Mayor Rockwell wrote a letter yesterday to the person who will be mayor of Akron 100 years hence. The epistle tells the future mayor of the present debt, the names of all the city officials, the problems confronting the municipality and the political situation in Akron in 1914. The letter will be sealed, addressed to "His Honor, Mayor of Akron, 2014," marked with instructions not to be molested or opened until that year and placed in a bank vault to be held for a century. The salutation in the letter will fit whether a man or woman mayor.
However, Akron's mayor never did write such a letter. The report was a hoax. But the correction denying the hoax was only ever printed in Akron.
What was the point of this hoax? Who knows! But it does show that fake news stories are not a recent invention.
The Perennial Return of Future Day —
In the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly and Doc Brown use the time-traveling Delorean to travel from 1985 to October 21, 2015. In the movie, this date is briefly seen displayed on the car's onboard time monitor. So Oct 21, 2015 is officially "Future Day," when Marty McFly will arrive in what will then be the present.
But people don't want to wait that long, so hoaxers keep setting "Future Day" to a date closer at hand. The first time this happened was in 2010, when Total Film magazine mistakenly declared July 5, 2010 to be Future Day — and then created a fake image to back up their claim. They meant it as a joke, but a lot of people took it seriously. (telegraph.co.uk)
More recently, Simply Tap (makers of a mobile checkout app) declared on Facebook that June 27, 2012 was Future Day (they were promoting a box set of Back to the Future DVDs), and they also created an image to back up this claim, which once again began to circulate online. (slate.com)
So the real Future Day is still three years, but that seems like plenty of time to fit in a few more fake Future Days before it finally arrives.
Astrologer arrested for making prediction —
The Sri Lankan government recently arrested the astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara. Unfortunately, it wasn't because he was peddling pseudoscience, but because his predictions had political implications they didn't like. He had foreseen that a planetary change on October 8 would be inauspicious for the government, and that it wouldn't be able to contain rising living costs. [BBC]
McCain wins debate that hasn’t happened yet —
Apparently John McCain's campaign has access to the same time machine used by the Chinese journalists at Xinhua News who reported the launch of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft (including the astronaut's dialogue) hours before it happened. (See previous post.)
McCain's campaign has been running an ad in the Wall Street Journal's online edition declaring that "McCain Wins Debate," which is a bold assertion considering that the debate will only happen tonight.
Fake reporting of Shenzhou VII launch —
China recently launched its third manned mission to space. Oddly, the Xinhua news agency reported the launch hours before it occurred. This would be understandable -- news agencies routinely prepare copy about major stories in advance of the event itself -- but the article included detailed dialogue between the astronauts:
"One minute to go!' 'Changjiang No.1 found the target! ...
"The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12 seconds ahead of the predicted time ...
"The air pressure in the cabin is normal!
"Ten minutes later, the ship disappears below the horizon. Warm clapping and excited cheering breaks the night sky, echoing across the silent Pacific Ocean."
Xinhua explained that the story had been posted early "due to a technical problem." Must be a glitch in their time travel machine. Link: news.com.au
Quantum physics dictates that reality is created by observation. There are an infinite number of possible realities, which can be actualised only through observation - an unlimited variety of parallel universes exist in what is known as quantum flux.
In some of these universes the deeds purchased from Buy Your Own Universe will be recognised as legally binding, meaning that you really are the rightful owner of your Universe! Any day a scientific breakthrough in quantum physics may occur that allows you to travel to your universe, through a wormhole for example. This is not fantasy but accepted science.
The price is a bit steep at $9999. But they also offer a free option.
Of course, if they're right about the existence of an infinite number of parallel universes in which all possibilities, however improbable, are manifested, then the theory of Quantum Immortality is true. Meaning that in some existence you're likely to become an eternal, all-powerful being who already owns the universe without needing to go through the Authority for Universe Ownership. (via A Welsh View)
Woman foretells future with asparagus
"Jemima Packington throws asparagus on the floor and makes her predictions based on the pattern. She said that some years ago she made a prediction that came true based on an asparagus pattern and realized she was on to something." Seems to me like it's as good a method as anything else.
Nostradamus delusion ends in murder
Matthew James Woodroffe-Hill believed he was Nostradamus' "son of the west". After suffering from increasingly paranoid delusions involving "spies, terrorists and mythical creatures" he stabbed a friend with a bayonet and then decapitated him.
Quick Links: Feb 1, 2008 —Dave, the forecasting pig
"'Darke County Dave,' a local hog, will opine -- or oswine -- on America's economic outlook on Friday, the Ohio treasurer's office said. In his inaugural outing, Dave will choose between a trough of sugar or one of sawdust to gauge the the economy's future course at the event in Greenville, Ohio, northwest of Dayton." (Thanks, Gary)
How to say "Mr. Rose Apple Nose" in Thai sign language
"Sign language interpreters in Thailand have run afoul of some ruling party supporters by holding their noses to refer to the new prime minister." Big Gary comments: "Here's another of those 'awkward translation' stories, this one apparently true. I didn't know what a 'rose apple' is, so I looked up a description. Frankly, I don't see a resemblance between the pictures of the fruit I could find and the Thai PM. I remember that when Helmut Kohl was Chancellor of Germany, the opposition called him 'The Light Bulb' because his head resembled one. It seemed to me that his real name, which could be translated 'Helmet Cabbage,' was silly enough."
Woman marries five men
"Officials arrested Shauna Keith last week. They said the 27-year-old woman married five men, all members of the military. She is also accused of having five social security numbers."
Turns out Emerald is a serial prankster who's done this kind of thing often:
The prankster, which California papers have called “a would be actor,” has placed fictitious ads in the past, including the Roanoke Times, where he allegedly found the diary of a “very famous American” inside an old clock, and in the Miami Harold, where he convinced the entertainment media that he was Elizabeth Taylor’s new beau.
Once, he said, he received a call from Nick Nolte after posting an ad in California suggesting he found an Academy Award in a Beverly Hills park.
Years ago, he said, he even placed an ad in the Missoulian claiming to have found an ancient sarcophagus filled with a mummy and artifacts.
The crux of his argument (at least in the video posted below) is that one of the songs on The Smiths' album The Queen is Dead, speaks about two people getting killed together in a car crash. And this song was released as an exclusive single in France. He comes up with a variety of other clues and weird coincidences, all equally farfetched.
The guy's theory is like a strange inversion of the Paul is Dead rumor, in that the Paul is Dead rumor involved people combing through the Beatles's music to find clues referring to a car crash that had supposedly happened in the past, whereas this guy is desperately searching through Morrissey's music to find evidence that the singer was providing clues about a car crash that would happen in the future.
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Egypt around the year 1150. Your profession was that of a writer, dramatist or organiser of rituals.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Ruthless character, carefully weighing his decisions in critical situations, with excellent self-control and strong will. Such people are generally liked, but not always loved.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your lesson is to combat violence and disharmony in our world, to understand its roots and origins. All global problems have similar origins.
Do you remember now?
Interesting that I was a writer in my past life. Maybe I was the Pharaoh's Official Debunker of Legends and Hoaxes! Unfortunately, I remember none of it.
The disclaimer for the past life analysis admits that, "you should know that this software is only slightly more sophisticated than an electronic fortune cookie."
I am very pleased to announce the launch of my latest endeavor. Unlike many of my previous satirical projects, this one is real, no bull. It's the Universal Bullshit Detector Watch.
Joey sent me a follow-up email to let me know that he'll be sending me a complimentary Bullshit Detector Watch. Yes, sometimes running a website about hoaxes has great benefits. I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on one of these. I can think of many uses for it. It also seems like it would make a great Christmas present for a skeptic. They cost $50, which is the same price as the Swatch watch I bought a few months ago.
Did a Psychic Foresee JonBenet’s Killer? —
Back in 1998 Psychic Dorothy Allison drew a sketch (on the left) during an appearance on the Leeza Gibbons show of what she thought JonBenet Ramsey's killer looked like. The sketch was posted online and distributed via flyers. Now that John Mark Karr has been arrested for the murder of JonBenet, some people are saying that the sketch looks an awful lot like him. Is this a case of a psychic making an accurate prediction?
First of all, the sketch looks vaguely similar, but not exactly like him. Her drawing would match up pretty well to any skinny, white guy. Second, although the guy has confessed, there seems to be some doubt about whether he's telling the truth, so he may not be the killer. Third, as the Amazing Randi always points out, only psychic's hits ever get counted. Never their misses. So how many completely bogus predictions did Dorothy Allison make? That needs to be considered in any evaluation of her ability as a psychic. However, in her favor, it seems that she really did produce this sketch in 1998. So this isn't a case of a Tamara Rand style prediction.
As a long-time Doctor Who fan, I couldn't resist posting about this. It seems there's some phony British currency circulating around on which the Queen has been replaced by Doctor Who. The faux £10 notes bear the inscription "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of 10 satsumas." Apparently the notes were created by the BBC for use during a scene in which the Doctor causes an ATM machine to start spewing money out into the street. Instead of using real money, which would have been a bit expensive, they printed up some phony notes. But, of course, fans quickly grabbed the loose notes that were floating around. An article in the Western Mail quotes an onlooker who says: "From a distance they almost look like real notes but you'd never be able to use them in the pub." Well, you might be able to if the bartender was a Doctor Who fan. I'd give someone a beer for some Doctor Who currency (but maybe no change). I found scans of the notes on Doctor Who Online.