The Hoax Museum Blog
Wired = Overloaded Server
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 31, 2004
Wired published an article about net hoaxes today, for which I was interviewed. The increased traffic it brought promptly melted down my web host's servers, which has been causing quite a headache for me. But regardless, it's nice to get the visitors. Perhaps a few of them were even able to view some of the site's content.
Museum of Hoaxes RSS Feed
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 24, 2004
I've finally gotten my act together to enable the RSS Feed that comes built into the software that I use to run this site. So if you use an RSS reader to scan blogs every day, you can now add the Museum of Hoaxes to your subscription list. The RSS Feed is here. I'll also add a button in the navigation bar on the right.
New Homepage Design
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 16, 2004
Anyone who visits here regularly will notice that I've changed the design of the homepage. I do this fairly often, never being very satisfied with my layout skills. I thought the last design was a little too busy, and some of the images were using up too much bandwidth. So my goal this time was to make the page more minimalist and get rid of the bandwidth-hogging images. I also created a new seal for the Museum of Hoaxes (visible at the right of the banner above). It shows a vegetable lamb (a lamb that scholars in medieval times believed grew from a plant out of the ground), and beneath this has the inscription 'Lana Ab Oculis Liberetur.' If…
April Fools Day
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 12, 2004
Because April Fool's Day is fast approaching, I revamped my list of the top 100 April Fool's Day hoaxes of all time. I juggled around the top ten a bit to better reflect the popular favorites. Most significantly, I added Sweden's 1962 classic 'Instant Color TV' hoax into the list, placing it at number three. Plus, by using pMachine I added the capability for readers to add comments to any one of the April Fools.
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 21, 2004
This week I started a new job as contributing editor to Muse Magazine. It's a magazine for young teenagers (9-14 years old) about science, history, and the arts, but I don't think that description quite captures its quirky nature. It runs articles on everything from 'Weird tales of the subway' to 'Could you live forever' (which is in the current issue). Its mascot is a trickster named Kokopelli (from Native American mythology) who loves to play pranks, which might explain why they were willing to bring a 'hoax expert' like me on board. For strange bureaucratic reasons (the kind that seem to plague all companies), the magazine doesn't really have an…
Upgrading the Weblog
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 30, 2004
I've finally taken the plunge and upgraded this weblog to a 'real' weblog, complete with permalinks, categories, and the ability to add comments. I'm using pMachine to achieve all this. I'm a little wary of letting people add comments, having encountered huge amounts of comment spam when I previously had a guestbook (especially, as I noted somewhere else, from 'cruddy german hotels'... I still can't figure out why they, in particular, turned out to be such a plague). But I'll see how it goes. If it becomes too time consuming for me to delete the spam, I may have to convert to allowing comments by registered members only. But for now I want to keep it open to all.…
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 08, 2003
Mental Floss and Talk of the Nation
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 10, 2003
Check out this month's issue of Mental Floss (you can find it at bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.). The cover article is 'History's Greatest Hoaxes Exposed," and it was written by... guess who! That's right. Me. And while I'm tooting my own horn, I might as well mention that you can also listen to the audio broadcast online of NPR's recent Talk of the Nation segment (from October 30, 2003) that featured me, yakking away about hoaxes.
New Hoax Photo Tests
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 08, 2003
Student Seeking Help
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 30, 2003
A student from Dunwoody Highschool in Dunwoody, Georgia sent me a note through the form on my comments page asking for help with a science fair project about gullibility. Unfortunately this student didn't include their return email address, so I don't know how to contact them. So hey, if you're the student who contacted me and you're reading this, send me another email, but remember to include a return address.
Talk of the Nation
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 29, 2003
Just found out that I'm going to be on NPR's Talk of the Nation tomorrow. They're doing something about the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast (the 'panic broadcast') and are having me on as the hoax expert to comment. Good timing, since the paperback version of my book is also coming out this week. Hopefully it'll provide some publicity.
San Diego Fire
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 27, 2003
Just got back from New Mexico where I had been invited to speak at a conference about "Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias." I gave a talk about Internet Hoaxes. Getting back was a nightmare. Almost all the flights into Southern California had been cancelled, but I was lucky enough to get rebooked onto a small propeller plane that was flying into the tiny Carlsbad airport. Flew right over the fires, which was an eerie sight... a thin line of flame stretching from horizon to horizon. Here and there you could see houses burning. I live in the east county of San Diego which is quite close to one of the fires, but my house isn't in any danger. The problem…
More about Google Ads
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Just added Google Ads to the home page of the site (see to the right), and it looks like the Google computer is inferring from the fact that I had one entry referring to identical twins amputating body parts that visitors to my site might be interested in ads about amputation services and DNA testing. How weird. But at least these ads are a lot more interesting than the generic kind of ads for credit cards and mutual funds that are plastered over most of the internet.
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 12, 2003
I've just signed up with Google Ads to have them place ads on my website, thus ending my long-standing principled stance against cluttering up my site with advertising. Since it's costing me $50 a month to pay for the bandwidth for the site, I figure that I need to make an effort to recoup those costs somehow. Plus, the Google Ads, being only text, are relatively unobtrusive. And finally, the Google computer tailors the ads to the content of each page, so that the ads aren't totally irrelevant. I'm finding it very interesting to see what ads the computer chooses to place on each page. I've only begun adding the ad code to my pages, but on the Bonsai…
When I do not know if it is a hoax or not
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 12, 2003
A frustrated visitor asks: "If you don't know whether it's real, or a hoax, then why in the world did you include it on this site of 'hoaxes'!" I assume they were referring to those pictures of the skinny models. Well, as vast as my knowledge is (note: sarcasm intended), sometimes I just don't know whether the weird things that pop up on the news or on the internet are real or false. But when I list things here, usually someone will write in with info that'll point the way towards the truth. That's the great thing about the internet. So to answer the question, I list things here even if I don't know if they're real or not,…