By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

In today's modern society, we assume women have taken more control over their lives than ever before, and the phrase "it's a man's world" sounds downright quaint these days. But apparently we're dead wrong, as some Chinese officials think the concept of "woman power" should be turned into a tourist destination.

Yes, Chinese tourism authorities are seeking investment to build a novel concept attraction — the world's first "women's town," where men get punished for disobedience.

The 2.3 square kilometer Longshuihu village in the Shuangqiao district of Chongqing municipality was based on the local traditional concept of "women rule and men obey," a tourism official told Reuters.

"Traditional women dominate, and men have to be obedient in the areas of Sichuan province and Chongqing, and now we are using it as an idea to ... boost tourism," said the official, who was identified only with the surname Li.

The tourism bureau plans to invest up to $39 million in infrastructure, roads and buildings, Li said.

"We welcome investors from overseas and nationwide to invest in our project," he added.

When tour groups enter the town, female tourists would play the dominant role when shopping or choosing a place to stay, and a disobedient man would be punished by "kneeling on an uneven board" or washing dishes in a restaurant, Chinese media reports said.

The motto of the new town would be "Women never make mistakes, and men can never refuse women's requests."

Now that's a breaking-news flash right there.

Not-so-bad ideas

  • When the aliens finally invade Earth, you may wish you had listened to Travis Taylor and Bob Boan.

After all, they have written "An Introduction to Planetary Defense," a primer on how humanity can fight back if little green men wielding death rays show up at our cosmic doorstep.

And yes, they're serious.

"The probability really is there that aliens exist and are old enough to have technology to enable them to come here," Taylor said in an interview.

Taylor and Boan are hardly basement-dwelling paranoids obsessed with tinfoil hats and Area 51. Taylor holds advanced degrees in astronomy and physics, and is an associate at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He and Boan have done consulting work for the Defense Department and NASA.

But their views have won few audiences outside of science fiction conventions, and their book is published by BrownWalker Press, which specializes in fringe topics.

Taylor and Boan — along with co-authors R.C. Anding and T. Conley Powell — have crunched the numbers, and they claim it is possible that our Milky Way galaxy harbors thousands of intelligent alien species and that there is a "high probability" that one or two of them visit Earth every century.

Taylor and Boan started thinking about how to respond to an aggressive extraterrestrial attack during a 2001 discussion about defending against terrorist attacks.

"One thing that popped into my mind was that the only way Americans would be in an asymmetric war on the other side would be if we were attacked by aliens. Everyone chuckled, but then after a minute the comments started setting in," Taylor said.

"Then we really got to talking about it and we thought, well, you know, we really might need this contingency plan anyway," Taylor said.

Just don't tell us we really need to learn that Spock neck-pinch thing now.

  • A restaurant-bar in Taiwan is letting visitors order "medicine" from a menu and dripping it into their glasses from a transparent ceiling-suspended vat.

As many as 10 visitors can sit around a hospital bed at the D.S. Music Restaurant, a medical-themed eatery, and watch showgirls dance on weekend nights or chat up "nurses" in starched white uniforms.

hospital style restaurant in Taipei
Richard Chung  /  Reuters
A waitress dressed as a nurse serves food to customers at the hospital-style restaurant in Taipei earlier this month.
The 130-seat restaurant in Taipei features crutches hung from the walls and a wheelchair parked in the lobby.

Other touches include a sign marked "emergency room" leading to the toilets.

"Food is hard to compete on with other restaurants, so the part we emphasize is service," says assistant manager Ou Chia-hao, brother of the 29-year-old owner who opened D.S. Music last year to express his enthusiasm for the care he got at a hospital when he was treated for a liver disorder.

"In Taipei, pressure on people is high, and they want a place near home where they can feel relaxed."

But it might be hard to chill out when the nurse/waitress is probably yelling into the kitchen,  "Two sirloins, medium-well, STAT!"

THe Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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