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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Science
The Hoaxing of Margaret Mead
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Thanks to Derek Freeman's work, a lot of people know that the anthropologist Margaret Mead was hoaxed into believing that young Samoan girls were far more sexually active than they actually were. But Mead made influential claims about other cultures as well, about which she apparently was just as wrong, according to this article in Front Page Magazine. For instance, she claimed that the Mountain Arapesh, a tribe of New Guinea yam gardeners, had no knowledge of the concept of war. Not quite. Other researchers later found that about half the adult male Arapesh had killed people in battle.
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Is Peter Lynds a Hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 16, 2003
Recently a 27-year-old New Zealander named Peter Lynds has been getting a lot of attention. He's been hailed as the next Einstein because he's come up with an entirely new theory of time. And he's done this without having any formal qualifications as a physicist. But suggestions that Peter Lynds may be nothing more than a hoax have been cropping up. Some have even doubted the guy's existence. The Guardian investigated and found that Lynds was real enough, but that his work hasn't exactly wowed everyone in the Physics community. And that thing about him being the next Einstein... that may trace back to an offhand remark by Lynds himself. Update 8/17/03: A visitor has…
Tasaday Revisited
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 30, 2003
There's a very good review of the Tasaday controversy by James Hamilton-Paterson in the Guardian. Like many, Hamilton-Paterson concludes that the Tasaday were not quite the hoax that everyone has assumed for the past two decades.
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Lie Detectors
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jun 07, 2003
New, more accurate lie detectors being developed based on brain analysis.
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Stone Age Tasaday
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jun 01, 2003
Newsday has a review of a new book by Robin Hemley titled Invented Eden analyzing the controversy about the Tasaday tribe. Were they really a 'hoax' tribe, directed to act and dress like a primitive tribe? Or were they in some sense authentic? Hemley's answer is that both versions are partially correct.
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More on the Reverse Sokal Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 28, 2002
Regarding the Reverse Sokal Hoax described below: apparently the two brothers supposedly involved in it have denied that it was a hoax (see their statement pasted below). So the mystery continues. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN It was with the greatest astonishment that we have discovered that 2 members of the Ecole Polytechnique and 2 members of the University of Tours were the sources of an incredible rumor meant to validate the idea>that our papers were purposly written in serious journals as a hoax. Such an assertion is so outrageous that it discredits its authors. The published papers are the result of 6 years of intense and original work induced by our 2 PHD thesis in mathematics…
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Reverse Sokal Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 28, 2002
There is an e-mail going around detailing a so-called 'reverse Sokal hoax.' I'm not sure if the circumstances it describes are real or not. But here's the text of the e-mail verbatim: Sometime ago Alan Sokol et al wrote a completely meaningless article on quantum gravity which was accepted by a leading, refereed "deconstructionist journal". Physicists laughed because the hoax was at the deconstructionists' expense. But now there is is an inverse Sokol hoax in which, apparently, two reporters interviewed a lot of string theorists, wrote meaningless but "right sounding" papers and even got a Ph.D. Details below. What is particularly sad is that a key paper appeared in CQG: Class. Quantum Grav. 18 (7 November 2001) 4341-4372 Topological field…
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WHO Blonde Report
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 03, 2002
The greatest blonde joke ever!!! The media had been enamored of the story that the World Health Organization had predicted the eventual disappearance of the gene for blond hair because there are so many artificial blondes that they're diluting the gene selection for true blondes. But the WHO had never issued a report saying this. It was all a joke.
Scientific Fraud at Bell Labs
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 30, 2002
Scientific Fraud at Bell Labs. Jan Hendrik Schon, a nanotechnology hotshot, gets caught falsifying data.
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What separates skeptics from believers
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 26, 2002
Fascinating article in New Scientist reports on research that posits that what really separates skeptics from believers (when it comes to matters such as paranormal activity) is brain chemistry. Those with high levels of dopamine in their brains seem to be more prone to see patterns and meaning in random pieces of information. When the drug L-dopa was given to skeptics, they likewise became more prone to see patterns in randomness as well. Of course, the researchers seem to be assuming that the patterns weren't really there. But maybe they actually really WERE there, but the researchers themselves weren't able to see them because their own levels of dopamine weren't high enough. I wonder if the researchers noted their…
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Dino Bird
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 18, 2002
The Natural History Museum in London is opening an exhibit on "Dino-Birds: The Feathered Dinosaurs of China." It will include the archaeopteryx, the oldest known fossil of a bird, which was accused of being a fake back in the 1980s. I wonder if it will also include the Piltdown Chicken fossil which fooled National Geographic two years ago?
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Fake Elements
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 16, 2002
Faking the periodic table: How a scientist forged data to invent two new elements.
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Ancient Skull
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 13, 2002
Dispute continues over the ancient skull whose discovery was announced Wednesday. Now critics are saying it's the skull of a gorilla, not a man.
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Piltdown Man Redux
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 11, 2002
Ancient skull found in Africa. Let's hope that it doesn't turn out to be another Piltdown Man. This time they should check the jawbone (if there is one) really carefully.
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