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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Education
Hermeneutic Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 24, 2013
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…
Categories: Education, Science Comments (1)
Prof. T. Mills Kelly teaches a class on hoaxes at George Mason University titled, "Lying About the Past." It's a study of hoaxes throughout history (the Museum of Hoaxes is on his syllabus!), but also uses hoaxes to teach critical thinking and historical analysis. As part of the class, the students have to create a historical hoax of their own and launch it on the web. I could have sworn that I'd posted previously about Kelly's class, but couldn't find where I did so. Back in 2008, his students crafted a successful hoax about Edward Owens, a supposed Chesapeake pirate. This year they tried to create a tale about a possible 19th-century New York serial…
Categories: Education, History Comments (0)
Top 10 Worst Excuses Offered by Students for not Turning in Papers
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 11, 2012
Teacher Larry Wilson offers up these gems, all of which really were told to him by tardy students: "I had too much homework in my important classes." "I'm having a baby this weekend, can I turn it in later." "I turned it in, and I guess you lost it." "Glee was on." "I'm a crack baby." "I'm working on my essay at home." "My allergies are extremely bad right now, and I'm on my period. It's VERY heavy flow, so I apologize in advance if I freak out on you or anyone." "It's at my mom's house, and I'm at my dad's this week" "My mom wouldn't let me do my homework." "I ran out of paper, so…
Categories: Bad Excuses, Education Comments (2)
Exam-weary students in China receive amino-acid infusions
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 09, 2012
A strange series of photos has recently been circulating online showing an entire classroom full of high school students in China hooked up to IV drips. Apparently the students aren't sick. Instead, they're exhausted from cramming for the upcoming National College Entrance Exam (Gao Kao). So they're all being given supplemental amino acids via IV drip. And this is something the Chinese government is willing to pay for. Links: ministryoftofu.com, globaltimes.cn, businessinsider.com. I haven't found anything to indicate that the scene shown in the pictures isn't exactly what it's being described as. And Chinese officials, in interviews, seem to have confirmed that this is what's going…
Carlingford University
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2012
Kenneth ShongI think I'll add a degree from Carlingford University to my resume. I'll list it alongside my degree in Loch Ness Monster studies from Bigfoot U. Carlingford was a fake university -- a diploma mill -- created by con artist Kenneth Shong, while he was in prison on forgery charges. He was getting his fellow inmates to enroll there, having convinced them it was real. Though one inmate became suspicious of "'poor business practices and unresponsiveness' in relation to the school returning his grades and giving further lessons." Shong made a website for Carlingford, to make it seem slightly more legitimate. I found an archived copy of the…
Categories: Con Artists, Education Comments (2)
A real-life Museum of Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2012
The Irish Times describes a real-life Museum of Hoaxes -- the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris: As chief curator Claude d'Anthenaise explains, it's an experimental museum that likes to baffle the visitor. "I wanted to create a museum where the visitor would feel constantly disconcerted and lose his bearings – just like someone walking in nature," he says. "In a wild setting, you're confronted with all sorts of things you don't understand. You're not on your own territory." So "totally insignificant, even repulsive" objects have been…
Categories: Education, Miscellaneous Comments (0)
Manhattan School Employees Behaving Badly
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 12, 2012
Two stories have been in the news recently about Manhattan school employees who were somewhat derelict in their commitment to the truth. The first was Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator, who, in order to get two-and-a-half weeks of vacation, claimed her daughter "Xinia Daley Herman" had died. Her mistake: she submitted a death certificate with weird, misaligned fonts. When busted, she initially claimed her daughter really had "died of a heart condition." But eventually she broke down and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. It's not clear from the article if she really had a daughter with that name. Link: National Post The second is teacher Mona Lisa Tello, who submitted a fake jury…
Smith College Goes Vegetarian
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 27, 2011
This one goes into the 'hoaxes as educational stunt' file. Last week a rumor raced around the campus of Smith College in Massachusetts, alleging that the administration was planning to ban meat from the campus, as well as any food not grown in New England. It was going to become a vegetarian/locavore campus. There were protests on campus, and counter-protests. Students posted their thoughts on facebook and twitter. Some wrote them in chalk on the sidewalk. A lot of students said they were worried the change would mean they'd have to go without coffee. But the rumor turned out to have been a hoax organized by two philosophy professors, Jay Garfield and Jim Henle.…
Categories: Education Comments (0)
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