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November 2003
The East Point Police, in East Point, Georgia, have come up with a novel way to reduce the costs of fighting crime. They simply invite criminals to arrest themselves. They have an easy-to-use self arrest form on their website that criminals can fill out and submit online. At first I suspected that the entire East Point Police website was a joke, but this doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, I'm guessing that this self-arrest form is just a bit of police humor, in the same vein as the decision by the police in Kokomo, Indiana to cut costs by closing the police station during the night. Emergency calls would be recorded on an answering machine and answered the following morning.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 27, 2003
Comments (0)
Michael Jackson has set up a website that's serving as his Official Press Room. Apparently Jack the Ripper has now done the same. (Thanks to Kentaro Mori for the link)

Update: By the way, don't bother clicking on any of the links on the 'JR News' site. They all lead to spam. Evidently the JR News site is just a front for spammers.
Categories: Celebrities, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 26, 2003
Comments (0)
According to a new study, the Vinland Map (that map of North America drawn by ancient Vikings) may be genuine.
Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 26, 2003
Comments (0)
kahlifoaniaApparently the great state of California, in which I live, has adopted a new state seal, as can be seen below.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 25, 2003
Comments (0)
MyStudios.com has an interesting History of Art Forgery (via Fiendish Is The Word). Plus, they challenged 20 contemporary artists to create works in the style of past masters, and you can see the results here.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 24, 2003
Comments (0)
One of the questions in my gullibility test is whether turtles ever die of old age. The answer is that they don't, and here's a BBC article about another species that shares this trait: the sea urchin. Apparently, unless urchins are killed off by predators or diseasey, they'll live forever.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 24, 2003
Comments (0)
As a joke, a Peoria woman puts a baby octopus in her boyfriend's toilet. Her boyfriend gets home, finds an octopus in his toilet, and assumes it must have crawled there from out of the sewer. He calls the local paper and the city is soon caught up in the 'Great Octopus Mystery' until the girlfriend calls up and sheepishly confesses.
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Nov 23, 2003
Comments (1)
Dr. Miles Russell argues that Charles Dawson had to be the sole perpetrator of the Piltdown Hoax, since Dawson had a long history of creating archaeological frauds.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 22, 2003
Comments (0)
Tom wrote to ask about the reality of a site called The Phobia Clinic. At first glance, the site definitely looks like it represents a real business that's selling a program to help people overcome their fears. The strangeness comes when you dig into some of the fears that they claim they can cure, and you have to wonder... do such fears or anxieties really exist? For example, they can cure you of Arachibutyrophobia (that's a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth), Ballistophobia (a fear of bullets... but why would anyone want to overcome their fear of bullets? Isn't that a good thing to be afraid of?), Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words... the name of the anxiety alone probably sends sufferers into convulsions), and the list goes on and on. Despite all the weird anxieties, I think that the Phobia Clinic is real enough, in the sense that they'll take your money and offer some kind of 'cure.' But I'm skeptical about whether their cure actually works.
Categories: Psychology
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 21, 2003
Comments (449)
mj chaseIn what is sure to be the first of many Michael Jackson-related photos and jokes circulating via email, we already have a low-speed-chase scene involving the King of Pop. Plus, the entrepreneurs are already out in full force, hoping to earn a buck from this fiasco. Witness the 'Free MJ' shop that's now up on CafePress. Plus, there have been quite a few postings today on my message board dedicated to Michael Jackson's Nose.
Categories: Celebrities
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 21, 2003
Comments (0)
I wrote in my book about the burgeoning Jedi movement throughout the world. For instance, when the 2001 census was taken in Britain, tens of thousands of people listed 'Jedi Knight' as their religious affiliation on the census forms. I've actually heard from a source in the Office of National Statistics that when the figures were all counted, there ended up being more Jedis than Jews in Britain. Now we have more proof of the growing stature of 'Jediism': the quasi-official website of the Jedi Religion.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 20, 2003
Comments (28)
Mixing together some content that had been on the site before, with a little stuff from my book, I just created a small gallery of hoaxes involving Adolf Hitler. He was a strange man, and he inspired some strange hoaxes.
Categories: History, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 18, 2003
Comments (0)
People are up in arms about the Great Chili Scandal. The scandal occurred at the 37th annual Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert-Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cook-Off, which is like the superbowl of Chili Cook-offs. Don Eastep won first place this year. Problem is that Don hadn't actually cooked any of his own chili. His brother Terry had dropped out of the contest at the last minute, so Don posed as his brother and took his place. But instead of cooking something of his own, Don simply walked around and took one spoonful of chili from each of the 80 contestants. Then he mixed these eighty spoonfuls together in a bowl and handed that in as his entry. Much to his surprise, he won first place. He immediately admitted what he had done, and the trophy was taken away. But everyone is still riled up about the whole thing. They're calling Don a 'chili terrorist.'
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 18, 2003
Comments (0)
This is one of those cases where a joke supposedly becomes reality. An advertising company (The Design Conspiracy) created a joke website called What Brand Are You?, whose purpose was to spoof the bizarre brand names that companies are increasingly dreaming up—names such as Aviva, Diageo, and Corus. Visitors to What Brand Are You could type in their name, their 'core values,' and their goals, and the supercomputer powering the website would then spit out a personalized brand name free of charge (my brand name is 'Acclivius'). In reality, the Design Conspiracy had just dreamed up a few silly names (about 150, they say) which were randomly offered when visitors hit the submit button. But apparently a number of companies liked the spoof names, because according to this BBC story twenty of them have now been registered as trademarks (Thanks to Andrew Nixon for sending in this link). Some of the spoof names that are now the brand names for real companies include Bivium, Libero, Ualeo, Winnovate, and Tempero.

The folks at the Design Conspiracy claim to be somewhat taken aback by all this... But the weird thing is that the companies who registered the spoof names all say that they've never heard of the What Brand Are You website. So something smells a little fishy. The skeptical part of me suspects that the Design Conspiracy might have slipped a few existing names (that they thought were silly) in with the fake names. Now they're enjoying the publicity of having their spoof names supposedly adopted by real companies. I could be being overly skeptical, of course, but 20 names out of 150 seems like a suspiciously high hit rate. This suspicion would seem to be confirmed when a simple search on whois.org reveals that the What Brand Are You site was registered on June 11, 2002, whereas the domain name for the Bivium Group (just to pick the first of the spoof/real names) was registered before this on May 22, 2002. In other words, the brand name Bivium existed before the Design Conspiracy listed it as a spoof name on their website. The pool of spoof names was seeded with real names.
Categories: Advertising, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 18, 2003
Comments (1)
howard deanPosters advertising a campaign rally for Howard Dean, and sporting a confederate flag in the background, appeared all over the campus of Dartmouth College. The group hosting the rally denies having created the posters, therefore they're obviously a prank, created by some group as yet unknown.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 15, 2003
Comments (0)
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