The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
HOME   |   ABOUT   |   FORUM   |   CONTACT   |   FACEBOOK   |   RSS
The Top 100
April Fool Hoaxes
Of All Time
April Fool Archive
April fools throughout history
Hoax Photo
Archive

Weblog Category
Science
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 Statement on False Claim of Evidence of Life on Mars
News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect. NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.


Pity. Though, of course, it's probably all just a cover-up. wink
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (21)
image 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 humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish."

Apparently Prof. Protsch began his career as a forger when he returned from studying in America decades ago and discovered that he was unable to work a carbon-dating machine. So he just started making up the ages of things.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (41)
image 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 is caused by mutations in some key genes. It is conceivable that a similar mutation occurred in this fruit."

Now I could understand if the interior of the apple was simply deformed so that it resembled an orange. That might be developmental mutation. But an actual orange spontaneously growing inside of an apple due to a gene mutation doesn't seem believable. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view of the scanned article.
Categories: Food, Science
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 19, 2005
Comments (21)
At first I thought this might be a bit of geological humor. But no. It appears to be quite serious and quite real. It's a mineral named Cummingtonite. So named because it's found in Cummington, Massachusetts. For those interested, its cleavage is good in two directions at 56 and 124 degree angles. Its hardness is 5-6. (via Snark Hunting)
Categories: Science, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 15, 2005
Comments (8)
Here's another example of why Ananova is so widely known as a credible source for news. The title of this latest journalistic gem: Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years. The article describes Fyodor Nesterchuk who just stays up reading while everybody else sleeps. The local doctor claims he has "examined Nesterchuk extensively" and can't find anything wrong with him, except for the fact that the guy never sleeps. Although I don't believe for a second that this guy has really gone for twenty years without even taking a nap, I have read articles speculating that in the future scientists might be able to eliminate, at a genetic level, our need for sleep. There's an interesting science-fiction novel, Beggars in Spain, that explores this concept.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2005
Comments (29)
image Wayne Pryde believes that he has taken the first photograph ever to capture the image of a meteorite striking the earth. He was taking pictures of clouds when he happened to get this photograph of what might be a grain-of-sand-sized meteorite hitting the Earth. But meteor experts aren't so sure. They're not yet crying hoax (Mr. Pryde swears that he hasn't digitally altered the photo), but they don't think the photo shows a meteor impact. However, they have no idea what else it might be. The Astronomy Picture of the Day site has put up a hi-res version of the image and is asking for help from the internet community. Maybe somebody online can figure out what this thing is.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Science
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 08, 2004
Comments (15)
image Genetiate is a biotech company working on that one thing the world has been crying out for: glow-in-the-dark deer. It's such a bizarre project, that it screams hoax. The amateur quality of its website reinforces this impression. But I think it's real. Genetiate is a division of Geneticas Life Sciences. Those are the same people who, through yet another division, are creating the hypoallergenic cats. But why create a glow-in-the-dark deer? So that it will more easily be seen by motorists. The site gives this explanation:
"By implanting the gene of a special jellyfish into deer, the transgenic NIGHTSAVE deer produced by GENETIATE (patent pending) have fluorescing hair and skin when illuminated by car headlights. The implanted gene has no other effect on the deer, who appear normal in daylight." The illogical thing about this is that even if they create a couple of these special deer (or even if they create thousands of them), that's hardly going to have an effect on the wild deer population as a whole, who will still be just as invisible to motorists.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (20)
Can Coca-Cola work as an insecticide? Indian farmers seem to think so. The Guardian reports that many of them have taken to spraying their cotton and chilli fields with the soft drink. The article quotes an agricultural analyst who suggests that this might actually work because the sugar in the drink would "attract red ants to feed on insect larvae". But a Coca-Cola spokesman dismisses the entire story as an urban legend: "We are aware of one isolated case where a farmer may have used a soft drink as part of his crop management routine. Soft drinks do not act in a similar way to pesticides when applied to the ground or crops. There is no scientific basis for this and the use of soft drinks for this purpose would be totally ineffective". I'm not enough of a plant expert to judge on whether Coke would work as an insecticide, though it does seem to me like the sugar could actually attract flies (but what do I know?). Plus, I'm not one to criticize the Indian farmers since I regularly throw banana peels around the flowers in my yard in the (perhaps illogical) belief that the peels will somehow keep aphids away.
Categories: Food, Science, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 03, 2004
Comments (13)
I've been getting a lot of emails about Allerca, the company that claims it will start selling genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats in 2007. It may be that they never manage to do what they claim they will do. Or at least, they never manage to do it in commercially viable quantities. But I'm pretty sure they're very serious about trying to do it. But I think they should lower the price a bit. At $3500 a pop, these cats are only going to be for the very rich, considering that you can pick up a cat for free at the pound, and as they themselves admit, female cats are far less allergenic than male cats anyway.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 28, 2004
Comments (15)
Not being very mathematically inclined, these had me puzzled for a while. The first proof shows that 64=65. It's quite convincing, until you actually get graph paper out (like I did) and try to do it yourself. Then you'll discover that the parts don't match up as nicely as they do in the animation.

A more complicated fake proof can be found here, where 1 is shown to equal 2. I started to go glassy-eyed when I began to analyze the equation, so I quickly broke down and peeked at the answer explaining why the proof is wrong. (via Metafilter)
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 18, 2004
Comments (6)
image What caused the Tunguska Event, that massive, nuclear-bomb-strength blast that occurred in Siberia in 1908? A meteorite, is the standard answer. But a few days ago Russian researcher Yuri Lavbin claimed to have discovered "blocks of an extraterrestrial technical device" in the Tunguska area. Lavbin's theory is that a meteorite was headed for the earth, but it was blasted apart by an alien spaceship, thus causing the massive explosion. Why aliens blasting something out of the sky caused an alien technical device to fall to the ground isn't clear to me.

Lavbin announced this discovery in Pravda (which is kind of like announcing a major scientific discovery in the National Enquirer). He's transported a piece of this alien device to the city of Krasnoyarsk, though, of course, he hasn't yet allowed the general scientific community to view the thing.

So did he really find a piece of an alien ship? Or has he mistaken a piece of Cold-War-era space debris for an alien ship, as some are speculating? Or has he engineered a massive hoax? As is usually the case, time and scientific access to this 'extraterrestrial technical device' should provide the answer. In the meantime, here's a poll so that you can vote on what you think he's found:
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Science
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 13, 2004
Comments (7)
image If you've studied any biology at all, then you probably believe that DNA is a two-stranded molecule shaped like a double helix. How foolish you are! Toby Alexander has revealed that DNA is actually a 12-stranded molecule. There are two visible strands, and then 10 'etheric' strands. Toby laments that scientists have never learned about the 10 other strands because scientists "have to rely on physical observations and can only validate things that they can see with their eyes and microscopes." Ah, yes. Those silly old scientists relying only on their eyes and microscopes. But Toby, armed with a B.S. in Computer Science (and a natural flair for B.S. in general), has cast aside these limitations and pioneered a whole new field of scientific discovery. He's found a way to activate this etheric DNA, thereby allowing paying clients to get exciting results such as thicker hair growth and the disappearance of varicose veins. Toby has a lot more to say about DNA, the history of the human race, and how to telepathically control the stock market, but most of it, unfortunately, is way above my head. (via Archana in the Hoax Forum)
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 29, 2004
Comments (24)
Page 8 of 11 pages ‹ First  < 6 7 8 9 10 >  Last ›