The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
August 2012
128-year-old man tries to get health insurance — Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports that Mzee Julius Wanyondu is having trouble getting coverage under the National Hospital Insurance Fund. The reason is that he's 128 years old, having been born in 1884. However, the NHIF's computers will only accept birthdates later than 1890. Remarkably, the article doesn't address the obvious question: Does this guy have any proof that he's really 128? He has some kind of ID card that displays 1884 as his birthdate. But what evidence did he…
Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012.   Comments (6)

Town waits 100 years to open package — For 100 years, a package marked "May Be Opened in 2012" has been sitting in a museum in Otta, Norway. It was given to the town of Otta by a local resident, Johan Nygaard, back in 1912. There's been enormous speculation about what the package might contain. Money? A diary? Stock certificates? Finally, last Friday, the 100-year-mark arrived, and the town gathered to open the package. There was a live video feed, so the entire world could share in the excitement. The mayor carefully…
Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012.   Comments (8)

Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps? — Virginia news station WSLS 10 recently ran a 'myth buster' segment on whether putting a bar of soap between your sheets can ease nighttime leg and foot cramps. To my surprise, they concluded that, yes, a bar of soap does seem to help some people, even though there is "no scientific evidence" for why this would work. Just to clarify, the claim is that merely having a bar of soap near your muscles at night can stop them from cramping. The brand of soap doesn't seem to matter much,…
Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2012.   Comments (9)

New study shows how damage to a specific region of the brain can cause gullibility — Gullibility sometimes increases as people grow old. For which reason, the elderly are victims of financial scams in disproportionately high numbers. New research, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, has now linked this age-related gullibility to deterioration of a specific area in the brain — the vmPFC (ventromedial prefrontal cortex). The researchers showed a series of ads to 18 patients with damage to the vmPFC. Some of the ads were deceptive (and contained clues to that…
Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2012.   Comments (1)


An algorithm for finding the source of rumors — A Lausanne-based researcher, Pedro Pinto, has developed an algorithm that can quickly trace rumors back to their original source. From eurekalert.org: "Using our method, we can find the source of all kinds of things circulating in a network just by 'listening' to a limited number of members of that network," explains Pinto. Suppose you come across a rumor about yourself that has spread on Facebook and been sent to 500 people – your friends, or even friends of your friends. How do you…
Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Great Emu Scam of 2012 — Indian newspapers are reporting the exposure of a major scam involving emu farming. Thousands of people were promised that in return for a modest investment in an emu farm, they soon would be earning thousands of rupees every month. They were led to believe this on the basis of the supposedly massive demand for emu meat and emu-oil cosmetics. The scam was exposed when investors realized that their monthly payments were failing to materialize. [thehindu.com, indiatimes.com]
Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012.   Comments (2)

The Diamond Club—an erotic literary experiment — Justin Young and Brian Bushwood, of the NSFWshow podcast, were intrigued by the success of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. They were particularly impressed with how many books were selling well for no other reason, apparently, than that they looked Fifty Shades of Grey. So they decided to conduct an experiment — to find out whether an ebook could succeed simply by resembling Fifty Shades of Grey. They came up with a title for their novel,
Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2012.   Comments (1)

Is lying bad for your health? — Bad news for hoaxers -- A new scientific study reports that lying less results in better health. (Links: apa.org,
Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012.   Comments (2)

The first (fake) photo from the Curiosity rover — The first image (above) transmitted by the Curiosity rover from Mars was kind of blurry and unexciting. So the folks on Twitter and Tumblr substituted a more dramatic shot (below). It's circulating with the caption: "NASA just landed a rover on Mars, this is the very first picture. This JUST happened minutes ago." It actually is a picture of Mars, but it was taken by the Mars Spirit rover in 2005. (link: gawker.com)
Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012.   Comments (1)

Use your left ear to detect lies — image source: megafonA study reported in the journal Laterality (Mar 2005) found that people are significantly better at detecting lies with their left ear than their right ear. The reason is that left-ear information is processed by the brain's right hemisphere, which apparently is better at detecting deception than the left hemisphere. (For instance, studies have shown that people with right-hemisphere damage have trouble detecting lies.) In the ear study, 32 participants listened…
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012.   Comments (4)

All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.