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February 2013
File this under Satire Mistaken As News. Washington Post blogger Suzi Parker reported that Sarah Palin was going to start contributing to the Al Jazeera America news network, as a way to "stay relevant." The source for this info was an article on the humor site Daily Currant. Parker's blog post is now prefaced by a correction, and the erroneous info has been deleted. What Parker originally wrote was:

Late last week Al Jazeera America announced the former vice-presidential candidate would be joining their news network. "As you all know, I'm not a big fan of newspapers, journalists, news anchors and the liberal media in general," Palin told the Web site The Daily Currant. "But I met with the folks at Al-Jazeera and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don't watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don't have a liberal bias."

Update: Sarah palin tweeted a response to Suzi Parker: "Hey @washingtonpost, I'm having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. #suziparkerscoops #idiotmedia"
Categories: Journalism
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 13, 2013
Comments (0)

Ipswich City councillor Andrew Antoniolli posted on facebook that this would be the new sign at the Ipswich Mall — warning people, in a visually economical way, of all the things they couldn't do there. A local radio station believed him, but it was actually just a joke image downloaded from the internet. No idea what the original source of the image was.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (0)
Viewers of The Steve Wilkos Show on CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls had the program interrupted on Monday by an emergency alert that delivered this warning:

Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous.


Seems that someone had hacked into the station's emergency alert system. The police (who are looking into the matter) report that four people called them to check if the alert was true. [greatfallstribune]
Categories: Death, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (3)
A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads:

Dear teachers and students,
As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are to be kept with you at all times. Do not leave any belongings in the change room as they may be stolen. In the halls avoid eye contact with African-American students. They have a higher chance of becoming aggressive when confronted. Due to their aggressiveness African-American students will be made to pay an extra fee of $1.50 per purchase in the cafeteria.



Of course, the letter is fake. The school doesn't yet know who created it, but students are being interviewed to track down the culprit. Parents have been warned about the hoax. A school trustee commented, "Whereas 30 years ago, someone might have done something stupid like this and made 30 copies and distributed them, now it gets on Twitter and it goes all over." [thestar.com]

The hoax letter echoed the "Seriously McDonalds" hoax (below... so named because that's how the image was usually captioned) that went viral back in June 2011.

Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (0)
I actually find it more surprising that he's still cranking out books at the age of 89 than that he's using a female pen name. Good for him! It's inspiring!

Bills and boon! 'Female' romance author Jessica Blair unmasked as 89-year-old grandfather
Daily Mail

The grandfather from Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, was told his books would need to be printed under a feminine moniker if he wanted them to sell - and so his pseudonym Jessica Blair was born. Bill, 89, has so far written 22 romance novels under the female pen name since his first was published in 1993, with his latest, Silence of the Snow, due out this week.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 11, 2013
Comments (1)
What part of this UFO sighting has been faked?


The answer is that the UFOs are, of course, fake, but so is everything else. Every part of this video — the car, the scenery, the clouds — is CGI. Wired explains:

"UFO Over Santa Clarita" was a painstakingly crafted joke played by Aristomenis "Meni" Tsirbas, the director of the 2007 computer-animated film Battle for Terra who has also contributed visual effects and animation work to movies like Titanic and Hellboy and several Star Trek television series. A long-time champion of "photorealistic" CGI, Tsirbas and his team spent about four months mimicking the look of an accidental extraterrestrial encounter captured on a smartphone. And until now, Tsirbas hadn't revealed the truth to anyone outside a handful of friends.
"The point of the video was to prove that CGI can look natural and convincing," Tsirbas told Wired. "Everybody assumes the background and car are real, and that the UFOs are probably fake, especially the over-the-top mothership at the end. The general reaction is disbelief, so I usually have to prove it by showing a wireframe of the entire shot to prove that nothing is real."
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 09, 2013
Comments (0)
Over in Greece there's uproar over some mugshots of suspected bank robbers. Photos of the men being taken into custody show them badly bruised, but in the mugshots released by the police these bruises have disappeared, and the police admit that, yeah, they photoshopped the mugshots to remove the bruises. Critics say this was done to hide evidence of police brutality. The police say they did it to make the men recognizable. In the photos below, the pre-mugshot pics are on the left, and the photoshopped mugshots on the right. [nbcnews]



Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 09, 2013
Comments (0)
Over in Zimbabwe they treat photoshopping as a serious offense, especially if you decide to photoshop your head onto the body of Robert Mugage, as graphic designer Ronald Chikambure allegedly did. The official charge against him was "undermining the authority of the President."

Apparently detectives were tipped off that Chikambure was displaying said photoshopped picture on the wall of his office, so they raided his office. They didn't find the picture on the wall, but they did find a copy of it on his laptop, and that was enough to land him in court.

Unfortunately, a copy of the photo in question doesn't seem to have been released. I guess they don't have the Smoking Gun over in Zimbabwe. [newzimbabwe.com]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (0)
I assume this email was sent to me because buried in the Museum's blog there's a post about eye squirting. So I'm passing it along to you all, in case anyone is interested:

Hi! I'm the Casting Producer for a new television show with Talpa Media, the creators of "The Voice." We're bringing our Dutch hit, "Challenge Me" to the states and we’re looking for people who have the ability to squirt milk from their eye.

If chosen to be on the show, you'll have the opportunity win thousands of dollars AND gain national exposure for using the talents you already have!

Please contact me ASAP for more details.

If you want to squirt milk from your eye on TV, contact me and I'll give you the casting producer's email address.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (0)
I've noticed that a picture of this book, Donny and Marie Join the Klan, has recently been doing the rounds online.


Just in case anyone might have thought this was a real book, no, it wasn't. The original was Donny and Marie - The Top Secret Project, published in 1977. Clever alteration.

Categories: Books
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (1)
Yet another example of a celebrity imposter masquerading online. In this case, the imposter evidently thought their deception was for a worthy cause. Nevertheless, it's still a deception.

Fake Ed Asner Endorses Struggling Dormont Theater
CBS Pittsburgh

The Facebook post from the fake Ed Asner page reads "Help the Hollywood Theater! One of Pittsburgh's last historic neighborhood cinemas. I have found memories of visiting this venue as a much younger man while visiting relatives. I'll double every donation!" Theater manager Chad Hunter was excited but skeptical when he saw the post. He tried sending a thank you message to Asner via the social media website but never heard back. That's when he got suspicious. A representative for "Charles Sherman Public Relations" who represents Asner says the page is fake and that the actor has never had a Facebook page.

Categories: Celebrities, Identity/Imposters, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (0)
Sounds like the guy got tired of his old life and decided to disappear and start a new one.

Matthew Robillard's Lethbridge Disappearance A Hoax: Police
huffingtonpost.ca

Police in southern Alberta say the disappearance of a young family man late last week was a hoax. Matthew Aaron Robillard's relatives called police Thursday when the 25-year-old Lethbridge man failed to show up for work at a Scotiabank in nearby Picture Butte. His car was later discovered with a smashed window in an industrial area near the Calgary airport. Media reported his keys, wallet and phone had been left in the car along with a strange package of cigarettes. He apparently didn't smoke. Investigators found Robillard, a married father of a six-month-old baby, Saturday morning in a Calgary hotel.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 07, 2013
Comments (1)
An unusual example of military deception!

The Army's special branch: How bizarre fake spy trees appeared in no-man's land during WWI (and killed hundreds of soldiers)
Daily Mail

Artists in the Royal Engineers were tasked with meticulously selecting a real tree on the battlefield by measuring and photographing it extensively. The ideal tree was dead and often it was bomb blasted. The photographs and sketches were then sent to a workshop where artists constructed an artificial tree of hollow steel cylinders. It contained an internal scaffolding for reinforcement, to allow a sniper or observer to ascend within the structure. Then, under the cover of night, the team cut down the authentic tree and dug a hole in the place of its roots, in which they placed the O.P. Tree. When the sun rose over the battlefield, what looked like a tree was a tree no longer. Instead, it was an enemy lookout tower.


Categories: Military
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 07, 2013
Comments (0)
William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), was a large man. He reportedly weighed 355 pounds while in office, and according to rumor, he was so large that he once got stuck in the white house bathtub. The experience supposedly so rattled him that he ordered the installation of an extra-large tub big enough to hold four ordinary men.


William Howard Taft

The story of him getting stuck in a tub has been frequently repeated in books and newspapers, but is there any truth to the tale? Constitution Daily recently investigated the rumor, scouring through newspaper archives, documents from the National Archives, and Taft biographies, and concluded that "the entire 'stuck in a tub' story appears to be pretty leaky." There are no primary sources or first-hand witnesses who can confirm that such an incident occurred.

What is true is that Taft had some extra-large bathtubs made for him. One was installed on the U.S.S. North Carolina in 1908. A second extra-large tub was installed on the presidential yacht Mayflower in 1910. From what I gather, these tubs were extra-large partially to accomodate his size, and partially because they were built with high sides to prevent water from sloshing out while at sea.

A picture was taken of four workers sitting in the North Carolina tub. This picture may have been one source of the 'stuck in a tub' rumor. But Constitution Daily also notes that "Roosevelt's supporters made fun of Taft's weight in the bitter 1912 election. The story could have grown from there."

Categories: Politics, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 07, 2013
Comments (1)
Greg Jefferys, a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania, recently claimed to have found evidence that crop circles were around long before the crop circle craze of the 1990s focused attention on them. He studied images in Google Earth's 1945 overlay, showing historical pictures of British locations 68 years ago, and found numerous circular patterns in the British countryside. [link: Birmingham Mail]

Jefferys is quoted as saying, "This discovery proves that claims by various artists to be the sole creators of crop circles are themselves a hoax. It just goes to show that the circles remain unexplained. I hope this discovery will stimulate renewed interest in crop circles by serious scientific researchers who have been fooled by the hoax claims."

Jefferys believes that "high frequency electromagnetic energy" is somehow responsible for the formation of crop circles. However, he's unclear about "what generates that energy and organises it into circular patterns."

Here are some of the 1945 crop circles he found:








I gotta say, these are somewhat feeble crop circles. They hardly seem to merit the media attention Jefferys has received for his "discovery".

David Clarke points out that back in the early 1940s there actually was great concern about strange markings appearing in farmer's fields. But people didn't think that either space aliens or "electromagnetic energy" were the cause of these formations. Instead, they worried that Nazis were putting them there, as "air markers" to guide an air invasion of the UK and US. But these air markers turned out to have innocent explanations. They were caused by everyday farm activities — sowing crops, laying out bags of manure, etc. (I cover this episode in my Nazi Air Marker Hoax article.)

In the same way, these "crop circles" that Jefferys found could easily have been created by farm activities. There's no need to invoke electromagnetic energy to explain them.

Our brains love to find patterns in the world around us and attribute meaning to them. The trick is knowing when that meaning is justified and when we're being led astray by random noise.
Categories: Crop Circles
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 06, 2013
Comments (2)
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