I talked about the Godsend Institute (the website of a cloning lab that's really a promo for an upcoming movie of the same name) a few days ago
. I said that I really didn't think the site was that convincing. But maybe others have been fooled by it because someone started an online petition to ban the Godsend Institute
. Of course, I'm not above suspecting that the petition was started by the movie studio itself as a way to generate faux controversy. This was a favorite ploy of P.T. Barnum. Back in 1835 he was exhibiting Joice Heth
, an elderly black woman whom he claimed was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. When attendance at the exhibit began to decrease, he sent an anonymous letter to a local paper angrily declaring that Heth was a fake, a "curiously constructed automaton, made up of whalebone, India-rubber, and numberless springs." Sure enough, attendance immediately picked up again as visitors returned to see if Heth really was an old woman or a mechanical automaton.