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Irish Supreme Court: Subway Bread Too Sweet to Count as Bread

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  • You might be better off making your own sandwiches if you want to eat healthy

It’s a fairly common more-or-less serious joke to question whether fast food counts as food. People have questioned the food-iness of the offerings of various restaurants, like the McDonald’s meal that looks exactly the same as it did 10 years ago.

There have also been controversies about the stuff they use as additives in fast food. For a good example, check out pink slime. Just, uh, make sure you eat first.

The sandwich chain Subway has always tried to stand against this common perception about fast food. The company likes to claim that it provides a healthier alternative.

To an extent, that might be true. After all, it’s a submarine sandwich. If you put a lot of veggies in it and don’t drench it in dressing, it ought to be pretty healthy, right?

And there shouldn’t be anything too weird in the ingredients, either. I mean, they make the sandwich right in front of you, how more transparent could you get?

Well, you will get some kind of a meat product, cheese, and vegetables, all stuffed into… Something resembling bread but not quite bread, at least according to the Supreme Court of Ireland.

In a fresh ruling, the Irish Supreme Court found that Subway’s loaves do not meet the legal definition of bread. The rolls contain too much sugar for them to be considered bread products under Irish law, reported the Irish Independent.

And then we wonder why Europeans crack jokes about Americans being fat.

The secret ingredient is sugar, and lots of it.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes…

The court’s decision came in the aftermath of a heated taxation debate around the heated sandwiches. We’ll do our best to make this an entertaining read, but please understand, there’s only so much fun you can pull out of taxes.

First of all, according to the laws of Ireland, bread is considered a staple food. Based on the 1972 Value-Added Tax (VAT) Act, staple foods are exempt from VAT due to their essential nature in providing nutrition for the nation.

So bread has a zero percent VAT on it in Ireland. You with us so far? Alright, let’s move on.

In order for a bread to count as “bread” under the VAT rules, it can only contain up to 2% sugar. According to Justice Donal O’Donnell, who presided over the Subway case, this is so that the staple food variety of bread is distinguished from “other baked goods made from dough”.

If you thought bread is bread, think again. There are rules, dangit!

Now, Subway was angry because back in 2006, the Irish Revenue Commissioners denied Bookfinders Ltd – the company that operates Subway in Ireland – a refund for VAT payments.

The company appealed, and the court battle has raged ever since. Until now.

The five-judge Supreme Court found that since Subway’s rolls have a sugar content of 10%, they are not eligible for the VAT exemption.

What’s more, the judges questioned whether the products are “bread” as we (or at least people in Ireland) know it at all.

“Because the Subway heated sandwiches, such as a hot meatball sandwich, did not contain ‘bread’ as defined, it could not be said to be ‘food’ for the purpose of the Second Schedule of the [1972] Act,’ Justice O’Donnell ruled.

Isn’t taxation just thrilling?

Yoga Mat Sandwich, Anyone?

While some might roll their eyes and consider the Court’s ruling a prime example of nitpicking, it’s actually sort of understandable. Based on nutrition facts released by Subway itself, their six-inch white bread roll contains 5g of sugar.

In more tangible terms, that’s the same as an Oreo cookie. Yeah, that might kinda-sorta undermine the “healthy option” message that Subway loves so much.

It’s not the first time Subway has been in the news because of some kind of a controversy. In 2015, the company’s spokesperson Jared Fogle – known from the firm’s ads as the man who lost weight due to Subway’s sugary sweet sandwiches – was arrested for possession of child pornography.

Granted, that’s got nothing to do with Subway’s sandwiches and all to do with him being a scumbag. But in 2014, Subway made headlines for an additive used in its bread.

As it turns out, back then Subway was using a chemical that goes by the appetizing name of azodicarbonamide. If you don’t know what that is, don’t feel bad.

But let us say that the chemical is also used in the production of things like yoga mats. Following a public backlash, Subway quickly announced that it would reformulate its breads not to contain azodicarbonaramarinara-… That chemical.

Now, in the name of fairness, the U.S. FDA has cleared the Yoga Mat chemical for food use. Additionally, Subway wasn’t alone in using it – fast food chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A all announced they’d stopped using the stuff after Subway caught all the flak.

Still, though, the public being what it is, none of these cases is good press for Subway. Let’s see what somebody finds in their bread… Sorry, “bread” next.

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Fossilized Butthole Answers Long-standing Questions about Dinosaur Sex Life

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  • Dinosaur genital expert is one of those jobs you’d never think exists, but here we are

If you haven’t caught our last week’s article about the world’s first robot to operate inside a living butthole, you should go check it out. Then you can return here for some more butthole-related news!

Well, we suppose technically it’s not about buttholes. That particular piece of anatomy is really more of a mammalian thing, and today we’re talking about dinosaurs.

In any case, it’s a great day for any prehistoric butthole or butthole-like orifice enthusiasts. Scientists have discovered a fossil that contains the first preserved dinosaur cloaca.

In case you’re not clear on what a “cloaca” is, think of it as the Swiss army knife of orifices. It’s a single multi-purpose bodily hole used for excretion, laying eggs, and mating.

Out of animals that still exist today, reptiles and birds have cloacas. Considering that they’re either more or less related to dinosaurs – or directly descended from them as birds are – researchers have long speculated that dinosaurs, too, had these organs.

Those days of speculation are now over, though. We finally have confirmation.

“Eyes up here, buddy.”

A Rare Discovery

The preserved butthole belongs to what’s known as a Psittacosaurus, or “parrot lizard”. This 6.5-foot-long creature lived in what is now Asia some 125-100 million years ago.

As a ceratopsian dinosaur, it’s related to the well-known three-horned Triceratops.

The discovery of the cloaca is particularly significant because it is soft tissue. While bones fossilize easily, it’s exceedingly rare to find preserved organs and skin is pretty much like winning the lottery for a paleontologist.

“The reproductive biology of extinct non-avialan dinosaurs is rarely interpreted from the fossil record,” the team behind the discovery says, in more sophisticated terms.

“To date, exceptionally well-preserved remains and the extant phylogenetic bracket have clarified details including their brooding behavior, nesting style and timing of sexual maturity. However, the anatomy and function of the cloaca has continued to remain elusive.”

A Window to the Past

What’s left of the cloaca gives at least the scientists a pretty good window into what its function was for the Psittacosaurus. The organ is just under an inch in length, doesn’t protrude out of the body like it does in some modern animals, and it has darker pigmentation than the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, only the external opening of the cloaca has survived to this day. The internal parts have been lost to time and decay. The precise functionality of the dinosaur butthole remains an enigma.

With that being said, even the outer parts give those in the know about such things a good platform to make educated guesses based on the anatomy of similar animals that are alive today. The scientists were glad to note that the dinosaur cloaca closely resembles that of current crocodiles.

“The gross morphology of the vent in Psittacosaurus, which combines a longitudinally opening vent with a rosette pattern of cloacal scales and transverse rows of quadrangular ventral scales, most closely matches that of crocodylians,” the researchers say.

The discovery makes sense. Crocodiles are ancient beasts that existed already at the same time as dinosaurs. They’re both reptiles, so it stands to reason that they would have similar private parts.

Speaking of private parts, there’s more knowledge to glean from the fossilized butthole in that regard…

What’cha Packing?

One question that has haunted both scientists and those with freaky-deaky interests is how did dinosaurs mate. Looking at their skeletal structures, it seems that the process of baby-making may not have been particularly easy for a lot of species.

Dinosaur intimacy has been a contentious topic in the paleontologist community. Some of them have posited that they did the deed like birds do.

That is, they just sort of… Rub their orifices together.

The act is known as “cloacal kissing” and we’ll leave it at that. You can do your own googling if you’re interested.

However, like we said, the crocodile-like Psittacosaurus cloaca now gives scientists ample opportunity to make educated guesses of what the dinosaur was packing. And their educated guess is as follows:

“The crocodilian-like vent of Psittacosaurus implies that, unlike lizards and later-diverging birds, Psittacosaurus probably had a muscular, unpaired, and ventrally-positioned copulatory organ and a ureter that was decoupled from the copulatory organ.”

In more colloquial terms, the dinosaur probably had a penis. Or at least some kind of a dong-like organ.

This seems to confirm the second prevailing theory about dinosaur sex, which is that they had penises. It’s a reasonably theory, particularly when you think about species like Stegosaurus or Diplodocus.

Seems like it’d be difficult for them to get busy without a… Yeah.

Unanswered Questions

Whether the long-since expired owner of the fossilized cloaca had a dong, though, we will never know. The scientists say that it’s impossible to determine the specimen’s sex from the parts available to them.

“In crocodylians, sex determination is entirely dependent on the inspection of the genitalia and has no relationship to the external morphology of the cloaca/vent,” they say.

The researchers note that there are some features that might suggest that the Psittacosaurus in question was female. That, however, is just a guess with no statistical support.

We suppose some things will just be forever lost to time. In any case, whether it be Sir or Madam, we thank this particular dinosaur for its contribution to science.

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Men or Robot Males: That is the Question

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  • And the answer? Well, that depends on you.

Male love robots could really replace men for good, if we want them too. Love dolls are nothing new but now there’s a male doll that’s also a robot, robot males.

These robot males can do things that a real man would, including engaging in verbal communications. There are a couple popular companies making these robot males.

“Real Doll” leaves little to worry about with these as far as your user experience is concerned. A good example is that the battery recharges for these have become a thing of the past.  

They call these robots the “Ultimate Pleasure Experience.” The name tells you what the doll is all about. 

Different personalities, traits, narratives, and characteristics will be designed into the dolls to best serve the needs of women all over the world. And women have it easier, too.

With a robot man, you wouldn’t feel the need to look a certain way, be a certain size, or have anxiousness about sleeping with them. It sounds a little bit unbelievable but you can see for yourself by learning about this technology and what it means for the future. 

Ladies, the love life you always wanted is here. The creators of the doll made sure to make it a superman, so that it could out perform real-life males, stating that women would want to choose these robots over real life guys.

If there are any guys out there not putting in 100% to your relationships, you better rethink that before a replacement male kicks you to the curb.

The “Ultimate Pleasure Experience” was designed to make real-life men obsolete. Great news for women, not so much for men.

The company even believes in this product so much so, it sees the robot males becoming boyfriends to these women, and not just sex friends.

Any of the regular sex dolls have no chance against this high tech alternative. And how could they?

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Cleaning Lady Usurps Incumbent Mayor in Russian Election

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  • The 35-year-old cleaning lady put her name on the ballot as a favor to her boss, the mayor.
  • She ended up earning 62% of the vote in her small rural Russian town.

In a sweet story of someone getting their just desserts, a Russian mayor asked the building’s cleaner to sign up for the local election to assure his victory. But then she won. In Povalikhino, a small town in rural Russia, official elections must have at least two candidates to validate the process. So, Nikolai Loktev, the 58-year-old incumbent mayor, asked the city hall’s 35-year-old cleaning lady to join him on the ballot as a formality. 

 

An Election Day Surprise

Photo by ANGÉLICA SABINA on Unsplash

Loktev’s plan didn’t work out quite as planned; Marina Udgodskaya earned 62% of the vote to Loktev’s 34%. However, some residents would have preferred a third option–no mayor at all. The local shopkeeper told the BBC, “If we could have voted against all we would have done, but we had the option to vote for Marina, so we did.” 

 

Initially, Udgodskaya was going to resign the position, feeling uncertain about her ability to run the town of 242, “I didn’t think people would actually vote for me.” It’d be up to her to fund a new election if she refused to take the new job. 

 

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The town’s overwhelming support didn’t end with the election; the former cleaning lady has the townspeople’s commitment to helping her learn the job. The mayor’s assistant, Irina Nechayeva, has faith in the newly elected mayor, “I think she’ll cope. The whole village will help. Though, of course, her education needs a bit of a boost.” 

 

The increased paycheck may have temped Udgodskaya as well; the new position doubles her salary as a cleaning lady. She already has an agenda. She committed to bringing street lights to Povalikhino, a longstanding request from the townspeople. 

Elections with Pre-Selected Winners and Losers

Photo by Maria Rodideal on Unsplash

Russia and a handful of former Soviet states use democratic elections for selecting leaders only as a matter of ceremony. The establishment pre-selects winners and losers, going to great lengths to prevent viable opponents from even appearing on the ticket. Vladimir Putin’s opponent Aleksei A. Navalny was poisoned just before the Russian election this year.   

 

It was just a matter of personalities in such a small town that caused a historical breakdown of election expectations. The townspeople saw Loktev as too withdrawn. He didn’t talk to the townspeople or show he cared. Meanwhile, people knew Udgodskaya and liked her, even if she didn’t have political experience. 

 

In an interview, Udgodskaya claimed she wouldn’t have run except as a favor for her boss, as she never cared for politics, “I like farming.” 

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