whose refreshing blend of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is perfect for those moments when all your other beverage options just seem soooo depressing.










What do you think? I think they went as far as they could without getting in trouble (maybe if they'd called it Google Brew?). No one unfamiliar with Ayahuasca would put Amazon plants and MAO inhibitors in the same sentence. And yet I looked "google gulp ayahuasca" in google (of course) and found no references... apparently no one else picked up on it (either that or they tricked the search algorithm to hide it!)

Anyway, it's good to see some of the smartest employees in the world are also partaking of the brew....

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