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|•||Chilis Narrowly Avoids Funding Anti-Vaxxers 04/08/2014|
|•||Dutch April fools jokes 04/02/2014|
|•||Japanese stem cell breakthrough exposed as a fabrication 04/02/2014|
|•||April First - April Fools Day 04/01/2014|
|•||Cloned dinosaurs? 03/31/2014|
|•||US ‘psychic’ Cynthia Miller jailed for $1.2 million fraud 03/29/2014|
|•||Test of intelligence. Person calls police to report their cannabis plant stolen 03/25/2014|
|•||Malaysia air disaster 03/22/2014|
|•||Fred Phelps is gone 03/21/2014|
|•||Iran building fake aircraft carrier 03/20/2014|
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Status: Urban LegendThe Miami Herald reports the case of a man who threatened to shoot the mother of his child with a gun silenced by a potato. He never fired the gun, but did explain to her how the potato would silence the shot, insuring that no one would hear what happened. The police had this to say about the man's knowledge of acoustics: Another favorite, often seen in movies and on TV, is to tape an empty plastic soda bottle onto the muzzle of the gun. I don't think this works any better than the potato technique. The Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics Page points out that movies, in general, tend to grossly misrepresent the effectiveness of silencers. In real life they don't silence guns as much as they do in movies. (I should note that I've never handled a gun, so I'm relying entirely on the word of other sources here.): (via David Emery)
Status: PhotoshoppedHere's a picture that's going around, just in time for the upcoming World Cup. Apparently this was created a couple of years ago for a Nike campaign in Mexico. However, the image is just a concept piece created by the JWT agency (i.e. it's photoshopped). This was never done in real life. Pity. It would be a pretty cool piece of urban art if it were real. (via Coolzor)
Status: Public Service AnnouncementI just discovered a whole stash of clips of Alan Abel hoaxes on YouTube (uploaded, I assume, by his daughter, Jenny). There's Omar's School for Beggars, the fake lottery winner, Ban Breast Feeding, the mass fainting on Donahue, and many more. It's a good twenty minutes worth of entertainment. Enjoy.
Status: Unusual ResearchThere's nothing hoaxy about this story. It's just another example of how non-rational people can be... especially investors in the stock market. Two Princeton researchers, Adam Alter and Danny Oppenheimer, have discovered that the ease with which a company's name and its ticker symbol can be pronounced has a strong short-term effect on the performance of its stock. In other words, "a stock with the symbol BAL should outperform one with the symbol BDL in the first few days of trading." In Hippo Eats Dwarf I noted a similar effect: that when investors think they've found the next big thing (be it railways, airlines, biotech, dot.coms, or nanotechnology) all stocks whose names seem to have something to do with those fields benefit, whether or not they actually do have something to do with those fields. Thus, in the recent nanotechnology crazy, Nanometrics (ticker symbol: NANO) shot up, even though it makes semiconductor tools and has nothing to do with nanotechnology.
Status: Pyramid scheme unravelsThanks to Joe for sending along some links about the ongoing downfall of BioPerformance, Inc. (discussed in the hoax forum in this thread about fuel additives). To summarize briefly: BioPerformance seems to be a classic case of a pyramid scheme. The people at the top of the pyramid were convincing suckers to pay for the privilege of selling little green pills that supposedly, when placed in a car's gas tank, yielded "vast improvements in mileage, performance and emissions". What BioPerformance wasn't telling anyone was that the pills were simply mothballs that didn't improve mileage and could actually ruin a car's engine. (Though oddly enough, according to the Dallas Observer article, mothballs can, under certain conditions, boost octane levels, which can help engine performance... but only when used in very carefully controlled amounts and in high-performance engines.) Sadly, in a classic example of cognitive dissonance, many of the BioPerformance faithful are refusing to admit they've been scammed. But thats always the way it is with con-artists and their victims.
Status: ImposterThis is over a week old, but it struck me as odd enough to be worth posting anyway: So I'm really curious about what this guy's story is. Has he resorted to deception to get a leg-up in the cut-throat world of organ playing? Or is he using this as a line to pick up girls? "Hey baby, I play the Pope's organ."
Status: HoaxEarly last month a number of British papers ran pieces about a Norfolk farmer selling execution equipment to dictatorships. For instance, this is from the Scotsman (May 12): Now we learn that Mr. Lucas's gallows trade is nothing more than a hoax. At least, so says his business partner. UPI reports: I suppose this is an example of gallows humor.
Status: UndeterminedDo you believe God belongs in government? Do you believe President Bush is doing The Lord's Work? If so, then step up and buy a BushFish car magnet. There's been speculation that this is some kind of parody, along the lines of BushIsLord.com. It does seem a little over the top. But I'm guessing that the creator of these things doesn't care whether people interpret them as a parody, or as a serious statement, as long as they buy plenty of them. (And yes, as far as I can tell, purchases really can be made via the site... though I wasn't about to actually buy one to make sure.)
On Daily Kos there's been speculation that BushFish is a satire based on the fact that some of the photos of BushFish on car bumpers seem to have been photoshopped. I'm not seeing this. In fact, it seems to me that it would be more work to photoshop a BushFish onto a bumper than it would be to simply slap one onto a bumper in real life and take a picture of it.
Personally I think that if anyone feels a burning need to buy a Bush Fish, they should buy one of the aquatic kind instead.