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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Science
Fighting Dinosaurs Fossil — Status: Real Zkato wants to know if the fossil of fighting dinosaurs found on the website of the Nakasato dinosaur Center is real. The fossil does sound a little too good to be true: One Protoceratops, a herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur, perished in the struggle with a carnivorous theropod, Velociraptor. After their death 80 million years ago, both skeletons were fossilized, then finally unearthed in 1971 in fully articulated forms without having been smashed. However, not only is…
Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006.   Comments (12)

Fictitious Patients in Cancer Study — Status: Scientific fraud A Norwegian doctor, Jon Sudbo, who published an article in the Lancet last year suggesting that aspirin could reduce the risk of oral cancer, has been accused of making up the data in his study. Specifically, he invented almost all of the 900 patients in the study (or at least half of them, by other accounts). The director of the hospital where he worked said: "he faked everything: names, diagnosis, gender, weight, age, drug use." Richard Horton, editor of the…
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006.   Comments (2)

Healing Power of Prayer Study — Status: Pseudoscience Last night ABC News had a segment about a study being funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine if prayer can help cancer patients heal faster. Or more specifically, whether a stranger's prayers can help a patient heal faster. (The people running the study have invented the bs term 'distant healing' to make what they're studying sound more legitimate.) My jaw was on the floor as I was watching this. I couldn't believe the government had been suckered…
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006.   Comments (30)

Supercooled Water — Status: Real On December 7th, Matt Sparks went to get some bottled water out of his garage. The temperature in the garage was below the freezing point of water, but he noticed that the water in the bottles was still liquid. However, when he moved the water, it instantly froze. He has some videos on his site showing what happened. They're pretty cool, and if you're not aware of the phenomenon of supercooled water (as I wasn't), you might think there's some kind of trickery involved. But…
Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005.   Comments (34)


Top 10 Apollo Hoax Theories — In honor of the anniversary of the moon landing, Space.com has an article listing (and debunking) the top 10 Apollo Hoax Theories. Below are the top 10 points raised by those who believe the moon landing was a hoax. You'll have to read the article to get the explanation of why these points DON'T prove that the moon landing was a hoax. #10. Fluttering Flag: The American flag appears to wave in the lunar wind. #9. Glow-in-the-Dark Astronauts: If the astronauts had left the safety of the…
Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2005.   Comments (134)

The Reel in a Rock — Stop The Presses! The Creationists have disproven evolution! How? Because they found a fishing reel in a rock. The 'reel in a rock' seems to have been around for quite a while, but I've only heard of it now. What a treat I've been missing. Dan Jones says that he found this thing twenty-five years ago while trout fishing. It was lying right out in the open. It's a chunk of Phyllite rock with an old fishing reel embedded in it. It's pretty obvious that someone has drilled a few holes in…
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (34)

Scientists Walk of Fame — I'm a little late on this one, but better late than never. On May 4 Caltech students transformed the Hollywood Walk of Fame into the "Illustrious Scientists Walk of Fame": Students literally covered over 500 of the celebrity stars on Hollywood Blvd. with prestigious scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, David Baltimore, Richard Feynman, Madame Currie... The prank was meant to coincide with the Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp of preeminent Caltech…
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005.   Comments (8)

Automatic Paper Generator — A group of MIT students wrote a computer program capable of creating "random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations." They then used this program to create a paper that they submitted to an academic conference: the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, which sounds like a thrill a minute. The paper was accepted, which isn't really surprising since as the students point out conferences such as this are really 'fake'…
Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2005.   Comments (5)

Mt. St. Helens at Sunrise — I got this picture in my email, sent by Edna who's wondering if it's real. It looks real to me. The picture is accompanied by the following text, which also sounds accurate to me (as a non-meteorologist): MT. St. Helens, which sits about 30 miles from Vancouver, as the crow flies, continues to spew ash, while it is forming a lava dome in the crater and still having minor tremors. In this sunrise shot, she appears to be blowing smoke rings (and anything so benign is welcomed, given…
Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2005.   Comments (34)

Hidden Messages in Water — I got an email from Enio asking me: I would like to know your opinion about Masaru Emoto's "Crystal Water Photos". First, some background. Masaru Emoto's book The Hidden Messages in Water is currently #66 in sales rank on Amazon. That means A LOT of people are buying it. Here's the blurb from the cover that pretty much explains what Masaru Emoto and his crystal water photos are all about: The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory showing how water is deeply connected to…
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (123)

Sky Disc of Nebra — Yet another German archaeological fraud has possibly been uncovered. The Guardian reports that controversy has erupted over the authenticity of the 'Sky Disc of Nebra'. The disc, which shows the sun, moon and stars, was found in 1999 by two amateur metal detectors near the town of Nebra in Germany. It was believed to be 3600 years old. Now some experts, including Peter Schauer of Regensburg University, are claiming that it's a fake. This issue has arisen because the two guys who found…
Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2005.   Comments (14)

Indian Whiz Kid Wins NASA Competition — A 15-year-old boy in India, Saurabh Singh, appears to have had everyone going with a story about how he won an international exam given by NASA to discover young scientists. The Indian media were singing his praises, and lawmakers were ready to give him money to facilitate his studies. Except that it turns out NASA gives no such exam. However, the boy is now changing his story, saying that the exam was given by Oxford University, not NASA. This all sounds strangely similar to the tale…
Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2005.   Comments (11)

United Nuclear — United Nuclear sells some scary stuff. Looking for some uranium? They've got it. As well as super radioactive ore. They'll ship it right to your front door. Plus, chemicals to build explosives. It all has a jokey feel to it, but the more I look at the site, the more convinced I become that it's real. I think it's a store for science hobbyists that's purposely going for the 'mad scientist' feel.
Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2005.   Comments (51)

No Life on Mars? — This is the exciting news about life on Mars that the media reported on Feb. 16: A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water. The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May,…
Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2005.   Comments (21)

Neanderthal Hoax Exposed — A sensational archaeological hoax has been exposed in Germany. It's been revealed that Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a professor at a University in Frankfurt, has been systematically lying about the ages of skulls he found, claiming that they were far older than they actually were. In one instance he said that a skull was 21,300-years-old, although it was only 1300-years-old. As the Guardian reports: "Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man…
Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2005.   Comments (41)

An Orange Inside Of An Apple — Dawn in the UK sent me this curious item that appeared in today's edition of the Daily Express. It's about an orange that shopper Patrick Hurt found inside of an apple. Mr. Hurt, 36, from Kiveton Park, South Yorks, said: "Apart from what was inside the apple looked perfectly normal. I have no idea how the orange got in there and I have never seen anything like it in my life." Greg Tucker, professor of plant biochemistry at Nottingham University, said: "The effect may have arisen…
Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2005.   Comments (21)

Unusual Mineral Name — At first I thought this might be a bit of geological humor. But no. It appears to be quite serious and quite real. It's a mineral named Cummingtonite. So named because it's found in Cummington, Massachusetts. For those interested, its cleavage is good in two directions at 56 and 124 degree angles. Its hardness is 5-6. (via Snark Hunting)
Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2005.   Comments (8)

Insomniac Ukrainian — Here's another example of why Ananova is so widely known as a credible source for news. The title of this latest journalistic gem: Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years. The article describes Fyodor Nesterchuk who just stays up reading while everybody else sleeps. The local doctor claims he has "examined Nesterchuk extensively" and can't find anything wrong with him, except for the fact that the guy never sleeps. Although I don't believe for a second that this guy has really gone for…
Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2005.   Comments (29)

Meteorite Strike or Hoax? — Wayne Pryde believes that he has taken the first photograph ever to capture the image of a meteorite striking the earth. He was taking pictures of clouds when he happened to get this photograph of what might be a grain-of-sand-sized meteorite hitting the Earth. But meteor experts aren't so sure. They're not yet crying hoax (Mr. Pryde swears that he hasn't digitally altered the photo), but they don't think the photo shows a meteor impact. However, they have no idea what else it might…
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004.   Comments (15)

Glow-in-the-Dark Deer — Genetiate is a biotech company working on that one thing the world has been crying out for: glow-in-the-dark deer. It's such a bizarre project, that it screams hoax. The amateur quality of its website reinforces this impression. But I think it's real. Genetiate is a division of Geneticas Life Sciences. Those are the same people who, through yet another division, are creating the hypoallergenic cats. But why create a glow-in-the-dark deer? So that it will more easily be seen by…
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2004.   Comments (20)

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