The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Google Nest
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 13, 2014
Several members of a Berlin-based activist group called the Peng Collective recently made a presentation at the Re:publica tech conference in which they pretended to be Google employees and debuted four new "Google Nest" products: Google Trust (free data insurance), Google Bee (a personal drone to watch over you at all times), Google Hug (a kind of matchmaking service), and Google Bye (an online memorial automatically created for you by Google after you die). After the presentation, the Peng people told the audience that it was all a parody designed to emphasize Google's "hypocritical" privacy policies. But they asked the audience to tweet about the new products as if they were real, and some people took…
Categories: Websites Comments (1)
Quantified Toilets—collecting your toilet data
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 30, 2014
When attendees at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (held in Toronto) went to the bathroom, they found a sign alerting them that "Behaviour at these toilets is being recorded for analysis. Access your live data at quantifiedtoilets.com." Visiting the Quantified Toilets website (which has the tagline 'Capturing toilet behavior for real-time data and health analysis'), they found a live feed that provided data about all the toilet "deposits" that had been made. The information included how much had been depoisted, whether drugs were detected in it, as well as other bio-information such as pregnancy, infections, blood alcohol, gender of the depositor, and even what…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (0)
Is CodeBabes a hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 26, 2014
CodeBabes is a new site that promises to make the process of learning how to write code more fun by using "hot babes" as the instructors in video tutorials. Every time the student advances a level, the "babe" removes an item of clothing. The website explains: "We've developed a revolutionary learning programme that leverages sexual desire and turns it into the most powerful learning mechanism ever known to mankind. Babes and code. You watch the lesson. Absorb the info. Pass the quiz, and your instructor removes one piece of clothing. How much clothing, you ask? Enough to motivate you. But let's not get carried away here. We're an education site."…
Categories: Websites Comments (5)
Miracle Machine wine maker
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Several weeks ago, some wine-industry veterans (Kevin Boyer and Philip James) announced the invention of a gadget that would allow people to make wine at home in only 3 days. They called it the "miracle machine." The gadget seemed somewhat plausible, given the existence of home-brewing kits for beer. Plus it was promoted by a slick video and accompanying website. So over 600 media outlets took the bait and reported it as news. But yesterday, the "inventors" issued a press release revealing that the 'miracle machine' was just a hoax. But it was a hoax for a…
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (0)
Celebrity Salami
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 27, 2014
A new website has many people slightly puzzled. It claims to be producing artisanal salamis made from lab-grown meat from celebrity tissue samples. So it's kind of like a celebrity version of Manbeef.com (from way back in 2001) — except that it's celebrity beef and the human meat is grown using in-vitro meat production. Salon.com got a response from "Kevin" on the BiteLabs team who explains that "the site is partly a commentary on food culture, the ethics of meat, and 'the way celebrity culture is consumed.'" So yes, it's a parody site. However, Kevin also insists that they do actually plan to make salami from…
Categories: Celebrities, Food, Websites Comments (1)
Bottled Fresh Air
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 15, 2013
DUPÉ sells bottled fresh air, as well as other products such as bottled moon light, positive thoughts, and "eco-friendly little rays of sunshine." The site (and storefront) were part of a spoof campaign launched a few months ago by Yarra Valley Water, providers of tap water to the Melbourne area. If you try to buy any of DUPÉ's fresh air, you get a message telling you: "Buying bottled air doesn't make sense. It's just like buying bottled water." (Thanks to Patty on WU for the heads up about…
Categories: Websites Comments (2)
eMeringue
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 22, 2013
If you need a meringue top for a pie, and you need it fast, then look no further than eMeringue.com. They're the "Internet's #1 meringue delivery service." Their fleet of eMeringue trucks are gassed up and ready to hit the highway, to deliver your meringue top directly to your door. eMeringue was an April Fool's Day hoax by the Motley Fool investment people. But it dates back to 1999, so I'm impressed that they've kept the site up all this time. If you look at the eMeringue welcome page, you'll see a photo of "eMeringue chef Serge LeGrenouille." My wife is the food geek in the family,…
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (0)
Lamppost Windmills
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 10, 2013
I haven't seen anything on English-language sites about this, but according to dichtbij.nl (with a little help from Google translate), a site calling itself "Green Light District" appeared online several months ago. It claimed that the municipality of Haarlemmermeer in North Holland was going to put small green windmills on top of 30,000 lampposts in order to generate power for the lights, thereby creating a "green light district". Any excess power would be routed to the electrical grid. But it turns out that Haarlemmermeer didn't actually have any plans to put up these lamppost windmills. The site was a publicity stunt designed to promote the "Greenest Idea of…
Categories: Places, Websites Comments (1)
Animal Instincts Pet Condoms
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 10, 2013
"Is Sparky a sex addict?" the website petcondoms.org asks visitors. "Spot the signs!" The site also offers advice on "how to put on a pet condom". A few clicks on some of the links soon reveals that, no, this site isn't really selling pet condoms. It was recently launched by the San Francisco SPCA as a way to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering your pet. The point being that trying to put a condom on your pet is an ineffective way of preventing unwanted births. It's actually not the first time the internet has seen a website about condoms for pet. Back in 2005…
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (0)
Remember the 13th - the big reveal
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 07, 2013
Yesterday, rememberthe13th.com revealed the "big discovery" it had promised. It turned out to be some guy rapping "I'm a purple ninja and I'm so cool." I wasted a minute of my life watching it.
Categories: Websites Comments (3)
Remember the 13th
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 04, 2013
According to the website rememberthe13th.com, NASA is going to announce something BIG on the 13th of November: NASA has made a historic discovery that will shake the entire planet. This announcement will be released to the media on November 13th, 2013. It will be a day to remember and One for the history books. Spread the word to your family & friends and sign up to stay updated. However, a recent update to the site now says that the date of the big reveal has been moved forward to October 6th "Due to change in plans." A post on abovetopsecret.com gives some of the (alleged) backstory…
Categories: Websites Comments (4)
Black Friend Connect
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
"Every white person needs a black friend," blackfriendconnect.com tells us. And if you don't have a black friend already, they've got you covered. For a reasonable fee, they'll provide a black friend who's willing to "give you a hug, fist bump, high-five or whichever you prefer," and will also attend "your favorite white concert" with you. The joke here seems obvious enough that there's no need to prove the site is a hoax. But if you really want to prove it to yourself, try placing an order for one of these black friends. There's a phone number listed on the site, in the top left corner. I googled it,…
Categories: Websites Comments (0)
The Malfunctioning Oil Rig Drink Dispenser Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 12, 2012
On June 7, an Occupy Seattle activist, Logan Price, posted a video online that appeared to show an embarrassing scene from a private party of Shell Oil executives. Price explained, on his twitter page, that he had managed to infiltrate the party, which was intended to celebrate the launch of Shell's Arctic drilling program, and which was hosted at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. The centerpiece of the party was a sculpture shaped like an iceberg, topped by a miniature oil rig that dispensed drinks for the guests. In the video, an elderly lady could be seen approaching the model rig, cup in hand, ready to be served the first…
Categories: Videos, Websites Comments (0)
Earn Money Working at Home—Become an Envelope Elf!
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2012
The consumer affairs office of the state of Massachusetts has created a series of phony websites designed to teach people how to avoid online scams. The sites advertise products such as work-at-home deals, weight-loss products, and free trips. If anyone tries to order something from these sites, they're directed to a page identifying it as a scam and telling them how they could have spotted the scam. My favorite one is the "Envelope Elf" site. The SEC did something similar back in 2002. It created a hoax site for McWhortle Enterprises, Inc. The idea was to teach investors that just because a company has a website, that doesn't mean…
Categories: Scams, Websites Comments (1)
Post-Rapture Pet Adoption
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 17, 2012
For over three years, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has been offering peace of mind to Rapture believers. Should the Rapture come, and the devout are whisked away up to Heaven, this service will take care of their pets that are left behind — for a small fee of $135 per pet. But now Bloomberg News is reporting that the business was all just a hoax concocted by Bart Centre, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, in order to promote his book, The Atheist Camel Chronicles. Bloomberg quotes him as saying: The entire thing was a hoax. What we call on the Internet a poe, a spoof, a parody, a complete fiction.…
Categories: Animals, Religion, Websites Comments (2)
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