In 1999/2000, an e-mail hoax surfaced claiming that a man in Hawaii died after being exposed to rat urine in the back room of a supermarket. Although it offered good advice -- always wipe off your soda can before drinking from it -- the content's were false. The hoax has gained a few paragraphs since it first appeared, but it's no more true than the day it surfaced.
SARS has taken a heavy toll, both in terms of human life and economic prosperity. A new e-mail hoax plays off of that malady, combining it with malease over the Iraq War in a play to get people to forward a useless e-mail around the net.
The hoax alleges that British Airways, aided (as in all such hoaxes) by Microsoft are tracking e-mails. Forward enough messages, and they'll give you a free plane ticket.
Naturally, it's bogus.
An e-mail allegding that an Israeli satellite took pictures of the orbiter Columbia as it exploded during re-entry is a hoax. In reality, the pictures depict a scene from the opening of the movie Armageddon, in which the shuttle is destroyed by a meteor.
What's the one thing that can get motorists' minds off the sting of high gas prices? That's right -- the Attack of the Killer HIV Needle!
An email that I first saw in the Summer of 2000 alleges that some whacko with HIV positive blood is sticking him/herself with needles, and then "affixing" these needles to the underside of gas pump handles. Unsuspecting motorists grab the handle, and suddenly the $2.50 for super isn't the only thing they're wincing about.
Those lunatic gang initiates are at it again. They started out putting strychnine and LSD on phone booth buttons, but now they've moved on to slashing the ankles of unsuspecting women. They lay in wait underneath women's cars at gas stations, and as they get out, they attack!
Fortunately, just like the LSD scare, this is a hoax.
Bill Gates is a very, very rich man. Perhaps wealthier than many of us could imagine, but even with all of his money, not even Bill Gates could afford to give everyone on the net a share of his fortune. Yet that's exactly what a hoax that's been circulating the net for decades (well, in net-time) would have people believe.
And amazingly, they believe it.
Not to long ago, I updated a hoax about killer South American spiders that were allegeldy infesting airplanes as well as a certain restaurant in Chicago. That very same hoax has now mutated, and shows all the signs of becoming a truly enduring urban legend.
A new virus allegedly called "WTC Survivor" virus allegedly threatens to turn victims computers into a digital disaster by deleting dynamic link libraries. Fortunately it's a hoax, albiet one in very bad taste.
Forget about faulty wings and bad engines -- the "killer spiders on airplanes" hoax wants you to believe that scary South American arachnids are preying on our friends in Chicago.