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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2014
The Man Who Counted — May 6 was the National Day of Mathematics in Brazil. This day was chosen because it was the birthday of Julio Cesar de Mello e Souza, a maths teacher from Rio de Janeiro, who was also the author of Brazil's most famous literary hoax, O Homem que Calculava (The Man Who Counted), which is also one of the most successful books ever written in Brazil. It's a hoax because when the book was first published in 1932, it was said to be the work of an Arabian author, Malba Tahan. Melle e Souza created Tahan because he realized that it was easier to get published in Brazil, during the 1930s,… Continue…
Posted: Wed May 07, 2014.   Comments (2)

The Escherian Stairwell — Hidden away in a building at the Rochester Institute of Technology is a little-known marvel called the "Escherian Stairwell." It seems to defy the laws of physics, because when you walk up it, you arrive back at the same place where you started. Don't believe me? Just watch this video from RIT's "Can You Imagine" series in which it was featured. Okay, so maybe the Escherian Stairwell is not a real thing. The real story here is that the video about it was created by Michael Lacanilao…
Posted: Tue May 06, 2014.   Comments (1)

Clone Candidates — Channel NewsAsia reports on a form of electoral trickery popular in India. In an attempt to confuse voters, rival parties are fielding multiple candidates who have the same name as a more well-known candidate. For instance, "in central Chhatisgarh, incumbent MP Chandulal Sahu of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is running against no less than seven competitors who share his name." So when election day arrives, the voters may not be sure which is the correct Chandulal Sahu to vote for. Apparently this is a perfectly legal thing to do.
Posted: Tue May 06, 2014.   Comments (1)

The Bullshit Prevention Protocol — Michelle Nijhuis offers a method for recognizing fake news stories via training in what she calls a "Bullshit Prevention Protocol" (BPP). The protocol essentially zeroes in on the old Golden Rule of hoax-detection, which is that "Information is only as good as its source." So to spot fake news, one should spend the time to ascertain how credible the source of the news is. She uses an article recently published by the Daily Mail to illustrate how the BPP should work. The article claimed that "China starts televising the sunrise on giant TV screens because Beijing is so clouded in… Continue…
Posted: Fri May 02, 2014.   Comments (4)


Sonar image of Nessie? — The latest Nessie news is that a Loch Ness cruise ship, operated by Jacobite Cruises, picked up a mysterious sonar signal in the Loch. Skipper John Askew told the Daily Mail: "It's impossible to tell what we've picked up here." But since it's Loch Ness, everyone is going to assume it's Nessie! The article notes that Jacobite Cruises was also recently behind the NessieToVote campaign, urging that Nessie be placed on the electoral register so that she'll be able to vote in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence.
Posted: Fri May 02, 2014.   Comments (0)

Pole Brand Cigarettes — A billboard advertising "Pole Brand Cigarettes" recently appeared in Wellington, NZ, outside the Evans Bay Intermediate School. I'm guessing the students at the school may have had something to do with its appearance. Pole Brand Cigarettes is a pretty old joke, but it took some dedication to create an entire billboard for this faux brand. The Dominion Post notes, somewhat obviously, that the billboard "appears to be an obscene prank." And also that it "carries an endorsement from the fictitious 'Ministry of Smoking Pole' organisation."
Posted: Fri May 02, 2014.   Comments (1)

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