The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Technology
Apple’s heart rate and blood pressure monitoring headphones
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 07, 2014
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 be a rumor backed up by patents. Specifically, Apple…
Categories: Technology Comments (1)
HUVr Board
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2014
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 appearing in the video — including Christopher Lloyd, Moby, Tony Hawk, Terrel Owens, etc. Which raises the…
Categories: Technology, Videos Comments (0)
We Will All Be Microchipped!
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 24, 2014
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 chip." Nope. Ain't happening. The photo accompanying the article actually shows a flexible "Biostamp" recently developed by the Massachusetts-based firm MC10. But don't worry. The…
Categories: Technology Comments (2)
Calling 999 does not charge your mobile phone battery
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 17, 2014
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 not true. Don’t Ring 999 to Charge Your Mobile – It Doesn’t Work! Bedfordshire Police would like to warn mobile phone users not to phone 999 to charge their mobiles. It is known that…
Categories: Technology, Urban Legends Comments (2)
The Turbo-encabulator
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 24, 2013
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.
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
Waterstones Introduces Owl Delivery
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 04, 2013
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 as Parrot Air Drone Postal from the French postal service. I'm among the drone skeptics. Having thousands…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
A Brief History of Prescription Windshields
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 01, 2013
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? It's probably as old as automobile windshields. But one of the earliest references to it I found was in a Gracie…
Drone Delivery—not yet a reality
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 21, 2013
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 service Zookal claims that next year it will begin to use drones to deliver textbooks in Sydney. This will…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
Guardrail Speed Cameras
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 25, 2013
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 down the road takes a picture of the car. But so far, these systems have only shown up on European roads, not American ones. Here's a link to a PDF about the…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
iPhones are not waterproof.
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 24, 2013
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 the joke and tried dunking their iPhone in water. But a few people have been tweeting angry remarks about the…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
A levitating computer mouse?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 07, 2013
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 Microsoft Arc Mouse Even if it is real, what would be the point of a levitating mouse? The Kibardin Design…
Categories: Technology Comments (1)
Iran’s Space Monkey Mix-up
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 05, 2013
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... doubts about Iran's claim that the monkey had survived the journey spread after journalists noticed that the monkey pictured in the first reports from state-run news organizations had a prominent mole over its right eye, before…
Categories: Animals, Technology Comments (1)
LazyTruth Fact-Checking Widget
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 09, 2012
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 curious to see how well it works. Of course, the main problem will be that the people who need the widget most, won't use it. And the widget won't work if some authoritative source hasn't…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Technology Comments (3)
The Human Birdwings Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 21, 2012
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' background, and basically everything he said he did before the human birdwings project (attending Coventry University, working at a variety of…
Categories: Technology Comments (4)
Virus-Noise-Reducing Cable
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 14, 2012
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)
Categories: Technology Comments (5)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.