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Some guy named Bill Veall claims to have discovered the world's largest rock sculpture. It's somewhere in the Peruvian Andean mountains, and it's in the shape of a "sacred lamb". He says he found it by using satellite imaging techniques to search for ancient shapes and formations. I guess that rules out any possibility he's just seeing what he wants to see. (sarcasm)



From Sky News: "Mr Veall, who studies the relationships between astronomy and archaeological monuments, has faced a series of doubters who claim he doctored the images to create an elaborate hoax."

Big red flag indicating the skeptics may be right: Veall won't release the coordinates of the site. He says, "If I gave you the co-ordinates of the site, a million people would find it immediately... But we want to secure and preserve the site until we can get a scientific team to have a look at it."
Categories: Art, History, Places
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 09, 2008
Comments (25)
Visitors to New York's Coney Island amusement park now have the opportunity to try the "Waterboard Thrill Ride." As the sign outside proclaims, "It don't Gitmo better!" According to Reuters:

A man with a black hood pours water on the face of a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit strapped to a table... The scene using robotic dolls is an installation built by artist Steve Powers to criticize waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique the United States has admitted using on terrorism suspects, but that rights group say is torture...
The public can peek through window bars and feed a dollar into the slot to bring the robotic dolls into action.

It reminds me of the Abu Ghraib Prison Fantasy Camp, which was the creation of our very own Cranky Media Guy.

More broadly, it fits into the theme of Reality Tourism, other examples of which that I've posted about in the past include the "Khmer Rouge Experience Cafe" in Cambodia that served customers the watery gruel that people ate in the Killing Fields.

There's also "Communism: The Theme Park": An amusement park planned for outside Berlin where people could experience life under communism. As well as a nazi command post in Poland that was turned into a theme resort.

And last but not least: Croatian Club Med, where tourists who wanted to experience life in a hard-labor camp were issued convict uniforms and given the opportunity to pound large stones with a sledgehammer and haul the pieces on their back to quarries around the prison.
Categories: Art, Hate Crimes/Terror, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 08, 2008
Comments (4)
Now that the Dutch have banned smoking in bars, bar patrons have realized they can smell each other, and they don't like it. So a Dutch company, Rain Showtechniek, has created a machine that will create a fake tobacco smell. From The Telegraph:

"There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer," said Erwin van den Bergh, a spokesman for the company...
Unlike the real thing, the artificial tobacco smells do not have any health risks and does not linger in the hair or clothing of bar customers.

This might really be necessary, since I've noticed that deodorant seems to be less popular in Europe than it is in America.
Categories: Places, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 15, 2008
Comments (10)
The Brazilian government released some dramatic pictures of one of South America's last remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes. It says it took the pictures to prove that the tribe existed, because there apparently were some people who doubted this.

When I saw the pictures, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Stone Age Tasaday from the Philippines. The Tasaday were a tribe that was discovered in 1971. Unlike the Brazilian tribe (who are seen shooting arrows at the helicopter taking their picture), the Tasaday were entirely non-violent. They were often called the "Gentle Tasaday." In fact, it was said that they didn't even have a word in their language for "enemy" or "conflict".

But the Tasaday were outed as a hoax in 1986. It was alleged they were actually local farmers who had been paid by the Marcos government to dress up as a Stone Age tribe. Recently, however, the tribe's reputation has been rehabilitated. The consensus among academics now seems to be that the Tasaday were, in most respects, a "real" tribe living in Stone-Age-like conditions.

The problem with calling any tribe "uncontacted" is how you define contact. I doubt there's any tribe in the world that is truly isolated. There's usually some kind of contact (trade, intermarriage, etc.) with neighboring tribes, and so bits and pieces of the modern world find their way to the tribe.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri May 30, 2008
Comments (14)
The image to the right is available for purchase on webshots.com. The photographer is listed as Adam Jones. It's titled "Grand Teton and Wildflowers, Wyoming."

The image has become quite popular and has slowly been circulating around the internet. One person on the webshots message board writes:

What a wonderful blend of colours and God’s creation. At the present time I live in Beijing and in the smog I often look at this picture and remember how beautiful the world can be.

But the image has met with skepticism from professional photographers. Ralph Nordstrom of ralphnordstromphotography.com writes in his blog:

This photograph is not possible. First of all, I have photographed at this same location in the Tetons. It’s the famous Ox Bow bend in the river and I can vouch for the fact that there are no wildflowers growing anywhere around there, especially in such profusion. Second, the ‘wildflowers’ presented here are anything but wildflowers. Rather, they are a photograph from a lush domestic garden superimposed on the otherwise beautiful photograph of Mt. Moran and the river.

It's a bit sad to think of that guy in smoggy Beijing staring longingly every day at a fake photo. (via How could I be so dumb)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu May 22, 2008
Comments (14)
A chimney is all that remains of the cabin that used to be the home of the manager of the Forest Service tree nursery in Pike Forest. It's considered a historically significant remain. That didn't stop pranksters from refashioning it, with the help of some paint, into a monument to SpongeBob Squarepants. From gazette.com:

Some people might find humor in a 10-foot tall likeness of the cartoon character SpongeBob Square-Pants painted onto a crumbling chimney in the middle of the woods. U.S. Forest Service officials certainly don't.
"I didn't chuckle," said Al Kane, a Forest Service archaeologist. "I kind of started crying." ...
As for solving the SpongeBob mystery, officials have no leads. Someone took a long time doing it and had the foresight to bring four colors of paint, officials said. It's a short walk from the nearest road. Asked if he had any suspicions about the kind of person who would paint a giant SpongeBob here, Healy said, "I don't know enough about them to know.
"Apparently they are SpongeBob fanatics."
Categories: Places, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed May 21, 2008
Comments (11)
This looks like it would be a great place to visit.



It's Cinque Terre in Italy. Unfortunately, it's not quite so colorful in real life. (via City Comforts)

Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed May 07, 2008
Comments (6)
Pictures have been circulating showing an expanded observation deck that is supposedly going to be added to the Eiffel Tower, transforming it into something resembling a giant mushroom. An article in the Guardian stated:

Serero Architects of Paris has won the competition to redesign the structure's public viewing platform and reception areas. The winning design (above), which will be 276 metres (905ft) above the ground, will not require any permanent modification of the existing structure. It will double the capacity of the public viewing area on the tower's top floor...
The design is already causing controversy, with critics questioning the wisdom of tinkering with the famous silhouette and spending money on upgrading a tourist attraction which attracts 6.9 million visitors a year.

But it turns out that the Eiffel Tower is not going to have an expanded observation deck, nor did Serero Archictects win a competition to redesign it. The Eiffel Tower management company has completely disavowed such a project, saying, "This is a hoax. We have no idea where this came from. The whole thing is preposterous." Meanwhile, Serero has posted an explanatory note on its website:

Our project for a the temporary extension of the Eiffel tower is an unsolicited proposal to the Eiffel Tower management company. We are confirming that the SETE did not organized a competition on this topic, in contrary with what was announced in the press. This project has been a victim of disinformation ( notably by the article published in The Guardian) which contributed to discredit our proposal. Many blogs and daily newspapers did present wrongly the project as the winner of a competition organized and approved by the Société d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 04, 2008
Comments (4)
A few weeks ago a story was going around about a street in London where the lampposts had been padded in order to protect text-messaging pedestrians. Neo posted about it in the forum. The story sounded pretty ridiculous, and sure enough it turns out to have been a publicity-stunt hoax. The padding was placed on the lampposts by a pr firm, and it was only there for a day and a half. The Press Gazette reports:

Journalists across the world reported that Britain’s first “safe text” street had been created via the creation of a pilot scheme which could be extended across the country. But locals in Tower Hamlets have said that the padding – put in place by a PR firm working for directory company 118188 – were only on a few lampposts and only there for a day and a half.
Data from a study of more than 1,000 people for 118118 and charity Living Streets was used to claim that 6.5 million people in Britain were injured while sending messages in the last year. And in separate research – based on the amount of complaints the charity had received in the past year – Brick Lane was labelled as the most dangerous street in the country for texting.
The phone directory company said in a press release, written by PR firm Resonate, that “safe text” rubber pads, similar to ones used on rugby posts, were being put on lampposts in the street to minimise harm. It claimed the “trailblazing” scheme would be monitored before it was decided whether to expand it to other parts of the country.

I have to admit, I accepted it as real news when I first saw the story. I should have known better.
Categories: Places, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 18, 2008
Comments (4)
In 2006 I posted about the road of non-starting cars in the town of Gosport, England. An unknown force on this road was preventing cars from starting. I don't know if Gosport ever solved its problem, but it seems that the neighborhood around the Empire State Building in New York City is experiencing the same issue.

The New York Daily News reports:

In the shadow of the Empire State Building lies an “automotive Bermuda Triangle” - a five-block radius where vehicles mysteriously die. No one is sure what’s causing it, but all roads appear to lead to the looming giant in our midst - specifically, its Art Deco mast and 203-foot-long, antenna-laden spire...

The Empire State Building Co., which refused to provide the Daily News a list of its antennas, denied it has created any “adverse impact” on automobiles.
“If the claim were indeed true, the streets in the vicinity of the building would be constantly littered with disabled vehicles,” the building’s owner said.
According to many doormen in the area, they often are.

I said it back in 2006, and I'll say it again. Problems like these are obviously the result of inner-earth dwellers and their infernal electromagnetic pulse machines. When will people wise up?
Categories: Places, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 29, 2008
Comments (11)
The Unrecognised States Numismatic Society (USNS) describes itself as a "group catering to numismatists whose collecting interests largely focus on coins minted by groups purporting, pretending or appearing to be sovereign states, but which are not recognised as such by established governments."

They've got examples of coins from a bunch of unrecognized nations, including the Principality of Sealand, Atlantis, the Confederation of Antarctica, and the Dominion of West Florida, which apparently is "an internet-based micronation created on 29 November, 2005... founded on an eccentric interpretation of actual historic events." The Dominion has a website!

My favorite coin is that of the Ultimate State of Tædivm (the thumbnail image).
Categories: Business/Finance, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2008
Comments (3)
Elliot has posted five new articles in the hoaxipedia. His theme was fictitious countries. Or rather, countries of an ambiguous legal status.

The Principality of New Utopia
An island "country" in the Caribbean established in 1999 by Oklahoma businessman Howard Turney, who prefers to be known as HSH Prince Lazarus.

The Dominion of Melchizedek
A South Pacific island country, that happens to be entirely underwater. It was founded in 1987 by California father and son Evan and Mark Pedley.

The Kingdom of Redonda
A tiny uninhabited island near the Caribbean island of Montserrat that the British science-fiction author M.P. Shiel claimed as his kingdom.

Principality of Outer Baldonia
A tiny island off the coast of Nova Scotia that Washington lawyer Russell Arundel claimed, in 1950, to be his principality.

Principality of Sealand
Billed as the world's smallest country, it's actually an anti-aircraft installation in the North Sea that was abandoned by the British in 1956 and subsequently occupied by pirate radio stations.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 10, 2008
Comments (14)
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