Tag Archives | Hoaxes

The Man Behind Snopes.com

Snopes logo.png

Most disinfonauts know Snopes.com, not least because Snopes often spoils all the fun of the weirder and wackier stories that our contributors offer for your delectation. But do you know the man behind the Snopes mask? io9 profiles David Mikkelson and asks him some questions, including this:

In your opinion, what was the most outrageous story that turned out to actually be true?

I hesitate to repeat any because I’m not sure you can print them! [Laughs.] There was one I just sort of dusted off and re-published, but it dates way back to when I first started. Back in the early days of the Internet, there was this text that used to circulate via email that was supposedly a medical journal article. It had to do with a doctor who treated a patient whose scrotum was all swollen, and discolored, and had metal bits in it.

They eventually coax the story out of the patient: he worked in a machine shop, and when everyone else went to lunch, he would use the belt sander or some piece of machinery to pleasure himself.

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Chris Bovey, Chemtrails Conspiracy Troll

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What do you make of Chris Bovey? Assuming his story is true, does his fake chemtrail spraying video prove anything more than it is possible to hoodwink ardent believers of chemtrails / geoengineering theories? Vice presents his story as a debunking, while it seems to me more akin to claiming that because some crop circles are man made, then necessarily all crop circles are hoaxes…

The chemtrails conspiracy theory has been circulating for a while among the same sorts of people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job and celebrities are being controlled by the CIA. In brief, chemtrail enthusiasts think that those white trails of vapor you see pouring out of planes are actually nasty chemical or biological agents that governments are using to geo-engineer the weather, create a vast electromagnetic super-weapon, control the population, or—well, you get the idea. There’s no science or proof whatsoever behind this, but plenty of people are still willing to entertain this vaguely supervillain-esque notion.

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Tech Company ‘Proves’ Faked Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory As Hoax

Nvidia, the tech company that makes the graphics card for your gaming PC, says it has debunked the faked moon landing conspiracy theory. Here’s the video, about which Nvidia says “Explore the truth behind the iconic Buzz Aldrin moon landing photo. See how modern graphics innovations can shed new light on a 35-year-old conspiracy theory”:

What do you think, disinfonauts?

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Dust: The Proof That We Landed On The Moon

In an unapologetic attack on Moon-landing hoax proponents, Popular Science, claims that the proof that we landed on the Moon is the movement of dust behind the lunar rover:

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing, which means the Moon hoax theorists are out in full force. And while scientists have refuted the hoaxers most common arguments like how the Apollo flags apparently wave in a vacuum, there’s one interesting way to prove that we did in fact land on the Moon that we don’t see all that often: the movement of dust kicked up by the lunar rover on Apollo 16.

Apollo 16 was the second Apollo mission to take a lunar rover to Moon. In April of 1972, Commander John Young and Lunar Module Pilot Charlie Duke spent a little more than 20 hours exploring the Moon’s Descartes region. The rover allowed them to cover more ground than they would have been able to on foot, and also gave them a unique off-roading experience.

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Germany’s Feral “Forest Boy” Found Guilty As Fraud

forest boyThis is one way to start your life all over again. Via The Local:

The young man who became world famous as the “Forest Boy” when he claimed he had lived feral in German woods for five years – agreed to carry out 150 hours of community service on Thursday after admitting making it all up. Berlin authorities charged him with fraud after spending €30,000 looking after him before his identity and age were revealed.

“Ray” became a global story in September 2011 after turning up at Berlin’s city hall and asking for help. He told astounded officials he had been living in the woods for five years with his father, sleeping in huts and living off the land. He said he no longer knew who he was nor where he was from – and that after his father died in a fall.

“Ray” stuck to his story for months and even attracted the attention of one couple who said he was their long lost son.

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Alabama Radio Station’s Alien Invasion Spoof Causes Mass Panic

alien invasion promo A little more healthy skepticism could be of benefit. Via al.com:
A radio promotion spoofing aliens hacking into a Florence, Alabama radio station spooked students into believing schools would be attacked. To bring attention to a format change at Star 94.9, Brian Rickman, program director for Shoals Radio Group, said the station on Monday began airing conversations between aliens. "The concept being that they heard our frequency several light years away, they didn't like Justin Bieber and the pop music we were playing and they were going to take over the radio station and adjust the format," Rickman said. A flood of phone messages were awaiting Rickman when he got to work Tuesday, he said, including those from police and superintendents of area school systems. Law enforcement still decided to put extra security on campuses as the aliens announced that they would be taking over the radio station at 9 a.m. today.
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Fake Signs On California Highways Warn Of Enforcer Drones

fake signs

Would you bat an eye if you saw this sign? Via NBC News:

California commuters may have been alarmed last week by highway signs that warned them that they were being watched by missile-equipped drones. But the signs were fake, installed by an artist from Napa, and have quickly been taken down by the California Highway Patrol.

“The motivation is partially political and partially a prank,” the artist Stephen Whisler, who lives in Napa, Calif., told NBC News, explaining why the “Speed enforced by drones” signs he put up last Monday show a Predator firing a missile.

The California Highway Patrol was still investigating the issue, and has yet to decide if they’re filing charges. Meanwhile, Whisler has been waiting. “I’m sort of surprised, I’m expecting them to show up any moment,” he said.

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Man In China Jailed For Alien Hoax

alien

This eerie yet funny alien was made of rubber, steel, and a substance called antholeucin and was stored in Mr. Li’s freezer. Via the New York Daily News:

A Chinese farmer has been jailed for disrupting social order — after he posed with an “alien” he claimed he’d electrocuted after its UFO crashed near his home.

Mr. Li sparked a social media frenzy on Monday when pictures of him standing next to what appeared to be an extraterrestrial life-form were uploaded online. But, following police interrogation, he reportedly confessed to making the whole incident up — admitting that the “body” was in fact rubber.

The Shangdong farmer now faces five days in jail. “The alien purportedly electrocuted and discovered by a man in Binzhou is a high-quality imitation,” posted Jinan Police on its Sina microblog.

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49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed – Mental Floss (Ep.12)

A weekly show hosted by John Green, where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John looks at some of history’s greatest hoaxes including “Balloon Boy” (the boy, by the way is now in a metal band), “Lonelygirl15″ and “War of the Worlds” (you didn’t think we could do an episode on hoaxes and NOT include it, did you?).

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Pacific Standard on the ‘Mystery of John Titor’

Picture: John Titor's military patch.

Picture: John Titor’s military patch.

The John Titor story is one of my favorite modern myths: A time traveler from a war-torn future Earth visits the past to collect a few needed computer parts. Along the way, he offers a countdown of harrowing future events that will lead to the dystopian United States that he calls home, always with the caveat that these things may not happen in this particular timeline. Titor disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared, and to this day, some corners of the internet continue to debate who he was.

Via Pacific Standard:

This is our planet’s bleak future: a second Civil War splinters America into five factions, leaving the new capital based in Omaha. World War III breaks out in 2015, starting with Russia and the U.S. trading nukes and ending with three billion dead. Then, to top it all off, a computer bug delivers where Y2K sputtered, destroying our world as we know it.

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