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July 2009
On Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman notes a similarity between Patty (the Bigfoot that stars in the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film) and the ape creatures that appear briefly in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C. (starring Raquel Welch).

In the images below, Patty is on the left, and one of the One Million Years B.C. creatures is on the right.



Lots of people have suggested a link between 1967's Planet of the Apes and the Patterson-Gimlin film, but a link to One Million Years B.C. is a new one. Maybe Patty will turn out to have been Raquel Welch in an ape suit.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 17, 2009
Comments (4)
Magazines have begun to note the 40th anniversary of the Paul is Dead rumor (although they're two months early... the rumor began to circulate widely in September 1969).

Contact Music managed to get a quotation from McCartney about the rumor. He claims to still be laughing it off. But interestingly, he also get the details wrong about how the rumor started:

MCCartney's barefoot appearance in the photo [on the cover of Abbey Road] sparked wild rumours the rocker had died in a car crash - and the 67 year old admits he still has to reassure some fans he's not an impostor.
He explains, "The idea was to walk across the crossing, and I showed up that day with sandals, flip-flops. It was so hot that I kicked them off and walked across barefooted, and this started some rumour that because he's barefooted, he's dead. I couldn't see the connection.

McCartney barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road was one of the major clues that fueled the rumor, but it didn't spark the rumor. The event that really launched the rumor was when Detroit DJ Russ Gibb played the song "Revolution Number Nine" backwards on his show and claimed to hear the words "Turn me on, dead man."

There's been several books and a number of scholarly articles written about the Paul is Dead rumor. I wonder if McCartney has ever read them.
Categories: Death, Music, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 17, 2009
Comments (10)
Loch Ness is a finalist in a campaign to name the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Other finalists include the Amazon River, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Loch Ness is very scenic and geologically very interesting, but Willie Cameron of Loch Ness Marketing thinks that the Loch should have a leg-up on the competition because, "None of the other nominees has a legacy we know as the Loch Ness Monster. Whatever it is, it is unexplainable and that is unique."

By that reasoning, shouldn't the North Pole also be a contender, since it's the home of Santa Claus? [Highland News]
Categories: Cryptozoology, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 16, 2009
Comments (11)
11points.com has posted a list of 11 photos where black people were awkwardly photoshopped in or out. Most of them I've seen before. A few of them I even have on this site. But there was one I hadn't seen before. It's titled "Photoshopped diversity in a Lebanon refugee camp." 11points provides this description:

In the summer of 2006, this photo ran in the New York Times and is a very important lesson about photojournalism. If you're going to Photoshop a black guy into a Lebanese refugee camp for one of the world's most respected newspapers, at least take the time to really smooth out the edges around his head.



They provide a link to rightwinged.com, which offers a fuller analysis. Basically, the black man in the lower-right corner has a strange outline around his head, which (so rightwinged.com has concluded) is the result of a really bad cut-and-paste job.



I'm not so sure. That outline could also be caused by someone standing behind him. And if it was photoshopped, the photographer did a really good job of blending the guy's head into the photo in every other way (such as lighting and color-tone), making it odd that he would have made a mistake as obvious as forgetting to smooth out the edges around the man's head. Finally, what would have been the point of photoshopping this guy into the picture?

In any case, it's been almost three years since this photo ran in the NY Times, and they haven't yet pulled it from their site, so evidently they don't think it's photoshopped.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 13, 2009
Comments (27)
The latest viral video going around is titled "Hot Girl Pulls Off Insane Golf Trick Shot." Is it real? I'm not sure, but I don't see why it couldn't be. The trick doesn't seem that insane to me.

Categories: Sports, Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 10, 2009
Comments (17)
Posted by Neo in the forum:

A Russian woman has grabbed the title for the World’s Strongest Vagina and set a new world record by lifting a 33 pound glass ball with the muscles in her private parts. Tatiata Kozheynikova told Life.ru that she has been training for the title in the Guinness Book of Records for 15 years and was declared the winner yesterday, the Examiner reports.

In the forum thread you'll also find a link to a video of her doing her thing.

My question concerns her claim that the Guinness Book of Records declared her the winner of the title of World's Strongest Vagina. I can't find any confirmation of this from the Guinness Records people.

And on twitter, it's being reported that Guinness has denied awarding her this title.
Categories: Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 10, 2009
Comments (8)
As noted by Beasjt in the forum, there's been a case of a phone prankster tricking a couple into smashing up a hotel room by telling them there's a gas leak. I reported a case of an identical prank in April.

The Boston Herald describes these incidents as part of a "wave of hotel pranks":

The Monday incident follows others from around the country:
In Arkansas, a caller posing as a sprinkler company employee convinced a motel employee to do more than $50,000 in damage to a motel as part of a "test" of the motel’s emergency alarms.
At a Comfort Suites in Daphne, Ala., a caller ordered a guest to turn on the sprinklers for a fire that wasn’t. The result: more than $10,000 in damage.
In Nebraska, a Hampton Inn employee was convinced by a caller to pull the fire alarm, later telling him the only way to silence the alarm was by breaking the lobby windows. The employee enlisted the help of a nearby trucker, who drove his rig through the front door.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 10, 2009
Comments (9)
Unfortunately there never has been an Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet. This image is a fake.


One of the earliest online references to the image dates back to Jan 15, 2007, when it was posted to the forum of philskies.net. The poster (whose profile identified him as a 2D and 3D animator) wrote, "I probably shouldn't post this pic, but it's in good fun. This was doing the email rounds internally when they were coming up with a livery for it."

This suggests the image may have been a joke created by the graphic designers whom Boeing commissioned to create the livery for the 747-400 Largo Cargo Freighter. The plane's unusual shape evidently reminded the designers of a hot dog.

The actual livery of the plane, shown below, was unveiled in December 2006.


When Oscar Mayer (retired Chairman of the Oscar Mayer corporation) died in July 2009, the "Oscar Mayer Jet" image temporarily gained a new boost of popularity.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 09, 2009
Comments (12)
Not the brightest thieves in the world:

Employees at a Telefonica Movistar cell-phone store in Morelia, Mexico say they arrived Tuesday morning to find that the store had been broken into.
An examination of the shop revealed the only items missing were hollow replica phones for display that are completely useless for making calls.
Employees say the clueless thieves overlooked real cell phones and cash in another part of the shop.
[Associated Press]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 09, 2009
Comments (2)
A new hoax website advertises the World's First USB-powered Chainsaw:

Current materials used on bodies of chainsaws are too heavy for office use. Lighter materials, however, could cause the vertical axis of the guide bar to shift when pressure is applied onto the saw chain. Research and development introduced several innovations to offer an optimal blend of tough plastic and lightweight alloy.



It's said to be shipping in September. The real question is who created this page and why. It's registered anonymously (typical for a hoax site). We'll just have to wait and see who takes credit for it. (via wired)
Categories: Technology, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 09, 2009
Comments (12)
USA Today points out that a "rare time/date alignment" occurs on July 8, 2009 at 4:05 a.m. and 6 seconds. The exact date then will be: 04:05:06 07/08/09.

Does this mean anything? Well, if you ask a tarot card reader, it does. And, of course, that's who USA Today asks:

Although the alignment may not mean anything specific, it could be a good day to do something for yourself and others, said Betsy Carlson, a Palm Springs tarot card reader and numerology expert. "It's a good day to make money and have good health," she said.

As John Walkenbach notes, "the article doesn't mention that this is hokey nonsense. It quotes the numerology expert as if she's actually a credible person."
Categories: Pseudoscience
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 08, 2009
Comments (18)
More Michael Jackson pareidolia, or "Jackodolia".

The Edison family of Brazil prepared a roast last Saturday, but neglected to do the dishes for a day. Then they noticed that the face of Michael Jackson had mysteriously appeared in the roasting pan. Link: terra.com.br via ceticismoaberto
Categories: Celebrities, Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 08, 2009
Comments (11)
The Hello Kitty Taser raised the ire of Justin Yu at CNET who wrote:

The existence of this Hello Kitty taser gun makes me want to open it up and point it at my head. You have to question the intentions of these designers...is the gun supposed to make little girls less fearful about attacking their in-store competition? Maybe it's meant to fool criminals into thinking their victims are unarmed, only to be met with 50,000 volts of adorable electricity.

Only subsequently did he realize that it was simply "a Photoshopped picture of Taser's "Metallic Pink" version of the C2 gun."

Hello Kitty guns seem to be a popular meme.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Military
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 08, 2009
Comments (9)
In its current issue, the Journal of Biogeography has published an article whose authors use ecological niche modelling software to predict the distribution of Sasquatch in western North America. The authors write:

We were stimulated to write this piece as a tongue-in-cheek response to the increasing prevalence of ENMs in the literature and in papers presented at professional meetings. As in any rapidly developing field with the promise of exciting applications, there is the potential for the empirical acceptance of new approaches to outpace conceptual understanding. The point of this paper has been to point out how very sensible-looking, well-performing (based on AUC and threshold tests) ENMs can be constructed from questionable observation data.

The authors then created an ecological niche model for the black bear, Ursus americanus, and discovered that the two models (for Bigfoot and black bear) were remarkably similar, leading them to conclude that "many Bigfoot sightings are, in fact, of black bears." (via New Scientist)
Categories: Cryptozoology, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 07, 2009
Comments (11)
Calling a store and asking "have you got Prince Albert in a can" is a prank call. Calling your grandmother 45 times and saying "You're going to die" is not a prank call. It's a sign of serious psychological issues. [google]

A 21-year-old woman faces felony charges after allegedly prank-calling her 69-year-old grandmother 45 times in one day, threatening to kill her. The woman faces five felony counts including harassment. A criminal complaint said she told police she was "bored" and "wanted to have some fun." ...
The criminal complaint said the suspect told investigators she wanted to scare her grandmother but didn't want her dead. She said she knew it was wrong but not illegal.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 06, 2009
Comments (3)
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