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Category: Politics
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)
No NASCAR
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
Car and Driver's April Fool's Day hoax claiming that President Obama had ordered that Chevrolet and Dodge withdraw from NASCAR seems to have been one of the few AF hoaxes this year that actually fooled a significant number of people. [USA Today]
Categories: April Fools Day, Politics Comments (1)
Missing Women
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the rest of his new government posed for an official photo in Jerusalem on April 1. But when the photo appeared in the ultra-orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman, all the women had been digitally removed from the photo. Apparently ultra-orthodox Jews don't like the idea of women in politics and seem to believe that if they can't see them, then they don't exist. [Suomen Kuvalehti]
Bush and the Turkey
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 02, 2009
I received the following email about the photo in the Hoax Photo Database of Pres. Bush holding a "Trophy Turkey" during his 2003 Thanksgiving trip to Iraq: you claim that the turkey George Bush is holding is plastic. This urban myth has been debunked a thousand times and yet still keeps resurfacing. Even the New York Times was forced to print a retraction of this myth back in 2004... If you want to maintain a reputation for accuracy I suggest you amend the caption accordingly. The turkey was real and not plastic.…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (31)
Berlusconi’s Cuckoo Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 21, 2008
I swear this is a real news story. It's not from The Onion: Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant Italian Prime Minister, played a practical joke on the German Chancellor today by jumping out at her from behind a lamppost when they met for an Italo-German summit in Trieste. Slipping away from the welcoming committee, the Italian leader hid behind the lamppost and emerged with a cry of "Cucu!" when Angela Merkel stepped out of her official car to enter the regional council headquarters where they were to meet. Reports said the German leader, who appeared amused, opened her arms and…
Categories: Politics, Pranks Comments (7)
Fictitious McCain Adviser Exposed
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Martin Eisenstadt, who describes himself as a former campaign adviser to John McCain and a Senior Fellow of the Harding Institute, has been in the news a lot lately. First it was for outing himself as the guy who leaked the story about Palin not knowing Africa was a continent. Now it's for being non-existent. The NY Times has the details. Turns out that Eisenstadt is a fictitious character created by two filmmakers, Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish. Media outlets fooled: MSNBC, The New Republic, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Additional details at the Huffington Post.
Ahmadinejad’s Wife
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 11, 2008
This photograph, which supposedly shows Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his wife, has been circulating online for a few months. It's often linked to with teasing, tongue-in-cheek phrases such as "Ahmadinejad's wife is a hottie!" or "Ahmadinejad's wife is hotter than Palin!" But is the image real? Is that really his wife? If so, why and when did Ahmadinejad pose for the photo? It hasn't been easy to find any answers to these questions. One source claims the image came from the German magazine Bild, though I can't find any confirmation of this. Instead, I think the source might have been the
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (17)
Kim Jong-Il’s Shadow
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 07, 2008
A recently released photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was supposed to prove that he's alive and well. Instead, it's raising even more suspicions about his health because the photo seems to be doctored. As the Times Online notes: While the legs of his soldiers cast a shadow at a sharp angle, the shadow of the “Dear Leader” is dead straight. In addition, there is a black line running horizontally behind the soldiers’ legs, but it mysteriously disappears behind Mr Kim. The lack of the black line behind Kim Jong-Il is what confuses me. Why would it…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (19)
Satirical Candidates
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 16, 2008
I just finished writing a list of the Top 20 Satirical Candidates of All Time, which I've now added to the site. It seemed an appropriate time for it. I chose "Nobody" as the #1 satirical candidate. I thought it was an obvious choice. After all, how can Anyone top Nobody? But also on the list are the foot powder that won an election, Pat Paulsen, Stephen Colbert, Vermin Supreme, etc. What the list doesn't cover is mock political parties. The focus is entirely on candidates.
Categories: Politics Comments (19)
Piper Palin gives one-finger salute
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 06, 2008
A picture (top) has been doing the rounds showing Piper Palin, Gov. Palin's six-year-old daughter, apparently giving a boy the finger. Yes, it's a hoax. In the original (bottom), which can be found on the Alaska state website, it's clear that Piper has two fingers raised.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (84)
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