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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

True Stories

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.

Can Preshoolers Get Drunk on Hand Sanitizer?

by Ken Newquist / August 28, 2007

Can a prescooler get drunk and even die from drinking hand sanitizer? The short answer is ... yes, they can. The following e-mail describes swallowing a squirt of hand sanitizer was enough to make a four-year-old loopy and while it gets some of the specifics wrong -- namely that the child couldn't have had an 85% blood alcohol level, since .10% is enough to kill you, and she probably had a lot more than one quirt -- the general warning is valid. Most hand sanitizer contains a large percentage ethyl alcohol, which can be intoxicating and even deadly if swallowed.

AP: Doctor finds spiders in ear of boy with earache

by Ken Newquist / May 7, 2007

Given the history of spider urban legends, this is sure to mutate into its own horrifying story in about, oh, 20 minutes. According to this Associated Press story (which includes a photo of the kid holding up a jar with the drowned spiders in it and quotes from the doctor involved), 9-year-old Jesse Courtney of Albany, Oregon complained of hearing crackling and popping noises in his ear.

The Case of Neil Armstrong's Missing "A"

by Ken Newquist / October 2, 2006

Neil Armstrong long maintained that when he uttered his famous phrase "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind", there was an 'a' in there between 'for' and 'Man'. Austrialian programmer Peter Shann Ford analyzed NASA's recording of the phrase, and says Armstrong was right. It'd be nice to if other researchers confirmed the existance of the missing "a", which has dogged Armstrong for years (as this account on Snopes.com shows).

In related Neil Armstrong news, despite myriad rumors to the contrary, he has not converted to Islam. And no, Mr. Gorsky didn't get lucky when Armstrong touched down at Tranquility Base.