The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Technology
No lies in the future? — New technology promises to turn smartphones into lie detectors, so that we'll always know when people are lying to us. (But how reliable will this technology really be?) [Wash Post]
Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2014.   Comments (0)

Apple’s heart rate and blood pressure monitoring headphones — Recently a post appeared on the sharing app Secret (that allows people to anonymously confess any secret they want) revealing that Apple was soon going to release sophisticated new headphones that would include built-in heart rate and blood pressure sensors, as well as iBeacons so they couldn't get lost. The post was entirely anonymous, so it should have had no credibility. However, it soon was being widely reported on technology sites, and even made its way onto the Daily Mail. Why did people give an anonymous rumor such credence? Because, as was frequently noted, it appeared to… Continue…
Posted: Wed May 07, 2014.   Comments (1)

HUVr Board — On March 3 a video appeared online (with an accompanying website) announcing that a company had created an actual working hoverboard (aka HUVr Board), of the kind seen in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, using antigravity technology. The video immediately went viral, with over 3 million views already on YouTube. As many have noted, the video is clearly fake. No one has created a working hoverboard. But it was an impressive fake. Especially noteworthy is the number of celebrities…
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014.   Comments (0)

We Will All Be Microchipped! — Scare stories about how governments are going to force us all to be "microchipped like dogs" have been circulating for well over a decade. Mixed in with these stories have been Christian fundamentalist claims that implanted microchips are the "Mark of the Beast". The latest scare story to surface is an article (written in broken English) recently posted on topinfopost.com, claiming that "On May 2014, through Europe newborn children will be compelled to take in a subcutaneous RFID…
Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014.   Comments (2)


Calling 999 does not charge your mobile phone battery — Idiotic things people will believe: The Bedfordshire Police recently posted a statement on their website, informing everyone that calling 999 and then disconnecting immediately will not actually boost the battery life of your mobile phone battery, despite a rumor to the contrary. Apparently emergency operators have been receiving a lot of these phone-charging calls. There's a similar rumor that claims you can recharge your mobile phone by putting it in a microwave for a minute. Also…
Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014.   Comments (2)

The Turbo-encabulator — The invention of the Turbo-encabulator has long been considered to be one of the great technological achievements of the 20th century. More info at wikipedia.
Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2013.   Comments (0)

Waterstones Introduces Owl Delivery — This is their response to Amazon's recent announcement that by 2015 it hopes to be using drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes of being ordered. Drone-delivery seems to be the hot new thing. Less than two months ago, I posted about an Australian textbook rental service that hopes to soon be using drones to deliver books. But as I pointed out then, drones have also been a popular theme in the world of hoaxes. For instance, there was TacoCopter (drones delivering tacos) as well…
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013.   Comments (0)

A Brief History of Prescription Windshields — I've been spending a lot of time recently adding to the April Fool archive, and in doing so I've noticed that a lot of April 1st jokes get repeated again and again over the years. One joke in particular caught my eye. In the past 20 years, prescription windshields (or windscreens, as the British say) have been the theme of corporate April Fool campaigns at least 4 separate times — and possibly more, for all I know. This made me wonder: how old is the 'prescription windshield' joke?
Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2013.   Comments (2)

Drone Delivery—not yet a reality — In March 2012, TacoCopter.com appeared online, claiming to represent a SF-area startup that planned to use drones to deliver tacos. That turned out to be a hoax. And earlier this year, the French postal service claimed it was experimenting with using drones to deliver mail. That was an April Fool's Day hoax. So the idea of drone delivery has been a popular idea with hoaxers. But now, perhaps, it's going to become a reality. The emphasis is on perhaps. Australian textbook rental…
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013.   Comments (0)

Guardrail Speed Cameras — The Louisiana State Police want everyone to know that they don't have speed cameras installed in guardrails along the highways. They say that a picture circulating online showing a speed camera disguised inside a guardrail is the "latest and greatest urban legend." The thing is, it's not quite an urban legend, because these evil guardrail speed cameras do exist. Or rather, there are existing traffic-monitoring systems that include speed detectors in guardrails, while a camera further…
Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013.   Comments (0)

iPhones are not waterproof. — Apple released the iOS 7 update for iPhones last week, and pranksters (allegedly from 4chan) set to work creating a series of spoof ads claiming the update made iPhones waterproof. Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof. In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry. Needless to say, the iOS 7 update does not make the iPhone waterproof. It's not clear if anyone fell for…
Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013.   Comments (0)

A levitating computer mouse? — This levitating computer mouse (aka "The Bat") is listed as a product in the "testing period and research" phase on the site of Kibardin Design. But it's raising a few skeptical eyebrows. Not that it wouldn't be possible to build a levitating mouse, but io9 notes, "to us it looks a little like someone took a Microsoft Arc Mouse, fixed it to a plastic ring, and added a few aesthetic details with the help of some carefully applied modeling clay and a couple coats of Krylon." The…
Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013.   Comments (1)

Iran’s Space Monkey Mix-up — There's some monkey business going on in Iran's space program: Iran's Space Agency Confirms Reports on Launch Used Images of Two Different Monkeys thelede.blogs.nytimes.com A senior official at Iran's space agency confirmed on Saturday that state media reports on the launching of a monkey into the thermosphere had used images of two different monkeys. The official insisted, however, that the monkey had survived the journey and that Iran was not trying to cover up a failed flight...…
Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013.   Comments (1)

LazyTruth Fact-Checking Widget — A software company has announced it's making a widget called LazyTruth that will scan all your incoming emails for misinformation: tl;dr: We’re building an inbox widget that surfaces vetted information when you receive an email forward full of political myths, urban rumors, or security threats. It’s called LazyTruth. Basically the widget will scan the text of your incoming emails and check them against "pre-existing nonpartisan information". It's an interesting idea. I'll be…
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Human Birdwings Hoax — Jarno Smeets claims to be a mechanical engineer from the Netherlands who's attempting to build a machine (Human Birdwings) to let people fly with flapping wings like a bird. It's not human-powered, per se. As you can see in the video, Jarno flaps his arms, and his arm motions are read by a Nintendo Wii controller and an Android smartphone which interprets them into mechanical commands. That's the theory, anyway. Is this fake? It seems to be. Wired did some digging into Smeets'…
Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012.   Comments (4)

Virus-Noise-Reducing Cable — Add this to the list of bizarre and dubious claims made by the manufacturers of audio and computer cables. The manufacturer of the Xbox 360 Elite HDMI 2.5m Basic Cable claim that their product includes "anti-virus protection to reduce virus noises." I'm glad someone is finally doing something about those awful virus noises! (via reddit)
Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012.   Comments (5)

The Man Who Claims He Invented Email — Back in November 2011, Time magazine ran an article titled "The Man Who Invented Email." It was about V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai who, in 1978 as a 14-year-old kid, wrote and copyrighted a program called EMAIL. This article led the Smithsonian to recently acquire various documents related to Ayyadurai's 1978 program, in order to immortalize its contribution to American life and culture. In late February, the Washington Post added to Ayyadurai's growing fame as the creator of email by writing…
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012.   Comments (3)

Clay iPads — At least 10 people in Vancouver who bought iPad 2s have reported opening up the packaging only to discover it contained a slab of modeling clay, not an iPad. It's an old strategy for thieves to conceal their crime by replacing the item in the box with something of lesser value. Reminds me of the case from 2006 of the Hawaiian boy who opened an iPod box on Christmas Day, only to discover it contained a package of meat. Link: Yahoo!
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012.   Comments (1)

Quantum Levitation Car Racing — A video of a race between miniature cars floating above a track by means of "quantum levitation" was recently debunked. The intro screen to the video credited it to the (fictitious) "Japan Institute of Science and Technology," but the true creator was Sony and SCE Studio Liverpool. The Business Insider says: "the video was a ploy by Sony and developer SCE Studio Liverpool to promote the Wipeout 2048 game that's coming out on the PS Vita." I'm assuming the video was inspired by a…
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012.   Comments (2)

Project Black Mirror — Since the end of October, a group of young programmers have been blogging about their attempt to control Siri (that voice-activated iPhone app) using their thoughts. They call their effort Project Black Mirror. The basic premise is to measure the pattern of their brain waves, and then to design a program that can "detect the signature patterns that indicate a certain word is being thought of" and pass this information along to Siri, which executes the command. On their blog, they…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011.   Comments (1)

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