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Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Zero G Day Hoax
January 4 will be "Zero G Day," according to a report trending online. Do a twitter search for #zerogday, and you can find people talking about it. The report originates from news-hound.net, which offers this explanation:

It has been revealed by the British astronomer Patrick Moore that, on the morning of January 4th 2014,  an extraordinary astronomical event will occur. At exactly 9:47 am, the planet Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the Earth. This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth’s own gravity and making people weigh less...
Moore told scientists that they could experience the phenomenon by jumping in the air at the precise moment the alignment occurred. If they do so, he promised, they would experience a strange floating sensation.

This is all nonsense, of course. Patrick Moore has been dead for over a year, so he hasn't been telling anybody anything.

Zero G Day is just a shameless recycling of Moore's famous 1976 April Fool's Day hoax about the "Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect." Moore intended his joke to be a spoof of a book called the The Jupiter Effect, published in late 1974, which claimed that a rare alignment of the planets in 1982 was going to trigger massive earthquakes on Earth.


I've got a fairly long article about Moore's 1976 hoax in the April Fool Archive, and I couldn't help but notice that the language of news-hound.net's article is very similar to what I wrote in my article. (I can't remember how many years ago I wrote it, but it was a while.) For the sake of comparison, here's what I wrote:

During an interview on BBC Radio 2, on the morning of April 1, 1976, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that an extraordinary astronomical event was about to occur. At exactly 9:47 am, the planet Pluto would pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the Earth. This rare alignment would mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth's own gravity and making people weigh less. Moore called this the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect.
Moore told listeners that they could experience the phenomenon by jumping in the air at the precise moment the alignment occurred. If they did so, he promised, they would experience a strange floating sensation.

I think it's fair to assume that at some point the news-hound.net writers read my article.
Categories: Pseudoscience
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 01, 2014
Comments (1)
You could, of course, sue. It would be plucking a bald chicken, but still...
Posted by Richard Bos  in  The Netherlands  on  Fri Jan 03, 2014  at  11:49 AM



Smileys






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