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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Half-Truths

Hoax Central: Don't Pump Gas, Aircraft Carriers Swarming, Easter Myths

by Ken Newquist / April 2, 2013

Here's a look at recent hoaxes, scams and even (shock!) a real story circulating via email and Facebook. They include a golden oldie about not pumping gas on April 15, a rant about aircraft carriers gathering in Norfolk, Va., a run down of Easter's pagan traditions, and more.

Mars to Earth: You Missed Your Big Close-up (Again)

by Ken Newquist / August 25, 2007

An e-mail claims that Mars will soon be looming so large in our skies that it will rival the moon. The truth is that while Mars did get very close to Earth a few years ago, that merely turned it into a slightly brighter red star in the sky. If it actually did get as close as the email claims, the Earth would be wracked by high tides and thrown out of its orbit.

Here's the email.

Captured 8/24/07

Two Moons on 27th, August 2007*

*27th August; the day the Whole World is waiting for .....

E-mail Claims Osama Bin Laden Photos Lead to Hard Drive Destruction

by Ken Newquist / July 24, 2006

An e-mail claiming to showcase photos of a hanged/hanging and/or captured Osama din Laden is a hoax. The e-mail originated as an attempt to get people to download a trojan horse virus on to their computer, but it later morphed into a scare mail warning people about the alleged apocalyptic dangers of opening the e-mail. The virus itself has been neutralized, and the dangers were never as bad as what the hoax e-mail claims.

Full debunkings of this hoax/virus can be found on Snopes.com, About.com and Hoax Slayer.

Email Claims Gel Candles Can Explode Toilets

by Ken Newquist / April 4, 2005

The destructive power of gel candles is heralded by a scare e-mail claiming these candles are capable of destroying toilets and burning down houses. The e-mail has some facts right; gel candles can flare up, causing fires, the glass containers holding gel candles have shattered and there have been several gel candle recalls. But none of the recalls say anything about these candles exploding.

Anyone Feeling a Draft?

by Ken Newquist / September 26, 2004

A new e-mail is circulating the net claiming that the Bush administration is quietly attempting to bring back the draft, with an eye towards springing it on the country in Spring 2005, after the elections are over. In truth, while almost all of the elements in the e-mail are true -- there are draft bills before the Legislature, the Selective Service has been overhauling it's operations -- the spin the e-mail gives them is dubious at best.

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