The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2008
The case of the inserted belly button
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 18, 2008
I've heard of photo editors airbrushing out navels on swimsuit models (see the case of the vanishing belly button from 1964), but I hadn't heard of navels being inserted into photos. But that appears to be the case with Victoria's Secret model Karolina Kurkova. Fashion watchers have recently noticed that Kurkova doesn't appear to have a full belly button. Instead she only has a "smooth dimple". Wikipedia speculates that the lack of a belly button is due to an abdominal operation in infancy. Nevertheless, in some photos she sports a full belly button, which means that photo editors must be creating one for her. Or maybe it's…
The FlairHair Visor
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 17, 2008
A quick and easy solution to hair loss: Kotula's FlairHair visor. This cool little item will keep you covered and its built-in visor will protect your eyes from the sun, all while giving you a distinctive, 1970s, Bjorn Borg-at-Wimbledon look. Also available in a white-hair version!
The Hypoallergenic Dog Myth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 17, 2008
When the Obamas recently announced they were searching for a dog to have in the White House, they noted that one of the criteria was that it would need to be hypoallergenic, since Malia is allergic to dogs. The media quickly raised the possibility of a White House poodle, since poodles are supposedly a hypoallergenic breed. Skeptics have quickly pointed out that the idea of a hypoallergenic dog breed is a myth. Individuals dogs may produce less of the protein that causes the allergic reaction (and this protein can be found in the dander, urine, saliva, and fur of dogs). However, there is no dog breed as a whole that produces less of the protein. And if…
Categories: Animals, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Nintendo Wii Truth Experiment
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 17, 2008
University of Memphis psychologist Rick Dale used a Nintendo Wii in an experiment to show that the human brain is wired to believe before it doubts. I don't think this is a new finding. It makes sense that the brain has to assume all incoming info is true, in case a quick reaction is needed. For instance, it wouldn't be wise to stand around debating with yourself whether the tiger leaping out of the jungle is real or fake. Doubt, therefore, takes second place in the brain's hierarchy of information processing. Which is one reason (among others) why people fall for hoaxes. The particular design of Dale's experiment (via Silicon Republic):
Categories: Psychology, Science Comments (3)
Giant Lobster
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Darren asks, is this real? I can't name the species (any ideas, Big Gary?), but it doesn't look implausible to me. So I'm going to say, Yes, it's probably real. But I won't upgrade that to definitely real until someone can identify the species. Source: acreditesequiser.net Update: It's a model of an ancient sea scorpion (a eurypterid from the Ordovician era) made by Crawley Creatures for the BBC show Sea Monsters. The man posing with the model is the founder of Crawley Creatures, Jez Gibson-Harris. I should note that the picture, in…
Categories: Animals Comments (9)
Did college students fool President Bush into giving the Shocker?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Here's the claim, with accompanying picture: ASU Track Team Convinces George W. Bush to Give the Shocker. For those of you who don't know what The Shocker is, Wikipedia explains: The shocker is a hand gesture with a sexual connotation. The ring finger and thumb are curled or bent down while the other fingers are extended. The index and middle fingers are kept together (touching) and the back of the hand faces outwards (away from the gesturer). The gesture refers to the act of inserting the index…
Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance Comments (7)
Your classmates aren’t looking for you
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Classmates.com told Anthony Michaels that former classmates were looking for him. If only he would upgrade to a premium membership, they would put him in touch with his school buddies. So Michaels paid the money. Then he discovered that no one was looking for him. Now he's brought a class-action suit against classmates.com for deceptive advertising. There's a fine line in advertising between what's legal and what's not. "Puffery," which is defined as making exaggerated claims that the average consumer would never take literally, is legal. Example: "You'll love it!" However, making specific, factually misleading claims is illegal. For instance, you can't claim that a product regrows hair if it doesn't. Classmates.com…
Fictitious McCain Adviser Exposed
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Martin Eisenstadt, who describes himself as a former campaign adviser to John McCain and a Senior Fellow of the Harding Institute, has been in the news a lot lately. First it was for outing himself as the guy who leaked the story about Palin not knowing Africa was a continent. Now it's for being non-existent. The NY Times has the details. Turns out that Eisenstadt is a fictitious character created by two filmmakers, Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish. Media outlets fooled: MSNBC, The New Republic, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Additional details at the Huffington Post.
The Fake New York Times
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 12, 2008
If you were lucky enough, you might have been able to get your hands on one of the approximately 1.2 million fake copies of the New York Times that were handed out today, mostly in NY and LA. Otherwise, like me, you'll have to try and buy a copy on eBay. The paper, dated July 4, 2009, declared "IRAQ WAR ENDS" on its front page. Articles inside described the repeal of the Patriot Act, and the indictment of Bush on high treason, among other things. There was also an accompanying website. The size of the print run was impressive. Must have cost…
Categories: Journalism Comments (6)
Ahmadinejad’s Wife
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 11, 2008
This photograph, which supposedly shows Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his wife, has been circulating online for a few months. It's often linked to with teasing, tongue-in-cheek phrases such as "Ahmadinejad's wife is a hottie!" or "Ahmadinejad's wife is hotter than Palin!" But is the image real? Is that really his wife? If so, why and when did Ahmadinejad pose for the photo? It hasn't been easy to find any answers to these questions. One source claims the image came from the German magazine Bild, though I can't find any confirmation of this. Instead, I think the source might have been the
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (17)
Little Blue Man Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 10, 2008
The Chicago Tribune (via the Huron Daily Tribune) offers a retrospective on 1958's Little Blue Man hoax. The story: in early 1958 sightings of a "little blue man" running along the side of Michigan highways began appearing in the news. It turned out that what motorists were seeing was actually a young man named Jerry Sprague, dressed in a costume that included: long underwear, a football helmet, gloves, combat boots, a bedsheet with two holes cut out for the eyes and a button sewed on for the mouth and blinking lights on the helmet -- all of which had been spray painted a shade of blue that glowed…
Buy it for my son…
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 10, 2008
Sleazy scam artist trick: Find a picture of a dead soldier. Post the picture in a craiglist ad for a used car. Say the soldier is your dead son. "All I want is to find the right person... who'll love and take care of this car in the same way he did. I'd like to make a person very happy and to light a candle for my son once in a while." From cbc.ca: It is common for scam artists to pair photos of real soldiers, police and firefighters with fake stories, said Larry Gamache, communications director for CARFAX,…
Categories: Scams Comments (3)
Museum News
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 08, 2008
There's quite a bit of news to report about the activities of MOHers throughout the world. First, and most amazingly -- belated congratulations to Smerk and Accipiter who got engaged while I was in Germany. The two met in the MOH forum, making this the very first MOH marriage! That's quite a milestone. I can't quite get over the idea that this site, which I created as a way to procrastinate while I was supposed to be working on my dissertation, has played a role in allowing two people to meet, fall in love, and get married. That's incredible. More details about the engagement are posted in the forum. Second, Scottish MOHers…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (12)
Kim Jong-Il’s Shadow
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 07, 2008
A recently released photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was supposed to prove that he's alive and well. Instead, it's raising even more suspicions about his health because the photo seems to be doctored. As the Times Online notes: While the legs of his soldiers cast a shadow at a sharp angle, the shadow of the “Dear Leader” is dead straight. In addition, there is a black line running horizontally behind the soldiers’ legs, but it mysteriously disappears behind Mr Kim. The lack of the black line behind Kim Jong-Il is what confuses me. Why would it…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (19)
Who invented baseball?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 06, 2008
The most well-promoted story about the invention of baseball is that Abner Doubleday invented it in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. This story was given the official stamp of approval in 1907 by Albert Spalding, who was head of a Special Baseball Commission established by President McKinley, charged with determining the true origin of the game. This is the reason the Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown. In Can We Have Our Balls Back, Please? (published in Great Britain this month) Julian Norridge argues for the British origin of baseball, pointing out that British references to baseball can be found as far back as 1755, and that
Categories: Sports Comments (4)
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