Ah, Bill Clinton. I'd almost forgotten about all the great hoaxes, urban legends and miscellaneous crap that was circulating the Internet back in the heady days of the Dot Boom. Now that his wife is looking to make a presidential run, it's all floating back to the surface, as is illustrated by the email alleging that Bill Clinton is the first pardoned felon ever to server as the president of the United States. It's alleged that he broke the law by dodging the draft, and then was pardoned as part of Jimmy Carter's blanket draft-dodging pardon in 1977.
Snopes.com has an excellent debunking of this e-mail, pointing out that while he may have used political favors and broken promises to avoid the draft, Bill Clinton never officially broke the law.
Phishing season is about to begin in earnest as holiday shoppers flock to web sites to buy presents for their loved ones ... and fall victim to a variety of scams aimed at tricking folks into believing their at a trusted retailer's web site when it fact its a dummy site created by a bunch of scammers in [insert obscure country name here]. CNN looks at a bunch of possible scams, from phishing to fake auctions.
I need more hoaxes to debunk. From Nuketown's search logs, I can tell that people are looking for information about hoaxes, including many hoaxes that I haven't debunked. What they're not doing, however, is telling me about those hoaxes. And there's not a lot I can do debunking-wise if I don't have the text of a hoax to investigate.
This is an open call for hoax submissions. If you have one you'd like to see debunked send the complete text of the suspect e-mail to me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
For years, third-world scammers have been getting first-world greedy fools to part with their money by promising them millions in exchange for their account information. Now international bands of vigilantes are turning the tables by replying the scammers and getting them to undertake all manner of bizarre tasks, from getting tattooes to taking photographs of themselves to sending money. Wired.com has the full story.
My sympathy for those who get scammed is limited -- if you honestly think that you can get 10% of the fortune left to the widow of a Nigeran army general by allowing your bank account to serve as a money laundry, then you'll probably get what you deserve.
For the last few weeks I've seen people searching for "toxic chopsticks" on Nuketown, which I assumed was in regards to some sort of hoax, but since no one ever sent me the text, I couldn't debunk it.
This morning I tried searching Snopes.com and came up with the story "Chopsticks". According to Snopes, the original e-mail claims that disposable chopsticks can cause cancer via bleach left over from their creation. It's based on a post made to Chinese-language message boards, and it's definitely bogus.
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.
Snopes explains the context of this Barbara Bush quote "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Read the full story.