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September 2013
In the 1970s did a gospel soul band called Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings record an album of cover versions of all the songs on David Bowie's Starman? Apparently not. However, on YouTube you can find three videos of someone playing songs from this non-existent album on a record player.






The videos were uploaded over a year and a half ago (and there's an accompanying, minimalist website — milkyedwards.com), but they've only started to attract attention recently. And now people are wondering who created these videos and why? Because whoever created them, did them very well. The recordings don't sound like the work of an amateur.

The Guardian reviews what people have uncovered so far about this mystery. First, the album cover that can be seen behind the record player is definitely not from the 1970s because it uses a modern font, Mojo Standard, that is "squished and pulled" (as graphic designer Brian Borrows puts it) in a way that can only be easily done on a computer.


Second, although the singer sounds like Tom Jones, it's not him, according to Jones's management.

Beyond that, nothing more is currently known. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 29, 2013
Comments (8)
A brief personality profile test has been circulating online, where it's identified as having been authored by "Dr. Phil" (Dr. Phillip McGraw). However, Dr. Phil has disavowed any connection with the test.

So the question is, where does this test come from? Sleuths on the Snopes message boards tracked down a version of it that was posted on USENET back in 1994, at which time it was attributed to a Dr. Charles Vine.

With that info, it was relatively simple to do a google search and find a version of the test that was included in a 1987 book titled Great Ideas: Listening and speaking activities for students of American English.

This book, in turn, acknowledged that the test was "Copyright 1978 by Cleo Magazine." So Cleo magazine (which is an Australian women's magazine) must be the original source.

I can't find any clues about who Dr. Charles Vine was. Either he was an Australian doctor who didn't publish much else, or he was a pseudonym of a Cleo magazine staff writer.

So, to summarize, here's the history of "Dr. Phil's Personality Test":
  • 1978: First published in Cleo magazine as a test, authored by "Dr. Charles Vine," titled, "Do you see yourself as others see you?"
  • 1987: Dr. Vine's test is reprinted in the book Great Ideas.
  • 1994: The test first appears online.
  • 2002: By this time, the test is circulating online without any indication of who authored it.
  • circa 2009: The test starts being attributed to Dr. Phil.
  • 2010: Dr. Phil denies that he authored the test.
  • 2013: The test becomes "one of the hottest social media shares of the moment" (as David Emery puts it).
It just goes to show that once something enters the black morass of the internet, it circulates there endlessly, occasionally being spewed upwards to the top of the feeding pile, before settling back down, once again, into the darkness. Look for Dr. Phil's Test to return to internet fame sometime around 2025.

Below is the original version of the test (and the key to score it).


Add the scores from your answers together and read the interpretation found below.

POINTS:
1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

INTERPRETATION:
Over 60 points: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care". You are seen as vain, seft-centred, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you and wish they could be more like you, but they don't always trust you and hesitate to become too deeply involved with you.

From 51 to 60 points: Your friends see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, quick to make decisions (though not always the right ones). They see you as bold and venturesome, someone who will try anything - well almost anything - once; some who takes a chance and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

From 41 to 50 points: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, and always interesting; someone who is constantly the centre of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to your head. They see you also as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who will cheer them up or help them out.

From 31 to 40 points: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or too easily, but someone who is extremely loyal to the friends you do makes and expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize that it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but, equally, that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is taken.

From 21 to 30 points: Your friends see you as painstaking, perhaps a little too fussy at times. They see you as very, very cautious and extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment. They expect you to examine everything very carefully from every side and then, usually, decide against it. They think this reaction on your part is caused partly by your careful nature and partly by laziness.

Under 21 points: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs to be looked after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who does not want to get involved with anyone or anything. They see you as a worrier, who sees problems that don't exist. Some people think that you boring. Only the people that know you well know that you aren't. The trouble is that you don't let many people get close to you.
Categories: Psychology
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
Comments (0)
Last month a 10-year-old German boy found what appeared to be an ancient Egyptian mummy in the attic of his grandmother, who lives in Diepholz. His parents excitedly speculated that it must have belonged to his grandfather, who had traveled throughout North Africa during the 1950s.

There were some artifacts along with the mummy that were quickly dismissed as fakes, and the mummy cloth appeared to be 20th-century fabric. But when the mummy was x-rayed, the head was found to be an actual human skull, which raised hopes that it was perhaps a real mummy.

However, closer examination (unwrapping the mummy) has revealed that the rest of the skeleton is made of plastic. So it's definitely a fake.

The question that remains is why this fake mummy was created. And who created it? Was it intended as a hoax? Or was it some kind of elaborate tourist souvenir? Links: Daily Mail, Spiegel

Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
Comments (0)
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
Comments (1)
While walking his dog, Patrick Cramer snapped a photo of something monster-like floating down the River Clwyd in North Wales. He concedes that it's probably just "a strangely-shaped log." But adds, "it could be the famed Rhuddlan River Monster." The Daily Post has a video of the thing floating downstream.

Categories: Nessie
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 25, 2013
Comments (1)
The Louisiana State Police want everyone to know that they don't have speed cameras installed in guardrails along the highways. They say that a picture circulating online showing a speed camera disguised inside a guardrail is the "latest and greatest urban legend."


The thing is, it's not quite an urban legend, because these evil guardrail speed cameras do exist. Or rather, there are existing traffic-monitoring systems that include speed detectors in guardrails, while a camera further down the road takes a picture of the car. But so far, these systems have only shown up on European roads, not American ones.

Here's a link to a PDF about the "Traffic-Observer Type LMS-06" guardrail speed detectors and cameras.

Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 25, 2013
Comments (0)
News dispatch from Crazyland: the Nairobi Mall massacre is all a hoax! Sure, you may see images of blood-soaked people in the news, but that's all the work of "blood-drizzler moles" squirting each other with fake blood. Oh, and the whole thing is a Zionist plot. That goes without saying.

Nairobi Hoax Blood-Drizzler Moles Detected
Alternative News Network

The eyes do not fail those with discerning vision. Let there be no doubt about it, like Sandy Hook and the Boston smoke bombing hoax, the Nairobi Mall Massacre, as the Israelis would like this to be known, too, is a Zionist hoax. Regardless, how is this man a true gunshot victim? How could he be bleeding to this degree and still be standing upright? He, along with the others, is a crisis actor. There is no other conclusion. Rather, the others could well be, in fact, they could all be government moles, just like the wretched moles from the DHS and FEMA who perpetrated their scandalous acts against the American people through the Sandy Hook and Boston frauds.
Categories: Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (2)
Apple released the iOS 7 update for iPhones last week, and pranksters (allegedly from 4chan) set to work creating a series of spoof ads claiming the update made iPhones waterproof.

Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.
In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry.




Needless to say, the iOS 7 update does not make the iPhone waterproof.

It's not clear if anyone fell for the joke and tried dunking their iPhone in water. But a few people have been tweeting angry remarks about the hoax, such as, "Ok whoever said IOS7 is waterproof GO F*** YOURSELF". But it's hard to know if these tweeters are being serious, or just playing along with the joke. More info: independent.co.uk, buzzfeed.com.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (0)
The most recent issue of the Romanian journal Metalurgia International contains an unusual article titled "Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics for Processing Random Data."

If that title doesn't make much sense to you, neither will the rest of the article. But that's intentional on the part of the authors, who submitted a nonsense article to the journal, which obligingly published it — apparently without bothering to read it first. The intent of the hoaxers (three professors at the University of Belgrade) was to "draw attention to the hyperproduction of quasi-scientific works by Serbian professors that are published in the magazines of dubious quality" as the website In Serbia puts it.

The problem is that academic advancement in Serbia is tied to publication. So Serbian professors have been padding their CVs by publishing articles in bogus journals that will publish anything, for a fee. And that's the practice the hoaxers were trying to expose.

The hoax article gives several nods to Alan Sokal's similar academic spoof from 1996, citing Sokal both in the text of their article and in the footnotes. Also cited are academic heavyweights such as M. Jackson, R. Jeremy (Ron Jeremy), and A.S. Hole.

The author photos, which shows them in wigs and fake mustaches, is also a nice touch. [via Retraction Watch]

Categories: Education, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (1)
Indian papers are reporting that the attorney general of India, Goolam Vahanvati, recently received a series of calls from someone claiming to be Sonia Gandhi (President of the Congress), urging him to resign. But it wasn't actually Gandhi on the phone. It was a woman imitating her voice.

Usually it's radio stations that are behind this kind of prank. But in this case, a senior member of the Indian congress is suspected to be the mastermind behind it.

Hoax caller imitates Sonia Gandhi, government in a tizzy
Times of India

A hoax call from a PSU woman officer who convincingly sounded like Sonia Gandhi, an agitated attorney general of India who received that call and was convinced that a not-too-happy Congress president was on the line, an informal CBI inquiry into the matter, and now a formal Delhi Police inquiry into the complaint filed on the hoax call. Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirmed such a hoax call had been made and that the matter was referred to the home ministry. He declined to give further details.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (0)
Star Bound magazine sells a Snipe Hunting Kit. For only $12.95 you get a Snipe Hunting Guide, a Snipe burlap bag, a Snipe permit (to be filled out by the catcher), and a flashlight for the catcher.

It says that the guidebook includes a "harvest report." And, "If the harvest report is sent back to the Star Bound Magazine's office (called the Snipe Hunting Association in the guidebook) with the proper fee, we will send back a certificate that will certify the name on the report as having had their first Snipe hunt and was the one left holding the bag."

Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Comments (0)
Cow tipping has been thoroughly debunked before, but Modern Farmer's recent article on the subject is interesting nevertheless. It emphasizes that cows are not easy animals to tip over because they've got a lot of mass, they're very stable on their feet, and they're difficult to sneak up on.

To underscore how difficult it is to tip a cow, the author, Jake Swearingen, notes that farm vets often need to get a cow down on its side to perform a medical exam, and it's not easy to do. The process is called "cow casting." The vets use ropes and teams of highly-trained individuals, and often things still go badly wrong, as the video below shows.

Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Comments (0)
New Zimbabwe reports that two witches who crash-landed in a suburb of Harare — after flying around in their winnowing baskets, which is the preferred method of transportation of Zimbabwe witches — were not actually witches. It was all an "elaborate hoax." As part of their witch disguise, one of the women had an owl with her — apparently having an owl is a sure sign of being a witch in Zimbabwe — but this owl had been bought "from a man who captured it in a grinding mill building."

The witch hoax was dreamed up by several "self-styled prophets" who talked the women into playing the part. The idea was that the prophets, having shown that they could bring witches out of the sky, would appear powerful and would attract more customers.

The women got the bad end of the deal because they were hauled off to prison. The brother of one of the women said, "What [she] did is embarrassing. She does a lot of other embarrassing things including pretending to be a witch because of the love of money.”
Categories: Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Comments (0)
Said to have magical powers. Yours for $35.00. "This is 100% real hair."

Categories: eBay
Posted by Alex on Sat Sep 21, 2013
Comments (2)
Josh Stevens, a grad student at Pennsylvania State University, took 92 years of bigfoot sighting data, gathered by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and put it on a map. That's 3313 sightings in all.


It's an interesting visual, but even he's not sure what the map tells us, except that Bigfoot seems to be "thriving out west."

It reminds me of a similar map that showed the "distribution of drop bears in Australia" that appeared in a Dec 2012 article in Australian Geographer.


Is there a map of Elvis sightings? There is an Elvis Sighting Society, but no map that I'm aware of. Though in a post back in 2006 I noted that "LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis Sighting Report Page, interfaced with a Google earth map, to the Museum of Hoaxes." We need to get on that project before Elvis gets too old and stops being seen. He's 78 this year!
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 20, 2013
Comments (2)
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