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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2006
Texas Town Prays For Rain
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 26, 2006
Status: Superstition It's been a hot summer, and a lot of areas really need some rain. The town of Lubbock, Texas is taking a pro-active approach by organizing everyone in the town to pray for rain. Mayor David Miller says:"Nobody is going to tell God what to do and what not to do, but we are in a serious drought in West Texas and since he is the man who controls the rain clouds, we're asking him for his mercy and his help." If the City Council approves the rain-prayer resolution, residents of the town will be asked to pray and…
Categories: Religion Comments (27)
Headless Gymnast
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 26, 2006
Status: Strange but real A strange photo can be seen on Yahoo! News Photo. It looks like this gymnast is headless, though, of course, that's just an illusion created by the angle of the camera. The gymnast is Katherine Coronel of Venezuela. The photo was taken by Martin Bernetti.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports Comments (7)
Inflatable Passenger
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 26, 2006
Status: Weird News Sheilas’ Wheels, a UK-based auto-insurance company that caters to women, has announced the invention of a "buddy on Demand": "a blow up man that inflates at the flick of a switch if and when a passenger is needed to be used whenever a woman driving alone after dark needs an instant passenger." It doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it would be very useful for carpool lanes as well. I suspected the whole thing was a joke since I couldn't find any picture of this "Buddy on Demand," and it's not for sale yet, but in…
Cursor Kite
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 25, 2006
Status: Real Has a giant cursor been photoshopped into this picture? It looks like it, but the cursor is actually a kite created by Tim Elverston of WindFire Designs. It's not yet for sale. In the larger version of the picture, you can see someone on the right-hand side holding the strings to keep the kite aloft. More pictures of the Cursor Kite can be seen at the WindFire Designs site. (via OhGizmo)
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (12)
Did Einstein Consider Geography More Difficult Than Physics?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 25, 2006
Status: Hoax The following quotation is widely attributed to Albert Einstein: "As a young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the Customs Office, I thought deeply about the matter and concluded that it was far too difficult a subject. With some reluctance, I then turned to physics as an alternative." Did he ever say it? No. Nor did he ever work in the Customs Office. (He worked in the Patent Office.) In an article in the Toronto Star, Sharon Burnside traces how the quotation became attributed to Einstein in the first place. Apparently it…
Mock Marijuana
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 24, 2006
Status: Unusual product Want some marijuana? Of course, here in America it's illegal to buy the real thing, but you can buy mock marijuana... lifelike marijuana plants made out of silk and wood. It would be a pretty cool conversation piece to have sitting in the corner, especially if the police ever show up unexpectedly. The mock marijuana is sold by New Image Plants, operated by pro-pot activist Joseph White. It's a small business. Most of his customers, ironically, are law-enforcement agencies. But he did just sell $40,000 worth of his plants to the set director of Weeds, a Showtime series…
Rob the Parachuting War-Hero Dog
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 24, 2006
Status: Hoax A collie named Rob has long been celebrated as a hero of World War II. He received the Dickin Medal for Gallantry "For service including 20 parachute jumps while serving with Infantry in North Africa and SAS Regiment in Italy." However, Rob's plane-jumping exploits have now been exposed as a hoax. Quentin "Jimmy" Hughes, a former SAS training officer, exposed the hoax in his recent autobiographical account of the SAS, Who Cares Who Wins? The London Times reports: Far…
Categories: Animals, Military Comments (11)
Angel Crashlands On Car
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 24, 2006
Status: Seems to be some kind of viral marketing campaign Here's a bit of a mystery. Last week Liam Yates went to pick up his car from the Borough Green train station, where he had left it parked, only to discover "the bonnet, windscreen and roof of his car caved in, with one 8ft wing protruding out of the front, and another sticking up out of the top." It looked like an angel had crashlanded on his car. This Is Kent reports: The wings were matted at one end with what looked like blood, as if they had been…
Categories: Pranks Comments (21)
Feckenham’s Declaration of Independence
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 24, 2006
Status: Hoax Earlier this spring, while digging up an oak tree, residents of Feckenham (a small British village) discovered an 800-year-old scroll written by King Henry III. The scroll stated that the village should remain independent forever. This prompted the villagers to declare their independence from Britain, set up border-patrol checkpoints around the town, and lower the taxes on beer. The Ottawa Citizen reports: The scroll, of course, is a joke. The story started earlier this spring as a way to involve locals in a…
Categories: Places Comments (4)
Is Fake-Nice A Good Thing?
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 23, 2006
Status: Etiquette advice Miss Manners recently tackled the question of whether it's better to be honest (and unpleasant) or to be fake-nice. A correspondent asked her: How can one deal (correct word?) with nice people, saying "all the right things," without meaning any of it? It's just been driving me crazy as it seems to be occurring more and more. Miss Manners responded that it would be a disaster if people were always brutally honest: This is not an affliction, Miss Manners assures you. It is a blessing. For the last several decades, people have been saying all…
Categories: Psychology Comments (23)
Penguin On A British Beach?
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 23, 2006
Status: Undetermined A penguin might have recently visited a British beach near Yarmouth. Jean Edwards claims to have seen the penguin standing on the beach, and she took a photo of it with her mobile phone. But wildlife experts are skeptical that it really is a penguin. After all, penguins live at the South Pole, so it would be a long way for one to travel. And no local zoos have reported any penguins missing. Kieran Copeland, animal care manager at Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary, speculated that it might be a guillemot (though he can't explain why the guillemot…
Categories: Animals Comments (8)
Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 22, 2006
Status: Linguistic puzzle Check out these parsing challenges over at It took me a good 15 or 20 minutes to figure out why they make sense. (Though I'm sure some people will figure them out immediately.) The first one is this sentence: Dogs dogs dog dog dogs. It's a legitimate english sentence. To figure out how this is so, it helps to compare it to the sentence: Cats dogs chase catch mice. (They both share the same structure.) The linguist list folks then point out that the word 'buffalo' can also serve as the basis for a similar sentence: Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (33)
Coin Glued To The Ground Prank Goes Disastrously Wrong
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 22, 2006
Status: Weird News Gluing a coin to the ground and then watching as people attempt, unsuccessfully, to pick it up, has to be one of the oldest street pranks around. It dates back hundreds of years. It's a very simple prank, and I would never have imagined it could be viewed as dangerous or threatening. But somehow a prankster who glued some quarters to the ground at the Kosciusko County Fair in Indiana almost managed to shut down the entire fair. The Times-Union reports: A prankster glued a couple of quarters to the blacktop on the south side of the Home…
Categories: Pranks Comments (12)
Man Builds Robot Version of Himself
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 21, 2006
Status: Weird News Wired has an interesting article about Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese researcher who has built a remote-control robotic version of himself: Ishiguro's silicone-and-steel doppelgänger was made from casts taken from his own body. Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it runs on semiautonomous motion programs. It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements are so convincing that it's hard to believe this is a machine -- it…
Categories: Technology Comments (12)
Status: Clever marketing scheme Kathleen McGowan claims to be a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. That belief would make her no different than all the other people in this world suffering from delusions of grandeur, except that she's managed to leverage her extraordinary claim of ancestry into a major book deal. Simon & Schuster will soon be publishing her novel, The Expected One, with a print-run of 250,000 copies. The book is a loose fictionalization of her claim. She wanted to publish it as nonfiction but explains that she couldn't do so because "she couldn't make public the sources she developed while researching and writing her book." Many might view McGowan's novel…
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