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image If spiders scare you, then definitely look no closer at this picture of some spiders that a soldier in Iraq found in his sleeping bag. Yes, despite their size and ugliness, they're real. They're Camel Spiders.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 08, 2004
Comments (29)
Kelli wrote in with a question about this strange photo showing a woman impaled by a long, yellowish-looking stick.

The photo comes with an explanatory caption:
This unfortunate woman was found dead on parkland in Yorkshire, England. She's believed to have been pierced by a shaft of frozen urine which had fallen from a leak in a toilet facility of an overhead plane.

Kelli wants to know if it's real. Well, of course it's not. This photo has actually been floating around the internet for quite a while. As explained over at the Darwin Awards, it comes from a spoof news program aired in Britain called The Day Today.
Categories: Death, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 07, 2004
Comments (7)
image Inspired by an entry I wrote last year about a growing trend in Italy of taking fake vacations (i.e. people can't afford to go anywhere, so they just tell everyone they went away, while they really spend the whole time at home), Michaela Eaves has created this Fake Vacation Photo Generator, to help people embellish their fake vacation stories with fake vacation photos. Thanks, Michaela. This will come in handy on my 'trip' to Hawaii later this year.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 05, 2004
Comments (2)
It seems like there have been quite a few articles lately on the growth of hoax photography wrought by photoshop. Now the New York Times has chimed in with an article on the subject.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 12, 2004
Comments (0)
image This picture is going around via email. It's not really a hoax at all. Just a joke. But since it's about Southern California, I couldn't resist sharing it. Here's the text that accompanies the email:

With all the news on TV lately about the subzero weather and snow that the east coast and upstate NY areas are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that Southern California has it's share of devastating weather also. I've attached a photo illustrating the excessive damage caused to a home from a west coast storm that passed through the Los Angeles area a couple of days ago. It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!! Warning: The attached picture is quite graphic and may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 01, 2004
Comments (18)
"While photographs may not lie, liars may photograph." Paul Vallely has written a good article on the history of photographic fraud for the Independent.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 22, 2004
Comments (1)
image This is a pretty amazing picture, and it screams 'Photoshop!' After all, where in the world would planes really land that close to sunbathers on a beach? It looks like the plane is landing right on top of them. Well, the place is Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. And the airplanes really do come in that close to the beach. A collection of shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana is circulating as a powerpoint file via email. Jozee V sent the file along to me (Thanks, Jozee!). At first I couldn't believe that the shots were real, but after a little research I was convinced. The thumbnail shot was taken by the photographer Justin Cederholm. You can see more shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport here, and here, and here. And if you don't believe this is a real airport, then check out it's website. Trust me, it's real. But personally I think those people sunbathing there are crazy. It seems to me like it would be a good way to shatter your eardrums.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 20, 2004
Comments (97)
image I don't know what it is about oversized domestic cats that's so endlessly fascinating, but I've got to admit that, as the owner of a rather corpulent kitty, I'm just as intrigued by this subject as everyone else seems to be. So anyway, first there was Snowball. Then along came Munchkin. And now the latest tubby tabby to do the email rounds is Scrappy, the Super-Sized Cat. This email comes with the subject line: Why you shouldn't feed your cat table scraps. I don't know if it's real or not, but at the risk of putting my reputation as a hoax expert on the line, it kind of looks real to me.
Update: A visitor pointed out that for more tubby cats it's worth visiting tubcat.com.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 18, 2004
Comments (32)
image Now that photo of Kerry with Jane Fonda that I talked about in the previous post may have been fake, but this new photo that has just surfaced is undoubtedly real. (via Eschaton)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 17, 2004
Comments (3)
image A doctored photo of John Kerry speaking with Jane Fonda (aka 'Hanoi Jane') at a 1971 anti-war rally has been making the rounds lately and getting a lot of attention. It was almost immediately debunked as a phony. As this Newsday article describes, the original photo was taken by Ken Light. image The doctored version of it began popping up in conservative chat rooms a few weeks ago. As the political campaign heats up, I expect that many more photoshopped pictures of political candidates will surface. What I found surprising was not the picture itself, but the speed at which it was debunked.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 17, 2004
Comments (1)
image Quite a few people have received this picture in their email showing a man holding up a giant (dead) mountain lion. According to the accompanying text, the lion was shot by the man near Leon, Kansas while he was out deer hunting, though different versions of the email list different locations. Is the picture real? It is. But the accompanying text is incorrect. According to this article on Buckmasters.com, the lion was actually shot near Seattle, Washington. The picture first appeared in Fair Chase magazine, published by the Boone and Crockett Club, before it spread to email.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 06, 2004
Comments (1)
image Richard has written in with a question about the photograph (to the right) that's being sold as a print by The New York Times. It shows the sky above Portland, Oregon filled with biplanes. It was taken in 1920 by the photographer C.S. Woodruff. Richard questions whether the picture can possibly be real, and I think he's right to do so. First of all, the biplanes seem dangerously close to each other, all clustered together in a swarm. Second, by 1920 there were hundreds of biplanes and trained pilots in the U.S. But what would they have been doing all gathered together in Portland? Could one city have produced that many pilots and planes in 1920? Probably not. Finally, if you look at a larger version of the picture, it's pretty obvious that it's the same biplane pasted into the photo numerous times. In other words, this is a tall-tale photo. Such photos were all the rage in the early twentieth century. A sky filled with planes must have seemed like a fairly farfetched concept to people in 1920.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 01, 2004
Comments (3)
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