Category Archives: hoaxes

July Ramblin'

When the swine flu – I’m sorry, the H1N1 virus – was first announced in the spring, I was feeling bit peevish about the pundits who seemed to think that the government – actually world governments – were making too much of the disease. Frankly, i think it was due to lack of understanding of the nomenclature. We don’t know what a Level 6 (pandemic, declared weeks ago) feels like. We understand gradations of temperature, the difference between a Category 1 and category 3 hurricane or a 3.6 earthquake vs. a 6.6. Anyway here’s John Berry’s 2009 WHITE PAPER ON NOVEL H1N1 (PDF). Barry wrote the book The Great Influenza about the 1918 flu epidemic: “Three of the preceding four pandemics, 1889, 1918, and 1957, show clear evidence of some fairly intense but sporadic initial local outbreaks scattered around the world.

“The novel H1N1 virus seems thus far to be following the pattern of those three pandemics, and it seems highly likely that it will return in full flower. If the virus is fully adapted to and efficient at infecting humans, this would occur soon, possibly during the influenza season in the southern hemisphere or possibly a few months later in the northern hemisphere. The 1918 and 1957 viruses both exploded in September and October in the northern hemisphere, even though this is not the influenza season.

“If the virus needs further adaptation to become fully efficient in infecting humans, that could be delayed, quite possibly a year or two later. It seems very unlikely that this virus will peter out.”
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Got this e-mail: Black Male Teachers – Do you know any Black males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out of state for “FREE” ? Several Black Colleges are looking for future black male teachers and will send them to universities/colleges for 4 years FREE .

The ‘Call Me MISTER’ program is an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers particularly among South Carolina ‘s lowest performing public schools . Program participants are selected from among under-served, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities…

Visit here for more details and the online application or call (800) 640-2657.

But if you GO to that page, you’ll ALSO read “Please read this memo regarding an email hoax that provides misinformation about our program.”
It has been brought to our attention that an erroneous e-mail, rife with inaccuracies and misinformation about the Call Me MISTER Program, is making its way around the country. Said e-mail makes such false claims as “South Carolina HBCUs offer FREE TUITION” and our program is for “African American MALES ONLY”, neither of which is true. While we do offer tuition assistance and book support, plus a small stipend to defray other associated costs of attending college, we DO NOT now offer, nor have we ever offered, a full scholarship.
Myths need to be debunked.
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Lean times in L.A. County leave no money for the dead. This is a story about more people opting for cremation. As someone heavily influence by Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death, I applaud the trend, even if it’s being done out of economic necessity.
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On a lighter note, from Yahoo! Food: 5 Summer Food Mysteries Solved. I KNEW the ice cream one to be true.
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My wife and her class saw the movie The Yes Men last weekend. “Shocking and funny,” she described it. as it turned out there was an article in the local paper about the movie’s follow-up, now playing on HBO and perhaps coming to a theater near you.
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Paul McCartney returns to the Ed Sullivan Theater as he appears on Letterman, 45 years after his first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Paul at Citi Field, NYC.
***Amusing and even educational. Church Advertising
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This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium Central (Train) Station on the 23rd of March 2009. With no warning to the passengers passing through the station, at 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing ‘Do, Re, Mi’ began to play on the public address system.” As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances.
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A final goodbye for S. Palin, YouTube fodder from last year, but what they hey.

ROG

Myths, Hoaxes, and Misinformation


So what IS that holiday we just celebrated on the third Monday in February? Presidents Day? Presidents’ Day? President’s Day? The answer, technically, is none of the above.
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From an-e-mail, which cites Tom Joyner’s Morning Show as the source of information about NUD (Non Urban Dictate), “the acronym for a very subtle and little-known marketing term specifically directed toward people of color. ‘Non Urban Dictate’ – These three words essentially mean that a company is not interested in the Black consumer. A NUD label means that a company does not want their marketing and advertising materials placed in media that claim an urban audience (black folks) as their main target.

My reply: I doubt it. I could find no mention on Tom Joyner’s website and this company has to waste its time refuting its involvement with the claim. This group, breakthechain.org, busts the myth:
“BreakTheChain.or recommends against participating in boycott campaigns organized via e-mail chain letters. As you can see, this letter has failed to keep up with developments in the issue, has acquired incorrect information (and caused a great deal of hardship for the Urban Institute) and is even recommended against by former supporters. Break this chain.”
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From friend Dan:

The “Pharisee Jew Big-Bang Conspiracy”. The last line is the best:
“I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie, why teach anything?”
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From friend Don:

Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal February 15 2007

“It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a bizarre, even potentially sinister turn.

It was around a year ago that Gramophone’s critics began to champion this little-known lady, whose discs – miraculous performances, released by her husband William Barrington-Coupe on the tiny label Concert Artist – were notoriously difficult to get hold of. Such was the brilliance of this pianist across Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninov, Dukas and more in a dizzying range – that it was worth making the effort to seek out Concert Artist to get these discs, and they became much sought-after. By the time she died in June 2006, Joyce Hatto was not only a sudden widespread success, she was a cause célèbre. To love Hatto recordings was to be in the know, a true piano aficionado who didn’t need the hype of a major label’s marketing spend to recognise a good, a great, thing when they heard it.

See and hear for yourself the incontrovertible evidence of an audacious recording hoax. Here we examine a track from [a CD], released under the name of ‘Joyce Hatto’, but containing 10 tracks originally released in 1987 and played by Simon Laszlo on a BIS CD.

The fourth Hatto track has been quite subtlely doctored: digitally shrunk in time by 0.02% – just enough to alter overall timings, and with no shift in pitch; re-equalised to alter the piano tone slightly; panned slightly to the left, where the original piano was central.
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In response to an e-mail I received:

There is no deadline to register cell phones to the Do Not Call List, despite what you might have heard. Here’s some info.

You can also register by phone (1-888-382-1222) or online.

Read more about this.
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Mark Evanier disputes whether Wile E. Coyote’s middle name is Ethelbert, even though it was the Final JEOPARDY! question last month.
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Even the Wall Street Journal needs to comment on Anna Nicole Smith (by Tunku Varadarajan. Feb 13, 2007. pg. A.24)

“Anna Nicole Smith was also a lowbrow (or really, a narcissistic) version of the American dream — the American dream of only bravado and guile, bereft of character or principles or talent. She was proof that the dream applies even to people with nothing to offer but themselves. If she is a tragic and cautionary tale to Americans, evidence that the American Dream requires substance and character, she may be evidence of the opposite to outsiders who see only the magic of wealth and fame won through the mere presentation of self. She inflates the reputation of American possibility abroad, making it seem like anything is possible in America — even reward without merit.”

Ouch.
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Finally, this bugs me, too.