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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Science
Fictitious Patients in Cancer Study
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 23, 2006
Status: Scientific fraud A Norwegian doctor, Jon Sudbo, who published an article in the Lancet last year suggesting that aspirin could reduce the risk of oral cancer, has been accused of making up the data in his study. Specifically, he invented almost all of the 900 patients in the study (or at least half of them, by other accounts). The director of the hospital where he worked said: "he faked everything: names, diagnosis, gender, weight, age, drug use." Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, said: "What I've been told is that he sat in front of his computer and made the whole dataset up and convinced his co-authors it was genuine... It's completely inexplicable." I…
Categories: Science Comments (2)
Healing Power of Prayer Study
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 09, 2006
Status: Pseudoscience Last night ABC News had a segment about a study being funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine if prayer can help cancer patients heal faster. Or more specifically, whether a stranger's prayers can help a patient heal faster. (The people running the study have invented the bs term 'distant healing' to make what they're studying sound more legitimate.) My jaw was on the floor as I was watching this. I couldn't believe the government had been suckered into paying for it. I suppose the NIH will next be funding studies of voodoo dolls. But unfortunately, ABC didn't spend a lot of time debunking the study. In fact, if you didn't know better,…
Categories: Religion, Science Comments (30)
Supercooled Water
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 13, 2005
Status: Real On December 7th, Matt Sparks went to get some bottled water out of his garage. The temperature in the garage was below the freezing point of water, but he noticed that the water in the bottles was still liquid. However, when he moved the water, it instantly froze. He has some videos on his site showing what happened. They're pretty cool, and if you're not aware of the phenomenon of supercooled water (as I wasn't), you might think there's some kind of trickery involved. But there's not. Matt writes: These videos were recorded with a Canon Powershot S50 digital camera. They have not be altered in any way, other than to reencode…
Categories: Science Comments (34)
Top 10 Apollo Hoax Theories
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 20, 2005
In honor of the anniversary of the moon landing, Space.com has an article listing (and debunking) the top 10 Apollo Hoax Theories. Below are the top 10 points raised by those who believe the moon landing was a hoax. You'll have to read the article to get the explanation of why these points DON'T prove that the moon landing was a hoax. #10. Fluttering Flag: The American flag appears to wave in the lunar wind. #9. Glow-in-the-Dark Astronauts: If the astronauts had left the safety of the Van Allen Belt the radiation would have killed them. #8. The Shadow Knows: Multiple-angle shadows in the Moon photos prove there was more than one source…
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Science Comments (134)
The Reel in a Rock
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 10, 2005
Stop The Presses! The Creationists have disproven evolution! How? Because they found a fishing reel in a rock. The 'reel in a rock' seems to have been around for quite a while, but I've only heard of it now. What a treat I've been missing. Dan Jones says that he found this thing twenty-five years ago while trout fishing. It was lying right out in the open. It's a chunk of Phyllite rock with an old fishing reel embedded in it. It's pretty obvious that someone has drilled a few holes in order to insert the reel into the rock, but the…
Categories: Religion, Science Comments (34)
Scientists Walk of Fame
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 09, 2005
I'm a little late on this one, but better late than never. On May 4 Caltech students transformed the Hollywood Walk of Fame into the "Illustrious Scientists Walk of Fame": Students literally covered over 500 of the celebrity stars on Hollywood Blvd. with prestigious scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, David Baltimore, Richard Feynman, Madame Currie... The prank was meant to coincide with the Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp of preeminent Caltech physicist Richard P. Feynman.
Categories: Pranks, Science Comments (8)
Automatic Paper Generator
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 15, 2005
A group of MIT students wrote a computer program capable of creating "random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations." They then used this program to create a paper that they submitted to an academic conference: the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, which sounds like a thrill a minute. The paper was accepted, which isn't really surprising since as the students point out conferences such as this are really 'fake' conferences "with no quality standards, which exist only to make money." The students hope to travel down to the conference (if they're still allowed to attend) and deliver a "completely randomly-generated talk."
Mt. St. Helens at Sunrise
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 12, 2005
I got this picture in my email, sent by Edna who's wondering if it's real. It looks real to me. The picture is accompanied by the following text, which also sounds accurate to me (as a non-meteorologist): MT. St. Helens, which sits about 30 miles from Vancouver, as the crow flies, continues to spew ash, while it is forming a lava dome in the crater and still having minor tremors. In this sunrise shot, she appears to be blowing smoke rings (and anything so benign is welcomed, given recent history.) What forms the "smoke rings" is the air flowing over the mountain getting pushed up higher as it goes up and over the top. The moisture content…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places, Science Comments (34)
Hidden Messages in Water
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 06, 2005
I got an email from Enio asking me: I would like to know your opinion about Masaru Emoto's "Crystal Water Photos". First, some background. Masaru Emoto's book The Hidden Messages in Water is currently #66 in sales rank on Amazon. That means A LOT of people are buying it. Here's the blurb from the cover that pretty much explains what Masaru Emoto and his crystal water photos are all about: The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory showing how water is deeply connected to people's individual and collective consciousness. Drawing from his own research, scientific researcher, healer, and popular lecturer Dr. Masaru Emoto describes the ability of water…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Science Comments (123)
Sky Disc of Nebra
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 02, 2005
Yet another German archaeological fraud has possibly been uncovered. The Guardian reports that controversy has erupted over the authenticity of the 'Sky Disc of Nebra'. The disc, which shows the sun, moon and stars, was found in 1999 by two amateur metal detectors near the town of Nebra in Germany. It was believed to be 3600 years old. Now some experts, including Peter Schauer of Regensburg University, are claiming that it's a fake. This issue has arisen because the two guys who found it were charged with handling stolen goods after they tried to sell the disc to a museum. I don't really understand what the basis…
Categories: History, Science Comments (14)
Indian Whiz Kid Wins NASA Competition
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 24, 2005
A 15-year-old boy in India, Saurabh Singh, appears to have had everyone going with a story about how he won an international exam given by NASA to discover young scientists. The Indian media were singing his praises, and lawmakers were ready to give him money to facilitate his studies. Except that it turns out NASA gives no such exam. However, the boy is now changing his story, saying that the exam was given by Oxford University, not NASA. This all sounds strangely similar to the tale of Faye Nicole San Juan, the Filipino girl who just a few months ago claimed that she had won an International Science Quiz in Australia (the quiz didn't…
Categories: Science Comments (11)
United Nuclear
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 24, 2005
United Nuclear sells some scary stuff. Looking for some uranium? They've got it. As well as super radioactive ore. They'll ship it right to your front door. Plus, chemicals to build explosives. It all has a jokey feel to it, but the more I look at the site, the more convinced I become that it's real. I think it's a store for science hobbyists that's purposely going for the 'mad scientist' feel.
Categories: Science Comments (51)
No Life on Mars?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 21, 2005
This is the exciting news about life on Mars that the media reported on Feb. 16: A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water. The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed. This is how NASA responsed to the news two days later: NASA…
Neanderthal Hoax Exposed
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 21, 2005
A sensational archaeological hoax has been exposed in Germany. It's been revealed that Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a professor at a University in Frankfurt, has been systematically lying about the ages of skulls he found, claiming that they were far older than they actually were. In one instance he said that a skull was 21,300-years-old, although it was only 1300-years-old. As the Guardian reports: "Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago," said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. "Prof Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern…
Categories: Science Comments (41)
An Orange Inside Of An Apple
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 19, 2005
Dawn in the UK sent me this curious item that appeared in today's edition of the Daily Express. It's about an orange that shopper Patrick Hurt found inside of an apple. Mr. Hurt, 36, from Kiveton Park, South Yorks, said: "Apart from what was inside the apple looked perfectly normal. I have no idea how the orange got in there and I have never seen anything like it in my life." Greg Tucker, professor of plant biochemistry at Nottingham University, said: "The effect may have arisen through developmental mutation. It's not unheard of for flowers to become misformed. It…
Categories: Food, Science Comments (21)
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