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February 2005
The folks at World Jump Day plan to shift the orbit of planet Earth in order to "stop global warming, extend daytime hours and create a more homogenous climate." They'll achieve this by having 600 million people jump up in the air at the same time on July 20, 2006. And they're looking for jumpers! This, of course, recalls the old idea that "If all Chinese jumped at once, cataclysm would result." This has been debunked by The Straight Dope, which points out that the force generated by one billion Chinese people jumping up in the air at the same time would only be equivalent to about 500 tons of TNT. In other words, not that much. However, I don't think the creators of World Jump Day intend for anyone to take their idea that seriously. The site is registered to a German artist, Torsten Lauschmann. According to his web bio Lauschmann: celebrates glitches, and out-takes, bits in between and images that might be easy to ignore. Lauschmann is currently on a Trans European busking tour under the guise of Slender Whiteman where he will launch his solar powered dub system. He lives and works in Glasgow. Lauschmann also appears to be a member of a German art group called Vene Hammerschlag, which has also hosted World Jump Day on its site. In other words, World Jump Day appears to be some kind of art project hoax.
Categories: Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (72)
image I've seen big dogs before. But this is ridiculous. There's no way it can be real. I say photoshop. (via Liquito)
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (47)
I received this email from 'Kurto': i have been a frequent visitor of your site for some time now. Recently this bombardment of advertisements about "The Catch" has been bothering me. The ad's contain figures stating million of Canadians have the Catch, and there's no cure. I'm curious to what exactly they're referring to. The website they encourage people to visit is http://curethecatch.com i have doubts to the validity of this so called disease. See if you can dig up any dirt on this.

A little googling reveals that 'The Catch' is a new viral ad campaign dreamed up to promote Virgin Mobile pre-paid phones:

Virgin has started placing teaser ads for its first campaign on subways and buses, with the second phase expected to hit the airwaves after Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson visits Toronto on Tuesday to promote the company's new services. Mr. Rosenberg says the campaign is designed to capitalize on the frustration many consumers feel about the fine print in their current plans, such as long-term contracts and the monthly system access fee. The campaign, created by Toronto ad agency Lowe Roche, is designed to create a not-too-subtle parallel between those frustrations and a fictitious venereal disease called "the catch." Mr. Rosenberg says he doesn't think Canadians will be offended by the ads. And if they are? That's part of what makes Virgin different.

Now Kurto, you aren't a Virgin Mobile ad rep, are you?
Categories: Advertising, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (4)
I wish these pictures were fake, but they appear to be real. They show bodybuilder Greg Valentine. He got his arms that big by injecting a combination of steroids directly into them. At the risk of being insensitive, I'd say the results look pretty gross. In fact, his biceps no longer look like real biceps at all. They look like strange tumors growing out of his arm. It's a wonder that his biceps are functional at all. (via ChrisDiClerico.com)
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Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (47)
image Here's a cool picture (click to enlarge) that's started going around. It looks totally fake, but it's real. It shows a tennis court that was laid out on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai last week. Playing on the court are Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. It was all just a publicity stunt. Regular guests aren't allowed to play on the helipad.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (16)
A series of pictures (click to enlarge) shows an elephant using an oversized toilet. Supposedly this potty-trained elephant, named Diew, lives in an elephant camp in Thailand. His handlers have taught him and a few other elephants to use flush toilets in order to cut down on the waste problem. Of course, it's hard to know if the elephant is really using the toilet, or if it's simply sitting down on it and then pulling a cord. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that these images first appeared in Bangkok's The Nation in January, and have been circulating around the internet ever since then. (via Image of the Day)
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Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (12)
A statue of Pope Sylvester II in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran is said to become damp when a Pope is about to die. The statue ain't sweating, so that means things are looking good for John Paul II. The accuracy of the statue as a medical diagnostic tool has been confirmed by "two elderly Italian nuns", so this is a pretty definite thing. (thanks to Gary for the link)
Categories: Death, Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 27, 2005
Comments (8)
Nobody Wants Your Film appears to be a site dedicated to promoting an independent film that's been unable to find a distributor. The site encourages people to register at the site (and tell their friends to register) so that the creator of the film can convince "investors & money men that this thing is really happening" and "that they'd better jump on board before it's too late". The weird thing is that the film has some pretty well-known actors in it (Steve Buscemi, for instance), so you wouldn't think that it would be that hard to get it distributed. However, the film itself is about "the making of an independent feature that nobody wants, at least that's what money man Alan Smithee thinks." So this independent film that can't find a distributor is about an independent film that can't find a distributor. Which suggests that the site is a viral hoax marketing campaign that plays upon the premise of the movie. Or maybe they really can't find a distributor. I don't know. Either way, I've allowed myself to be sucked into their publicity campaign.
Categories: Advertising, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 26, 2005
Comments (9)
Shortly before Valentine's Day I, like many people, followed a link to the site Who Ordered Room Service, which was showing a video about a room-service waiter who shows up at a hotel room and proceeds to vomit all over the couple inside. You were supposed to return to the site on the 14th to find out 'who ordered room service'. I never bothered to return, because I really wasn't that intrigued. But apparently those who did return discovered that the site was a viral online promotion for Bryan Adams' new album, Room Service. Except that it wasn't. Bryan Adams' record company was quick to deny any knowledge of the site. And now it turns out that the site was actually an experiment in hoaxing created by two amateur filmmakers, Frank Lesser and Jason Woliner: The New York filmmaker Mr. Lesser, 25, said he and Mr. Parker [sic--I think he means Mr. Woliner] created the faux Bryan Adams ad as a sort of experiment to see whether people would be fooled and how big it could get. "We don't actually want to hurt anyone's feelings or get anyone upset," Mr. Lesser said in an interview. "I'm sort of hoping Bryan Adams will see humour in this if it is ever brought to his attention."
Categories: Advertising, Websites
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 26, 2005
Comments (6)
I have been asked to explain why I am still here. After all, South African psychic SilverJade predicted that a major earthquake was going to hit San Diego on February 23rd. I live in San Diego. So shouldn't I be buried under rubble by now? Well, as far as I know, no earthquake hit the city. However, we did get an awful lot of rain. So much rain that everything just seems to be sliding downhill, including the houses of many people. Maybe this is what SilverJade saw? She somehow mistook rain for the shaking of the earth? Or maybe not... What do I know? I'm not a psychic. Anyway, it does appear that I won't have to give up being a cynic and become her disciple.
Categories: Future/Time
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 26, 2005
Comments (20)
A 15-year-old boy in India, Saurabh Singh, appears to have had everyone going with a story about how he won an international exam given by NASA to discover young scientists. The Indian media were singing his praises, and lawmakers were ready to give him money to facilitate his studies. Except that it turns out NASA gives no such exam. However, the boy is now changing his story, saying that the exam was given by Oxford University, not NASA. This all sounds strangely similar to the tale of Faye Nicole San Juan, the Filipino girl who just a few months ago claimed that she had won an International Science Quiz in Australia (the quiz didn't exist).
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (11)
United Nuclear sells some scary stuff. Looking for some uranium? They've got it. As well as super radioactive ore. They'll ship it right to your front door. Plus, chemicals to build explosives. It all has a jokey feel to it, but the more I look at the site, the more convinced I become that it's real. I think it's a store for science hobbyists that's purposely going for the 'mad scientist' feel.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (51)
Here's some truly shocking news. The most recent castoff from Survivor claims that "one-third of the castaways are actually professional models who are appearing on the show after being cast through their agencies." I'm devestated. How could they do such a thing? Although I stopped watching Survivor two years ago because it got too boring, I still regarded it as a single shining beacon of truth and honesty in this otherwise corrupt world. Now I have nothing left to believe in.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (25)
Four months ago I posted an entry about Marla Olmstead, a four-year-old child art prodigy whose paintings are selling for thousands of dollars. Tonight I watched a 60 Minutes piece about her, and I've got to say that it was very sad. There seems to be no evidence that Marla is painting these pieces on her own. Her parents claim that she's shy and is unable to paint with anyone but them around (no one but her parents has ever seen her do a painting from start to finish), nor is she able to paint in front of cameras. A hidden camera was installed and what this showed her producing (as her father screamed directions at her from off-camera) was a far cry from the other paintings attributed to her. It seems very likely that her father is the one either entirely creating these paintings, or finishing up what Marla starts. Just watching the father talk, you could tell that he was concealing something by his body language. It's sad that the girl has to be put through this. It'll be interesting to see if people will continue to buy 'her' paintings in light of what 60 Minutes revealed.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (40)
image I came across this peculiar news story about a hippo eating a dwarf. It's been floating around the internet for a while, though I'm not sure exactly how long. Google 'hippo eats dwarf' and you'll pull up a bunch of pages. There's even a band named Hippo Eats Dwarf. The article has been circulating as an image file of a scanned article (click the thumbnail), but here's the text of it:

A hippopotamus has swallowed a dwarf in a circus accident in northern Thailand. "A dwarf, nicknamed Od, died when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus, which was waiting to appear in the next act," the Pattaya Mail reported. "Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex which automatically caused her to swallow." The vets said it was the first time the hefty vegetarian had ever eaten a circus performer. "Unfortunately, the 1000 plus spectators continued to applaud wildly until common sense dictated there had been a tragic mistake. Police said the trampoline has been sent for forensic analysis."

The one true detail in the story is that the Pattaya Mail did indeed report this. However, everything else seems far too outlandish to possibly be true. Though, who knows. Weird things can happen.
Categories: Animals, Death
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (61)
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