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|•||Authorities are leaning more toward zero tolerance of teenagers 05/06/2013|
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|•||UFOs now available in blue and yellow 05/01/2013|
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Status: RealThis looks like a painting, or a picture of toy houses, but apparently it's neither. These are real houses. The picture was taken by a Mexican helicopter pilot. (
Status: RealThese photos show rooms painted in such a way that, if you stand in the correct place, a pattern will appear. Despite looking photoshopped, they are real. The painted rooms are the creations of artist Felice Varini. On his website you can find more examples of his art if you search around long enough (and struggle through the incredibly bad navigation). Varini writes:
The painted form achieves its coherence when the viewer stands at the vantage point. When he* moves out of it, the work meets with space generating infinite vantage points on the form. It is not therefore through this original vantage point that I see the work achieved; it takes place in the set of vantage points the viewer can have on it. If I establish a particular relation to architectural features that influence the installation shape, my work still preserves its independence whatever architectural spaces I encounter. I start from an actual situation to construct my painting. Reality is never altered, erased or modified, it interests and seduces me in all its complexity. I work "here and now".
I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but the illusions are pretty cool. (Thanks to Eric Kimlinger for sending me a link to the photos.)
Status: UndeterminedThe Register has found what appears to be a flying car, captured by the satellite imagery of Google Earth. It's definitely either a flying car, a car parked alongside a dark-looking patch on the ground, a car-shaped object floating in the air... or maybe a UFO! The Register provides some screenshots of the object, but unfortunately no direct link. (Google Maps doesn't cover Australia, so you'll need the Google Earth program to see it). The mysterious object is located at Pt. Walter in Perth, Australia.
Status: urban legendsThe Auburn Plainsman (student paper of Auburn University) has a short article about campus urban legends. The ones they list are:
Endowment from old lady bans sorority houses: This UL seems to exist on every college campus that doesn't have sorority houses. It states that some rich old woman left a large sum of money to the college on the condition that they ban sorority houses, because she considered them to be brothels. The more likely reality, among those schools that have sororities but no sorority houses, is that women used to be required to live on campus. Once that rule was lifted, it was cheaper for sorority members to live on campus in dorms, so the houses were never built.
If you get hit by a campus bus the school will give you free tuition: Unlikely, but if you're lucky, maybe an insurance payout would cover the cost of tuition.
Students whose roommates commit suicide receive automatic straight A’s: A guy in my college class committed suicide. His roommate didn't get automatic straight A's. I don't think anyone ever has.
"Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, in the clear": Repeated at every campus party, though it has no basis in fact. The corollary to this UL is that if you sip beer through a straw, you'll get drunk quicker. This one I'm not sure about.
And a few that they left out:
The Sinking library: every campus has a library that's supposedly sinking, because the engineer who designed it forgot to include the weight of the books.
The ten-minute rule: If the professor hasn't shown up in the classroom within ten minutes of the start of the class, everyone gets to leave. I don't think this is official policy anywhere.
Status: UndeterminedWhat is the meaning of a two-mile line of paint that stretches through central London? No one knows who put it there or why. The BBC reports:
It begins on the pavement at a bus stop in Euston and only stops for roads, starting again on the pavement on the other side... Camden Council, Transport for London and electricity suppliers say they did not put it there. Theories include it being a drunken prank or street art.
Maybe it's a message from aliens. But seriously, how could someone paint a two-mile line of paint through a major city without anyone noticing who did it?
Status: A piece of hoax history for saleThe Bristol Evening Post reports that the house adjacent to what is believed to be Princess Caraboo's grave in Bristol is up for sale. The asking price is a fairly reasonable £299,950 (about $530,000). (I reported back in 2003 that the gravesite was in danger of being paved over to make a parking lot, but I guess that threat was averted.) I can't find the Bristol Evening Post article online, but here's the property listing. (From the date of the listing, it looks like it's been on the market for a while.) If I had the money, I would seriously think about buying it. I figure it would be a great place for a real Museum of Hoaxes. Plus, it would be close to my wife's family in Gloucester. Unfortunately I don't happen to have a spare half-million in my bank account at the moment. So much for that idea.
Status: FictionOlivia Bruce emailed me to ask: Where is this place...or does it just not exist? I'd be hard-pressed to say where exactly Maddocha is. (Its official website simply says that Maddocha was "a wide-open space that was discovered and then occupied by John Madly and his family.") So I'm going to go with option B. It just doesn't exist. A quick google search reveals that Maddocha seems to be the creation of Deartra D. Boone.
Status: FakeMaybe some city really did sponsor the urban art project depicted below. But I doubt it. It definitely looks photoshopped to me. There must be an original David-free version of this picture floating around somewhere.
Update: The fountain is real. It's the Crown Fountain designed by artist Jaume Plensa in Chicago's Millennium Park. But the image of David is fake. The Millennium Park website explains:
The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out. Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through a water outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa's tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents.
In other words, it would be possible to project an image of Michelangelo's David onto the tower, but it doesn't sound as if this has ever been done.
Update: This image comes from a Fark photoshop contest. It was created by a Farker named gigglechick.
Status: RealI know of many high schools named after Washington, Lincoln, or other famous characters from U.S. history, but as far as I'm aware, there's only one Big Foot High School. It's located in Walworth, Wisconsin. However, it's not named after the Bigfoot monster. Instead, it's named after an Indian Chief:
Big Foot Union High School is named after the Potawatomi Indian Chief Big Foot who lived along the banks of Geneva Lake until his tribe was relocated by the United States government in 1836. In fact, Geneva Lake was originally known as Big Foot Lake until a New York surveyor, John Brink, renamed it.
I can't find any reference to the Bigfoot monster on the school's website. I'm betting they try to downplay that connection. Still, it would be pretty cool to tell people you go to Bigfoot High.
Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public.
As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption:
In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't a hotel at all. IT IS A HOUSE! It's owned by the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu-Dhabi.
Enraged, he made a slide presentation out of the pictures and showed them to the planning commission, as part of his effort to get them to approve construction of an ethanol plant. His point was that they should promote local energy projects, to prevent all the city's money going to greedy, oil-rich sheiks. He told them: "This is the type of thing being done with your petro dollars that I want to re-patriate. Keep in mind the gentleman has more than 20 wives. This is one of 70 baths. Some are bigger than my house. This is his little swimming pool. These are his cars."
Of course, the pictures don't show a sheik's palace. In reality they show a fancy hotel in Abu Dhabi called the Emirates Palace. All the stuff about 20 wives is bogus too. If Love had bothered to do any research, he would have found this out. He probably could also have found some real pictures of a sheik's palace, which would have been a more effective way of making his point. Incidentally, my other house (the one in my daydreams) looks just like the one in the pictures.
Status: Urban legendsThe blog of Mari Kanazawa has an interesting post about Japanese urban legends. Here are some of the highlights:
Turbo Gramma: When you drive on the highway at a blistering speed gramma knocks on the car window. If you see her, you will have a car accident. Someone made a turbo gramma game.
Touch the Red G-String: The delivery company trade mark of Sagawa is "Hikyaku", a traditional Japanese postman. Hikyaku wore a traditional red Japanese g-string Fundoshi! The legend was 'if you touch a red g-string on a sagawa truck, you will have good fortune, if you could touch it on a moving truck, the fortune would be bigger, and faster was better.' As far as I checked this story on the internet, many people wrote that they had tried touching it. I heard sagawa had to change their trade mark red g-string to red pants. ha ha ha
The Skylark Bellybutton: Skylark is a chain restaurant that we can find anywhere in Japan. The trade mark of the restaurant is a bird that has a bellybutton. The legend is if you can find one without a bellybutton, you can eat food free in the restaurant.
Hanako san in Toilet: There were many variation of the story but the basic one is very simple. It happens in a toilet at school: You knock three times on the toilet door, and say "Hanako san?" and you can hear someone reply "ha----i" quietly somewhere from empty toilet room. Because of this Hanako san boom, many kids could not go to toilet alone in those days. This Hanako san story was arranged and made into 4 movies.
Status: RealMy wife emailed me this image, wondering if it was real. Yes, it's real. I think it's been circulating around for a while. It's one of those once-in-a-blue-moon kind of emails in which all the information is actually correct:
New Grand Canyon Sky walk
* Scheduled to open Jan. 1, 2006 Hualapai Indian Reservation
* Juts about 70 feet into the canyon, 4000 ft above the Colorado River
* Will accommodate 120 people comfortably
* Built with more than a million pounds of steel beams, and includes dampeners that minimize the structure's vibration.
* Designed to hold 72 million pounds, withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake 50 miles away, and withstand winds in excess of 100 mph
* The walkway has a glass bottom and sides...four inches thick
A hi-res version of the image (which is a drawing, not a photograph) can be found at destinationgrandcanyon.com. I'm not sure I could go on this skywalk. I don't consider myself afraid of heights, but the last time I was at the Grand Canyon I had a lot of trouble getting too close to the edge without feeling sick to my stomach.