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A video recently uploaded to YouTube claims to document the living arrangements of "Dave," an artist who supposedly lives inside the Astor Place Cube in New York City. It doesn't take a lot of critical thinking skills to realize this is a joke. (The cube, in reality, is welded shut.) But it's an amusing concept.

The video is a viral marketing stunt for a site called Whil.com, which is mentioned at the end of the video. Honestly, I'm not sure what whil.com does. They claim to be "a brand about nothing" and encourage meditation. Whil was created by the guy who founded the Lululemon clothes company. So maybe it's all a roundabout way of promoting Lululemon.

Categories: Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 03, 2013
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As Bishop Bhekibandla was receiving an Honorary Doctorate Certificate at Moses Bible College of South Africa, a dove appeared out of nowhere inside the assembly hall and started flying around his head. Some people in the audience — most of whom were members of the Jericho Church — started crying, weeping hysterically, shouting amen, and calling out that it was a sign from God showing them who their rightful leader was.

Not so, says rival Bishop Khanyakwezwe, who insists that the sudden appearance of the dove was some kind of cheesy "propaganda stunt." He elaborates, "The dove came with some of Bhekibandla followers just to deceive the Jerichos that he is the rightful Jericho leader which is not the case." [Times of Swaziland]
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 02, 2013
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With the government shutting down today, I was reminded of this 1933 April 1st article in the Madison Capitol-Times about their state capitol building exploding because of a buildup of "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the senate and assembly chambers"

I don't think any newspaper would publish a joke like this today, in the post-9/11 era, but it still seems appropriate.



Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 01, 2013
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In the 1970s did a gospel soul band called Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings record an album of cover versions of all the songs on David Bowie's Starman? Apparently not. However, on YouTube you can find three videos of someone playing songs from this non-existent album on a record player.






The videos were uploaded over a year and a half ago (and there's an accompanying, minimalist website — milkyedwards.com), but they've only started to attract attention recently. And now people are wondering who created these videos and why? Because whoever created them, did them very well. The recordings don't sound like the work of an amateur.

The Guardian reviews what people have uncovered so far about this mystery. First, the album cover that can be seen behind the record player is definitely not from the 1970s because it uses a modern font, Mojo Standard, that is "squished and pulled" (as graphic designer Brian Borrows puts it) in a way that can only be easily done on a computer.


Second, although the singer sounds like Tom Jones, it's not him, according to Jones's management.

Beyond that, nothing more is currently known. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 29, 2013
Comments (8)
A brief personality profile test has been circulating online, where it's identified as having been authored by "Dr. Phil" (Dr. Phillip McGraw). However, Dr. Phil has disavowed any connection with the test.

So the question is, where does this test come from? Sleuths on the Snopes message boards tracked down a version of it that was posted on USENET back in 1994, at which time it was attributed to a Dr. Charles Vine.

With that info, it was relatively simple to do a google search and find a version of the test that was included in a 1987 book titled Great Ideas: Listening and speaking activities for students of American English.

This book, in turn, acknowledged that the test was "Copyright 1978 by Cleo Magazine." So Cleo magazine (which is an Australian women's magazine) must be the original source.

I can't find any clues about who Dr. Charles Vine was. Either he was an Australian doctor who didn't publish much else, or he was a pseudonym of a Cleo magazine staff writer.

So, to summarize, here's the history of "Dr. Phil's Personality Test":
  • 1978: First published in Cleo magazine as a test, authored by "Dr. Charles Vine," titled, "Do you see yourself as others see you?"
  • 1987: Dr. Vine's test is reprinted in the book Great Ideas.
  • 1994: The test first appears online.
  • 2002: By this time, the test is circulating online without any indication of who authored it.
  • circa 2009: The test starts being attributed to Dr. Phil.
  • 2010: Dr. Phil denies that he authored the test.
  • 2013: The test becomes "one of the hottest social media shares of the moment" (as David Emery puts it).
It just goes to show that once something enters the black morass of the internet, it circulates there endlessly, occasionally being spewed upwards to the top of the feeding pile, before settling back down, once again, into the darkness. Look for Dr. Phil's Test to return to internet fame sometime around 2025.

Below is the original version of the test (and the key to score it).


Add the scores from your answers together and read the interpretation found below.

POINTS:
1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

INTERPRETATION:
Over 60 points: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care". You are seen as vain, seft-centred, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you and wish they could be more like you, but they don't always trust you and hesitate to become too deeply involved with you.

From 51 to 60 points: Your friends see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, quick to make decisions (though not always the right ones). They see you as bold and venturesome, someone who will try anything - well almost anything - once; some who takes a chance and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

From 41 to 50 points: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, and always interesting; someone who is constantly the centre of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to your head. They see you also as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who will cheer them up or help them out.

From 31 to 40 points: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or too easily, but someone who is extremely loyal to the friends you do makes and expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize that it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but, equally, that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is taken.

From 21 to 30 points: Your friends see you as painstaking, perhaps a little too fussy at times. They see you as very, very cautious and extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment. They expect you to examine everything very carefully from every side and then, usually, decide against it. They think this reaction on your part is caused partly by your careful nature and partly by laziness.

Under 21 points: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs to be looked after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who does not want to get involved with anyone or anything. They see you as a worrier, who sees problems that don't exist. Some people think that you boring. Only the people that know you well know that you aren't. The trouble is that you don't let many people get close to you.
Categories: Psychology
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
Comments (0)
Last month a 10-year-old German boy found what appeared to be an ancient Egyptian mummy in the attic of his grandmother, who lives in Diepholz. His parents excitedly speculated that it must have belonged to his grandfather, who had traveled throughout North Africa during the 1950s.

There were some artifacts along with the mummy that were quickly dismissed as fakes, and the mummy cloth appeared to be 20th-century fabric. But when the mummy was x-rayed, the head was found to be an actual human skull, which raised hopes that it was perhaps a real mummy.

However, closer examination (unwrapping the mummy) has revealed that the rest of the skeleton is made of plastic. So it's definitely a fake.

The question that remains is why this fake mummy was created. And who created it? Was it intended as a hoax? Or was it some kind of elaborate tourist souvenir? Links: Daily Mail, Spiegel

Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
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Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
Comments (1)
While walking his dog, Patrick Cramer snapped a photo of something monster-like floating down the River Clwyd in North Wales. He concedes that it's probably just "a strangely-shaped log." But adds, "it could be the famed Rhuddlan River Monster." The Daily Post has a video of the thing floating downstream.

Categories: Nessie
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 25, 2013
Comments (1)
The Louisiana State Police want everyone to know that they don't have speed cameras installed in guardrails along the highways. They say that a picture circulating online showing a speed camera disguised inside a guardrail is the "latest and greatest urban legend."


The thing is, it's not quite an urban legend, because these evil guardrail speed cameras do exist. Or rather, there are existing traffic-monitoring systems that include speed detectors in guardrails, while a camera further down the road takes a picture of the car. But so far, these systems have only shown up on European roads, not American ones.

Here's a link to a PDF about the "Traffic-Observer Type LMS-06" guardrail speed detectors and cameras.

Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 25, 2013
Comments (0)
News dispatch from Crazyland: the Nairobi Mall massacre is all a hoax! Sure, you may see images of blood-soaked people in the news, but that's all the work of "blood-drizzler moles" squirting each other with fake blood. Oh, and the whole thing is a Zionist plot. That goes without saying.

Nairobi Hoax Blood-Drizzler Moles Detected
Alternative News Network

The eyes do not fail those with discerning vision. Let there be no doubt about it, like Sandy Hook and the Boston smoke bombing hoax, the Nairobi Mall Massacre, as the Israelis would like this to be known, too, is a Zionist hoax. Regardless, how is this man a true gunshot victim? How could he be bleeding to this degree and still be standing upright? He, along with the others, is a crisis actor. There is no other conclusion. Rather, the others could well be, in fact, they could all be government moles, just like the wretched moles from the DHS and FEMA who perpetrated their scandalous acts against the American people through the Sandy Hook and Boston frauds.
Categories: Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (2)
Apple released the iOS 7 update for iPhones last week, and pranksters (allegedly from 4chan) set to work creating a series of spoof ads claiming the update made iPhones waterproof.

Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.
In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry.




Needless to say, the iOS 7 update does not make the iPhone waterproof.

It's not clear if anyone fell for the joke and tried dunking their iPhone in water. But a few people have been tweeting angry remarks about the hoax, such as, "Ok whoever said IOS7 is waterproof GO F*** YOURSELF". But it's hard to know if these tweeters are being serious, or just playing along with the joke. More info: independent.co.uk, buzzfeed.com.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (0)
The most recent issue of the Romanian journal Metalurgia International contains an unusual article titled "Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics for Processing Random Data."

If that title doesn't make much sense to you, neither will the rest of the article. But that's intentional on the part of the authors, who submitted a nonsense article to the journal, which obligingly published it — apparently without bothering to read it first. The intent of the hoaxers (three professors at the University of Belgrade) was to "draw attention to the hyperproduction of quasi-scientific works by Serbian professors that are published in the magazines of dubious quality" as the website In Serbia puts it.

The problem is that academic advancement in Serbia is tied to publication. So Serbian professors have been padding their CVs by publishing articles in bogus journals that will publish anything, for a fee. And that's the practice the hoaxers were trying to expose.

The hoax article gives several nods to Alan Sokal's similar academic spoof from 1996, citing Sokal both in the text of their article and in the footnotes. Also cited are academic heavyweights such as M. Jackson, R. Jeremy (Ron Jeremy), and A.S. Hole.

The author photos, which shows them in wigs and fake mustaches, is also a nice touch. [via Retraction Watch]

Categories: Education, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Comments (1)
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