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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2007
F-Word in Enchanted
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 29, 2007
The rumor going around online is that in one of the previews for the new Disney movie Enchanted, you can hear someone say "Get the f*ck outta here." The preview in question shows the Prince attacking a bus. The exclamation can be heard around 30 seconds into it, as the bus driver is walking out of the bus. The first time I listened to it, it definitely sounded like "Get the f*ck outta here." But when I listened to it again, it sounded more like "Get that bus outta here." Basically, it seems to me it could be interpreted either way. Who's to say what…
Bluffing on Exams
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 29, 2007
I came across an interesting article, published in the New York Times on June 11, 1950, that discusses a series of experiments examining how likely it is that college students will bluff their way through exams. For instance, when Professor Samuel Fernberger, of the University of Pennsylvania, gave his students their final exam, in one of the questions he asked them to define "psychoterminality." It was a meaningless term, but the students didn't know that. According to the NY Times: Only two students honestly stated they did not know what the term meant. Six left the question blank. But…
Categories: Psychology Comments (17)
Prairie Tumbleweed Farm
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 29, 2007
Back in 1994 Linda Katz created a website which she named the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm. At the time it was just a joke. She didn't really have a tumbleweed farm. She had dreamed it up as something to do while teaching herself web design. But it turned out that there really are people out there who want to order tumbleweeds. For instance, movie studios or people hosting wild-west parties. And they started to place orders for tumbleweeds with Linda. Now, according to Yahoo! News, Linda is earning over $40,000 a year selling tumblweeds. I find this quite inspirational, and I've been racking my brains trying to think of ways…
Hippo Goes For A Swim
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 29, 2007
Here's a story I missed last month, even though it occurred right here in my backyard (figuratively speaking). FoxSports.com took the lead in disseminating it, but versions of it, such as the one below (from the Seattle Times) appeared in many papers: The San Diego Chargers moved their practice operations to Arizona during last week's devastating fires in Southern California, depriving special-teams coach Steve Crosby of a genuine Kodak moment back home. As Jay Glazer reported at FoxSports.com: "Crosby received a call from his wife informing him that she walked outside to assess the damage and get this she found…
Categories: Animals, Journalism Comments (1)
Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said Friday." FEMA not the only agency to hold fake press conferences Apparently Immigration and Customs Enforcement does it too. (Thanks, Gary)…
How to charge an iPod with an onion
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 27, 2007
I'm not sure what to make of this video. Is it true or false? It describes how to charge an iPod with an onion. The instructions are that you first poke a hole in the onion, then you soak it in an electrolyte solution (Gatorade). Once the onion has soaked up enough of the Gatorade, you simply push the usb adapter of your iPod's power cable into the onion, and according to the guys who made the video "your iPod will power up and it should begin charging." I'm sure that the onion would generate some electricity. It's the part about sticking the usb adapter directly into the onion that surprised me. Somehow it…
Categories: Food, Photos/Videos, Technology Comments (25)
Fake Photos Alter Memories of Real Events
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Researchers from UC Irvine and the University of Padua in Italy have found that doctored photos can alter our perceptions and memories of public events. The researchers showed subjects either an actual or an altered photo of one of two historical events, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and the 2003 anti-war protest in Rome. The Tiananmen Square photo was altered to include a crowd, and the Rome photo was altered to show riot police and a masked protester. LiveScience reports: When answering questions about the events, the participants had differing…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Psychology Comments (7)
Skaggs turns down chance of TV fame
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 26, 2007
On his Art of the Prank blog, Joey Skaggs recounts how he was recently contacted by CBS TV, who were recruiting pranksters for a reality TV show, tentatively called "Pranksters." The concept of the show is that "comedians compete for a chance at their prank show." Kind of like HGTV's Design Star, except with pranksters. CBS wanted to know if Joey would be interested in participating. His comment: Do they not see the irony in what they are trying to do? They are asking pranksters — people who have dedicated a large portion of their brain cells to coming up with…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
A Perfect Prank
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 26, 2007
A perfect prank should be funny, but it should also make a statement and actually make the world a better place. I figure the prank recently revealed to have been perpetrated by the Untergunther, a French "cultural guerrilla" group, comes pretty close to fulfilling that definition. Members of the Untergunther secretly repaired a clock in the Pantheon, a Paris landmark. The clock had been broken for decades -- until one day it was mysteriously working again. The Guardian reports: For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set…
Categories: Pranks Comments (9)
Quick Links: Megan Meier, fake lawyer, etc.
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 21, 2007
I'm on the road up to Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving, but here's a few quick links I've been meaning to post. Online hoax leads to girl's suicide The case of Megan Meier is attracting lots of attention, both online and offline. Megan believed that a young guy on MySpace was interested in her, but when Josh started to send her nasty messages, she committed suicide. Later it was discovered that "Josh" was a fake alias created by adults in Megan's neighborhood. A bizarre case, and one that underlines how important it is for kids to learn to be skeptical about information (and people) they find online. Man Accused of…
Categories: Death, Law/Police/Crime, Pranks Comments (25)
Hawk Kills Whitey
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 19, 2007
The students of Ohio State are in mourning after a hawk killed Whitey, an albino squirrel that was widely known around the campus. A facebook page has been created to honor Whitey's memory. It currently has over 2100 members. The Lantern, Ohio State's student newspaper, reports: Whitey's life was cut short at around 2 p.m. Friday when a hawk spotted his white fur coat from above and flew in for the kill. Several students walking through the South Oval witnessed the aftermath of the attack, the proud hawk looming over its prey...
Categories: Animals, Death Comments (7)
Searches for gold—Finds ammonia
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 18, 2007
Here's a case that could be described as what you get when you cross Mythbusters with the Darwin Awards. A 16-year-old boy living in the Tampa area heard a legend that a pipe that ran under the U.S. 301 bridge was filled with gold. Other people told him that it was actually an ammonia pipe leading to a fertilizer company. So the kid decided to test it out for himself and find out what the truth was: The anhydrous ammonia that flows through the pipeline from the port to fertlizer companies in Polk County is highly caustic. It…
The Sound of Quintuplets Crying
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 18, 2007
When a Russian woman recently gave birth to quintuplets, it made news around the world. But BBC viewers who watched the footage of the babies might have thought something was a little odd. Why were the babies crying, even though they had respirators in their mouths? It turns out the cries were dubbed in: The BBC has admitted that it added the sound of crying to a report yesterday on the birth of a set of quintuplets. It is the latest in a series of rows over fakery to hit the corporation in recent months... Footage of the infants was…
Categories: Birth/Babies, Journalism Comments (7)
Robot Roaches Coated with Pheromones
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 18, 2007
Jose Halloy, a biologist at the Free University of Brussels, created little robot cockroaches that he programmed to behave in ways similar to real cockroaches. For instance, he could program the robo-roaches to prefer a light or dark shelter. The interesting part is that when he coated these robot roaches with roach pheromones, other roaches seemed to accept them as one of their own, and even would follow their lead: Halloy initially programmed the robots to have the same darkness preference as the cockroaches, and they joined the cockroaches at whatever shelter the majority chose to rest in. Next,…
Categories: Science Comments (3)
Fake Fishmongers Terrorize Edinburgh
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 16, 2007
Here's a case for the Streater sisters to tackle. Scotsman.com reports that: FAKE fishmongers are continuing to operate in Edinburgh, targeting residents in Newington and Fairmilehead in the past week, according to Trading Standards. It seems that these scam artists are wrapping Vietnamese catfish in polystyrene and cling film, then labeling it as "monkfish fillet," and using high-pressure sales techniques to get random people on the street to buy the phony fish. Up to three of them might surround a customer at a single time. Reportedly, "a person in Newington paid £90 for fish, while another paid almost…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (5)
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