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March 2013
Desmond and Amy Duguay of Turner, Maine claim that they found a piece of Dot gummy candy that resembles the Virgin Mary. They've put it up for sale on eBay, and bidding is currently at $215. [Bangor Daily News]


But some are crying hoax. The website corporatemal.com notes that there are Virgin Mary molds, which might have been used to create the Virgin Mary Dot.


However, the Duguays are sticking to their guns and insist their "Gummy Virgin Mary" is no hoax. In response to the accusations, they've posted this message on their eBay auction page:

I have seen pictures of the mold with a tape measure next to it and it is larger than the Holy DOT. All I can say is that I purchased the box of DOTs unopened from RiteAid in Auburn, ME. I have not altered the DOT in any way. I think that the only logical explanation here is that there has been some divine intervention that placed this Holy DOT in my box. You know, with the resignation of the Pope it may be possible that we have some sort of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" scenario playing out here... The Holy Dot was my Golden Ticket! Now all i have to do is get myself to the Vatican and try not to drink all the "Blood of Christ" and turn into a giant grape like how Violet Beauregarde turned into a giant blueberry.
Categories: eBay, Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 06, 2013
Comments (0)
On Monday, The Pirate Bay issued a press release on its blog announcing that it was moving to North Korea:

PRESS RELEASE, NEW PROVIDER FOR TPB
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 3 MARCH 102, 평양 (PYONGYANG).

The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Not for illegal activities but being persecuted for beliefs of freedom of information. Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets...
Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network.
This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high. At the same time, companies from that country is chasing a competitor from other countries, bribing police and lawmakers, threatening political parties and physically hunting people from our crew. And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.

As part of the move, the site added a North Korean flag onto the sails of its pirate ship logo. And those who investigated its IP address found that it did indeed seem to be originating out of North Korea.


But yesterday, The Pirate Bay revealed on its facebook page that the move was just a joke. It explained the hoax as their way of demonstrating the need for critical thinking skills:

We've hopefully made clear (once again) that we don't run TPB to make money. A profit hungry idiot (points at MAFIAA with a retractable baton) doesn't tell the world that they have partnered with the most hated dictatorship in the world. We can play that stunt though, cause we're still only in it for the fuckin lulz and it doesn't matter to us if thousands of users disband the ship.
We've also learned that many of you need to be more critical. Even towards us. You can't seriously cheer the "fact" that we moved our servers to bloody North Korea. Applauds to you who told us to fuck off. Always stay critical. Towards everyone!


Categories: Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 06, 2013
Comments (0)
In response to the widening horse-meat scandal in Europe, Icelandic food authorities decided to conduct tests on some of their country's own food products. They didn't find any horse meat, but to their surprise they discovered that one brand of beef pie, Nautabökunni, contained no meat at all. Or, at least, the pies had "no mammalian DNA." Instead, the pies contained some kind of vegetable matter masquerading as beef.

The company that makes the pies says it's dumbfounded by the results, and has asked for more tests, questioning the accuracy of the initial ones. The co-owner of the company is quoted as saying, "I'm not saying that this is chock-full with mincemeat, but we use soya meat to supplement the meat and also use beef stock as seasoning. I know how the recipe is and this finding is therefore improbable."

I'm inclined to believe the guy. It's hard to get a meat taste with no meat at all. [links: icelandreview, mbl.is]
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 05, 2013
Comments (4)
Not exactly a criminal mastermind. Rahmell Pettway needed a good excuse to explain his two-week absence from his Bedford-Stuyvesant home to his girlfriend. So he faked his own abduction, tying himself up with duct tape on the side of a street. When found, he told police that two men in a light-blue minivan had first abducted him and then dumped him there. The problem? The roll of duct tape was still dangling from his wrists. This made the police suspicious, and soon Pettway confessed the whole scheme. They arrested him for filing a false report.

Brooklyn man fakes his own kidnapping to explain two-week absence to girlfriend
nypost.com

authorities grew suspicious of his account, and Pettway soon confessed to the hoax, saying he had gone AWOL for a couple of weeks and was terrified of facing his significant other. Residents said about 10 cops patrolled and taped off the area a day after the faker was first found. "The officers were asking him, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' " said Lisa, 29, who lives across the street from the bogus scene, and who was shocked to hear his kidnapping was all a maneuver to avoid the woman in his life.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 05, 2013
Comments (0)
Belly Ballot is an internet site that helps parents name their baby by "crowdsourcing" the process. That is, it allows parents to create a shortlist of names that their friends and family can vote on.

Back in January, the site announced a "Belly Branding" contest: "One lucky pregnant couple may win $5000 in exchange for letting the entire world decide their baby's name."


And in mid-February it declared a winner, LA-based art teacher Natasha Hill. It posted some photos of Natasha as well as a screenshot of her facebook page. Belly Ballot told the Huffington Post that Hill was chosen from a pool of nearly 80 applicants because of "her honesty and enthusiasm."


The unusual contest received a fair amount of media attention, much of which focused on the controversial aspect of a mother allowing strangers on the internet to name her child. Hill reportedly said she wasn't worried about this because, "I think people will do the right thing and vote for something unique and nice."

However, the story took an entirely different turn on March 3 when LAist.com revealed that Natasha Hill bore a striking resemblance to LA-based actress Natasha Lloyd. In fact, Hill and Lloyd were quite obviously the same person.


Natasha Lloyd (via imdb.com)

The next day, Belly Button admitted that the results of their baby-naming contest were a hoax. No one had entered the contest, so they had hired Lloyd to pose as the winner. In reality, Lloyd wasn't even pregnant.

Belly Ballot founder Lacey Moler explained to today.com that she and her staff decided to perpetrate the hoax because, "we're a start-up and we wanted to control the situation."

The mystery in all this is how LAist managed to notice the resemblance between Hill and Lloyd. They don't explain. Did someone at LAist already know Lloyd and recognized her picture? Or were they tipped off?

The second option would be the more interesting one, because it raises the question of who gave them the tip. Perhaps Belly Ballot surreptitiously exposed its own hoax, knowing that the news of a hoax would generate even more publicity for its site than the original baby-naming contest had. Secretly exposing his own hoaxes was one of P.T. Barnum's favorite tricks.

Or perhaps Lloyd was the informant. After all, the hoax is good publicity for her as well.
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 05, 2013
Comments (1)
Washington Post photographer Tracy Woodward won an Award of Excellence for his image "State Champion" that he entered in the 2013 White House News Photographers Association ‘Eyes of History’ stills photo contest in the Sports Feature/Reaction category. But Woodward's editors at the Post noticed that the image had been altered since the time when it had first appeared in the paper. Specifically, Woodward had deleted the referee standing in the background. (Although you can still faintly see the outline of his pants.) It is a better picture without the ref, but such a major alteration violated the rules of the contest. So Woodward's award was rescinded. [deadspin]

Check out the Hoax Photo Archive for other examples of photos with deleted details.

Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 01, 2013
Comments (3)
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