Hoax Museum Blog Posts: November 2005

Fake Smile Test — Status: Psychology test I've linked to a fake smile test before, but this one hosted by the BBC (and designed by Professor Paul Ekman, from the University of California) is more elaborate since it allows you to see actual video clips of people smiling. I did quite badly at differentiating the real from the fake, scoring only 9 out of 20. The blurb at the conclusion of the test notes that "Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (37)

Salmon-Flavored Soda — Status: Real Just in time for Thanksgiving, Jones Soda is debuting salmon-flavored soda. It's a publicity stunt, but it's real. They boast that "When you smell it, it's got that smoked salmon aroma." Yum. Just what I want my soda to smell like. They've also got other thanksgiving-themed sodas that come together in a holiday pack: Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto, Cranberry Sauce, Turkey & Gravy, Wild Herb Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie, Broccoli Casserole, Corn on the Cob, and Pecan Pie. You…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (14)

The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (69)

The Power of Makeup — Status: Viral email Pasted below is the content of an email that's going around. It's not a hoax, but it deals with issues of camouflage and deception. (It also reminds me of some Before and After pictures that I posted over a year ago.) The subject line of the email is: Never underestimate the power of makeup.
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (29)


By-Accident.com — Status: Hoax Website By-Accident.com claims to be a company that will "deliver customized accidents such as rape, assault and past traumatic experiences. All personally tailored to suit your special needs." The idea is that you can fake a traumatic experience in your past, and thereby get all kinds of attention as a victim. The company will even provide (optional) Aesthetic Scar Surgery to make your past "accident" more believable: "You can have any physical damage you want, our…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (3)

Fake Family Software — Status: Hoax-facilitating software Genealogists are in an uproar about new software that allows people to create fake (but real looking) online family trees. The program is called Fake Family. (Because of the controversy, the website of the software maker is now given over to an Open Letter to Genealogists.) Genealogists argue that the fake information created by this program could easily find its way into real family history databases. They also charge that the only purpose of the…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (56)

The Bear on the California Flag Should Have Been a Pear — Status: Hoax A reporter for Inside Bay Area (I don't know his name... it's not given with the article) recently recounted how his granddaughter told him that the bear on the California flag was originally supposed to be a pear. Back in 1846, Capt. Jedediah Bartlett, leader of a band of rebels fighting against the Mexican authorities in California, supposedly drew up a flag for the future state. He thought a pear, as a symbol of the region's agriculture, would be a fitting symbol. But…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (15)

Police Officer Declares Himself Hindu Deity — Status: Impersonating a deity A male police officer in India has declared himself to be the reincarnation of Radha, the female consort of the Hindu god Krishna. Naturally, he dresses the part: Devendra Kumar Panda, a 1971 batch officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), presents an odd sight draped in female attire - complete with nose ring, lipstick, finger and toe nails painted red - and singing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna and dancing. "Lord Krishna has himself assigned me the…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (12)

Human Upgrades — Status: Hoax (probably an art project) I've received a couple of emails calling my attention to the Human Upgrades website. This group claims to be some kind of futuristic outfit offering bizarre DNA modification procedures such as Simplenose (giving people one large nostril instead of two), Simpletooth (fusing all the teeth into one long, continuous row), and other more sexually explicit modifications (some of the images are not safe for work). The site states that: Human Upgrades…
Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2005.   Comments (35)

Dog Gives Birth to Green Puppy — Status: Seems to be real A golden retriever has given birth to a green puppy, appropriately named Wasabi. Local 6 News reports: The dog is healthy and green, according to the report. Local 6 News showed video of the puppy rolling around with its normal-looking newborn brothers and sisters. Skeptics said the dog had to be dyed green but the owner said the puppy was born green. Veterinarians said it is possible for a newborn puppy's fur to be green because the placenta, which is green,…
Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005.   Comments (41)

Gene Guess — Status: Hoax (supposedly a magic trick, but it doesn't work) I received this polite request this morning: Dear web master , Please review this website that is able to determine a persons sex just by four visual questions. Name : Gene Guess .com Link : http://www.geneguess.com Thank you , Pras Til So here goes: it worked for me, correctly guessing my gender. I suppose it was an interesting ten-second time waster. I don't know why it worked. Obviously it has a 50/50 chance of getting…
Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005.   Comments (37)

Fake Cavities — Status: Scary scam An Indiana dentist has been charged with diagnosing patients with cavities that didn't exist. This is the kind of thing that feeds the popular paranoia about dentists: The attorney general's office said Dunlap diagnosed three patients with cavities, but the patients sought second opinions and were found to be cavity-free. State officials said Dunlap diagnosed a child with 10 cavities in June, but another dentist found that the child did not have any cavities. A…
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2005.   Comments (44)

Japanese Urban Legends — Status: Urban legends The blog of Mari Kanazawa has an interesting post about Japanese urban legends. Here are some of the highlights: Turbo Gramma: When you drive on the highway at a blistering speed gramma knocks on the car window. If you see her, you will have a car accident. Someone made a turbo gramma game. Touch the Red G-String: The delivery company trade mark of Sagawa is "Hikyaku", a traditional Japanese postman. Hikyaku wore a traditional red Japanese g-string Fundoshi! The…
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2005.   Comments (7)

Hippo With Tortoise — Status: True This is a slightly old story, but very heartwarming. A baby hippo in Nairobi that survived the tsunami has apparently adopted a tortoise as its surrogate mother: "It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park, told AFP. "After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look…
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2005.   Comments (8)

Upside-Down Christmas Trees — Status: Real Target.com is was selling an upside-down Christmas tree for $499.99. (Thanks to Travis for the link--which has now gone dead, therefore I removed it) I'm not religious, but my first thought when seeing it was that it would be a perfect holiday decoration for a family of Satanists, to accompany their upside-down crosses and crucified Santa. I know it's not a joke, or some mistake on Target's part, because Hammacher Schlemmer is selling the same thing for $100 more. I…
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2005.   Comments (84)

Amazon Mechanical Turk — Status: Real service named after a hoax Amazon.com has unveiled a new web service called Amazon Mechanical Turk. I'm making note of it here because they've named it after a famous hoax: the Great Chess Automaton (aka the Mechanical Turk) of Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen. The Mechanical Turk, which wowed audiences during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was supposedly a mechanical device that could play chess against human players (and win!). In reality, there was a man hidden…
Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005.   Comments (12)

Road Rage Video — Status: Commercial Someone emailed me a videoclip titled "Road Rage". It shows an old woman slowly crossing a road, as a guy in a sports car lays on the horn, trying to get her to hurry up. I won't ruin the ending, but it's pretty amusing. However, the video (in the version I received) appears to be an unscripted scene accidentally caught on video by an amateur. There's no identifying information to suggest otherwise. But since I was curious about whether the scene really was unstaged,…
Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005.   Comments (16)

Altmann Tube-O-Lator Lacquer — Status: Bogus (almost definitely) Altmann tube-o-lator lacquer is a coating-compound that you can rub on semiconductor chips found in devices such as CD-players, DVD-players, Preamplifiers, or Power-Amplifiers. And somehow this coating will change the way those chips process sound. Whereas before the sound was cold and harsh, after rubbing a bit of tube-o-lator lacquer on, the sound is warm and rich. The tube-o-lator website states: The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer is applied only…
Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005.   Comments (15)

Who Buried Paul McCartney? — Status: Documentary A Dutch TV station, omroep.nl (I think it's a TV station), has an interesting documentary online about the Paul Is Dead hoax. The documentary is in English, but with Dutch subtitles. I had to select the Real Player option to get the video to play. The documentary contains interviews with many of the key players in the events of 1969, including Russ Gibb (the Detroit DJ whose broadcast about the Paul is dead rumor brought it to the attention of a national audience),…
Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005.   Comments (9)

The Silent Movie Actress Archive (Corporeal Memorabilia) — Status: Art Project The website of the SMA (Silent Movie Actress) Archive claims that: We are a small and dedicated organisation based in Baltimore, USA. Our aim is the ‘resurrection’ of actresses from the Golden era of silent cinema. To do this we are securing a large body of quality genetic material from a variety of sources which is subjected to rigorous testing to ensure its validity. Samples range from small tissue and blood samples to full bones and several preserved organs. Is…
Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005.   Comments (4)

Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >