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November 2004
Yahoo News offers up this brief report about a British train conductor who "stamped and carefully returned the ticket of a slumbering passenger without realizing the man was dead." I guess people only realized the guy was dead once the train pulled into the station (York) and he failed to wake up. Now, by coincidence, I took this very same train last month, and the seats were pretty cramped, so either the train was quite empty, or whoever was sitting next to the dead guy was really oblivious. The story reminds me of the old urban legend about the guy who dies in his office, sitting at his desk, but none of his co-workers notice.
Categories: Death, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (7)
image From the Flickr Photo Sharing site: "On a road in the middle of nowhere there are signs posted every few hundred yards warning that you are being recorded on CCTV. This is apparently an effort to stop illegal fly tippers from dumping their rubbish along the road. I had a look around for some cameras, but couldn't see any. I think it's a hoax." Although maybe there really are cameras hidden in the trees. There are speakers hidden in the trees at UC San Diego. You'll be walking along through the forest and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, music will start playing.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (8)
image Here's an odd product from Samsung-Italia. It's the Fidobag. The site explaining the Fidobag is in Italian, but apparently it's a suitcase that will respond to the voice of its owner and come at their command (that would be useful for finding a bag in an airport). Also, if someone tries to steal your bag, all you need do is call out and the Fidobag will start to 'bark' at an intensity of 197.5 decibels, thereby stunning and exposing the would-be thief. Gizmodo offers a more complete translation of the site. Although the Fidobag does seem like it would be useful, it just seems way too odd to actually be real.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Technology
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (8)
A couple of stories about writers receiving visits from the Secret Service have been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere, and a lot of people have been wondering if they're real or fake. The first case involves fanfic writer Annie Sewell-Jennings who posted an entry on her blog in which she satirically prayed that Bush would die. A couple of weeks later, according to her, "the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case." There's a thread going about this in the Hoax Message Board, and Annie posted a follow-up here.

The second case involves an anonymous romance novelist (who refers to herself as Dilyn) who claims that her house was raised by agents from the FBI simply because she checked out some books from the library about Cambodia and the use of land mines there as part of some research she was doing for a novel. An interview with Dilyn appeared in a recent issue of Romance Writers Report, which isn't online, but the text of the interview has been copied and can be read here (scroll down to find the post).

Are these cases real? Well, in each case you only have the word of a single person to go on, and since I've never heard of these people before (and 'Dilyn' is even choosing to remain anonymous) I wouldn't place absolute blind faith in what they say. However, what they're saying doesn't seem that outlandish to me either. I know that cases like this have happened before and have been investigated and verified by the media. So I'd vote that the cases are real. But like I said, there's not much evidence here besides their word and your own gut instinct.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (11)
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