In this edition of Hoax Central we review hoaxes spawned by the Boston Marathon bombing, evaluate Joel Osteen's religious identify crisis, debunk a sexually transmitted disease, and learn the true story beyond Mr. Roger's advice to "look for the helpers" during a crisis.
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.
An email making its way around the internet is claiming that President Barrak Obama turned down the traditional presidential role of leader of the Boy Scouts of America and refuses to sign Eagle Scout congratulatory letters. Snopes.com explains that the email is bunk.
The thing I love most about urban legends is how they mutate over time. Snopes.com has an excellent debunking of one such debunking: "The Lost Day." It recounts a tale in which NASA scientists doing orbital calculations are startled to discover a day of missing time ... which a Christian follower is able to quickly explain by recounting the day the sun stood still when Jesus was crucified.
Is the red supergiant Betelgeuse about to go supernova, giving Earth a second sun and half of its inhabitants a nasty burn? The short answer according to astronomer Phil Plait, is that yes, Betelgeuse could go tomorrow, but if it did it's greatest impact on the Earth would be to give us a new celestial phenomenon as bright as a full moon. It's too far away to do us any real harm.
Snopes.com debunks the claim that a "dark ring around the moon" presages a cancer-causing acid rain storm. The myth starts off claiming that this is an event that happens once every 750 years but mutates to say that the volcanic eruptions in Iceland are to blame.