Colbert sees bong in Israeli project
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Colbert sees bong in Israeli project

Comedian attends Washington science fair with Bill Clinton, blows smoke on Ben Gurion University display

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.


Former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, likely knew they would be unleashing some wackiness when they agreed to let Stephen Colbert visit the Clinton Global Initiative University Exchange Fair.

The event, aptly characterized a “science fair for noble causes” by Colbert, took place at Washington University in St. Louis, April 5-7.

Among the exhibits the satirist checked out was one presented by two  students from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the only Israeli institution represented at the event, according to Ronni Strongin of the American Associates of BGU.

Colbert took one look at the project, a coiled contraption called “Air2O,” and immediately fixated on the fact that it reminded him of a bong.

“Our project is a low-cost off-grid technology that extracts the water from the atmospheric air,” explained one of the students.

But Colbert didn’t seem particularly interested. “Is there any chance that could just be a bong?” he asked. When the surprised students said no, he kept pushing. “Is there any chance that that thing could be used as a bong?…It would be the only thing in the world that could not, then.”

Apparently disappointed that he couldn’t use the BGU students’ project to get high, Colbert moved on to examine—and poke fun at —other problem-solving prototypes. They included football helmet concussion sensors from Arizona State University and the Humanure Power Project from Tulane University that builds public toilets in India to generate electricity from the “poop power” (methane gas) of the 650 million Indians who normally defecate outside.

The funnyman capped his visit with a demonstration of his own project, a science fair classic. It was a papier-mâché volcano he erupted by dropping a Mentos candy into a bottle of diet cola. Colbert made a quick exit following a failed attempt at explaining how his project would help humanity.

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