The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2006
Microwaved Water Kills Plants
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 21, 2006
Status: Undetermined I've posted before about theories that microwaved food is bad for you, but this is slightly different. Some guy has posted pictures of his granddaughter's science fair project in which she tested the effect microwaved water would have on a plant. The result: the plant died. (Yes, the water had been cooled before she watered the plant with it.) But the plant given water that had been boiled on a stove did just fine. So what does this prove? That microwaved water is toxic? Not necessarily. The guy notes: We have seen a number of comments on this,…
Categories: Food, Science Comments (100)
Sun Serpent
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 20, 2006
Status: Pareidolia reports that the Loch Ness Monster has been spotted... on the sun. Check out this picture taken by astrophotographer Gary Palmer of Los Angeles. It does look kind of like a serpent, and by the standards of proof applied to blurry images of Loch Ness, that means it must be a sun serpent! (Apparently the dark shapes are really solar filaments, "relatively cool, dense gas suspended above the surface of the Sun.") (via The Anomalist)
Breast Exam Scam
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Status: News 76-year-old William Winikoff of Coconut Creek, Florida has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for posing as a doctor and offering women free breast exams. Remarkably, he duped at least two women with this scam: Carrying a black “doctor’s” bag, investigators claim Winnikoff walked up to a apartment building and told a 36-year-old woman, that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams. According to police, the woman let Winikoff into her apartment and the phony doctor began the exam, touching first her breasts, and then, her genitals. The woman quickly realized that Winikoff was not a real doctor and she called 911, but the fake doctor had already…
Binary King Galaxy
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Status: Fake Dave forwarded me this email he received (which, he noted, was dated April 1, so it seemed a bit suspicious to him). The subject line of the email reads: DEEP-SPACE PHOTO: EP_4277. The text reads: The subject of this photo is a very rare one indeed - taken by NASA with the Hubble space telescope. This is the only documented existence of a binary king galaxy in our known universe. Astronomy is definitely not my expertise. I wouldn't even be able to find the Big Dipper on a clear night. So although I know what a…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Science Comments (17)
Mrs. Foote Attacked By Millipedes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Status: Real Recently the South Australia Sunday Mail reported on the case of Mrs. Foote, an elderly woman who is under attack by millipedes: AN elderly Kapunda woman says she feels as though she is living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie - under attack by thousands of writhing millipedes... "Every morning, I get a broom and have to sweep my way out of the front veranda to go and pick up the newspaper, I'm sick and tired of sweeping up." Mrs Foote said the creepy crawlies now encircled her house, despite numerous calls to the Light Regional Council for help. The reporter probably got a chuckle out of the lady's name,…
Categories: Animals Comments (3)
Giant Laser
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Status: Real Found on Flickr: a cool picture of a giant laser beaming out of the MMT Telescope, on top of Mt. Hopkins in Arizona. The guy who took it, Filip Pizlo, says it's not photoshopped, and I'm willing to believe him, if only because when I was a grad student at UC San Diego there was a green laser beam similar to this visible in the sky over La Jolla almost every night. I never figured out where it was coming from or what the purpose of it was. It couldn't have been coming from the MMT…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places Comments (18)
Tagging Air Force One
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 18, 2006
Status: Fake A video on shows a guy (Mark Ecko) spraying graffiti on Air Force One. This involves him avoiding armed guards, climbing over fences, and then sprinting across the tarmac to write "Still Free" on the plane's engine. The video is well done, but fake. As a disclaimer on the site reads: "You, the viewer of the preceeding are hereby advised that the video does not depict a real event. It is intended for the sole, limited and express purpose of entertainment and to induce you, the viewer of the video, to think critically about freedom of expression and speech…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (27)
Tree-Nesting Elephant
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Probably photoshopped How did the elephant get up in the tree? I'm guessing photoshop since, as far as I know, elephants are not known to be tree climbers. I don't have any information about the source of this image, but it wouldn't surprise me if it came from a worth1000 contest, or something of that nature.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (11)
Global Spell Casting Day
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Publicity stunt/superstition An organization named has announced that on May 5th, 2006 an experiment in global spell casting will take place: Hundreds of participants around the world will focus their energy to manifest love, peace, prosperity and hope for the world. With this unified act of will, they anticipate that magic energy will fill people with personal power and create events that will lead to a better world. "We need no longer wait to see if magic is real or not", according to Ed Hubbard, CEO of Witch School, "We can test it through such global experiments, but instead of looking for data, I am looking forward to hearing the experiences people…
Categories: Paranormal Comments (10)
Feng Shui For Cars
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Pseudoscience Aon Private Clients, a British insurance broker, has commissioned the first ever study of how to improve the feng shui of cars. They note that implementing these recommendations "could improve the flow of energy in vehicles and help drivers alleviate the negative feelings which lead to road rage." Suggestions offered by the study include: A driver should park his or her car facing away from the driver’s home. According to feng shui, cars are ‘predatory tigers’. If parked facing towards a house or office building, they create a threat to the occupants of the building.Remove clutter from the car: it ‘sucks the life force out of the driver’.If using wi-fi connections such as…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology Comments (11)
Boston Couple Eats Glass
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Insurance Scam When I was in elementary school, I often heard a rumor that if you ate chalk you could fake the symptoms of being sick, and thus not have to go to school. I never tried it, but this couple seems to have taken the same idea and advanced it a step further: A couple has been charged with filing fraudulent insurance claims that said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, federal prosecutors said... The couple used aliases, false Social Security numbers and identity cards, and in some cases, had eaten glass intentionally to support their insurance claims, prosecutors said. The glass did not…
Categories: Con Artists, Food Comments (2)
The Musuem of Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
Status: Typosquatter My wife just discovered this. If you misspell by switching he 'e' and the 'u' in museum (a very easy mistake to make), you'll arrive at The Musuem of Hoaxes, which contains links to info about museums. It's obviously a site created by a spammer hoping to profit off of people who are trying to get to the Museum of Hoaxes, but who aren't great spellers. I probably shouldn't link to this alternative version of the Museum (I'm only sending more traffic to the spammer), but I'm kind of flattered that someone thought it was worth their time to create this. According to Larry Adams, author of Fraud In Other Words, this…
Categories: Con Artists, Websites Comments (13)
Cow In A Car
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 14, 2006
Status: Undetermined (but I think they're real) Two pictures, found on flickr (here and here on Alex Laurie's photostream) of a cow in a car:   The info accompanying the images states that they were "taken by a friend of a friend in Slovenia." It looks more like a calf than a full-grown cow, so I suppose it would be possible to stuff the animal in the back of your Volkswagen and hit the highway with it. Given that there are two images, and…
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (14)
Giant Rabbits
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 14, 2006
Status: Real A lot of people have been emailing me these two pictures of giant rabbits, wanting to know if they're real. (Even my wife emailed them to me.) So I figure I better post something about them.   I state in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "The bigger the animal, the taller the tale you're likely being fed." So most of the time if you see pictures of animals that are grossly oversized (such as these big roosters), the pictures are fake. But these rabbits are an exception to that rule, because they're real. They're…
Categories: Animals Comments (16)
Drug Companies Invent Diseases (aka Diseasemongering)
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 13, 2006
Status: Medical News The journal Public Library of Science Medicine is publishing a special series of articles devoted to the practice of "diseasemongering": when pharmaceutical companies invent diseases, or market cures for benign conditions, in order to sell more drugs. The Times, reporting on the special issue, writes that: conditions such as female sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and “restless legs syndrome” have been promoted by companies hoping to sell more of their drugs. Other minor problems that are a normal part of life, such as symptoms of the menopause, are also becoming increasingly “medicalised”, while risk factors such as high cholesterol levels or osteoporosis are being presented as diseases…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (23)
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