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|•||Chilis Narrowly Avoids Funding Anti-Vaxxers 04/08/2014|
|•||Dutch April fools jokes 04/02/2014|
|•||Japanese stem cell breakthrough exposed as a fabrication 04/02/2014|
|•||April First - April Fools Day 04/01/2014|
|•||Cloned dinosaurs? 03/31/2014|
|•||US ‘psychic’ Cynthia Miller jailed for $1.2 million fraud 03/29/2014|
|•||Test of intelligence. Person calls police to report their cannabis plant stolen 03/25/2014|
|•||Malaysia air disaster 03/22/2014|
|•||Fred Phelps is gone 03/21/2014|
|•||Iran building fake aircraft carrier 03/20/2014|
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Status: Photo parodiesThe USC cheerleader caught (supposedly) giving an inappropriate cheer during the Rose Bowl is now being photoshopped into everything. A whole bunch of the images can be seen here. I suppose this was inevitable, especially the pairing of her and Touristguy.
Status: UndeterminedAccording to Scott Tissue, during the halftime of the SuperBowl (or the Big Game as they call it, to avoid infringing on the NFL's trademark) "more than 350 million gallons of water will flush through our toilets as an estimated 90 million people use their facilities. That amount of flushing equals seven minutes of water flowing over the Niagara Falls." Actually, they admit that this is a legend, but they've created a website to cash in on the legend: halftimeflush.com. However, I don't know how they arrive at the figure of 350 million gallons. (I assume they're just making up the figure of 90 million people flushing the toilet.) I thought that the average toilet uses about 2 gallons per flush. In which case, the volume of water used would be closer to 180 million gallons... and so equivalent to only about 3 1/2 minutes of water flowing over Niagara Falls.
But where are they getting their facts about the volume of water flowing over Niagara? According to this site, 150,000 gallons per second flows over the American Falls, whereas 600,000 per second flows over the Canadian falls. So, assuming that they're talking about the Canadian falls, 350 million gallons of water flushed down the toilet would be equivalent to almost ten minutes of water flowing over Niagara.
Status: FakeCheck out this video of Monk Hai-Tank (wmv file). He's 90-years-old, but he still has "finger skill." Which means that he can stand upside-down supported by only one finger. The video obviously has to be fake. I assume they're supporting him with invisible wires. Special effects like this are pretty standard in kung-fu movies. (via Ceticismo Aberto)
Status: UndeterminedA photo has been circulating showing a scene from the recent Rose Bowl in which a USC cheerleader seems to be celebrating a Texas touchdown. Snopes has posted the picture, but is skeptical of the claim that the cheerleader was cheering after a touchdown by the opposing team. They write: "the image appears to represent not a brainless cheerleader who couldn't tell that the other team had just made a touchdown, but a play that resulted in a close scoring call, with the on-field Texas players signaling their belief that their team had scored, while from other vantage points (such as the cheerleader's sideline view, especially if the goalposts, referee, or other players had momentarily blocked her view) it might have looked at first glance as if USC had successfully stopped Texas short of the goal line."
I'd agree that it's very hard to tell when during the game this picture was taken, and without that information it's basically impossible to know why the cheerleader has her arms raised. Though it does seem odd that no one from USC is cheering, except for her (and the picture really doesn't look photoshopped). Plus, the two cheerleaders to her right do seem to be giving her a funny look. The cheerleader in question has been identified as Natalie. The image was first posted on a Bruin's message board (which makes it a pretty biased source).
Status: Real hunt, fake foxFox hunts on the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) are a British tradition. However, due to a recent ban on fox hunting, any (legal) hunts this year are going to have to be fake. Which has me a bit puzzled. What does a fake hunt involve? The UPI report, where I read about these fake fox hunts, simply says that:
Although banned, thousands of fox hunters in Britain took to the trails Monday on horseback for the annual Boxing Day hunt, some of them chasing only scent.
I assume they must be dragging a dead fox to leave its scent for the dogs. Or maybe they have spray bottles (eau de fox). But how does the hunt conclude? After riding around for a while, does everyone just go home? Or do they let the dogs find the dead fox? I wonder how the Free Church of Country Sports feels about fake fox hunts?
Status: RealAdd this to the list of strange extreme sports. Crewmen on military helicopters have apparently been engaging in an activity known as Supermanning. This involves "hanging from an open cargo door and letting the rushing wind 'fly' [your] body, attached only by a safety belt." This practice came to light when Petty Officer Brian Joplin recently died as a result of it. (He fell 125 feet from the helicopter into the Persian Gulf after the safety belt slipped over his shoulders.) I imagine this would make Joplin a strong candidate for a Darwin award. The Virginian-Pilot (may require registration to view the article) provides a brief reconstruction of what happened:
“The co-pilot in the left seat noticed in his … mirror, a pair of boots dangling below the back of the aircraft,”... The co-pilot asked the other crew members by radio if everything was OK and was told it was, according to the report. But then crew members saw Joplin’s belt start to slip and still could not get him inside the helicopter. They told the pilot to slow down immediately and lower altitude. “The co-pilot aggressively decelerated and descended,” the report said. But it was too late. Almost immediately, one of the crew members said, Joplin had fallen.
Another stunt crewmen do to pass the time is called the "slide for life." This involves swinging out on a safety line and slingshotting back into the aircraft. Senior military officers claim to be astounded to learn that this kind of activity has been going on behind their backs. However, while supermanning might be real, fire diving remains a hoax.
Status: Undetermined, but it doesn't look good for CharlieControversy is swirling in the world of muskie fishing over the status of Chin-Whiskered Charlie, the muskie that currently holds the title of biggest muskie ever caught, weighing in at 69 pounds, 11 ounces. He was reeled in by Louis Spray back in 1949. But now a group calling itself the World Record Muskie Alliance is challenging Charlie's right to the title. Based on an analysis of old photos of Charlie (Charlie himself was destroyed in a fire in 1959), they're claiming Charlie's a fraud. They suspect Spray stuffed him with wet sand to increase his weight:
The muskie alliance supplied vintage photos of the suspect fish to Mills, a professional surveyor and former Transport Canada investigator who uses physics and various computer measurement technologies to reconstruct traffic accidents, trace bullet trajectories and discern the height of suspected criminals from video surveillance cameras. "This was definitely my first fish," says Mills. "It was a unique application of the science I use, but I tackled it the same way I would with any other evidence." His findings: the muskie Spray said was 63 inches in length couldn't have been more than 55 inches from snout to tail; and its reported girth of 31.25 inches was not possible given the maximum 10-inch, single-side width calculated by Mills. The Muskie Alliance submitted the results to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Charlie's defenders are claiming this is all a plot dreamed up by people in Illinois to rob Wisconsin of the Muskie title. Since photos are all anyone has to go on to determine Charlie's true weight, the battle will likely rage on for a while.
Status: Undetermined (but I'm guessing fake)Nike has a new ad featuring Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho Gaucho. In the ad Ronaldinho puts on a pair of Nikes, juggles the ball a few times, and then kicks the ball towards the goal so that it hits the crossbar and bounces directly back to him. He does this four times in a row. And it's all shot in a single take. This has inspired a lot of discussion on the net, because it's hard to believe anyone could be skilled enough to do this. In an article posted on the BBC (in Portuguese... I read it via AltaVista Translate) Ronaldinho swears that the scene is real, although the reporters interviewing him refuse to believe him. Given that it's an ad, I would assume it's fake, since one should always assume that what you see in ads is bogus, unless it's proven otherwise.
Status: RealI feel compelled to post something about this simply because I've posted about the sport of penile weight lifting before, expressing a few doubts about its reality. (I also had a few questions about the actual mechanics of the process). Inside Bay Area has this report of a recent demonstration of penile weight lifting in action:
Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng, best known for his Iron Crotch, attached himself not once, but twice, to a rental moving truck and pulled it several yards across a parking lot in Fremont. In lace-up leather boots and a black tank top, the 50-year-old tied a strip of blue fabric around the base of his penis and testicles and tugged to make sure it was on tight. An assistant kicked him hard between the legs before he lashed himself to the vehicle.
Here's the best part of the article:
Jin-Shengs performance drew a hearty applause (and only a few gasps) from the sparse crowd. He wrapped a piece of fabric around his waist to conceal his genitals from the crowd, but in the heat of the second truck pull, when he tied the cloth around his testicles only, it was pushed aside to reveal a ball of flesh that looked ready to burst.
Lovely. So apparently this sport doesn't involve muscle training, per se. It's more like hoping your skin and connective tissue don't rip apart as you lift (or pull) the weight. The description of the event sounds credible enough for me to categorize it as real.
Status: Never ExistedRemember the Black Basketball League? Its teams (including favorites such as the Newark Eagles, Harlem Knights, Baltimore Crabs, West Philly Dancers and Cleveland Ebonies) competed from 1920-40, when they were shut out of the all-white league. Consumers can now honor the memory of this league by buying sportswear emblazoned with the team logos. Of course, if you don't remember this league, it might be because historians insist that it never existed. But Eric Williams, the guy who's selling the black league sportswear, isn't letting that minor fact bother him. He explains that:
"These logos had to come from somewhere.. Whether there was a league or not those logos ... that's still nice to represent the 'hood or whatever it was. Those were all the inner cities. (Whether it was) an interim league or a professional league, those leagues and those logos, to me they sound like they exist. The story sounds good to me so I'm rolling with it."
So there you have it. Damn the facts. He's rolling with the story. (Thanks to Joe Littrell for the link.)
Status: RealChess Boxing seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. The basic premise of this sport is that you play chess for four minutes, and then you box for two minutes. Then you go back to playing chess, followed by another round of boxing. And this goes on and on for eleven rounds until someone is either knocked out, or checkmated. The website of the World Chess Boxing Organization states that:
One of the goals of this new sport is the old ideal of a healthy mind in a healthy body: mens sana in corpore sano. During a chessboxing fight the control of aggression plays a big role. That's why WCBO's motto is: "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board".
A search of news articles about chess boxing confirms that this is, indeed, a real sport. Though it may be a while before it gets included in the Olympics. The Wikipedia article about Chess Boxing provides this history of the sport:
The concept was invented in 1992 by cartoonist Enki Bilal, and a match of chess boxing was a major plot point of his graphic novel Froid-Équateur. Iepe "the Joker" Rubingh, a Dutch artist, inspired by Bilal's book, brought the concept to life in the spring of 2003... The first world championship was held in Amsterdam in 2003 and was won by Iepe Rubingh himself. The 1st European Chess Boxing Championship took place in Berlin on 1 October 2005 when Tihomir Titschko of Bulgaria defeated Andreas Schneider of Germany after the latter conceded defeat in the seventh round.
(via The Presurfer)
Status: TrueIt sounds like a joke. Jennifer Wilbanks, the Georgia woman who made headlines earlier this year by disappearing shortly before her wedding only to surface a few days later in New Mexico claiming (falsely) that she had been kidnapped, thereby earning herself the nickname 'The Runaway Bride,' is running again. But this time it's in a marathon. And it's for real. At least, her name is listed among the contestants in the Chicago marathon. Of course, if she really wanted to add to her notoriety, she could pull a Rosie Ruiz. (via Marathon Pundit)