I've been ignoring the internet for the past few days because I've been too busy eating, drinking, and opening presents. So I'll wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas now, or whatever holiday you celebrate: Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia—for all those ancient Romans out there (since I studied Latin for eight years, I consider myself an honorary ancient Roman)— or nothing at all.
Although I was trying to ignore the outside world, it did manage to briefly track me down. A reporter from the Washington Post
called to talk about the case of fraudulent cloning research
in South Korea that's been making headlines. Here's what I said (that made it into the article):
The stem cell case has parallels with some earlier hoaxes, according to Alex Boese, who studies and writes about such cases. In the Piltdown man claim, for example, the British researchers may have been motivated in part by national pride. "At the time, it was assumed that whatever country discovered the missing link would be the root of mankind," Boese said. "Maybe in this case South Koreans wanted to prove their scientific credentials."
I'm putting together a list of the top ten hoaxes of 2005, which I hope to have posted by Jan. 1. I think the South Korean cloning case deserves a place on the list. Another contender is the Kodee hoax (which I never posted anything about at the time because I was too busy finishing my book), in which the Southern Illinois University student paper invented an elaborate story about an 8-year-old girl, Kodee, struggling with her father being overseas in Iraq. If you have any other suggestions for hoaxes that should make the top ten list, let me know.