Tag Archives | Hoaxes

Fear Of “Killer Phone Number” Spreads In Nigeria

_55399391_mobNo biggie, just let it go to voicemail. Via the BBC:

Nigeria’s authorities have been forced to reassure the public that a mobile phone number cannot kill, after rumors were spread…that several people had died when they answered calls with the ID 09141.

The regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission, said this was “unimaginable” and “unscrupulous persons” were spreading fear.

A BBC reporter was unable to get through to the number.

Text messages gave conflicting accounts of the number of people killed when they answered the call – some put the death toll at seven while others put it at 10.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Semi-Genius Of Illusion Illusions

Is the center circle at left larger than the center circle at right? How about this: are there gray spots between the corners of black squares? Illusions are tricks that play off of the ways our brains typically process sensory information. The problem is that many of them have become clichéd. Hence illusion illusions -- illusions that play off of the illusions we're used to seeing. See the angry-comment-provoking Flickr set.

3410035358_8ca84a0d63_m3409227019_5029093d4a_m ________

Continue Reading

‘Non-Visible’ Art Sells For $10,000

fracsGenius or madness? Surly acting hunk James Franco sold an intangible, undetectable work of conceptual art, created in collaboration with the design duo Praxis, to a Montreal collector for $10,000. Paste reports that the masterpiece is titled "Fresh Air" and is described as thus:
A unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply.
Continue Reading

China’s Fake Apple Stores

appstoreFascinatingly, in is now common in China to find counterfeit branches of the Apple store.

Then again, what makes any Apple store “real” when the point is to use psychology to sell an intangible “brand”? And how can you tell a real Apple store from a fraudulent one? Paradoxically, real Apple stores never say “Apple store”. The Consumerist reports:

An American blogger living in the middle of China was amazed to stumble across a fake Apple store in her town. It was a complete counterfeit of a real Apple store, designed to look like the real thing. It had signage, and employees walking around in the iconic blue shirts with those lanyard nametags. It had the big long wooden tables with Apple products on them and the typical Apple store winding staircase. But certain details were off.

None of the employee nametags had their names on it. They just said “staff.” And Apple never writes “Apple Store” on their signs, they just put up their logo.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Japanese Pop Star Outed As Computer-Generated Creation

20110619_eguchi2-600x449Has CGI technology become super realistic? Or is it more that actual famous people now resemble virtual creations to the extent that the difference is hardly noticeable? Kotaku reveals:
AKB48 is Japan's most popular female pop group. With give-or-take 48 members, its latest member is Aimi Eguchi, who has rocketed from obscurity to become the poster girl for a Japanese ice candy, Ice no Mi. Now revealed as a computer composite of other girls in the group, she appears 4 seconds in below.
Continue Reading

The Artist Who Forged Himself

marg_614147tRené Magritte may have been one of the twentieth century’s great Surrealist painters, but for income, he created and trafficked forgeries of famous works by artists such as Picasso, Ernst…and Magritte. Further confusing matters, his forging could in itself be a grand Surrealist statement. The Independent attempts to explain:

One is an original. The other, evidently, a copy. But René Magritte was a Surrealist, and the truth behind The Flavour of Tears suggests he was enjoying a huge – and probably lucrative – joke.

The Flavour of Tears was produced around the time Magritte’s close friend Marcel Mariën claimed Magritte was creating forgeries. In his 1983 autobiography, Le Radeau de la Mémoire, Mariën said Magritte was making money by selling and producing forgeries of works by Picasso, Titian, Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico and Meindert Hobbema.

Two collectors saw The Flavour of Tears independently in Magritte’s studio. “We can only assume Magritte painted two identical versions of the same painting.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Harold Camping Suffers A Stroke

Apocalypse SaturdayI knew that he was going to use age-related health issues to weasel out of responsibility for his updated October 21st rapture prediction — blast you, Harold Camping, for being so clever! Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Harold Camping, 89, was at his Alameda home with his wife Thursday evening when he suffered the stroke, said Family Radio host Craig Hulsebos. The Oakland minister who incorrectly predicted the world would end May 21 was scheduled to be released from a local hospital after being treated, a talk show host at his radio station said Monday.

Employees at the office declined to talk about Camping’s condition in detail, instead referring to a release from his family. “Doctors are pleased with his progress,” the statement read. “Mr. Camping’s family appreciates your thoughts and prayers.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Psychic Fiasco: Texas Mass Murder Raid a Hoax

Mass GraveBenjamin Radford writes in Discovery News:

A psychic called police on Monday night, describing a horrific scene of mass murder: 25 to 30 dismembered bodies near an unassuming ranch house about an hour outside of Houston, Texas. There were rotting limbs, headless corpses, and, chillingly, many were children.

Deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff’s office went to investigate but didn’t see anything amiss.

The psychic called a second time the next day, insisting that her visions were true. She provided more detailed information about the home and urged the police to return to a different part of the property. This time detectives called for backup and soon dozens of officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI, and the Texas Rangers were on the scene — not to mention cadaver dogs, news helicopters, and gawkers.

Police investigated, and it all turned out to be a false alarm. There were no dead bodies; the psychic was wrong (or lying).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Rapture Moved To October 21st

24doomsday1_span-popupAt this point, doesn’t it seem as if he is trying to run out the clock by repeatedly pushing back the doomsday date in the hopes of dying before he has to face responsibility for being a crappy predictor? The New York Times reports:

Here we go again. A California religious radio impresario who predicted — wrongly — that the end of the world would begin on May 21 revised his prophesy on Monday, saying now that the end is due in October.

In a rambling, 90-minute speech, broadcast both online and on his stations, Harold Camping, whose Family Radio network paid millions of dollars to promote his prediction, said that he was stunned when the rapture did not happen on Saturday.

What he decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Woman Selling Million-Dollar ‘Moon Rock’ Arrested

moon_rocksThe wackiest part of this chain of events? That NASA has undercover agents who orchestrate stings to crack down on space crimes. Via the Guardian:

A woman who tried to sell what she said was a rare piece of moon rock for $1.7 million was detained when her would-be buyer turned out to be an undercover NASA agent, officials said Friday.

The gray rocks, which are considered national treasures and are illegal to sell, were given to each U.S. state and 136 countries by then-President Richard Nixon after U.S. moon missions and can sell for millions of dollars on the black market.

NASA investigators and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies detained the woman after she met Thursday with an undercover NASA investigator at a restaurant in Lake Elsinore, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the sheriff’s office said. The investigation was conducted over several months.

NASA planned to conduct tests to determine whether the rock came from the moon as the woman claimed.

Read the rest
Continue Reading