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|•||Chilis Narrowly Avoids Funding Anti-Vaxxers 04/08/2014|
|•||Dutch April fools jokes 04/02/2014|
|•||Japanese stem cell breakthrough exposed as a fabrication 04/02/2014|
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|•||Fred Phelps is gone 03/21/2014|
|•||Iran building fake aircraft carrier 03/20/2014|
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Great article in the National Post about the role of ghostwriters in the writing of "autobiographies." Often ghostwriters will invent the lives of their subjects out of whole cloth... And many celebrities never read the autobiographies which they've supposedly written. As the article says, "If the nominal author of a memoir says, 'I want to thank the devoted and talented Ms. Holly Ryle for her expert editorial assistance,' that probably means she wrote every word."
The Monkey Man has returned in India, after an absence of about a year. Reports are that a "monkey-like machine" is attacking people as they sleep on rooftops and in open places.
An exhibition of the art of Mortimer Menpes is being displayed at the National Library of Australia. Menpes was known for making fakes of the works of the great masters. This was in the early 20th century.
A bogus yellow pages scam.
Cheney promises crackdown on corporate fraud. I don't know. Somehow it seems a little fishy.
Baywatch star Traci Bingham has been getting a huge amount of publicity for parading around European cities in her bikini made out of lettuce. Her point was to promote vegetarianism. But purists will note that the bikini was made out of fake lettuce.
Scientists find loopholes in the second law of thermodynamics. True believers in the possibility of a perpetual motion machine will love this.
Bogus coupons circulating through e-mail are causing a headache for Starbucks.
On the subject of Digital Buddies (see below) here's a website where your online digital buddy can be a member of an LA street gang. His name is Pirate. Ask him whatever you want. You even get to see him type his reply.
Digital Buddies are fake friends who will sell you products online. They chat and make jokes, but they're just computer programs. From the LA Times (requires reg.).
For more info about the Nigerian Bank Scam, check out Douglas Cruickshank's article in Salon from August 2001 in which he delved into the strange, seductive poetry of the Bank Scam missives. David Emery also had a piece about them in SF Gate in March 2002, while Ian Kaplan has collected many examples of the scam. Finally, the Embassy of Nigeria actually has a statement on its website from the Central Bank of Nigeria warning people about the swindle.
Wired also had a good article yesterday about the Nigerian Bank Scam, in which they interviewed a Nigerian student who actually used to compose the letters that were sent out to potential victims. The student says that the letters were purposefully designed to read like offbeat soap operas.
Wired has an article today about crop circles, in anticipation of M. Night Shyamalan's movie Signs coming out next month.
Normally I don't like to mention bomb hoaxes, since giving them any attention only plays into the hoaxer's hand, but this case seems to be an exception. A man, while clearing out his closet, threw out a fake bomb that he had once created for a marketing project in college. The next day his building was evacuated when someone saw it lying in the dumpster. Full story at the NY Times (reg. required).
The Natural History Museum in London is opening an exhibit on "Dino-Birds: The Feathered Dinosaurs of China." It will include the archaeopteryx, the oldest known fossil of a bird, which was accused of being a fake back in the 1980s. I wonder if it will also include the Piltdown Chicken fossil which fooled National Geographic two years ago?