The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2004
Weird Pillows — Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed the latest in long-distance surrogate affection. It's a robotic pillow named The Hug. Katie in Kansas hugs her pillow, which then transmits a signal over the phone lines, instructing another pillow in Florida to start squeezing Grandma. It's meant to bring the sense of touch back to long-distance communication. But for some reason I think I'm going to stick with simple phone calls (I have visions of the pillow malfunctioning and not letting…
Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2004.   Comments (4)

Kerry’s T-Shirt — Here's another political spoof photo that's going around. At least, I'm assuming it's a spoof. Kerry's head looks pasted on, and the words on the t-shirt also look photoshopped... not to mention that it's hard to imagine Kerry really wearing a t-shirt like that. (via J-Walk)
Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2004.   Comments (5)

Win A Book, Contest #2 — I've received a free copy of David Wilton's new book, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, courtesy of Oxford University Press. So I'm having a contest to give it away. The book has just been published. I'm not sure it's even out in stores yet, but you can get a copy here... if you win the contest. First, what's the book about? Wilton debunks all those stories about where words come from, such as 'is GOLF really an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden?' or 'does…
Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2004.   Comments (143)

John Titor and the Election of 2004 — In late 2000 a man calling himself John Titor began posting messages on internet discussion boards, claiming that he was a time traveler from the year 2036 (his time travel machine was a 1967 Chevrolet). His mission had been to journey back to the year 1975 and make contact with his grandfather, who was a member of the engineering team developing the IBM 5100, but somehow he ended up in 2000 instead. The tale of John Titor is pretty familiar internet lore by now, and I'm surprised that…
Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2004.   Comments (42)


New Anti-Spam Feature — About five days after I decided to have non-member comments be moderated, I've changed my mind. From now on there will be no moderation (it was a pain for me to do, plus it disrupted the spontaneity of comments). Instead, I've put in place a high-tech anti-spam feature in which people who submit comments have to first type in a word displayed in a box. Members won't have to do this. Hopefully the spammers won't be willing to do this. If they do it'll be a complete waste of their time…
Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004.   Comments (6)

Superendowed Children — Found on Liquito (the only Portuguese weblog I regularly read, even though I don't read Portuguese) [note: I meant portuguese-language blog... Liquito is a Brazilian blog]. Proof that the Egyptian pyramids and the Easter Island statues were constructed by superendowed children:
Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004.   Comments (16)

Smoking In Cars Illegal — A rumor flew through Lexington, Kentucky that the County Council had passed a law banning people from smoking cigarettes in cars. Given all the new laws banning smoking in public places, I guess such a law wouldn't be that unbelievable. Reportedly, hundreds of people called the Lexington police and City Hall to ask if the rumor was true. It wasn't. The rumor had been started as a prank by DJs at a Lexington radio station, Z-103. An early April Fool's Day joke apparently.
Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004.   Comments (9)

Boo Bee Juice Drink — Could the makers of Boo Bee Juice Drink really not realize the double meaning of the product's name? Or do they realize perfectly well and are going for the titillation/subliminal advertising thing? I'm sure even kids would pick up on what the name means, especially when they hear the adults giggling behind their backs. I suspect it all could be another Haribo-Fruit-Chews-type marketing ploy. (via Boing Boing)
Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004.   Comments (5)

Porcelain Doll Possessed by the Dead — Someday I'm going to get tired of checking out the haunted things for sale on eBay, but not yet (I'm easily amused). So here's the latest haunted offering. It's a Porcelain Doll Possessed By the Dead. I've got to hand it to the seller. That's a spooky looking doll. And the story that accompanies it is pretty good as well.
Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2004.   Comments (13)

Phone-Eating Dog — From The Register comes a news report about a dog who swallowed a mobile phone. The owner of the phone only realized what happened when the phone started ringing... inside the dog's stomach. Now it seems to me that a) most dogs would not swallow something as large as a mobile phone, though it could happen; and b) the acid inside a dog's stomach would pretty quickly short-circuit a phone. Oh, and c) The Register says it got the news report from Ananova. And everyone knows how reliable…
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (10)

Were students suspended for wearing John Deere shirts? — According to a rumor, students at a Baltimore County school were recently suspended for wearing John Deere shirts. The shirts, apparently, are considered racist. (I'm still trying to figure that one out. I guess if you wear a John Deere shirt you must be a redneck and, by extension, you must also be racist). But a spokesman for the school system has denied that any John-Deere-shirt-wearing students have been suspended on account of their fashion choice.
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (36)

Remote Control Hunting — If you'd like to go hunting, but, for one reason or another, you don't want to get up from your computer, there's a new option available: remote control hunting. Live-shot.com is a site that allows its members to control, via the internet, a pan/tilt/zoom camera located on a ranch in Texas. The camera, in turn, is connected to a rifle. Aim your shot and fire away. Sounds a little odd, but I guess there's no reason a system like this couldn't be set up. But currently live-shot will only…
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (3)

Decomposition TV — Reality TV has definitely sunk to a new low. Reuters reports that Channel 4 in Britain is considering televising a human corpse as it decomposes. They're currently searching for volunteers willing to donate their body after they die. This reminds me of two things. The See Me Rot Decomposition Cam, and also that theater group that held auditions to get someone to donate their corpse.
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (15)

Wolf Howls at Auroral Lights — I was going through old email when I came across this image of a wolf howling at auroral lights. The person who sent it to me wondered whether or not it's real. A photographer would have to be pretty lucky to catch a scene like that, but that doesn't mean the picture isn't real. My guess would be that it's a composite image... that the images of the sky and the wolf were pasted together for dramatic effect. But that's only a guess.
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (14)

Catproof Your Computer — This software sounds like a joke, but I'm pretty sure it's real, in the sense that it's a product you can actually buy (whether or not it works is another question). It's PawSense, the software utility that catproofs your computer. "PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps." If it senses cat typing, it'll automatically block any further keyboard input…
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (9)

Coca-Cola Fantasy Items — Here's an interesting piece from a newspaper about the burgeoning market in Coca-Cola Fantasy items. One of the paper's readers wrote in to ask whether their Coca-Cola belt buckle designed by Tiffany Studios and showing a nude woman sitting on a crescent moon was of any value (unfortunately there's no picture of the item). The paper's reply: No, because the item is a fantasy fake: [This] is what Coca-Cola collectors call a "fantasy," which is a piece that never existed as an old…
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2004.   Comments (31)

Branston Pickle Panic — A fire at the only factory that produces Branston Pickle reportedly sparked panic buying of the popular brown relish, spurred on by a comment from Premier Foods (its manufacturer) that within two weeks stock levels would run out. So sellers of Branston Pickle began asking as much as £16 or £25 for the stuff on eBay (a jar usually sells for less than £1). For Americans who don't know what this stuff is, it's kind of like a savory brown chutney, very popular in Britain, and often spread…
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2004.   Comments (3)

New Member Registration — This is my new anti-spam system. Comments submitted to the site will be approved by a moderator (me) before they appear on the site. HOWEVER, if you choose to register as a member, your comments will appear immediately. They'll skip the moderation process. So this is how you register as a member (it took me all weekend to figure out how to get this to work, so there may still be some bugs in it): Step 1: Go to the Member Registration page and fill in the info. Step 2: An email…
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2004.   Comments (11)

Too Much Spam — I've got to say: spammers really suck. My site is being aggressively comment spammed. Hundreds of comments inviting people to check out 'interesting' information about personal finance credit reports, etc. are appearing on posts throughout my site. Most of it is being left on older entries, where I guess the spammer figures I won't notice it. The spam seems to be coming from a wide variety of different servers throughout Europe, which makes it impossible for me to effectively IP ban it.…
Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2004.   Comments (17)

A Hand of Corn — Virgel Fisher owns a hand of corn. He inherited it from his grandfather. But this is the part of the story that I don't understand. He says that when his grandfather found the 'corn hand' two of its fingers were missing, "so his ancestor searched until he found them, using pins to reattach the dismembered digits". Does this mean that the fingers were an artificial add-on? Or had they simply broken off? Either way, Virgel could probably make a bundle if he sold his 'corn hand' on eBay,…
Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2004.   Comments (8)

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