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imageimageNasser Khan left his car in what he was sure was an unmarked section of road. He was understandably bemused to return the next morning only to find yellow lines beneath his car and a ticket for illegal parking on his windscreen.

CCTV footage showed workmen crouching beneath the car to paint in the lines, whilst a traffic warden waited to write the ticket.

It appears that the machinery used to paint the lines damaged the tyres on Mr Khan's car, which were then declared unroadworthy by a local garage. Salford City Council have quashed the ticket, but refuse to pay for damages to his car.

A witness to the odd event, who works in a neighbouring building, said: "We saw a group of workmen and two traffic wardens surround the car for several minutes. One of the workmen came back and crouched under the car to paint the yellow line, and then the traffic warden issued the ticket. A friend of mine caught the whole thing on his mobile phone as we thought the driver might need evidence to contest the ticket."
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Wed Oct 04, 2006
Comments (16)
imageMy Twinn is a legitimate website selling dolls which look like the child you're buying them for.

First you pick an outfit, skin tone, and hair and eye colour. You send in a photograph of your child, and the artists craft the doll to resemble the photograph, including painting on such things as freckles or birthmarks. You can also buy matching outfits for the doll and child, and matching accessories.

The dolls do seem very well made - they really do look like the children they're made for. One of the testimonials from previous customers states that "Over the years many people have mistaken the doll as a real child!"

I think that is my trouble with them - they look very creepy to me.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Wed Sep 27, 2006
Comments (32)
Fake Steve Irwin Death Videos
Unsurprisingly, several videos have popped up on YouTube portraying Steve Irwin's death. They're pretty unconvincing.
(Thanks, Nai Art.)

IT Skills in Return For Gropes
The mirror of a now deleted post from Craigslist, the title really says it all. I particularly liked: "I have a lot of tech knowledge in my life and regrettably no boobs."
(Via BoingBoing, thanks Cranky Media Guy.)

Building Using Recycled Paper
"Papercrete [is] a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and recycled newspapers/magazines, which can be used as a building material."
Looks reasonable to me.
(Thanks, Sharruma.)

Australopithecus Afarensis Discovered in Ethiopia
The bones of the 3.3 million-year-old girl have finally been recovered from a block of sandstone originally discovered in 2000. She has now eclipsed 'Lucy', found in 1974, as the girl lived more than 100,000 years earlier.
(Thanks, Tah)
Categories: Animals, Death, History, Miscellaneous, Sex/Romance
Posted by Flora on Thu Sep 21, 2006
Comments (8)
Heart-In Baby Diamonds
Anybody for an artificial diamond made of baby hair?

Squirrel Sabotages Opera Singer
A squirrel broke the nose of Finnish opera singer Esa Ruuttunen when it ran into the spokes of his bicycle.

Flat Parents
Life-sized cardboard cutouts of deployed service members are being given to their spouses, children and relatives by the Maine National Guard.

Designer Underwear
If you wish to sport the more... hirsute look, this pair of underwear may be for you. (Link not suitable for work.)
Categories: Animals, Military, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Fri Sep 08, 2006
Comments (10)
image Just a quick note to say that I've been away for the past few days (still am), visiting my parents in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. I arrived at their house just hours before Tropical Storm Ernesto hit, temporarily knocking out our power. Which meant that I was also without an internet connection. Here's a photo of me with their dog, Falcon, a 180-pound Great Dane. He's the biggest dog I've ever known. He's literally almost as big as that hoax photo of a giant dog that was circulating a year or two ago. I'm six-foot tall, but I look tiny sitting next to him.
Categories: Animals, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 03, 2006
Comments (17)
Two things to announce. First, I've got a deal to write another book. But it's not another book about hoaxes, so it will be a bit of a new direction for me. It'll be a book about unusual scientific experiments. The kind of experiments that make people say, "Did they really do that?" Experiments such as Stanley Milgram's electric-shock experiments, Ewen Cameron's brainwashing experiments, Louis Jolyon West's "elephant on acid" experiment, as well as some more light-hearted ones.

I've known about the deal for a while, but I only received a final contract this week, so I didn't want to jinx it by publicly announcing it prematurely. However, because I'll need to focus on writing the book, I won't be able to blog as regularly. Which leads to the second announcement.

I've asked Flora, whom many of you know and love already as "Boo", to help me out and blog here with me, and thankfully she's said yes. So the blog should actually improve, instead of fading away, as I work on the book. And yeah, I'll probably still be posting every day, but I won't feel as guilty this way if I miss a day or two.

Because Flora already has such a huge presence on this site (as the organizer and host of the first ever Museum of Hoaxes international get-together back in May, as a tireless moderator keeping the comments free of spam, as one of the most active posters in the forum, and because she's a great writer and much funnier than I am, and a great artist as well) she seemed like the obvious person to ask. She should be able to start posting as soon as I'm able to teach her all the quirks of the blogging software.

Update: I forgot to add that Flora lives in Scotland, so you need to imagine everything she writes being said in a Scottish accent.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 04, 2006
Comments (31)
I'm back from hunting the Loch Ness Monster and Wild Haggises (Haggii?) with fellow Museum of Hoaxers in Scotland. It was a great trip. Despite the Scottish climate staying true to reputation by raining every single day I was there, I saw and did lots of stuff: went on a ghost tour, sampled some whisky, experimented with a Victorian electric shock machine, etc. But the best part was meeting everyone else who was there. My theory that regular readers of this site are all exceptionally fun, intelligent, and attractive people was definitely confirmed. I kept being amazed that what started out years ago as a way for me to procrastinate (i.e. creating my website) ended up inspiring a group of people to travel from all corners of the world to meet in person in Edinburgh.

Below are some photos from the trip.

Row One (from left to right): Museum of Hoaxers posing with a copy of Hippo Eats Dwarf in the studio of BBC Radio Scotland, Dolly the Sheep (stuffed) in a museum in Edinburgh, MOHers posing in front of ancient ruins on Arthur's Seat (that's me on the far right), MOHers posing at Loch Ness.

Row Two (from left to right): MOHers on the Loch Ness Nessie Hunter cruise, a picture of a mysterious object we spotted in the water that might have been Nessie (you need to see the larger image to see what I'm talking about), MOHers posing with a statue of Nessie, and me collecting a sample of genuine Loch Ness water.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue May 23, 2006
Comments (24)
I've signed up with a new ad network called Federated Media recently started by John Battelle (one of the founders of Wired Magazine, according to the Wikipedia entry about him). In an effort to better match readers of this site to potential advertisers, Federated Media wants you all to take a brief survey. It's only a few questions: age, address, social security number, credit card info, bank account info, etc. (No, just kidding... they're not looking to steal your identity.) Apparently these surveys are important to advertisers, so if you have a few minutes it would be a great way to help the site out. And hopefully it will result in some better ads. Thanks.

(This should be a one-time thing... the survey will stay active for a few days and then close, and after that I don't think they'll need to collect survey data again. Oh, and if the survey says 'March 2006', just ignore that. I was supposed to link to the survey back in March, but I procrastinated.)
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon May 15, 2006
Comments (24)
Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be flying to Edinburgh to participate in an exciting experiment: the first face-to-face meeting of Museum-of-Hoaxers. We'll be coming from all corners of the earth: Australia, America, and Europe. Will we be able to tolerate each other in real life (as opposed to virtual life)? Will we all end up in jail? Stay tuned. I hope to post some reports from Edinburgh.

I should note that this adventure wasn't my idea. The credit goes to a group of regulars who hang out in the forum (often seen congregating in the off-topic chit chat thread) and who decided that they wanted to meet each other in real life. I was invited along since my site facilitated the whole thing. And how could I say no?

Activities will include going on a ghost tour of Edinburgh, viewing Gordon Rutter's collection of curiosities, whiskey drinking, and hopefully taking a day trip up to Loch Ness to see Nessie. It should be fun.

Now I'm just hoping I don't arrive in Edinburgh to discover that I'm the only one there, the whole thing being an elaborate hoax designed to lure me halfway around the world on a wild goose chase.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun May 14, 2006
Comments (11)
Last month I promised that I would send a free book to whomever posted the most creative review of Hippo Eats Dwarf on Amazon.com (the time limit being the end of March). I didn't forget! There were some great ones, which made it really hard to pick a winner. So I narrowed it down to my favorite five and then randomly picked one. And the winner is Arthur Hippo for his "Totally Useless Cookbook!!!" review:

While I admit that the recipes in this volume can be daring, absolutely no guidance is provided as to the initial preparation of the dwarf, or any hints as to where to procure one in the first place. Also, would it kill the author (or authors - really, how obvious a suedo... psuden... soodoen... fake name is "Alex Boese"?) to provide some suggestions for side dishes? "Herbed Roast Dwarf With Spiced Applesauce" is all well and good, but what sort of vegetable should I serve with the dish? What bread? Not even a wine suggestion! Not recommended.

I particularly like the 'totally useless cookbook' one-liner. I'm thinking of adding it to my ad for Hippo Eats Dwarf in the left-hand column of this page. Unfortunately, however, whoever wrote this review managed to conceal their identity very successfully, so I have no idea where to send the prize.

If I can't figure out the real identity of Arthur Hippo, I'll send the free book to David Rattigan for his "Hip Poe At SD Warf" review. (I was amazed to realize that the title spelled out this phrase.)

Oh, and now that the contest is over, feel free to post real reviews of the book on Amazon (or continue posting fake ones... whatever tickles your fancy).
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 04, 2006
Comments (7)
Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it sure seems like all the items in UKTV's list of 20 Great April Fools, which Jon Holmes presented on air on April 1st over in Britain, were lifted almost verbatim from my list of the Top 100 April Fools ever. Not to complain (actually to complain bitterly), but it took me a long time to create that list... a lot of tedious searching through decades of old newspaper archives to find all the April Fool's Day classics that had been, for the most part, forgotten. If UKTV did their own research and collected together what they thought were the Top 20 April Fools, that would be fine. But their research seems to have simply consisted of visiting here and cutting and pasting what they found, and then presenting this to their viewers as their own work. Can that actually be legal?
Categories: April Fools Day, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 04, 2006
Comments (28)
The Museum of Hoaxes got mentioned twice in the Christian Science Monitor in the past two days. The first time is in a story by Randy Dotinga titled "When computers do news, hoaxes slip in." It's about the spate of recent online press release hoaxes, such as Tom Vendetta's hoax of a few days ago. I get quoted at the end of the article:

"In the old days, to perpetrate a hoax and get it in front of the eyes of the millions of people, you had to be in the media some way or have access to a reporter. Nowadays, literally anybody can do it," says Alex Boese, author of "Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and other BS." Google News and its rival sites offer pranksters a forum that seems legitimate, adding credibility to fake stories, Mr. Boese says.

I couldn't have said it better myself (though I think they added a 'the' in 'the eyes of the millions of people'). And then there's an article by Jim Regan titled "Beware the first of April" (which doesn't seem to be online yet because it's coming out in tomorrow's edition, though it's already posted in Lexis Nexis). It talks about my list of the top 100 April Fools Hoaxes and mentions that I also list April Fools hoaxes chronologically going all the way back to the 18th century. But then it says this:

while the Museum's coverage is impressive, the History page records events only up until 2002, so for those looking for a refresher on more recent deceits, Wikipedia's entry on April Fool's Day supplements its main collection with links to April 1st pages from the last four years.

This was true when Regan wrote the article. Up until last night my list of April Fools did stop at 2002. But it's no longer true because I spent much of the past week completely overhauling my history of April Fools section, so that it's now up to date.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 28, 2006
Comments (7)
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