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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Cereal is for masturbators

Mountain Dew can turn your poop green

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has very little cheese in it

Pringles cans make excellent coffins

The McNugget shapes have names

Captain Crunch was a phreaker's best friend

There is no way you can eat as much ramen as this dude

Domino's keeps trying to name people's kids

It's hard to overdose on caffeine

Easy Cheese is surprisingly complicated

Hot Pockets and Xbox controllers: A match made in heaven

Close-up of the Xbox controller Hot Pocket dispenser

Surge wound up being banned, because teachers

Darth Vader sells Pocky

Diet Coke tastes terrible with sugar

We're big geek food junkies here at CNET. So we thought it'd be fun to pay tribute to some of our favorite computer- and gaming-friendly snacks by sharing some of the weirdest (and occasionally stomach-churning) facts about them we could find.

Take, for example, breakfast cereal. I'll readily admit to regularly eating handfuls of it right from the box.

But cereal wasn't originally made for snacking. It was made to keep people from masturbating.

Seriously.

See, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg -- yes, that Kellogg -- was an extreme anti-sex activist. He believed that masturbation caused bad posture, mood swings, epilepsy and a number of other serious maladies. He also believed that spicy foods were a key cause of masturbation.

So to keep patients at Black Creek Sanitarium from touching themselves and falling ill, Kellogg fed them an intentionally bland health food he called Corn Flakes. (It was his market-savvy brother who decided to add sugar and drop the anti-masturbatory angle.)

Caption by / Photo by CerealKiller/Splash News/Corbis

Arguably, no soda is more closely tied with video gaming than Mountain Dew. The heavily caffeinated drink has cross-promoted with Call of Duty, Halo and other popular gaming titles to offer special in-game bonuses.

Those who consumed the blue variant of Mountain Dew created for World of Warcraft players, however, had a different bonus effect. Some people reported that the soda's food coloring went undigested by their bodies, turning their poop an unnatural shade of green.

Caption by / Photo by PepsiCo

You know that amazingly delicious cheese sauce in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? Yeah, uh...you might want to stop calling it cheese.

According to Sasha Chapman's report "Manufacturing Taste," an anonymous food scientist estimates that Kraft's sauce only contains about 29 percent cheese. The rest is cost-efficient filler like whey powder.

Caption by / Photo by Bruce James/the food passionates/Corbis

Coming up with the design for the now-iconic Pringles can was the highlight of Procter & Gamble food scientist Dr. Frederick Baur's career.

Which is why, when Baur died, his family granted his final request to bury part of his cremated ashes inside a Pringles can.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters/Corbis

We all know that the most flavorful part of the chicken is its McNugget area. But did you know that there are four distinct chicken nugget shapes -- all of which have their own names?

It's true: There's the "Ball," the "Bell," the "Bone" (also known as the "Bow Tie") and the "Boot."

Of course, the Boot is our favorite -- it's the one with the tiny little handle that allows for maximum dunkage into your sweet-and-sour sauce.

Caption by / Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Corbis

Captain Crunch has a very special connection to the early hacking/phreaking community.

In 1971, every box of the cereal came with a free toy prize: a small whistle for kids. Early computer programmer John Draper noticed that it produced tones at exactly 2,600 hertz, the same audio frequency being used by AT&T's network as a phone relay signal.

As such, one long blow of the whistle into a phone receiver would disconnect any call and put the phone line into a special "operator" mode. Draper could then use the whistle to "dial" any phone number he wanted, free of charge.

Draper served three jail sentences for phone fraud, but not before famously teaching his phreaking techniques to Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in a college dorm room.

Caption by / Photo by General Mills

Ramen is one of the most quintessential geek foods -- there have been plenty of nights in college and beyond where we here at CNET have indulged in a package (or two) of the salty noodle treat.

But our ravenous appetites are nothing compared to that of Tim "Eater X" Janus. He won the first-ever Major League Eating World Ramen Noodle Eating Contest (held at the Nintendo World Store to promote a Naruto game, naturally) by downing 10.5 pounds of ramen in just 8 minutes using only a pair of chopsticks.

Caption by / Photo by Yosuke Tanaka/AFLO/Aflo/Corbis

Would you name your child after Domino's Pizza product for a free pizza? What about $1,000 in free pizza?

In 2004 -- and again in 2008 -- Domino's offered a grand worth of fast food pizza to any family sadistic enough to name their child after one of the company's (now-failed) products.

So the next time you meet a child named "Brooklyn," be nice to him or her. The poor kid was probably named in a pizza contest.

Caption by / Photo by Robert Schlesinger/dpa/Corbis

If you're a child of the 1980s, you'll definitely remember Jolt Cola -- it famously had "all the sugar and twice the caffeine" of regular soft drinks. You'll also likely remember your parents being nervous about the drink. Is it really safe for kids to drink that much caffeine?

Well, good news: According to Popular Science, the fatal dose of caffeine in an adult human is somewhere between 5 and 10 grams. You'd need to chug 70 cans of Jolt, 186 cans of Mountain Dew, or 294 cans of Coke in a single sitting to get that much.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Fornell/Bettmann/Corbis

Your average can of Easy Cheese is an engineering marvel.

It's not technically an aerosol can -- the cheese inside never mixes with the can's propellant. Instead, pressing the nozzle causes a separate propellant chamber to expand. That forces a piston upward, causing the cheese-like paste to extrude directly into our waiting mouth holes.

Caption by / Photo by Nickelodeon

The mighty Hot Pocket (and its less-tasty cousin, the Lean Pocket) has been a staple of gamers' diets since it was introduced in the 1980s.

Famed modder Ben Heck paid tribute to this heritage by designing this awesome Xbox controller Hot Pocket dispenser. It's a precision-crafted mechanical marvel that slowly serves up a piping-hot microwave turnover, one bite at a time.

You can watch Heck build the dispenser step-by-step on his YouTube channel.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Heck

Here's a close-up photo of the spectacular Xbox Hot Pocket holster.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Heck

If you were of soda-drinking age in 1997, then there's no doubt you remember Surge, the "fully loaded citrus soda with carbos" that frequently pitted friend against friend in bizarre extreme sports-style battles.

The drink, which had 1.5 times more caffeine than Coke, was not exactly a favorite of school administrators. Some schools flat-out banned the drink.

"We got it six weeks ago and one of the junior high kids chugged two cans of it and he was wired," said the administrator of one Little Rock, Arkansas school.

Sounds about right.

(Thankfully, Coke has given the Surge brand-new life by offering the drink on Amazon.)

Caption by / Photo by The Coca-Cola Company

It's the ultimate Star Wars geek snack for the ultimate Star Wars geek -- just a few years ago, Japanese company Glico made a special Star Wars version of its Pocky biscuit snack. It's a pretty natural marketing fit, since Pocky does look an awful lot like lightsabers.

The coolest part: Glico made a trilogy of Star Wars videos starring Darth Vader to help sell the limited-edition snacks.

You can watch Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3 on YouTube.

Caption by / Photo by Glico

The Coca Cola company was in big trouble in the early 1980s -- people seemed to love Diet Coke, but regular Coke was losing market share to rival Pepsi. So, the company had its biggest (and simultaneously worst) idea in its corporate history: Why not remix the flavor of Coke to be a bit more sweet, similar to how Diet Coke tastes?

The end result was called New Coke, and it was a total marketing failure. Consumer backlash was immediate, leading Coca Cola to bring back its older, better-tasting formulation a few months later.

Caption by / Photo by Jens Kalaene/dpa/Corbis
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