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Category: Law/Police/Crime
Camera Unlost, But Not Quite Found
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 21, 2006
Status: True Earlier today I read (via blogdex) the tale of a woman named Judith and her camera that was lost, then found, but still (paradoxically) remains lost. I thought it was interesting, but didn't consider it might be a hoax. However, several people have emailed me about it, so I thought I'd take a closer look at it. Here's the jist of the tale. Judith lost her camera while on vacation in Hawaii. Back home she decided to create a photo blog of her vacation using pictures found on Flickr of the places she visited. About two weeks into this blog, she posts this message, explaining that she had received a call from…
Topless Fish Saleswomen Legal in Liverpool
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 02, 2006
Status: Undetermined (though I'm assuming it's false, until proven otherwise) Some of you may have read this claim before: "Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England, but only in tropical fish stores." I hadn't heard it before until I happened upon it on the blog of Cavan Scott who is (rightly, I think) quite skeptical of it. He's emailed the Liverpool county council to get their opinion about it, but my guess is that he probably won't get a reply. (Though I decided to send them an email too... they must be wondering why so many emails about topless fish clerks are pouring in.) I then wasted a lot of time…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (38)
Carjacker Strategy: Place Paper On Your Rear Window
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 26, 2006
Status: Theoretically could happen (though there's no solid evidence it ever has) You may have received this email warning recently: Imagine: You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE. Habit! You look into the rear-view window to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper, some sort of advertisement stuck to your rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and jump out of your vehicle to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view... when you reach the back of your car, that is when the…
The Case of the Missing Violin
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 03, 2006
Status: False theft report A San Francisco woman has admitted to sending police on a wild goose chase to find a $175,000 violin that she claimed had been stolen from her car. She really does own such a violin, but it doesn't appear to have been missing. It's not clear why she said it was. Here are some details from the AP article: The sad tale of a San Francisco music student who had a $175,000 18th century violin swiped from her towed car was a fabrication, authorities confirmed Friday... Rhee-Nakajima told police Wednesday that the violin -- along with her wallet and iPod -- were gone when she picked up her vehicle…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (9)
Man Given $15,000 Ring By Stranger
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 30, 2005
Status: Undetermined (reported in the news, but from an anonymous source) It sounds like an urban legend. At the end of a work day a commuter returns to his car parked at the train station in Westborough, Massachusetts, only to realize he had left it unlocked all day. Miraculously, the car is still there, despite the numerous thefts in that area. But someone has been in his car, and they've left something: a box with a white ribbon on it, placed on the front seat. Inside is a diamond ring valued at $15,000, and a note: "Merry Christmas. Thank you for leaving your car door unlocked. Instead of stealing your car I gave you a present. Hopefully this will…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (6)
Status: Hoax A news report has been doing the rounds concerning a student at UMass Dartmouth who was visited by Department of Homeland Security agents after ordering the official Peking version of Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book via interlibrary loan. The student needed the book for a research paper on communism, but apparently the book is on some kind of government watch list, and thus the visit. However, over at Boing Boing, suspicions have been raised that the story is a hoax. Apparently a second version of the story is floating around that places the student at UC Santa Cruz. Also, people find it suspicious that the student is unnamed, and therefore the story is…
The CSI Effect
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 29, 2005
Status: Fiction mistaken for reality I've included many definitions of hoax-related terms in Hippo Eats Dwarf. One of these terms is the CSI Effect. I define it as "The belief that all criminal cases are solved using the high-tech, forensic science seen on TV crime shows such as CSI. Lawyers have noticed that the lack of such high-tech evidence can seriously prejudice a jury against a prosecutor's case. A manifestation of the if-it's-not-like-what-we-see-on-TV-then-it-can't-be-real mentality." And now the Star Tribune reports on a recent occurrence of the CSI Effect: Dakota County authorities thought their felony case against a driver charged with criminal vehicular operation was solid. But jurors knocked it down to a…
Police Officer Declares Himself Hindu Deity
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 13, 2005
Status: Impersonating a deity A male police officer in India has declared himself to be the reincarnation of Radha, the female consort of the Hindu god Krishna. Naturally, he dresses the part: Devendra Kumar Panda, a 1971 batch officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), presents an odd sight draped in female attire - complete with nose ring, lipstick, finger and toe nails painted red - and singing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna and dancing. "Lord Krishna has himself assigned me the role of Radha and whatever I am doing is in pursuance of his wishes," 57-year-old Panda told IANS. However, his wife isn't buying any of it:
Patent The A and Patented Storylines
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 04, 2005
Status: Patent the A is satire; patented storylines is serious The Ecchi Patent Company claims to hold a patent on the letter A: The rights lie with us for all forms of the letter A, including, but not limited to, uppercase, lowercase, accented, Cyrillic, put in a little circle (e-mail users please note), in code, and in any form we may not have thought of already. Supposedly you need to obtain a license from them in order to use the letter A in any form: "we will soon begin prosecuting people who fail to purchase a license and continue to use the letter A." Of course, this is a joke. Unless…
David Manning Settlement
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 14, 2005
A week or two ago papers were reporting the final verdict in the class-action suit against Sony stemming from the David Manning phony critic case. Sony got slapped with a $1.5million fine that was supposed to compensate moviegoers who felt defrauded by the fake ads. But William Booth of the Washington Post did some research and found out that not all was as it seemed with the payout: News of the settlement created a stir in cyberspace and the entertainment press, with visions of tens of thousands of chagrined rubes lining up around the studio with their palms outstretched. Like, right on! Multiplexers unite! We did some follow-up and learned that Sony paid out…
Downloading Communism
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 08, 2005
Jelena sent in the image to the right, asking "Americans do have a reputation, but this can't be for real, can it?" By real, I assume she means--is the RIAA really distributing this poster? The answer is no. Looking at the fine print on the side of the image, I can see that it's author was modernhumorist.com.
Suspicious MARC Poster
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 08, 2005
David Emery gave me a heads up about this soviet-style poster that has supposedly been sighted on the MARC trains that go between Baltimore and Washington DC. It urges passengers to: "Report any unusual activities or packages to the nearest conductor. WATCH, RIDE, AND REPORT." The poster seems so Big-Brother-like that a lot of people suspect it must be a hoax. David Emery comments: "the logo on the poster reads "MARC Marshals" which, as far as I can tell, don't exist. MARC trains are patrolled by MARC Police. Folks are speculating it's probably some sort of guerrilla art…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (10)
Fake Bulletproof Vests
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 08, 2005
Apparently the latest fashion with kids is fake bullet-proof vests. They're called 'Raid Vests'. According to the Boston Globe, "Some parents are even buying the $50 faux vests for their toddlers and their dogs." The vests come in suede, nylon, and denim. Personally it wouldn't make me feel very safe to wear one, because I would worry that someone would think they could take a shot at me.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (32)
Wal-Mart Cracks Down on Parody
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 29, 2005
Wal-Mart has threatened to sue a student who designed a parody web page that used some images from the Wal-Mart Foundation's website. The student has taken the images off his page. He's just 20 years old. What is he going to do to fight off Wal-Mart? However, I don't think he should have removed the images. He's in the right. The law gives very specific protections to parody, since parody inevitably depends upon borrowing elements of the original. I think the guy should put the images back up and counter-sue Wal-Mart for fraudulent claim of copyright. Well, he probably wouldn't get away with that. But put the back images up, at least. By removing…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (5)
Give Me Whatever’s In The Bag
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 28, 2005
This comes via News of the Weird. The incident occurred in San Diego, but somehow I missed hearing about it on the local news: Urban Legend Come to Life: A San Diego Union Tribune report of a March 28 attempted robbery seems accurate, though reminiscent of reports that have been hoaxes (including one, from The Dallas Morning News, that News of the Weird fell for in 2002). A 32-year-old woman reported that a robber accosted her and her dog in an upscale San Diego neighborhood that night, demanded her money, grabbed a bag she was holding but quickly threw it down, and in frustration, tried to shoot the dog (but the gun failed to fire).…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (3)
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