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July 2002
Bob Levey of the Washington Post debunks a few internet legends about people who have received huge financial awards for mishaps that were very minor or their own fault. Such as the one about the woman who threw a soda at her boyfriend in a restaurant, then slipped on the puddle, and successfully sued the restaurant for $113,500. It never happened.
Categories: Business/Finance, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 31, 2002
Comments (0)
New evidence indicates that Gerd Heidemann, the journalist largely behind the Hitler Diaries hoax, was an East German double agent working for the Stasi. This breathes new life into the old theory that the hoax was actually a communist plot.
Categories: History, Journalism
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 30, 2002
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Daily Variety gave Shyamalan's new film Signs a mediocre review. I loved The Sixth Sense, but found Unbreakable disappointing. So I'm not expecting much from his new one.
Categories: Crop Circles, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 30, 2002
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Go visit Cooperstown, New York, where the Cardiff Giant still resides. It's housed in the Farmer's Museum. Cooperstown is also home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. There's an article about the town in today's Toronto Star.
Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Sun Jul 28, 2002
Comments (0)
Good description in the Christian Science Monitor of the NPR Funding hoax. I've got this in my e-mail a couple of times. It's the one in which you're asked to sign a petition to help save NPR. It's not real, so don't sign the thing if you get it. The CSM article ends on a glum note: "It would be nice to think that Americans in the 21st century are too savvy and intelligent to get collectively hookwinked by hoaxes, pranks, or propaganda. Don't you believe it."
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Radio
Posted by Alex on Sat Jul 27, 2002
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UFO sightings expected to increase in the next few weeks. But that bright object in the night sky won't be a UFO. It'll be the International Space Station.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life
Posted by Alex on Sat Jul 27, 2002
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Fascinating article in New Scientist reports on research that posits that what really separates skeptics from believers (when it comes to matters such as paranormal activity) is brain chemistry. Those with high levels of dopamine in their brains seem to be more prone to see patterns and meaning in random pieces of information. When the drug L-dopa was given to skeptics, they likewise became more prone to see patterns in randomness as well. Of course, the researchers seem to be assuming that the patterns weren't really there. But maybe they actually really WERE there, but the researchers themselves weren't able to see them because their own levels of dopamine weren't high enough. I wonder if the researchers noted their own dopamine levels as part of the study.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 26, 2002
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Large crop circle found in a field of soybeans outside of Naperville, Illinois. Is it real, or a publicity stunt in anticipation of the release of the movie 'Signs' on August 2?
Categories: Crop Circles, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 26, 2002
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"Stickboy" sent me an e-mail letting me know about his "official web site of supernatural activity." Check it out.
Categories: Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 26, 2002
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Nice collection of 'Wacky Postcards' (also referred to as tall tale postcards, or freak postcards) at the UCM Museum's site. UCM stands for Unusual Collections and Miniature Town. The Museum is located in Louisiana. I've never been to Louisiana, but I'd love to get there someday.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 26, 2002
Comments (0)
Robert Wiemer, one of the 25 authors of the 'Naked Came the Stranger' literary hoax from 1969, died yesterday. He was better known as an editorial writer for Newsday.

Naked Came the Stranger was a novel that was designed to test just how low the standards of taste of the American public had sunk. 25 Newsday staff members each wrote a chapter of this novel. Their only requirements were that their chapters could contain no plot or character development, no social insight, and no verbal skill. Only one thing was required: a minimum of two sex scenes per chapter.

The resulting novel was attributed to a fictitious author (Penelope Ashe), who was played by the attractive sister-in-law of Mike McGrady, the columnist who conceived the idea for the hoax. McGrady's sister-in-law played her role to the fullest, appearing in interviews wearing low-cut dresses and bubbling about the joys of sexual liberation. The American public predictably ate it up and sales of the book soared. The Newsday writers eventually began to feel guilty about all the money they were receiving from the farce, and confessed. But the resulting publicity only made the book sell even better.
Categories: Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 25, 2002
Comments (0)
A rogue soccer team pretends to be Romania's Olympic team.
Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 24, 2002
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Lake Tahoe Man invents Sept. 11 heroics, including the claim that he was buried under rubble for over 79 hours.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 24, 2002
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Using technology to get around the problem of people lying online. From the NY Times (reg. req.). Researchers estimate that 42% of online responses are currently false.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 23, 2002
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I've heard about psychics reading palms. Now here's one that reads buttocks.
Categories: Future/Time
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 22, 2002
Comments (4)
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