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image Here's a cool picture (click to enlarge) that's started going around. It looks totally fake, but it's real. It shows a tennis court that was laid out on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai last week. Playing on the court are Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. It was all just a publicity stunt. Regular guests aren't allowed to play on the helipad.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 28, 2005
Comments (16)
image I just received this lovely image in my email (click the thumbnail to enlarge, and warning, it's a little gross). It comes with the caption: "Almost spring and girls start showing their bellybuttons." I have no idea if it's real or not. Sure, there are definitely people whose bellies hang way down. Bodies come in all sizes and shapes. But this woman appears to have one long tongue of flesh hanging straight down between her knees. So the anatomy is a little peculiar, which makes me think it's been photoshopped. But honestly, I have no idea.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 22, 2005
Comments (49)
image Apparently this picture (click to enlarge) has been circulating around for quite a while (over three years), but I've just seen it. It shows a happy group portrait of twenty-two brothers and sisters posing for the camera while on a family holiday, but the grinning kid whose face is circled is none other than Osama bin Laden. This picture appeared in the Sun with the caption:

the 14-year-old is Osama bin Laden - and within a few years the grinning schoolboy was on his way to becoming the world's most cold-hearted mass murderer. The bin Laden children lined up next to a pink Chrysler Imperial for this snapshot on a trip to Falun, Sweden, in 1971. The holiday was paid for by their father Mohammed, a billionaire building tycoon. Osama inherited a fortune when his dad died soon afterwards - and used it to build a worldwide network of terror.

Is it just me, or does young Osama look a tiny bit like Bill Gates? Also, I had no idea he was only 47-years-old. He looks like he's nearing 60. (via Image of the Day)
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 22, 2005
Comments (47)
image I just saw this on J-Walk Blog. A picture of a house painted to look like Microsoft Windows (click the thumbnail to enlarge). It would be cute if someone actually did this to their house. But in this particular case, I don't think the house in the picture is real. The compression blurring around the letters and icons is pretty obvious. I'm guessing that the lime-green coloring of the house is also fake. You can't see the license plates on the cars, so it's impossible to know in what country this house is located. But it definitely appears to be in Europe somewhere.
Update: The bottom-right word on the house is 'Modien'. What language is that?
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (11)
David Emery has posted a 'real or fake' image quiz on his urban legends site. The quiz includes many old favorites, but I still managed to get one wrong (the one about human remains inside a crocodile). I'm glad to see that he identified the picture of the spider in the Iraqi desert as real. This other hoax photo test that I linked to earlier claimed it was fake.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 16, 2005
Comments (8)
image Here are two more curious auctions on eBay (people keep sending me this stuff... probably because I keep posting about it). The first is a tortilla shaped like the state of Texas (item# 5557639562). The auctioner swears that "I have not cut it, clipped it, chewed it or changed it in any way. What you see is what came out of the bag." And I've got to hand it to him. It really does look like Texas. The current bid is only $1.99.

What you're supposed to see in the other auction, however, isn't anywhere near as obvious, but the current bid on this is $3,100. It's supposed to be a photograph of 'The Face of the Lord' as seen in a cloud (item# 5557053951). The photo was taken 31 years ago. I think I can see some kind of face-like features in the cloud, but as one person has already commented on the auction, 'What if it's the devil?' I wonder if it would fetch even more money if it were a demonic photo.
Categories: eBay, Food, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 14, 2005
Comments (22)
image Here's another odd picture I got in my email (click image to enlarge). This one I happen to know is real. It's a picture of C. Manoharan, aka "Snake Manu". Threading snakes into his nose and out his mouth is his specialty. It's called 'snake flossing'. The snake in this picture is just a harmless garden snake, though apparently he also does the trick with cobras. Plus, Snake Manu also holds the Guinness World Record for most earthworms eaten. He's just an all-around Renaissance man. Below are some more pictures of him doing his snake flossing trick, taken from this article about him and his career. I think he'd be a great guest to have at a party.big surpriseHere's my favorite paragraph from the article I linked to:
it so happened that a snake went through his nostril and stopped somewhere close to the larynx and refused to move past it. May be it was stuck. It could not be pulled out through the nostril back also, as it was one of the deadliest varieties and pulling it out back through the entry point made Manoharan more vulnerable for a quick bite. He was left with no option. Either the snake bites him or he bites the snake. He chose the later option and bit it into pieces. And he had found another item that would strike terror among his audience. Eating them alive!

Categories: Animals, Gross, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 04, 2005
Comments (24)
image Here's yet another photo from today's email. This one I refuse to believe is real, although I can't see any evidence that it's fake. I've been to those beer festivals in Germany where the waitresses carry around huge numbers of beer mugs steins in each hand, and I never saw one with six large steins in each hand. At least, I can't remember seeing anything like that (the whole beer-festival experience is a bit blurry in my mind). However, I don't know how such a thing could even theoretically be done. How could you position the steins so that you could grip six handles simultaneously? Unless she's supporting some of them against her body. (click the image to enlarge)
Categories: Food, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (49)
image I'm receiving a lot of strange photos in my email today. This one comes with the caption: 'Holy Crap' Engine. I have no idea where it originally comes from. But I would guess that it's real. If it's photoshopped, it's a very good photoshop job. Click on the image to enlarge.
Update: This is definitely a real photo. It was taken on July 13, 2004 aboard an AirTran flight from Atlanta to Orlando with 110 people on board. The left engine cowling came off soon after take off, but the plane managed to turn around and land safely. One of the passengers took this photo. It's not known which one.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (10)
I just received this photo in my email. I suppose those stools the women are sitting on are real enough, though I have no idea if the women are really nuns, or if the whole scene was staged. It looks to me like the picture was taken somewhere in Europe, based on the drinks and signs behind the bar.

image image

Update: I added the picture that Charybdis linked to, since it's evident they belong together in a series. It must have been some kind of 'nuns on stools' photo shoot. (click images to enlarge)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (14)
The Islamic Hostage Barbie Hoax as Instapundit has dubbed it (i.e. that hoax photo of a captured U.S. soldier) is now all over the blogosphere. It seems quite clear that it was an action figure in the photo, not an American soldier. But it's not clear to me where this photo originally came from. Where is this mysterious Islamic website that the picture was posted on? If we knew that it would be a lot easier to tell if it was meant as a joke, or as a serious (though absurd) threat.

Anyway, as I've been browsing the web I've already come across a lot of photo parodies of the hoax. Here are a few that I've found so far:

From The Templar Pundit, Hostage Barbie:

From EtherHouse, Team America:

From Power Line, Elmo Captured:

And from Ludicrosity, Rumsfeld Decides:
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (14)
Wm. Murray emailed me this interesting photo (click to enlarge). Can you guess if it's real or fake?
Answer: Apparently it's real (when I first looked at it I just assumed it was fake). From Wm.'s email: The dog and the bottle-nose dolphin were pals who "met" about every week or ten days at the beach in front of the Meridian Club on Pine Cay in the Turks & Caicos. My wife and I vacationed there in May 1990 and took many pictures of this strange pairing. We were told that it had been going on for some years prior to our visit. The dog (Taffy) would begin furious barking and race to the water's edge. Moments later the dolphin (JoJo) would come to the shore and they would romp together until enough people got into the water and the dolphin would swim away. Initially he(?) would move a ways along the shore away from the crowd with the dog following, then eventually leave after the people caught up to him a few times. JoJo would nip at Taffy's legs and Taffy would jump on the dolphin's back, leaving scratch marks. The whole thing would last 8-10 minutes and we saw it three different times over about twenty days. (I've since reused JoJo's image for a few of my hoax shots to simulate a shark in the pool or creek.)
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 28, 2005
Comments (13)
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