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September 2003
A hoax involving 9/11 has just been exposed on LiveJournal. It appears there was once a LiveJournal user named Flashman, aka Anthony Joseph Pereira. But on Sept. 11 a friend of his, Rhyein, posted that he had died rushing into one of the burning World Trade Center Towers trying to save people. This caused an outpouring of grief from the LiveJournal community. But some people began to become suspicious when they realized that Anthony Joseph Pereira was never listed in the official lists of the 9/11 dead. To make a long story short, it now appears that Flashman never existed. He was invented by Rhyein. Anthony Joseph Pereira was in reality the original name of Joe Perry of Aerosmith, her favorite band.
Details of the initial exposure can be found here at superdeluxe's weblog, though it was a LJ user named tupelo who did the actual exposing. Another LJ user named Bubba Ray then compared the IP addresses used by Rhyein and Flashman and found that they matched. The journal of Flashman himself has unfortunately recently been deleted (by rhyein). This brings back memories of Kaycee Nicole Swenson.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 17, 2003
Comments (0)
bush bills This story has been getting quite a lot of attention. On Sep. 6, 2003 a man paid for $150 in groceries at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina with a phony $200 bill bearing George W. Bush's portrait. The bill showed a white house with signs on its lawn reading 'we like ice cream' and 'USA deserves a tax cut.' The cashier accepted the bill and gave $50 change. The Smoking Gun was able to actually get a picture of the $200 bill used in the transaction.

What most people don't remember is that this scam is hardly new. Two years ago, on January 28, 2001 a drive-thru customer at a Danville, Kentucky Dairy Queen paid for his $2.12 purchase with $200. That $200 was handed to the cashier in the form of a single $200 bill bearing on the front the likeness of George Bush and a treasury seal marked "The right to bear arms." The back of the bill showed an oil well and the White House lawn decorated with signs. The signs read "U.S. deserves a tax cut," "No more scandals," and "We like broccoli." The cashier accepted the bill and gave the customer $197.88 in change. The customer quickly drove off. Speaking later in her defense, the cashier explained that she had believed the $200 bill to be legitimate because it was green, just like real money.

Update: A visitor pointed out that the link to the Smoking Gun (now removed) no longer goes to the Bush Bills story. In fact, I couldn't find the story on their site any more [wait... here it is in their archive section], but luckily the picture of the Bush Bills was stored in Google's cache. Here it is. And one more thing. I realized that the bills used in the recent incident (Sep. 6, 2003) sound identical to the ones used in the Jan. 28, 2001 incident. Actually, they don't just sound identical, they are identical. So the two events must be related. I wonder if the police realize there was an earlier incident in a different state?
Categories: Con Artists, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 15, 2003
Comments (3)
Here's a suspicious bit of video forwarded by Mara (who should get a prize for finding this kind of stuff). It shows a young man ducking to the ground as a bus rushes over him. Personally I think he's not actually under the bus. He's on the opposite side of the bus.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 15, 2003
Comments (0)
A visitor named Lewy sent in a link to this ABC News story about 'Cough CPR' following up on my post about the subject below. It turns out that a Polish researcher, Dr. Tadeusz Petelenz, published some results just a few weeks ago suggesting that vigorous coughing could help people experiencing cardiac arrest remain conscious long enough to get help. But the jury still seems to be out on the subject. The UK Resuscitation Council says that there's no evidence coughing is going to help. The basic problem is that if you do the cough CPR, you've got to time the coughs exactly right, or you could actually make the heart attack worse. An emergency nurse named Richard Muth has written a good summary of the few instances when coughing actually CAN be helpful for heart problems (they all involve being in a hospital).
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 15, 2003
Comments (0)
You know all those real-life, caught-on-video bloopers and accidents that are the staple of shows like 'Funniest Home Videos'? Guess what? According to the Hollywood Reporter A lot of them are staged. The market for bloopers has simply become too large to rely on accidental bloopers alone.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
On August 28 a man with a bomb padlocked to his neck robbed a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. The bomb blew up shortly thereafter, killing the man. The case got a lot of attention, so given human nature it shouldn't surprise anyone that neck-bomb copycat hoaxers are now popping up.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
There's an email going around warning people not to reenter their car while filling the tank at a gas station. Doing so might create a spark that will set the gas fumes on fire, causing a flash fire. Now this sounds like some kind of urban legend, but Mike Davis at CarConnection.com, who's done some research into the subject, warns that the danger is small but real.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
The real McCoy has her identity stolen. Fake McCoy still at large.
Categories: Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
At the Farmer's Museum in upstate New York this weekend they're celebrating the Cardiff Giant's 134th birthday with a birthday cake contest. It seems to me they're celebrating his birthday a little early. I thought he was discovered on October 16, 1869. But I'm not one to split hairs over something like that. I just wish I was there.
Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
An email has been going around claiming that vigorous coughing can help you survive a heart attack. I received it, and to be honest I thought it sounded pretty believable. I should have known better. According to heart specialists, coughing won't make a heart attack any worse, but it's also not going to make it any better. Just another example of why you shouldn't believe medical advice you get from forwarded emails. The proper thing to do if you think you're having a heart attack is to take some aspirin.
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
Thanks to Derek Freeman's work, a lot of people know that the anthropologist Margaret Mead was hoaxed into believing that young Samoan girls were far more sexually active than they actually were. But Mead made influential claims about other cultures as well, about which she apparently was just as wrong, according to this article in Front Page Magazine. For instance, she claimed that the Mountain Arapesh, a tribe of New Guinea yam gardeners, had no knowledge of the concept of war. Not quite. Other researchers later found that about half the adult male Arapesh had killed people in battle.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
Just added Google Ads to the home page of the site (see to the right), and it looks like the Google computer is inferring from the fact that I had one entry referring to identical twins amputating body parts that visitors to my site might be interested in ads about amputation services and DNA testing. How weird. But at least these ads are a lot more interesting than the generic kind of ads for credit cards and mutual funds that are plastered over most of the internet.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 14, 2003
Comments (0)
The SciFi Channel has a section on its website called SciFi Happens on which they pretend to invite the public to send in clips of true-life weird things that have been caught on film. All the clips are staged by the SciFi Channel itself, of course, but some of them are kind of cool. There's a UFO spotted flying around the World Trade Center, a guy who becomes magnetized after suffering an electric shock, ladybugs that fly in geometric patterns, and the Lake Champlain sea serpent. You need Quicktime to see the clips.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life
Posted by Alex on Sat Sep 13, 2003
Comments (1)
I've just signed up with Google Ads to have them place ads on my website, thus ending my long-standing principled stance against cluttering up my site with advertising. Since it's costing me $50 a month to pay for the bandwidth for the site, I figure that I need to make an effort to recoup those costs somehow. Plus, the Google Ads, being only text, are relatively unobtrusive. And finally, the Google computer tailors the ads to the content of each page, so that the ads aren't totally irrelevant. I'm finding it very interesting to see what ads the computer chooses to place on each page. I've only begun adding the ad code to my pages, but on the Bonsai Kitten page the computer chose ads for charities and humanitarian organizations (maybe because of all the messages about the inhumanity of Bonsai Kittens), whereas on the page for Munchkin the Cat it chose ads for Cat merchandise.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 12, 2003
Comments (0)
A visitor sent me a question about holotouch.com: "Dont think this is for real. Check it out. Seems too simple a site to claim what they have achieved."
Actually, although the technology sounds like something out of Star Trek: the Next Generation, it is real. The links they have to articles about themselves written by the New York Times and others all check out. Plus, I've read about similar technologies before. As for the simplicity of the site, I assume that the company just doesn't have a lot of cash to spend on a flashy website. That's often the case with startup companies.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 12, 2003
Comments (1)
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