Hoaxes

Perceiving when you are being scammed – older versus young

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Elderly people are often targeted for scams because of their disposable funds and their percieved gullibility. Are they more gullible? Why? Older people are more susceptible to swindlers Stories of kindly grandmothers giving all their money away to nefarious confidence tricksters are unfortunately all too common. Now, researchers have suggested one reason why older people…

Former Bigfoot hoaxer pulls Mars prank

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The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, exposes this one but it has a funny twist: Hoax site says NASA’s Curiosity rover found plastic beads on Mars. I got a note from my friend Jules at Geeky Pleasures letting me know that a hoax website has turned up claiming NASA found plastic beads on Mars. Let’s be…

Google acquisition announcement was hoaxed

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An example of manipulating the media – a fake press release caused some consternation this morning. Announcement of $400 million Google acquisition found to be a hoax – San Jose Mercury News. The announcement hit early in the morning West Coast time: Google (GOOG) had agreed to purchase a little-known Wi-Fi hotspot company named ICOA…

Santa parade party pooper

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And they call Skeptics party poopers! Man arrested after telling kids there’s no Santa |  The Kingston Whig-Standard. A 24-year-old Kingston man was arrested Saturday evening during the Santa Claus parade along Princess Street after police received a complaint that someone was walking along the parade route telling children that Santa Claus didn’t exist. A…

Where the truth is blasphemy: The Edamaruku case

Skeptic Trump card by http://crispian-jago.blogspot.com/

India: Blasphemy backlash Catholic groups in India have brought blasphemy charges against Sanal Edamarauku, the country’s most prominent rationalist. They may get more than they bargained for, says Caspar Melville Edamaruku has become something of a star, the hardest working man in the debunking business – last year he estimates he did 200 appearances.  He…

Fooled school: Taking advantage of good intentions (Updated)

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School community fooled by leukemia hoax. When Jayden Mosness first heard about the plight of 10-year-old Alexander Jordan, he and his classmates wanted to help. Mosness says the entire school community thought Alexander was dying of leukemia. The story spread around town that he wanted to see an Eagle Valley football game, so the school…

Hoax Hurricane Sandy photo

Fake photo said to be Hurricane Sandy

Dangerous Minds is reporting that this fake photo is circulating around facebook as a real image of Hurricane Sandy approaching New York City. This photo is NOT real but a manipulation. About.com Urban Legends has this explanation: It was created by combining a fairly standard image of New York Harbor with a 2004 photo of…

Bigfoot researcher ad is bogus. What isn’t?

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Florida Bigfoot Researcher Ad on Craigslist Just A Hilarious Prank – Broward/Palm Beach The Daily Pulp. My brain exploded with excitement earlier this week. The catalyst: A help-wanted ad on Craigslist from a nonprofit in Pensacola for a Bigfoot researcher. The necessary qualifications were stringent, and the job duties exhaustive. Not only was the chosen…

“Cursed”: New show about supernatural beliefs

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A new show is premiering on the Bio channel – supposedly true stories of curses. Cursed: Biography channel  “Cursed” features first-person accounts of how curses have tormented, hurt, and even killed. These stories are told by the people who have lived through them and by those who have seen others affected. Cinematic re-enactments and compelling…

Perverse incentives of science culture result in fraud and rise in retracted papers

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Study Finds Misconduct Widespread in Retracted Scientific Papers – NYTimes.com. Last year the journal Nature reported an alarming increase in the number of retractions of scientific papers — a tenfold rise in the previous decade, to more than 300 a year across the scientific literature. Other studies have suggested that most of these retractions resulted…

The Onion strikes again (Updated)

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Onion article cited as fact by Iran news agency – US news – Weird news | NBC News. A joke by the satirical website The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation. An Iranian news agency picked up — as fact — a story from the paper about a supposed Gallup survey showing an…