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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2004
Wired = Overloaded Server
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 31, 2004
Wired published an article about net hoaxes today, for which I was interviewed. The increased traffic it brought promptly melted down my web host's servers, which has been causing quite a headache for me. But regardless, it's nice to get the visitors. Perhaps a few of them were even able to view some of the site's content.
Categories: Miscellaneous, Technology Comments (1)
Fake Vermeer was the Real Thing
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 31, 2004
Once thought to be a fake Vermeer, this painting of a young woman sitting before a keyboard has now been officially reclassified as a real Vermeer. It's going up for sale (the first time a Vermeer has been sold since 1921), so if you've got a couple of million lying around, feel free to make a bid.
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Restaurant Strip-Search Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
According to the Wall Street Journal a strange prank is becoming a real problem for restaurants throughout America. A phone prankster calls up a restaurant, pretending to a police officer, and asks the manager of the restaurant to strip search the store's employees. The reason given is usually that the police are searching for stolen money or drugs. And time after time the store managers comply with the request. I've seen cases of this prank reported in the news before, and I assumed they were unrelated to each other. But police suspect that all the cases might be the work of one guy, operating out of North Florida. Tom Briggs, of the National Food Service Security Council, notes that…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Pranks Comments (2)
More Spam on April 1st
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
Makers of network security software are warning that there may be an increase in spam leading up to April Fool's Day. "Spammers are expected to use subject lines such as "great joke," "free jokes," "prank," or "April fools" to entice users into opening attachments that carry viruses or objectionable content, potentially putting company networks at risk."
April Fool’s Day Survey
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
Survey finds that two-in-ten workers participate in April Fool's Day at the office. The best part of the article are the examples of office pranks it lists: moving someone's office to the front lobby, telling colleagues they can leave early, super-glueing drawers shut, etc. One of the best office pranks that I've heard about occurred at a small company and was played on the human resources manager. One after another every employee went into her office and told her that they were quitting. Not realizing it was April 1st, the poor lady was in a state of panic by the end of the morning.
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (1)
The Mini Cooper Autonomous Robot
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
Colin Mayhew, an engineer at a British division of BMW, decided to convert a mini cooper r50 into an autonomous biped robot. The results are quite impressive. In particular, check out this video. The no-frills design of the page makes it seem quite believable. But sleuths on Slashdot have determined that it's a hoax. The url is registered to an ad agency working for BMW. (via Things Magazine)
You Make Me Feel Like Gancing
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
A recent issue of Stuff Magazine described the latest dance craze hitting the clubs: Gancing. That's short for guy-on-guy dancing. Not gay dancing, mind you. This is heterosexual (or metrosexual) guy-on-guy dancing. The theory is that this is actually a great strategy for picking up women, since the women are turned on by the sensitivity of the dancing men. There are various 'gances,' such as the Shark, in which one guy pretends he's a shark and chases another guy around the dance floor. News of this club sensation received quite a lot of media attention after Stuff broke the story. Jay Leno, for one, talked about it on his show. Ryan Seacrest even admitted that he had done some…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Fake pregnancy
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
Maya-Anne Mays was living the good life. She had a couple paying her rent, buying her meals, and giving her money. Why? Because the couple thought she was pregnant, and they were going to adopt her baby. But it turned out Mays wasn't pregnant... just overweight. She had managed to pass a pregnancy test by taking the test soon after having a miscarriage. The couple finally wised up and forced her to take another test, which she failed.
Categories: Birth/Babies Comments (1)
Belle de Jour Commentary
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
The Guardian invited Cynthia Payne, "Britain's best-known madam," to comment on the Belle de Jour weblog, i.e. did she think it's really written by a London call girl, or is it all the product of some writer's imagination. Payne declares that it's "a load of rubbish."
Yo, God!
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
P.T. Barnum once suggested that someone should invent a humbugometer, which would be a device to detect the presence of humbug. But the folks at Yo, God! have done Barnum one better. They've invented a God Detector, to detect the presence of God. For example, say that you beseech God for a sign, and at that moment the phone rings. Is that really a sign from God, or is it just a coincidence? Whip out your Yo, God! detector, and you'll have the answer.
Categories: Religion, Websites Comments (1)
Dragon Hoax Was a Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
Back in January I posted an entry about what I called the Almost Great Dragon Hoax. It described a tiny dragon that had been found in a jar of formaldehyde in a garage in Oxfordshire. Supposedly the dragon had been created in the nineteenth century by German scientists trying to hoax their British counterparts, but the joke had been spotted by the British and placed in the trash... only to be recovered from there and end up years later in the Oxfordshire garage. Now it turns out that the dragon is actually of a much more modern origin. BBC News is reporting that author Allistair Mitchell created the story about…
Categories: Advertising, Science Comments (1)
Glass and Blair: Together At Last
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
Christopher Frizzelle of The Stranger managed to get a real scoop. He convinced both Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass to sit down and talk with him simultaneously, so that they could compare notes on their careers as rogue journalists. Unfortunately, this dream interview never occurred. The Stranger later published a tongue-in-cheek retraction. And Stephen Glass himself denied that the interview took place. Still, Karl Freske (whom I have to thank for providing me with a heads-up about the story) has an interesting theory. He speculates that "it's just possible that the interview is real and that the 'hoax declaration' is the hoax. Less likely, but well within the Stranger's…
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
ChatNannies Last All Summer Long
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 26, 2004
This story has been growing in size for the past week, and now it seems definite. It's a hoax. It began with a story in New Scientist last week describing an artificial intelligence program designed by Jim Wightman, an IT consultant from Wolverhampton. This program, called ChatNannies, supposedly scours internet chat rooms pretending to be a child and luring pedophiles into conversation with it. Once it identifies a pedophile, it reports them to the authorities. Sounds great, but if it really does what is claimed of it, it would be the most advanced artificial intelligence software in the world. And created by a guy working out of his home, no…
Categories: Technology Comments (6)
Egg Prank
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 25, 2004
I've seen post-its, tinfoil, and packing foam before, but eggs are definitely a new one (scroll down to see the story). (via BoingBoing)
Categories: Pranks Comments (0)
Actor Wanted, Preferably Dead
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 25, 2004
A British theater group is auditioning actors for a part in its next production. But there's one catch. They're only interested in people who can promise that they'll die before the play begins its run. Your body, if you get the part, will then lie lifeless on stage. Evidently it's not a speaking role. It's hard not to suspect that this is all a big publicity stunt and that when the time comes there will be no body on stage. Wouldn't you need a license for something like that? It reminds me of Hell on Earth's Suicide Stunt from last September.
Categories: Death, Entertainment Comments (0)
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