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September 2006
image Sportsbook.com placed $100,000 in one-dollar bills inside a plexiglass box on a billboard in Las Vegas. Putting the money there was a publicity stunt to promote their betting business. As part of the stunt, they allowed people to bet on whether or not the money would be stolen from the billboard. And lo and behold, while a guard was on a break a thief somehow broke into the box and took off with some of the money.

Although the theft itself sounds like a continuation of the publicity stunt, Sportsbook.com swears that the money really was stolen. And apparently the police actually are looking into the theft. Personally, I'm having a hard time believing that this entire thing wasn't planned. I'm also doubting that there even were real dollar bills inside the box in the first place.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Sat Sep 09, 2006
Comments (28)
Heart-In Baby Diamonds
Anybody for an artificial diamond made of baby hair?

Squirrel Sabotages Opera Singer
A squirrel broke the nose of Finnish opera singer Esa Ruuttunen when it ran into the spokes of his bicycle.

Flat Parents
Life-sized cardboard cutouts of deployed service members are being given to their spouses, children and relatives by the Maine National Guard.

Designer Underwear
If you wish to sport the more... hirsute look, this pair of underwear may be for you. (Link not suitable for work.)
Categories: Animals, Military, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Fri Sep 08, 2006
Comments (10)

Mice Hate Cheese
The popular legend is that mice like cheese, but this legend is false according to researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University and the Stilton Cheese Makers Association. "As part of a wider study into animals and food, they found that a mouse's diet is primarily made up of grains and fruit. It found that they would reject something as strong in smell and rich in taste as cheese. Dr David Holmes, an animal behaviourist from the university, said: 'Clearly the supposition of mice liking cheese is a popular premise.'"

15 Aliens Arrested in Roswell
A press release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that 15 aliens were arrested in Roswell, New Mexico. "Some of the aliens were in the process of painting these aircraft when they were arrested." Aircraft... or a spacecraft? I smell a cover-up.

Russian Urine Exporter
Need some urine from Russia? Evidently someone does, and where there's a demand there will usually be a supply. The urine comes in different varieties such as Sea Breeze, Hunter's Brew, and "Not Filtered, Original". I knew that drinking your own urine is a popular health fad, but I didn't know that drinking Russian urine is also popular.

Paris "Banksy" Hilton
image A Flickr photoset of the Paris Hilton CD doctored by guerrilla artist Banksy. The Banksy version of the CD is something I'd actually be interested in owning, and apparently a few of them are being auctioned. However, Warner Music is trying to prevent their sale.
Categories: Animals, Extraterrestrial Life, Gross, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 07, 2006
Comments (20)
Last month we posted a link to a story about cows mooing with regional accents. I think it's worth revisiting that story because (as was immediately pointed out by Greg in the comments) it turns out to be total baloney. Or should I say bull-oney?

My guess is that the idea of accented moos probably originated as a tall-tale told amongst farmers, but at some point the claim came to the attention of a pr firm hired by the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers industry group. The pr firm immediately recognized a great story when they heard it, but they also realized that they needed some kind of scientific authority to transform it into a story that would catch the attention of the media. So they called up John Wells, a Professor of Phonetics at University College London and author of the soon-to-be-released English Intonation. Wells tells what happened next on his blog:
I was telephoned by a public relations consultant on behalf of a cheese manufacturing company in Somerset. Was it possible, they asked, that the local cows might moo with a west-of-England accent? I told them that I thought it was highly unlikely, but that there had been serious research showing that various species of bird exhibit geographical variation in their calls. And if birds and human beings have local accents, you can’t entirely rule out that cows might too. The PR company issued a press release. They showed it to me only after they had sent it out, which meant that it was too late for me to protest that they had put into my mouth the solecism “This phenomena is...”. Of course I would always say only “This phenomenon is...” or “These phenomena are”. The press release was embargoed until midnight. At half past midnight yesterday my phone rang: it was a call from BBC Radio Five Live setting up a telephone interview for 00:55. After I’d done that, I snatched a few hours sleep, but was woken by a call from Australia, about bovine dialects, at about 05:45. From then on my phone hardly stopped ringing all morning.
Wells is even more specific in an email he sent to Language Log:
those are not my words at all but the inventions of a public relations firm.
In other words, there has never been any research that suggests cows moo with regional accents. Nor did Wells ever claim this. He was simply a guy who made the mistake of not immediately hanging up when a pr firm called. The reality is that entire story was conjured out of thin air. Just another example of fake news.

Unfortunately for Wells the story refuses to die. Recently the Sunday Observer, thinking they were being clever, mocked Wells for claiming that cows have regional accents. Wells responds: "I fear my scholarly reputation must have been destroyed for ever. For the record, I have never claimed that cows moo with a regional accent." But no matter what he says this story will probably keep going and going and going.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 04, 2006
Comments (10)
The Animus Cult has been spreading posters and sigils around Adelaide, South Australia, recently. These posters proclaim ‘Animus is coming’, and some also contain a link to the website.

They talk about Animus: So who is Animus? Why he is here and what is his purpose? His purpose is very simple. The Wicked are the disease. Animus is the cure. So now I must show you the truth. The strength of Animus lies in the Will of Man. Animus is here because the will of man is to rid itself of the wicked."

They have a few pictures of 'Animus in action' on the website, all of which are incredibly blurry shots of a figure in shadow, and a video which is much the same.
There's an option of 'joining the cult', which I tried, but there's been not even one email as yet, so I'm unsure of the purpose of it.

Needless to say, I'm unconvinced of the existence of a supernatural figure who's coming to rid Adelaide of evil-doers.

The site features a countdown to Friday, October 13th which, according to someone on this site, is when the independent film 'Animus Cometh' (filmed in Adelaide) is released.
Seems plausible to me.

(Thanks, Joshua.)
Categories: Advertising, Websites
Posted by Flora on Mon Sep 04, 2006
Comments (16)
imageHorse-riding Dog
Children are flocking to see Freddie the dog and his friend Daisy, a Shetland pony.

Give The Dog A Bone
Sharp-eyed readers of the IKEA catalogue have noticed something odd about one of the pictures. IKEA claim the suspect area shows nothing more than the dog's leg...

Woman Crashes Car Whilst Teaching Her Dog to Drive
There's not much to say about this that hasn't been said here on the forum.
Categories: Advertising, Animals
Posted by Flora on Mon Sep 04, 2006
Comments (5)
image Just a quick note to say that I've been away for the past few days (still am), visiting my parents in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. I arrived at their house just hours before Tropical Storm Ernesto hit, temporarily knocking out our power. Which meant that I was also without an internet connection. Here's a photo of me with their dog, Falcon, a 180-pound Great Dane. He's the biggest dog I've ever known. He's literally almost as big as that hoax photo of a giant dog that was circulating a year or two ago. I'm six-foot tall, but I look tiny sitting next to him.
Categories: Animals, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Comments (17)
imageDaniel Edwards, creator of the controversial statue of Britney Spears giving birth on a bear-skin rug, has gone one step further with his new sculpture.
Entitled Suri's Bronzed Baby Poop, it is a homage to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' new baby, and her... well, poop.

The Suri stool isn't for real but gallery officials insist Edwards' latest creation is more than a publicity stunt. In a statement, they write: "It's partially a statement on modern media that celebrity poop has more entertainment value than health, famine or other critical issues facing society and governments today."
The piece is set to be auctioned on Ebay, to raise money for charity, but the auction appears to have been taken down.

(Thanks, Jen.)
Categories: Art, Birth/Babies, Celebrities
Posted by Flora on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Comments (8)
Giant Gnome
Maria Reidelbach's Gnome Chomsky is aiming for a Guinness record for tallest gnome, at a whopping 13 feet, 6 inches tall.

Woman Finds Husband's Secret - Female Hormones
Catherine Everett was surprised when she walked into the bathroom, only to find her husband admiring his new breasts.

Babytoupee.com
Coming soon, allegedly...

Teenager Sends his Ex-company 5 Million Hoax Emails
David Lennon was annoyed when he was fired from his job. So he sent 5 million hoax emails over the course of a week, quoting The Ring. He was given a two-month curfew order and fitted with an electronic tag.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Email Hoaxes, Gnomes, Websites
Posted by Flora on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Comments (6)
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