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Category: Politics
The Navalny Affair
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2012
Supporters of Vladimir Putin have been caught in a flat-footed attempt at character assassination. Wanting to smear blogger Alexei Navalny, who's been a fierce critic of Putin's government, they created a picture showing Navalny meeting with the exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky. The implication was that Berezovsky was funding Navalny. Then Putin's supporters published the picture in one of the party newspapers. But the picture was a clumsy fake. The original, undoctored version of the photo soon emerged, as well as numerous parody versions. Links: BBC, Daily Mail. The doctored versionThe original version Some newspapers are commenting that the stunt recalls how Soviet authorities routinely…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (2)
Dobrica Cosic Doesn’t Win the Nobel Prize
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 06, 2011
Serbian media reported Thursday that one of their own countrymen, writer Dobrica Cosic, had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, he hadn't. Soon after, the Swedish Academy announced the real winner: Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer. The Serbian media reported Cosic as the winner because they had all received an email, seeming to come from the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, announcing Cosic as the winner. The email linked to a website, nobelprizeliterature.org, that seemed to confirm Cosic as the winner. However, both the email and the site were fakes. (link) Apparently Cosic is a strong Serbian nationalist. The Economist describes him as, "the intellectual godfather of the…
$16 Muffins
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 06, 2011
The legend of Out-Of-Control Government Expenditures is alive and well. Back in the 1980s, reports of the US government paying $400 for a hammer and $600 for a toilet sparked outrage. And now, late last month, came the news that the Justice Department had paid $16 a piece for muffins at a 2009 conference. But just as the hammer and toilet weren't really as expensive as they seemed, it turns out that the price of the muffins was an artifact of accounting. The $16 included the entire continental breakfast, service, and taxes. Of course, while the government may not be paying premium price for muffins, those bailouts to the bankers did seem a little steep.
Disappearing Political Cleavage
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2011
Usually when politicians become the victims of photo retouchers it's because they've become undesirable to someone in power, and so they're summarily removed from the photo. It's far less common for their images to be retouched in order to desexualize them. This is usually the fate of actresses and models. But this is what happened recently to Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a young Canadian MP. Her cleavage was erased from the image of her that appears on the House of Commons website. The National Post reports: Mark Austin of Old Barns, N.S., discovered the discrepancy this week and passed it to the blog contrarian.ca. He…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (2)
Obama vs. Perry: “Boys Will Be Boys”
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 30, 2011
Status: Real Photos, False Captions The political dirty tricks season is upon us again, and so we get the image above, which has recently been circulating around conservative blogs. (Thanks to Gayl for forwarding it to me.) Its intent is obvious: to show that Rick Perry was serious and heroic as a young man, whereas Barack Obama was a bit of a punk. The pictures themselves are real. The picture of Obama was taken in 1980 by Lisa Jack when both were freshmen at Occidental College in L.A. The picture of Rick Perry is undated, but must have been taken sometime between 1972 and 1977,…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (3)
The Yes Men Strike Again
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 15, 2009
Through a series of fake press releases and websites, the Yes Men briefly made it appear as if Canada had pledged to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40%. From the Globe and Mail: Canada's "Agenda 2020" set a goal of a 40-per-cent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. It was a dramatic change from the current goal of 3 per cent. It also created a new fund, for which Canada pledged a whopping $13-billion next year, to help developing nations deal with climate change. "We believe all people will benefit from an equitable climate deal…
Categories: Politics Comments (2)
GOP URL Shortener put to unintended use
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 15, 2009
Yesterday the GOP debuted its own URL shortener. Wired.com describes the results: Almost immediately after it launched yesterday, pranksters began using the service to link to controversial or ironically-intended websites such as the official site of the American Communist Party, a bondage website and a webpage advertising a sex toy in the likeness of Barack Obama. GOP.am started blocking such links apparently at some point Tuesday morning, and the GOP.am homepage is now offline. Possibly the first branded URL shortener (Google also launched its own URL shortener yesterday afternoon), GOP.am was designed by the R.N.C.’s new…
Categories: Politics, Pranks, Websites Comments (1)
Where was Sarkozy on November 9, 1989?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 10, 2009
He claims he was at the Berlin Wall, helping to knock it down. He even posted a picture of himself there on his Facebook page. But skeptics are saying he couldn't have been there at that time. It may be a case of political "false memory syndrome," like Reagan swearing he was present at the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, even though he never was sent to Europe during the war. From the Daily Mail: In 1989, Sarkozy was 34 and a top official in France's conservative RPR party. As such,…
Categories: Politics Comments (5)
Fake Wilson Campaign Ad
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 06, 2009
This sounds like it might be a case of "black propaganda": Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Thursday condemned a fake campaign ad circulating under his name that implies President Barack Obama is a communist... The 30-second ad begins with a clip of President Barack Obama's speech to students on the first day of school this year. Red-colored text scrolls across the screen that says "Community Activist," a message that morphs into "Communist Activity." The image then changes from Obama to clips of Red Army parades featuring infantrymen, tanks, and rockets... The end of the ad…
Categories: Politics Comments (1)
Stalin, black orchids, and Eva Peron
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 21, 2009
Lorena writes to ask: You seem to know a lot about hoaxes so....I am doing some research, and I was asked if the story about Stalin sending black orchids to Eva Peron's funeral are a hoax. Problem is, I can't even find stories about it at all. Have you ever heard this? I'm flattered Lorena thinks I might be knowledgeable enough to have the answer to this, but unfortunately I've never heard the story before and can't find any references to it. In a July 28, 1952 Associated Press article, "Mile-Long Lines View Remains," I found…
Categories: Politics, Science Comments (8)
Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 04, 2009
The Birther movement has progressed from claiming that other people are involved in an elaborate hoax, to promoting a hoax of its own. The leader of the Birthers, Orly Taitz, has produced what she claims is a birth certificate proving that Obama was born in Kenya. Debunking of the document has already begun. For instance, skeptics note that "Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months." Also, the name of the registrar listed on the document is "E.F. Lavender." Maybe this is someone's real name, but it also seems to be…
Categories: Politics Comments (31)
Astrologer arrested for making prediction
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jun 27, 2009
The Sri Lankan government recently arrested the astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara. Unfortunately, it wasn't because he was peddling pseudoscience, but because his predictions had political implications they didn't like. He had foreseen that a planetary change on October 8 would be inauspicious for the government, and that it wouldn't be able to contain rising living costs. [BBC]
Categories: Future/Time, Politics Comments (4)
More news from Iran
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 22, 2009
Catching up on all the stuff coming out of Iran in the wake of the election: The Minister's Secret Letter Photocopies of a letter allegedly from the Iranian minister of interior to Iran's Supreme Leader have been circulating throughout Iran. The letter discusses "your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president," and states "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results." Supposedly, the actual results show that Ahmadinejad lost badly, getting only 5,698,417 votes, compared with 19,075,623 for Mousavi and 13,387,104 for Karroubi. Assuming the election was fraudulent, this letter still doesn't seem plausible. Why would an official openly admit in a letter that the election was fixed?…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (2)
Suspicious Number Counts in Iran’s Election
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 22, 2009
Cognitive psychologists have found that people have trouble inventing truly random numbers. Invariably their numbers will have more of some digits than others. Armed with this observation, a couple of political scientists examined the numbers from Iran's election and found that they aren't random. They found too many 7s and not enough 5s in the last digit. Also, people have a tendency to prefer adjacent digits when creating strings of numbers (i.e. they prefer 123 to 926). Sure enough, the election figures from Iran contain a suspiciously high percentage of adjacent digits. Washington Post
Categories: Politics Comments (0)
Lil’ Kim for Mayor
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 13, 2009
Someone circulated a bogus press release claiming that rap star Lil' Kim was running for mayor of Hoboken. Local media in New York duly reported it as fact. But in a world where Ronald Reagan became president and Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California, I can understand why they took it seriously. [NY Daily News]
Categories: Celebrities, Music, Politics Comments (0)
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