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Fake Zebras
A zoo in China is charging a small fee for posing beside horses painted with zebra stripes. The zoo assures the customers that it is 'just for fun'.

Dressed Up Dead Fawn Left By Theatre
"The police log entry said it all: "Deceased fawn was dressed up like an infant and abandoned at the Pantages Theater."
The police have no idea who left the fawn or why, but they believe that the fawn had been stillborn and had died some time previously.

Woman Pretends to be Pregnant - Wastes Police Time
A Rhode Island woman has been given probation for a year after claiming her boyfriend had taken their child. Several months previously, Roxann Lacey falsely told her boyfriend that she was pregnant.
At the beginning of this month, she contacted the police, telling them that she had given birth at home, but her boyfriend had taken the child after an argument.
Medical examination found that she had not given birth, and she pleaded no contest to filing a false police report.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Flora on Wed May 16, 2007
Comments (7)
image One of the stranger rumors I encountered in the course of writing Elephants on Acid was the suggestion that Hillary Clinton participated in a menstrual synchrony study while she was a student at Wellesley College during the 1960s. Stranger still, I haven't been able to disprove this.

Here are the facts. In 1968, Martha McClintock, while a senior at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, convinced all 135 of her dormmates to participate in a study of the phenomenon of synchronous menstruation. She recorded the date of onset of their menstrual cycles three times during the academic year. Her hypothesis was that their cycles would synchronize as the year progressed, and this is what her data showed. She published an article about her study in a 1971 issue of Nature (1971, 229: 244-245). It remains a highly regarded study.

Hillary Clinton (then Hillary Rodham) was also a senior at Wellesley in 1968. This raises the possibility that she participated in McClintock's study. There were about 400 students in the senior class, which make the odds pretty good that Hillary participated in the study. (A third of the class participated.) The question is: Did the two women (Rodham and McClintock) live in the same dorm?

In her autobiography, Clinton writes, "During my junior and senior years, Johanna Branson and I lived in a large suite overlooking Lake Waban, on the third floor of Davis." McClintock, however, has never revealed what dorm she conducted her study in. I emailed her and asked, thinking that maybe she could say that she didn't conduct the study in Davis, even if she couldn't reveal where she did conduct it. She simply replied, "I cannot answer this question due to privacy regulations."

This leaves open the possibility that Hillary did participate in McClintock's study. I emailed the Clinton campaign, but they never responded to me. My hunch, however, is that she didn't participate in it. It seems like the kind of thing that would be more widely publicized if it were true.

Of course, it doesn't really matter whether she did participate in the study or not. Although if she did, it would be interesting as a piece of biographical trivia. Hillary Clinton herself would seem to be the only person who can confirm or deny the rumor.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Celebrities, Science
Posted by Alex on Wed May 09, 2007
Comments (7)
The latest trend among teenage girls is, apparently, to have a "prom baby." The idea is that girls try to get pregnant on prom night. This sneaky tactic allows them to avoid the pressure of going to college. Instead they substitute the pressure of raising a child.

This trend was reported by a "Worried Dad" who recently wrote in to Dear Abby. He writes:
I first heard about it while driving my teenage daughter to a lacrosse meet with several of her girlfriends. One girl in the car, "Carrie," said she hoped this year she could have a prom baby. The girls were discussing two former classmates from last year's lacrosse team who had been unable to begin college because they had both become mothers at 17. Both had deliberately planned to get pregnant on prom night -- hence the term, "prom baby." Abby, both of the girls were studious and hard-working with bright futures ahead of them. One had been accepted to several Ivy League schools. Needless to say, their parents were devastated, and many adjustments had to be made for the new babies.
I'm thinking that either the letter writer was deliberately trying to start a new urban legend, or his daughter's friends were pulling his leg. I have a hard time believing anyone would be stupid enough to think that raising a kid is easier than going to college.

And as one blogger points out, "If they really wanted to sabotage their own chances of going to college, wouldn't they just submit a poor application?"

I think "prom babies" should be classified as an urban legend of the "shocking sexual behavior of teenage girls" variety, along with other legends such as Jelly Bracelet Sex Codes and Rainbow Parties.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue May 08, 2007
Comments (23)

Truck Spills 40 Tons of Cow Intestines
The title is self-explanatory. Thanks to Big Gary for forwarding the story. He notes, "Nothing hoax-y about this; just more evidence that civilization is doomed."

Woman Fakes Heart Attack To Fight Off Intruder
The obvious problem with this tactic is that it relies upon the intruder being decent enough to help you out. What if you fake a heart attack, and the intruder just lets you flop around while he continues to rob your house?

Fake Blogging to Become a Crime in UK
Businesses that post fake glowing reviews of themselves online will potentially face criminal prosecution in the UK. The article notes: "Shortly before Christmas, the owner of the Drumnadrochit Hotel near Loch Ness admitted to posting a fake review of his own venue on the TripAdvisor site, calling it “outstanding” and “charming”. David Bremner said: “Maybe I shouldn’t have done it. But I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”" I've actually stayed at that hotel. It's a tourist trap -- dingy, overpriced rooms. Though there isn't that much to choose from around Loch Ness. (The Edinburgh gang might remember this hotel, because the bus to the Loch Ness Cruise left from the front of it.)

Anna Nicole Smith did not impregnate herself with her dead billionaire husband's frozen sperm
Claims to the contrary turn out to be a hoax. Though the idea sounded plausible.

Urination Rumors a Hoax
"The rumor that chefs at Texas Roadhouse urinated on an elderly woman's steak has been cleared up." Thank goodness for that. I'm so relieved.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Business/Finance, Gross
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 12, 2007
Comments (14)
Two people contacted the San Diego police department after reading an advertisement offering a free baby on Craigslist, an online classified ad service. The police obtained copies of the advertisement after being alerted to the possible child endangerment matter.

The ad said: “Free baby boy to good home. My ex-girlfriend had him a few weeks ago, but now he just sits in my closet and cries. I'm not too sure how to deal with it, and I'm in a pretty low financial spot. I lost all the baby accessories. Batteries not included. Transaction final. No returns. Guaranteed not DOA.”
There was also a photograph of a baby, and the information that the baby was in San Diego and would be delivered.

The ad had been removed when the police tried to access it at noon on the same day.

Police involved in the investigation are attempting to trace the person who placed the advertisement.

Judging from the language, I'd assume it was a joke, but I understand that the police have to follow it up. Just in case.

(Thanks, Sergio.)
Categories: Advertising, Birth/Babies
Posted by Flora on Sun Nov 26, 2006
Comments (8)
imageGiant Pawprints Puzzle Couple
Mr and Mrs May, of Ipswich, are mystified by a set of large pawprints, seemingly of an animal with claws or toes, which have appeared in their garden.
Maybe it's Bernard.

Drivers Buy Fake Emblems
Increasing numbers of car owners are going to dealers, or to eBay, to buy emblems to make their cars look like more expensive versions.

Fake Breastfeeding Picture of ABC Anchor
Elizabeth Vargas was disappointed that the magazine Marie Claire photoshopped her head onto a picture of a model breastfeeding at the anchor desk. The photograph was to illustrate an article on balancing work and motherhood.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies, Celebrities, Entertainment, Identity/Imposters, Technology
Posted by Flora on Mon Nov 20, 2006
Comments (8)
imageCassia Aparecida de Souza, a student in the Brazilian city of Passo Fundo, claims that her cat, Mimi, has given birth to three offspring with canine traits, reports say.

Mrs de Souza says that Mimi mated with a neighbour's dog three months ago and, when the cat gave birth, three of the offspring showed canine characteristics and three were normal kittens. The three with cat features died shortly after birth.

A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University will take blood samples to verify that the 'puppies' were part of the litter.

(Thanks, Neo.)

UPDATE: The blood tests show that the cat did not give birth to the 'puppies'.

(Thanks, Cranky Media Guy.)
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies
Posted by Flora on Thu Nov 16, 2006
Comments (28)
This site claims to be able to scan you through your computer monitor using 'zeta waves', and determine whether or not you are pregnant.

The scanning software checks for: Endocrine balance, Hormone levels, Amniotic concentration, Carbohydrate level, Ketone (ketosis/lipolysis), Ovulation status, Bovine Encephalitis, Distemper, and Progesterone infusion. The remote testing system then checks the levels and calculates the likelihood of your being pregnant.

It's a joke site, obviously. They do have such disclaimers on each page.
There are some good parts, such as the guarantee: "Our results are 100% guaranteed. Please note we only guarantee that you'll get a result, not that the results will be accurate." I also liked the section where it tells you the identity of the father of your baby.

Categories: Birth/Babies, Websites
Posted by Flora on Sun Nov 05, 2006
Comments (25)
Officials in Malawi apparently claimed that Madonna asked them to select a group of children from local orphanages, from which she chose one for adoption. Spokeswoman Adrina Michiela said: "She asked us to identify boys only, which we have done after visiting four orphanages in Lilongwe."

However, Madonna, through her publicist, is denying this claim.
"I can confirm Madonna is in Malawi on a private visit. She is building an orphanage and child care center and is involved in other initiatives geared toward helping children orphaned by AIDS through the Raising Malawi organization. She has not adopted a baby despite reports that she has. She's kind of adopting an entire country of children"
I found this interesting because my sister has been living in Malawi for the past four years and has yet to generate international headlines on account of it. She's been helping design public health campaigns there. Last week she even adopted a genuine Malawi puppy. But not a whisper from the media. I'm planning to visit her there sometime next year. It will be my first trip to Africa. Unfortunately Lake Malawi doesn't have a resident monster, so I can't claim the trip as a tax write-off, the way I did my trip to Loch Ness.

Update: You could get whiplash trying to follow this Madonna adoption story. Now the word is that she really has adopted a baby in Malawi.
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 09, 2006
Comments (13)
False Lobster
Maine Senator Olympia Snowe is lobbying to remove the pelagic crab known as "langostino lobster" from restaurant menus in Maine.
The issue came to light after a California-based restaurant chain, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, was sued last year by customers for using the less expensive langostino instead of lobster in its "lobster burrito."

"Rubio's decision to put cheaper and inferior langostino meat on its menus as 'lobster' is a material fraud uniformly affecting hundreds of thousands of California consumers," plaintiff lawyer Ray Gallo wrote in court documents.

Pine Cone 'Help' Hoax
A careful 'help' was spelt out in pine cones at a junction of two roads in Oregon, complete with an arrow pointing out into the woods. After a nine-person, six-hour search, it was deemed to be a hoax.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies, Celebrities, Food, Pranks
Posted by Flora on Mon Oct 09, 2006
Comments (14)
image Marco sends along this photo of a baby supported by a Victoria amazonica, a giant waterlily from South America. He writes:
The Leiden Hortus Botanicus grows Victoria amazonica in one of their greenhouses. So what better way for the Hortus Botanicus to get some publicity than to organize a photoshoot for mothers with their babies, having the latter posing on one of such Victoria amazonica leaves?
Apparently however, they were not so sure themselves about the myth that the leaves can support the weight of a child. Take a careful look at the attached photograph from the local newspaper "Leids Nieuwsblad" reporting on the photoshoot. What's that under the leaf? Doesn't it look like a hidden support?
Yes, based on this picture it does look like they placed a support beneath the lily to distribute the weight of the child, which seems to be cheating. After all, the weight of the lily is now being supported by the piece of foam board (or whatever it is) rather than vice versa. They should have placed the board on top of the lily.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 18, 2006
Comments (11)
imageDaniel Edwards, creator of the controversial statue of Britney Spears giving birth on a bear-skin rug, has gone one step further with his new sculpture.
Entitled Suri's Bronzed Baby Poop, it is a homage to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' new baby, and her... well, poop.

The Suri stool isn't for real but gallery officials insist Edwards' latest creation is more than a publicity stunt. In a statement, they write: "It's partially a statement on modern media that celebrity poop has more entertainment value than health, famine or other critical issues facing society and governments today."
The piece is set to be auctioned on Ebay, to raise money for charity, but the auction appears to have been taken down.

(Thanks, Jen.)
Categories: Art, Birth/Babies, Celebrities
Posted by Flora on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Comments (8)
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