It was reported last week that "Iran has agreed 'in principle' to an international proposal that could significantly reduce its stocks of uranium."
Just maybe that's because that shifty Mahmoud Ahmadinejad realizes skullduggery is no longer necessary to maintain a healthy supply of fissile material. All one has to do is log on to amazon.com.
As of this writing, there are two sellers of a canister of uranium ore on the site. One charges a mere $23. ("Cracked casing," reads his description of the product. "Has caused dog to grow third pair of legs. Still adorable.") Another, presumably misreading the marketplace for such a product, charges a whopping $2499. ("Found this in some old abandoned village while on vacation. Older, Russian model (PU239)? Please inquire about shipping.")
The Iranian president should, however, be careful to word his search specifically and read the customer reviews closely. Sure, most people know that Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake goes great with a tall glass of milk and is a hit at birthday parties. But it seems at least a few would-be despots got the wrong idea when pricing out that particular product.
"Obviously, the price is right — so that's 1 star right there," writes one shopper. "And the convenience of super-saver delivery spares me I don't even know how many trips to Niger. That's another star. However, try as I might, I could never get this stuff to enrich to fully weapons-grade. If it worked half as well in my ballistic missiles as it does in my research reactor, it'd be 5 stars. Maybe you'll have better luck. It's possible that my centrifuge is hinky."
Back in the mid/late '90s, one of the Web's proto-memes was to log onto Amazon and review collections of Bill Keane's Family Circus cartoons, analyzing their semiotic content using abstruse academic jargon and citing deconstructionists like Derrida and Foucault. Soon, however, site admins got wise and the reviews were removed. Thankfully, either due to lenience or obliviousness, they've left this new generation of product-review pranksters alone, allowing witty writers worldwide to subtly turn the online juggernaut into their own comedy clearing-house.
Radioactive matter isn't the only unusual stuff available at Jeff Bezos's online emporium. Are you in the market for a 32-ounce jug of wolf urine? It's there, for just $31.95! ("One is immediately drawn to this vintage by the colour, which is an elegant, pale straw hue with an appealing peachy fruit on the nose.") Or, you can purchase a "Fresh Whole Rabbit" for $38.50. ("I am Director of Unholy Sacrifices for a prominent pagan bloodcult," writes one unsatisfied customer. "Let me warn you, Baal-Hammon will NOT be appeased by this offering.") How about some Inflatable Toast for the low, low price of $2.30? ("Great option without the risk of burning," reads one five-star review. "Not as tasty as regular toast, but much safer for kids and those people without slotted toasters.")