Mon, Dec

Hoax Watch

Mon, Dec 20, 2004

Remember this?


It’s a hoax. Two guys photoshopped a mockup of a submarine console and made it look like a photograph from a 1950s magazine. It’s quite an effective job they’ve done, I must say.

And I note that even though Popular Mechanics is exposing the hoax on their website, I stumbled upon this revelation by accident, thanks only to Mister Anchovy. I wonder how many others have been fooled by the blogs that were fooled, and how few have yet to have been told of their mistake?

I would suggest that this shows that those predicting that blogs are the future of journalism are being slightly more egotistical than realistic. Though the free press have failed in their fact checking once or twice, and reticent in their retractions, once a blog rumour gets going, it has proven to be just as hard, if not harder, to debunk.

(this is not to say that blogs can’t act this way, but in order to get enough fact checkers to prevent this sort of thing, such blogs would need considerable resources, rendering the number of blogs where this sort of reporting was possible to a very, very small fraction of the 10 million blogs expected to exist by 2005)

Footnotes to History

Are you like me? Are you interested in histories of countries that have faded into… well… history? Does the fact that Texas could theoretically split itself into five states, and a fourteenth state almost joined the union in 1776 thrill you with ‘what ifs’?

Then check out Footnotes to History, James L. Erwin’s web page on the nations (and states and provinces) that you didn’t read about in high school. Where else on the net will you find a brief history of Westmoreland (an aborted state in western Pennsylvania) or the secessionist movements in Western Australia (including the crazy and loathesome Langley George Hancock). I especially liked the dry humour in the entry on the Nation of Aryan-Pacific:

Aryan-Pacific, Nation of- also United Kingdom of Arya. Arya is located on a small island in the east Pacific. A Californian owns the island, and declared that Arya would provide free food, medical care, education and housing to those “Aryans” willing to relocate. To further encourage settlers, Arya announced its annexation of 500,000 square miles of Antarctica in 1981. Surprisingly, this failed to attract the expected swarms of supermen, and Arya remains uninhabited.

On This Day

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