Monday, December 31, 2012

Hoaxes of 2012: Birds, Alaska and death rumors

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 2:06 PM

If there were the hoax of 2012, it would have the be the prophesied end of the world. But most people were skeptical enough to buy Christmas presents, and real Mayans think we were all being weird, so here are a bunch of other hoaxes of 2012.

Viral bird videos

First, in March, it turned out the Dutch "Bird Man" can't actually fly with Nintendo Wii-controlled kite wings. Then, in December, it turned out an eagle didn't actually snatch a toddler from a Canadian park.

Sent to Alaska

Apparently there aren't too many dining options in remote Bethel, Alaska, so residents were pretty excited when fliers went up announcing a new Taco Bell. It turned out to be part of a prank between two residents, and not real, but at least Taco Bell decided to airlift a food truck to make 10,000 free consolation tacos for the town of 6,000.

Also sent to Alaska was rapper Pitbull, who paired with Walmart to make an appearance at whichever store got the most Facebook "Likes" during a monthlong promotion. The internet rallied Likes with the hashtag #exilePitbull and sent him to the small town of Kodiak.

The Onion strikes again

In September, Iran's state news agency reported that a poll reported that rural Americans prefer Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Obama. (They later admitted the poll was fake, but added that a real poll would probably have the same result.) In November, the Chinese state newspaper quoted the Onion story naming North Korea's Kim Jong-Un the "Sexiest Man Alive."

Decade-long cancer hoax

For sheer strangeness and longevity, no hoax from 2012 can beat the story of J.S. Dirr. A 22-year-old woman from Ohio had been keeping up the fake identity for half her life, going so far as to send out "Warrior Eli" bracelets for Dirr's alleged son, who had cancer. It was the bracelets that eventually revealed the hoax.

Facebook privacy notice

It seems like there's a new variation every month: Copy this long, legal-jargony paragraph and post it on your own Facebook to protect your copyright and privacy right. It sure would be nice if we could opt out of Facebook terms of service, but yeah... that doesn't do anything. (If you see friends/family falling for this hoax, this was the gentlest letdown comment I've ever seen: "Another urban legend, I'm afraid.")

Messing with the press

A 25-year-old guy admitted he lied to CBS about an embarrassing office story. He also lied to MSNBC about getting sneezed on, and lied to The New York Times about collecting vinyl records. (That last one led to one of 2012's more elaborate corrections.) He did it by responding to reporters looking for sources on a site called Help A Reporter Out — mostly to prove it could be done, he said.

In a far more elaborate NYT hoax, a fake op-ed supposedly by former editor Bill Keller was published in July. The fake article was strongly in favor of WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks eventually took responsibility, proving that Julian Assange is pretty much just a hacker egomaniac after all.

The New York Stock Exchange is flooded, and other hurricane rumors

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the water was rising, the power was failing and people were frantically turning to Twitter for information. Some of the most frightening updates — and most famously the rumor that the New York Stock Exchange floor was flooded — all turned out to be from the imagination of one 29-year-old Republican campaign consultant.

Fox News viewers are dumb

In December, a supposed study found that Fox News viewers have an average IQ of 80, compared to the U.S. average of 100. It was totally made up. (A different, real poll in May did find that Fox News viewers are worst-informed about international news, but MSNBC viewers were second-worst, and the methodology was criticized.)

Boo the Dog and other celebrity deaths

Celebrity death rumors are an annual tradition, but the strangest this year concerned the alleged death of Boo, an adorable Pomeranian famous for being adored by Khloe Kardashian. The dog has millions of fans on Facebook, many of whom tweeted mournfully with the hashtag #RIPBoo until a publicist for the dog's book ("Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog") quashed the rumors with a photo of the pup alive and adorable.

Other celebrities whose reports of death were greatly exaggerated: Cher, Morgan Freeman, Reese WitherspoonPaul McCartney, Celine DionReba McEntire, Chris BrownBruno Mars and so many more

Prank calls

More seriously, some hoaxes have consequences: Two Australian radio DJs posing as the royal family tricked a nurse into putting Kate Middleton personal nurse on the line. Three days later, the nurse committed suicide and the hoax may have been a factor.

And, finally, a few things we wish were hoaxes

Honey Boo Boo: It could just be the latest faux-life hoax-art project from Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix, right?

Clint Eastwood and the chair: Now we all have to confront our own mortality. Incidentally, Eastwood told his local paper that Barack Obama is the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

Demise of Hostess: It would have been such a good marketing ploy — get customers good and scared so they run out and clear the shelves of Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But no, it's really over.

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Gonzaga Cracks Top 10, Big Game Today

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM

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The updated college basketball rankings just rolled out and Gonzaga moved up three spots in both the AP and the USA Today/ESPN polls, placing them at the 10 spot.

The move comes after dropping 94 points on Baylor Friday night, thanks to an explosion of offense from Kevin "The Calm Canadian" Pangos and solid efforts from Kelly "The Hippie Canadian" Olynyk and Elias "German, Not Canadian" Harris.

Today, the Zags are out in Stillwater, Okla., to battle #22 Oklahoma State for the Zags' now-familiar New Year's Eve game. OSU is looking tough, coming into the game with only one loss during a non-conference schedule that saw them knock off then-#6 NC State back in November.

The game tips off at 3 pm on ESPN2. A perfect excuse to get the NYE pre-party going early.

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MORNING BRIEF: Fiscal cliff, bus crash, ax robbery, celebrity spawn

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 9:02 AM

AROUND HERE

A man was shot inside a home near North Central High School, and a man with an ax robbed a woman (Spokesman)

Nine people died when a charter bus slid off an icy highway in Oregon (AP)


OUT THERE

The fiscal cliff deadline looms. (WaPo) If legislators don't reach a deal, here's what would happen and when. (NYT)

Women in India protested after a 23-year-old rape victim died from her injuries (NYT)

Kanye West announced that he and Kim Kardashian are expecting. All the funny jokes about big butts and big egos have already been made, so let's all leave little Kimye alone, OK? (Gawker)
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear, I Saw You People

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



I have been an avid I Saw You fan since before I could date, with all the
sweet nothings and creepy notes written to the unsuspecting potential
loves. Lately however, the notes have been lackluster or nonexistent. Come
on people! Grow some courage and reach out to the girl you made eye contact
with at the bar, but did not have the guts to talk to, try to find the man
you accidentally spilled your coffee on and flirted with shamelessly for an
hour or just use this as a platform to declare the love you feel towards a
friend you have liked since meeting them. Enough with the Jeers, we have
enough hate in our world as it is. Let's just spread the love and maybe
meet someone great along the way. Sincerely, The I Saw You Fan.
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Downtown Starbucks

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



I saw you Tuesday, December 18th. You were sitting across from me. You were
a curly haired, beautiful blonde. I was wearing a business suit, not my
favorite attire. I hope to see you again.
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You Sweet Thing!

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



Thanks to "Celebrations" Bakery for their prize of a dozen cupcakes for
best "Cheers" every week. That is a very generous "thank you" to the most
gracious applauding the quiet good- guys of our town. Go to them for the
yummy treats and you'll be supporting a small business as well as our
pal, "The Inlander". ( I am a non-paid spokesman as they say on midnight
infomercials!) Thank you, Celebrations!
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Bonnie and Clyde

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



I am Bonnie, he is my Clyde. Never a question, always down to ride. The
darkest secrets are kept by the one closest to my side. He knows when I've
lied, tried or cried. He is embedded in my insides, together, we have a
wicked stride. The gangsta Bonnie and Clyde pride, a bit of the Caribbean,
with that southern fried. Dat trust you can dive in and hide. Married by
feelings, his ghetto bride. When he slips, I slide. When he soars, I glide.
If he loses a breath, a piece of me dies. When he extends his inhales, I
share in his highs.. We are the ghetto Bonnie and Clyde Cheers. WW
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What Happened?

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



Star Wars Tattooed Buffoon. You know who you are! You were once such a cool
guy and good friend. What happened to you? From the love of ICP music to
the star wars storm trooper tattoo, you're now just an idiot. To top it all
off you're a jerk too. I came to your work to try to talk to you and was
mocked and ridiculed by you and your cronies. It breaks my heart to see you
become suck a jerk. We used to have so much together. Now no more. No more
long walks. No more lunches at Panda. No more driving around listening to
our music. Now all you have time for is being a buffoon.
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Courtesy Driving

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



I totally love and appreciate/respect the job the Spokane Police do, and
completely understand them wanting to be off their shift before the next
call comes in. My uncle was a police officer for over 30 years. Trust me, I
get it. However, I live pretty much on the corner of Gardner/Maple on the
East side, and the speed in which that corner is usually whipped around
during/about main shift changes are (at least in the last year I've been
here), frankly, dangerous. I as a civilian I am pretty sure would get an
infraction if I were to do the same thing. Bear in mind; this is not done
in any way strictly by the police. Many people do it. I would like to see
it stopped as a whole; I cross the street often to visit my older neighbor,
and always dart, even if the street is clear. Just some conscientiousness
and brakes, for three seconds. For the sake of people and kids and cats.
That's all I ask. Please? And thank you (really, thanks).
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Missing Dog

Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM



To the dirtbag who sped off with my faithful companion of nine years. My
dog was not much to look at, yet he was always there for me with a good
attitude when I was down. If anyone sees the thief with my stolen dog
please call the cops and have them rescue my dearly missed friend. He is a
black lab with three legs, blind in right eye, missing left ear, tail
broken and has recently been castrated. He answers to the name of lucky.
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