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What will you learn from The Insight each fortnight? We recently wrote about these stories for our subscribers.



South African drivers can legally attach flamethrowers to their cars to protect against carjackers.

Called the Blaster, or “BMW Flamethrower”, this alarming creation was invented by local, Charl Fourie, in 1998.

The flamethrower arrived on the scene following high rates of violent crime in the country, which ranked as having the highest assault, murder and carjacking rates, per capita, in the world.

The Blaster is typically installed under the vehicle’s doors, with the driver able to flick a switch which directs flames onto assailants, particularly towards their faces.

Fourie said, while most likely non-lethal, the invention would “definitely blind” carjackers.



The CIA hosts fake conferences to recruit foreign academics.

Recently declassified papers have revealed that the CIA have spent millions staging elaborate conferences around the world in order to approach leading academics. With the main goal being luring Iranian nuclear scientists out of their homeland, agents would then attempt to pressure them to defect.

“Every intelligence service in the world works conferences, sponsors conferences, and looks for ways to get people to conferences,” one former CIA operative told The Guardian recently.

But it appears that the USA aren’t the only country to rely on this tactic. In 2011, the FBI warned American academics that they should exercise caution when attending conferences.

“A researcher receives an unsolicited invitation to submit a paper for an international conference. She submits a paper and it is accepted. At the conference, the hosts ask for a copy of her presentation. The hosts hook a thumb drive to her laptop, and unbeknownst to her, download every file and data source from her computer,” the FBI reportedly warned.



Canada exports its oxygen to China, Vietnam and India.

With pollution rampant in these countries, air exporters in Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia have found an unusual (and large) market. Each collects bottles of oxygen from pristine locations around their respective countries.

While bottled air was initially marketed as a souvenir, Canada-based Vitality Air told local media that their product was becoming increasingly popular amongst China’s residents.

A bottle 7.7 litres of Lake Louise air which promises “upwards of 150 inhalations” costs $32 CAD online. Vitality Air sells the product as offering the user a clear head during “exam prep,” “recovery” and “training”.

While profiting off harmful environmental conditions may not sit right with everybody, one Swiss air trader says he will be seeking to give back, by donating a portion of his sales to the World Vision Clean Water Initiative in Africa.


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