Ocean Youth —Too close to the real thing.Yachting Monthly reports that the April Fool it inserted into its current issue ruffled a few feathers:
In our bid to insert some authentication into the prank about children competing in world sailing stunts we used the fictitious name: Ocean Youth Association. We did not foresee that by Googling this name - which according to Caroline White of the Ocean Youth Trust many people did - her own organisation and that of the Association of Sail Training…
Sixty-Inch Box Jump —
If memory serves (and it might not), there was once a discussion on the site about the maximum height a person could jump without a running start. Cody Ransom of the Yankees has to be in the upper percentile of the jumping range. Apparently this video is not doctored in any way.
The Atlantic Swim Hoax —
A couple of people emailed me about this, though I think it's more a case of miscommunication rather than a deliberate hoax.
A little over a week ago the media reported that 56-year-old Jennifer Figge had become the first woman to swim the Atlantic. But then people started to do the math, and realized that if she had really swum 2100 in 25 days, then she had performed a superhuman feat.
Two days later the AP published a retraction, quoting Figge's spokesman who stated she swam only…
Who invented baseball? —
The most well-promoted story about the invention of baseball is that Abner Doubleday invented it in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. This story was given the official stamp of approval in 1907 by Albert Spalding, who was head of a Special Baseball Commission established by President McKinley, charged with determining the true origin of the game. This is the reason the Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown.
In Can We Have Our Balls Back, Please? (published in Great Britain this month)…
Real Shark Surfing —
A few months ago I posted a phony video showing a guy on a surfboard being towed by a shark. It now looks like that video was a case of satirical prophecy, because a guy in Australia is reporting that something similar happened to him in real life. From news.com.au:
A SURFER says a large shark towed him out to sea like a "powerful jet ski' after it became entangled in the leg rope of his surfboard.
John Morgan said the thrashing animal dragged him more than 50m after it became ensnared…
Lenseless Glasses at the Olympics —
Reuters has posted an article claiming that some Olympic volleyball players are wearing glasses with no lenses during games. It's all about money, of course:
beach volleyball players at the Olympics took to the court wearing frames with no lenses. "The lenses fog up because of the humidity, so you can't wear the glasses without popping out the lenses," U.S. men's volleyballer Phil Dalhausser told reporters on Monday. High humidity is a regular feature of the weather in Beijing at this…
The Olympics So Far —
1) The school child who walked at the front of the Chinese team during the opening ceremonies (he was a survivor of the Sichuan earthquake) was carrying an upside-down Chinese flag. Why is debatable. Maybe it was an innocent mistake, or maybe it was a coded message of "great distress" (as upside-down flags mean in nautical convention). Whatever the reason, the Chinese media cropped the upside-down flag out of the photos they showed Chinese audiences.
2) The opening ceremonies included…
C. Yeager of the Phillies —
Baseball fans attending the recent Fan Fest in New York City had the chance to get memorabilia signed by C. Yeager of the Phillies. The problem: there is no "C. Yeager" playing for the Phillies. The man in the Phillies uniform was really just a guy who likes to dress up as a ballplayer so that, for a few minutes, he can enjoy the adulation of kids... before the police haul him away.
The Sporting Blog (who has video of the guy signing anything people stuck in front of him) writes: "He…
Woman discovers the guy she met online wasn’t really a Sonics star —
Another case of an impostor is in the news. A woman in Somerville, Mass. thought she was dating Jeff Turner, a former basketball player for the Washington Seattle Sonics. Turns out she was actually dating an impostor named Ronnie Craven. Craven's cover was blown when the woman became suspicious, tracked down the real Jeff Turner, and called him. Craven admits to the hoax, but says he only did it to impress the woman. In other words, he claims he was only trying to benefit sexually, not…
Shark Surfing —
In this video a surfer hitches a ride behind a shark, after getting the shark to swallow some chunks of meat attached to a fishing line. It looks like it was shot in southern California, and we do get some big sharks around here occasionally. Just last week a guy was killed off the coast of San Diego by a great white. But this video looks obviously fake. As many of the youtube comments point out, you can see the wake of a boat off camera in front of the shark fin.
I don't have any…
101-year-old Man Completes Marathon —
On Monday (April 13) Buster Martin completed the London marathon in a time of approximately ten hours. What made this remarkable was his age. Martin claims to be 101-years-old. If true, this would make him the oldest person ever to complete a marthon. (The former record holder was 98-year-old Dimitrion Yordanidies who completed the Athens marathon in 1976 with a time of 7.5 hours.) But Martin's age has been called into question.
Martin says he was born on September 1, 1906. The British…
Kobe Bryant Jumps Over a Car —
The latest viral video going around shows Kobe Bryant jumping over a moving Aston Martin. Is it real? I doubt it, though I can't definitively prove it's fake.
Think about it. Why would he risk his career by trying to jump over a car? That's what special effects are for.
A better quality version of the video can be seen at Bryant's website.
Chicken Plays Billiards —
A lot of people have posted this video to youtube in the past month, but no one identifies where the clip comes from. My question is: How was the shot created? The table looks like it's tilted to help the balls roll towards the pockets. Also, I'm assuming the egg is not real.
Extreme Street Soccer —
The following video shows kids (maybe in Brazil, I'm guessing) performing extreme freestyle soccer tricks. The tricks are pretty cool, but of course they're fake. The flips may be real, but the soccer ball must have been digitally inserted into the shots. The video is a viral ad for a new playstation game, FIFA Street 3. It reminds me of that Nike ad featuring Ronaldinho that was going around two years ago.
Fireball Dodging —
Here's another photo series I found in an old issue of Life Magazine (April 26, 1937). I had to kill some time in the UCSD library this morning, which is why I was looking through old magazines. The photos were titled "South Carolina Negroes Play 'Fireball Dodging'".
Here are the captions for the five photos (complete with the racist language characteristic of the 1930s):
1) A new game invented by the Negroes of South Carolina is called "Fireball Dodging." Balls are…
High School Recruitment Hoax —
Last week high-school football player Kevin Hart announced at an assembly at his school, Fernley High, that he had been recruited to play at UC Berkeley, a Pac-10 school. It was exciting news for his school and was publicized by the local media. But then Hart's story began to unravel.
It became apparent that Hart hadn't been recruited by anyone at UC Berkeley. Hart initially explained that the recruitment had been conducted by a middleman named Kevin Riley, implying that the middleman…
Phallus in Football Field —
In the summer of 2004 pranksters used herbicide to trace the outline of a giant phallus in the football field located inside Harman-Geist Stadium in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When the grass died, the phallus became visible.
Maintenance crews did their best to hide the phallus by painting it green, but eventually the paint wore away. And now the prank has succeeded in reaching an even wider audience, thanks to satellite technology.
Overhead satellite imagery of the stadium -- and…
Florida man pretends to be Red Sox pitcher —
Bill Henry used to like to tell his wife and friends stories about when he was a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox back in the 1950s and 60s. He had a lifetime ERA of 3.26. When the Lakeland, Fla. resident died, the Associated Press ran his obituary. But Red Sox fan David Lambert noticed something wrong with it. The obituary said that Henry had been born in 1924, but Lambert knew that Henry was actually born in 1927. He decided to phone Henry's family (whose address he found in…