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.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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.
Mars is invading. Or so claims a resurrected hoax that claims that the Red Planet will soon appear as large as the Moon in the night sky. It’s a tweaked version of an earlier hoax from 2003, when Mars really was at its closest approach to Earth in thousands of years … but remained a … Read more
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 … Read more
The productivity web site The Rirarian Project debunks a bunch of first aid myths, including using margarine or butter to cool a burn, pulling out a bee stinger, using peroxide to washout a wound and sucking venom from a snakebite.
Snopes.com debunks the rumor that Willie Nelson quipped “It’s a good thing I had a bag of marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I’d be dead by now” after his tour bus was raided for drugs, and in the wake of hundreds being sickened by E. coli-contaminated spinich.
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).