The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2006
Don’t Use Cruise Control In The Rain
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 13, 2006
Status: HoaxHere's an email that's been circulating around: "A 36-year-old female had an accident several weeks ago and wrote off her vehicle. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to aquaplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence. When she explained what had happened to a highway patrolman, he told her she should never drive in the rain with cruise control activated. If your car begins to aquaplane, it will accelerate beyond the set cruise control speed when the tyres lose contact with the asphalt."
Categories: Email Hoaxes Comments (25)
Missouri Couple Has Sextuplets
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 12, 2006
Status: Hoax A Missouri couple, Sarah and Kris Everson, have been charged with staging an elaborate hoax to fool people into believing they had sextuplets. Supposedly Sarah gave birth to the six babies on March 8. Stories about the multiple birth ran in local papers, and people who heard about the family's tight financial situation began to organize donations for them. Sarah also supplied the Associated Press with a photograph of herself looking very pregnant, as well as sonograms of the kids. The babies themselves were supposedly still in intensive care. But the authorities became suspicious when all the hospitals in the area stated…
Categories: Birth/Babies Comments (14)
Motorcycle Flips Car
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 12, 2006
Status: Undetermined (but probably true) Alex Palmer forwarded me the following email which is circulating around, consisting of the following text and four pictures: Subject: Picture is worth a thousand words. The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them.…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Photos/Videos Comments (28)
Donut Maker Sponsors High School
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 12, 2006
Status: April Fool Prank Students at Hugh McRoberts School in Richmond, British Columbia were stunned when they learned that donut-maker Tim Hortons was going to become an official sponsor of their school. As a result the nickname for the school's team would change from the "Strikers" to the "Dunkers". Also: The school’s Snack Shack had been sold, students were told in a survey that asked which doughnuts they preferred for the new shack’s menu. What’s more, the school was to undergo a complete re-branding, with new colours and a logo featuring a coffee cup with Tim Hortons in big letters. Students responded by protesting and calling up the…
Categories: April Fools Day, Pranks Comments (11)
$150 McDonald Sandwich
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 12, 2006
Status: Real (kind of) You've probably heard of the $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie. Now comes word of a $150 McDonald Sandwich. Yes, it's real, but it's not a sandwich from the fast-food McDonalds. It's being sold at Selfridges, a UK department store, and it's named after Scott McDonald, the executive chef at the store. Obviously the name is a little tongue-in-cheek. The sandwich is supposedly worth $150 "because of the Wagyu beef that makes up most of the filling... the 595-gram sandwich comprises 24-hour fermented sour dough bread, spread with a foie gras-flavoured mayonnaise. It also contains Brie de Meaux, considered one of Europe's finest cheeses, English cherry tomatoes and rocket, plus roasted peppers." The BBC has…
Categories: Food Comments (19)
Chapstick Lets You Cheat on Scantron Tests
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 11, 2006
Status: Urban Legend Here's an odd urban legend that I just stumbled across. Supposedly if you smear chapstick down the side of a scantron sheet (the kind used for standardized tests such as the SAT), the grading machine will mark all your answers correct. The theory is that the chapstick will interfere with the scanning light, confusing it into thinking that your answers are correct. Needless to say, this doesn't work. Some guy named Richard Mangahas has written a short article detailing all kinds of theories about ways to cheat on scantron tests, including: marking or deleting the black lines along the side of the page, filling in the bubbles with cross-hatches, or…
Categories: Technology, Urban Legends Comments (37)
Fake Zebras Face Extinction
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 11, 2006
Status: News Thanks to Big Gary for sending me this story about Tijuana's fake zebras, which are facing extinction. The Tijuana zebras are donkeys painted to look like zebras. Tourists like to get their picture taken with them. It's a decades-old tradition. The Reuters article explains: "It all started in the 1930s when someone decided to paint the donkeys up with stripes so that they'd look better in black-and-white photographs," recalled Jorge Bonillas, a sprightly 75-year-old who has worked with the animals since 1941. But now tourism to Tijuana has been drying up because of fears about the…
Categories: Animals, Places Comments (8)
Brain Gym
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 11, 2006
Status: Highly dubious Based on the description on the Brain Gym website, Brain Gym sounds like a pretty good idea. It's "a program of physical movements that enhance learning and performance in ALL areas." The program, which consists of 26 different exercises, is now being used in a lot of schools to help kids learn. Exercise can definitely improve mental acuity, so having kids do something like this would seem to make sense. But as Ben Goldacre revealed in a recent Bad Science column, the concept is a lot more bogus than it appears at first blush. The reason is that all kinds of dubious and pseudoscientific claims are made on behalf of these exercises.…
Categories: Psychology, Sports Comments (18)
Plane With Flapping Wings
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 10, 2006
Status: Undetermined I'm no aeronautical engineer, so I'm not qualified to say if the plane featured on the website of JCR Technology could fly or not, though it sure doesn't look to me like it would ever get off the ground. Apparently it's supposed to fly by means of eight flapping wings, located on either side of the plane. The website is entirely in French, so I can't determine if this is simply some kind of thought experiment, or a real plane that someone is trying to build. Definitely check out the computer-graphic simulations of the plane flying (look under the 'images' tab). Even…
Categories: Technology Comments (28)
Is Katie Holmes Pregnant?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 10, 2006
Status: Undetermined Before I saw this picture it would never have occurred to me that Katie Holmes was faking her pregnancy. But now, I don't know what to think. I mean, that has to be a soccer ball beneath her shirt. Right? This picture, taken on April 4, has been doing the blog circuit. The Blog You Love To Hate has some more photos from the same series in which her belly looks less fake. So maybe it was just the camera angle, or something like that. But still, it's kind of freaky. Even if she…
Categories: Birth/Babies, Celebrities Comments (17)
The Boonville Beer
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 09, 2006
Status: Tall-tale creature I've found another beer to add to my list of hoax-themed beers: Boonville Beer. Its label shows a picture of a bear with antlers. I was having a bottle of this beer (the outmeal stout) out on the patio this afternoon, saw the antlered bear, and got curious. A quick internet search revealed that the creature isn't actually a bear. The Anderson Valley Brewing Company website explains: It's not a bear. Bears don't have antlers. Of course not. Who ever heard of such a thing? It is, however, a BEER. The Legendary Boonville Beer to be…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Food Comments (2)
Dead Man Runs For New Orleans Mayor
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 09, 2006
Status: Joke campaign Twenty-five people are campaigning to be mayor of New Orleans. One of them is legendary rhythm-and-blues musician Ernie K-Doe. His wife insists that he deserves to be mayor because "He gets the job done. The guy has soul." He also happens to be dead, which, I suppose, makes him perfect for the job (resistant to corruption-- especially if he was embalmed). Unfortunately he's not actually on the ballot, so his supporters will have to stage a write-in campaign. Though he could be a beneficiary of ghost voting, a practice not unknown down there in Louisiana. (Thanks, Big Gary)
Categories: Death, Politics Comments (0)
Dorset Naga: The Hottest Chili In The World
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 09, 2006
Status: True (I think) A British mail-order chili firm, Peppers by Post, claims that it has developed the hottest chili in the world. Its website states: We – Michael and Joy Michaud – grow chillies and sell them by mail order to customers throughout Great Britain... One of the items in our catalogue is Dorset Naga, an exceptionally hot variety that we developed from a Bangladeshi chilli known as Naga Morich. In 2005 we collected a sample of this chilli, and had it tested for heat by two laboratories in the USA. The result, measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), were…
Categories: Food Comments (33)
MIT vs. Caltech, Cannon Prank
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 08, 2006
Status: Prank Last year in April a group of Caltech students pulled off a series of pranks at MIT, including handing out t-shirts to prefrosh that read "MIT" on the front and "because not everybody can go to Caltech" on the back. The gauntlet was thus thrown down, and this year MIT responded by stealing the 130-year-old, 1.7 ton, Spanish-American War Fleming cannon from the Caltech campus and transporting it all the way to MIT, where it can now be seen "pointed toward Pasadena and adorned with an oversized MIT school ring. A plaque refers to Caltech as 'its previous…
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Cy the Creationist Kitten
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 08, 2006
Status: News Cy the one-eyed kitten, whom many people refused to believe was real, has found a permanent home at the Lost World Museum, a creationist museum that will be opening later this year in Phoenix, NY. John Adolfi, owner of the museum, will use Cy to support his argument that mutations can not be the driving force of evolution because "The mutations I have seen, like Cy, are either neutral or negative." Evidently Adolfi has never bothered to read a Biology textbook (or he only reads creationist-approved ones) because every explanation of evolution that I've read states quite clearly that the vast majority of mutations are negative. But the more I think…
Categories: Animals Comments (8)
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