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Myth-busting website Snopes.com revealed to be a hoax – according to Snopes.com

snopes - HOAXVisit Snopes.com, the myth-busting web site and you will discover that a lot of things you always thought were true were in fact LIES!

If you’re not familiar with Snopes.com, it’s a very informative website with a singular purpose: to validate or debunk incredible claims, warnings, and tall tales that circulate around the Internet. The site examines claims such as the infamous urban legend that told us that “for every person you forward this email, Bill Gates will donate $1 towards life-saving brain surgery for a five-year old girl named Tabitha.”

Just last week I discovered to my great relief that, according to Snopes.com, swallowing a watermelon seed will NOT cause a watermelon to grow inside you – unless, of course, you also consume Ortho plant fertilizer mixed with large doses of Miracle Gro potting soil, drink two gallons of water per day, and sit under a sun lamp with your mouth open for 30 minutes a day over two months. But even then, it probably won’t be edible.

Every day, people send me well-intentioned emails, passing along what they naively believe to be informative news alerts about some health scare or consumer safety risk. Almost always, these dire warnings turn out to be false – and I know this because I often verify the falsity of these ridiculous claims at Snopes.com – usually about 5 minutes after I’ve forwarded the well-intentioned dire warning email to 1,500 of my closest friends with an email subject line stating: Important dire warning: Pass this along to 1,500 of your closest friends! 

snopes - Big FootHere are just a few of the email tips I received in the past month, all of which turned out to be completely without merit:

  • Flossing your teeth with cat intestines releases pheromones that will make you irresistible to women – FALSE! (Although in fairness, I did become instantly irresistible to my cat, Buttons.)
  • Eating a diet consisting of nothing but broccoli and tuna fish for four months will enlarge your penis. – Totally FALSE! (Don’t ask me how I know, but I do. )
  • Using cell phones while fueling up at a gas station leads to brain cancer in mice – FALSE! (As to why mice were using cell phones at gas stations, well, that’s a question scientists are still hotly debating.)

We’ve all seen emails with claims that too much of this or that has been shown to lead to cancer in laboratory rats. After years of in-depth laboratory studies, it was recently revealed that the primary cause of cancer in all of those poorly designed laboratory studies was in fact laboratory rats.

snopes - lab ratPerhaps you’ve received an email informing you that the radiation from your cell phone can pop popcorn or that drinking your own urine can add ten years to your life. Whatever the incredible claim or warning, the odds are Snopes.com has tracked it down. [Author’s note: While it’s conceivable that drinking your own urine may add ten years to your life, this regimen is pretty much assured to ruin any chance of ever getting married. ]  In 90% of the cases, Snopes.com will prove with convincing evidence the tall tale is just that – a tall tale.

I can’t count the number of times I wished I had checked out Snopes.com. Like the time I stopped taking daily showers for three months because I was told that most soap destroys your resistance to germs and can lead to disease – this based on a helpful email forwarded by someone I’d never heard of to another person I’d never heard of to someone named Bert to my mother. And who wouldn’t listen to their own mother? But had I just checked out Snopes.com first, I would have quickly learned two important pieces of information:

First: that this “washing with soap” scare was a fabricated urban legend with no basis in fact; and Second: that my mother is an idiot. (And I mean that in only the most loving way, Mom.)

Thanks to Snopes.com, I no longer fear flesh-eating bananas from Costa Rica or poisonous rat droppings in my box of Special K cereal, which will cause my internal organs to dissolve. I no longer worry that downloading Elf Bowl to my computer will trigger a virus that will erase my computer’s hard drive on Christmas morning.

snopes - Elf bowl VirusSo imagine my shock when I found out this week that rumors were spreading that Snopes.com was itself a hoax. Snopes.com, true to its commitment to track down the truth or falsity of every Internet claim, conducted an in-depth investigation. Shockingly, Snopes.com concluded that in fact there was no credible evidence to support the existence of Snopes.com, and reported its findings at its web site, Snopes.com.

But interestingly, Snopes.com then conducted a further investigation and discovered something even more perplexing: Its subsequent study concluded that the alarmist claim by Snopes.com that it does not exist was itself just a nefarious hoax, and that Snopes.com was in fact real after all. It pointed to reams of statistical reports showing thousands of daily web site visits, to debunk claims that it did not exist.

But it didn’t end there. Shortly after that study, yet another Snopes.com investigation was launched, aiming this time to determine whether or not the previous Snopes.com report – which had reported that the Snopes.com report claiming that Snopes.com was a hoax, was itself a hoax – was in fact a hoax or not. It appears that Snopes.com has been caught in an endless loop of claims and counter claims about its own existence. As a result, the entire network of Snopes.com web servers overloaded and crashed – that is, if we are to believe that those web servers ever existed in the first place. At present, it is still unclear whether Snopes.com is a hoax or whether this writer is simply experiencing a really bad acid trip flashback.

So how will I know what’s true anymore? Without Snopes.com, I won’t know whether I should refuse to accept anyone’s business card ever again because it could be soaked in a dangerous drug which will completely erase my memory.  I worry about whether I might be asked by a company’s customer service automated phone menu to “please press #-9-0” – only to end up accidentally turning over my credit card information to Bulgarian Internet scammers who will go on a shopping spree with my VISA card. (Thankfully, it only has a $125 limit.)

And how will I ever know for sure whether those two teenagers living in my house these past two decades really are my daughters and not aliens from another planet planted in my house for the sole purpose of driving me insane and paying for their college education? One can never be too cautious these days.

snopes - fake moon landingWithout Snopes.com to turn to for answers, I’m confused and nervous. But there are three things I now know for a fact:

First: There never was a moon landing. All of them were faked, on a sound stage somewhere in Burbank.  Neil Armstrong was really just a character played by Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster. (That’s Burt in photo at right.)

Second: Global Warming is a complete hoax fabricated by liberal environmentalists intent on making people use their brains. I learned this on the O’Reilly Factor.

And Third: For every person to whom you forward this blog post, Apple CEO Tim Cook will donate $10 to build a hospital for starving kids in Wisconsin.

Thank you for doing your part to save the starving kids of Wisconsin by spreading the word about View from the Bleachers to 1,500 of your closest friends. With a simple mouse click, you can do your part to save the world, one needy Wisconsin child at a time.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015


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  • Published On Jan. 29, 2015 by TEJ
  • No, Grandpa, that’s not how you beam up. Let’s go over this one more time.

    Future tech - motorcycleI’m proud of my mother. At 93 years of age, she decided to tackle a computer for the very first time. Her bruises are healing. She even has an email account. It’s been a struggle, but after only a week of practice, she’s already figured out how to turn on her computer. Until 3 months ago, she had never heard of email or Google or Facebook. She’d never surfed the web, never watched a YouTube video of a cat riding a roomba.

    Today she sent me her very first email. She wrote, Dear Tim, I ma laerning ti sned emali but ti deos not thenw othew byrw kt wodh pcx; s93@m &m$k m1t8 btn%+. Love, mom”.  What a beautiful message.

    I appreciate that learning new technology comes more slowly to the elderly than, say, to an eight-year-old techno-dweeb raised with a cell phone surgically affixed to his thumbs. And it made me wonder: What sorts of new technology will be hard for me to comprehend when I’m my mother’s age?

    I can only imagine the conversation with my future eight-year-old grandson as he patiently tries to explain to me how to use the everyday tech tools of his generation…

    ************************************

    Grandson: Hey, Grandpa. I see you’re still having problems figuring out how to use some pretty basic devices. Didn’t you have jetpacks and 3-D printable holograms when you were growing up?

    Me: Surprisingly, no, Nathan. Things were less complicated in the 1960s when I was your age. Back then, we had not yet invented iPads or cell phones. Heck, as I recall, we were all pretty stoked about the recent invention of the Etch A Sketch. Hard to imagine, but people used to read these contraptions called books. So, yes, I could use a little help with these modern day gadgets.

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    • Love this story Tim and the jargon is fabulous. Less than 40 years from now hum... and it …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Oct. 28, 2014 by TEJ
  • Welcome to Windows 8

    [The following post was written by my longtime friend and fellow humorist, Steve Fisher. You can check out Steve’s humor blog at Fishful Thinking.]

    Windows 8Hello and welcome to Windows 8, the new PC operating system from Microsoft. Now that you’ve successfully installed our new system – perhaps on the third or fourth attempt (sorry about that) – we’d like to give you a quick tour of its many amazing new features and applications.  Let’s get started, shall we?

    As soon as you launch Windows 8 for the first time, one new thing you’ll notice right away is that your computer is now completely fucked up. Don’t worry. Shortly after we rolled it out several months ago, some minor technical glitches were discovered, which we quickly resolved in an update to all users.

    Following that update – which unfortunately resulted in a number of aircraft dropping out of the sky and a partial collapse of the electrical grid in the northeastern U.S. – we issued a second update which resolved all of the issues caused by the first one. That is, with the exception of a repeated system crashing problem, which was subsequently resolved by our third update.

    Since then, via a continuing series of further updates, we have successfully corrected nearly all of the remaining system issues. Thus you can now simply switch on your computer and enjoy the full benefits of Windows 8 without your PC bursting into flames (update 15), your hard disk melting (update 23), or your printer exploding (update 156). And, if you’ve managed to read this welcome message so far without experiencing an epileptic seizure caused by rapidly pulsating pixels on your monitor (update 259), then we’re very happy indeed.

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    • One suggestion - update to: Mac
      Lee
  • Published On Dec. 29, 2013 by TEJ
  • Business Lesson #74: Build team loyalty with self-guided mobile spy robots

    robot bosses - TimIf there’s one thing nearly every American can agree on it’s that having aerial surveillance cameras capable of eavesdropping on our every move from outer space is a wonderful thing. Oh, sure, sometimes surveillance cameras can be used for evil, like the time they caught me doing 45 in a 35 mph zone. But video technology can also be used for good – say, to observe remotely whether employees are wasting time at work playing video games, when they should be wasting time pretending to make sales calls.

    That at least appears to be the thinking behind a new, state-of-the art mobile video robot called the Ava 500, a name most experts consider a far better selection than the original idea: the Self-Navigational Operations Observational Prototype (SNOOP for short). The Ava 500 is the world’s “first self-driving business collaboration robot,” according to the manufacturer’s cheery marketing brochure. Now, business executives can collaborate with employees without leaving their corner office, using a mobile robot with a two-way video camera that lets them roam the halls or join in on team meetings remotely. Employees will love it.

    Want to check in on your crew of illegal Mexican factory workers to see if they are keeping pace with their production quota of 1,500 sneakers per hour? No problem. With the press of a button, you can remotely walk along the assembly line floor to inspect the quality of their work, without leaving your yacht in the Caymans. Hey, looks like it’s already been ten minutes and Pedro’s still not back from his five-minute lunch break. Uh oh. Looks like Pedro’s got some ‘splaining to do.

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    • The people I used to work for didn't need robots. All of the employees were reporters, so we were …
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Jul. 31, 2013 by TEJ
  • Important safety alert: The dangers of texting while breathing

    In our increasingly technology-bound culture, cell phone use has exploded over the past decade. A recent report indicates there are now more cell phones in the USA than people, and three times more cell phone users than Americans who can locate the United States on a map of North America.

    People use their cell phones to do all sorts of things – a few have even been known to use them to place phone calls. But mostly, people use their cell phones to text thought-provoking comments like Hey.

    Studies indicate that the dangers of cell phone texting extend far beyond texting while driving. Health experts have recently argued that texting should be avoided during any of the following “high-risk” activities:

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    • I think it's totally irresponsible for people to text while performing any task that requires even a modium of concentration …
      Pam N
  • Published On May. 31, 2012 by TEJ
  • Business Lesson #39: Awlays Proffread Yoru Wrok

    As a successful entrepreneur and highly sought-after business guru, I am constantly being asked by people trying to climb the latter of success “How can I ever become as successful as you?” Well the short answer, of course, is “You can’t. Don’t waste your time trying.” That said, there are still several things you can do to ignite your career, including offering to have sex with your company’s president or blackmailing the CFO with photos from last December’s Holiday Office party. But these strategies are best reserved for the experienced career climber. For someone with your more modest level of talent and ambition, how about we start with something a bit more basic, shall we?

    One of the most important things every business professional can do to improve their chances of getting promoted is this: Awlays proffread yoru wrok.

    How we communincate in righting can leaf lunglasting impassions about us. Weather its an emale massage, a business mammo or a for mall propostal, it is criticial to revue your work for accuratecy. By making egreekious grammer and spoiling misteaks, it can from in the mind of the reader a severally negative impersonation abort you. They may persleeve you too bee someone who is lazey, careles, disogranized or somewon who simply can’t finnish their

    I can’t stress how pearamount it is to careflee skan your work for posse ball tie pose. Remember, how you communionate in rightwing may be the differents between getting a raze and getting fried. I could knot be moor serialous about this then I are.

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    • Sorry I didn't see this one sooner. I was in Vietnam when you posted it. They sent me there in …
      Jim Hayden
  • Published On Jan. 20, 2012 by TEJ
  • The latest innovation from Google: Google Translate – Family Edition

    When you think of Google, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? In my case, it’s the fact that I’m still kicking myself for not listening to my day trader buddy Rocco, who told me back in 2004 to buy 500 shares at $45.

    But the second thing that comes to mind when I think of Google is this: innovation.

    Among Google’s most impressive innovations is Google Translate, which lets you translate a phrase from one language into any of more than sixty other languages – even Latin – which comes in really handy if you’re considering becoming say, the Archbishop of Kent.

    Imagine you’re in France on a business trip and you’re hungry. Google Translate will take this English expression: I am very hungry. Let’s go to McDonalds so I can order a Happy Meal.

    And turn it into this perfect French translation: Je suis très faim. Allons au McDonalds pour que je puisse commander un Happy Meal. Je déteste ces odieux, arrogants bâtards Américains.

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    • Oh, that was my mother - and she's 90. Not bad, eh? Glad you liked everything about this week's post …
      TEJ
  • Published On Oct. 21, 2011 by TEJ
  • VFTB humor blog owes success to worldwide spammers

    Every now and then I dip into the View from the Bleachers Reader Mail Bag to check out reader comments. I like to hear what my loyal following has to say about my recent posts. It may surprise you to know that my humor blog is (hardly ever) read by people all over the world – from Melbourne to Moscow to Mogadishu, and everywhere in between.

    Whenever I wonder whether anybody is paying any attention to my posts, I need look no further than the blog’s comments section to discover that spammers from around the world are regularly checking out my web site. How flattering, I must say. And they always have something positive to say.

    As a professional humorist and three-time Golden Globe nominee, I have found that coming up with original, entertaining topics to write about each week is a formidable challenge. But when I stop to read the highly personal reader feedback of spammers from places like Istanbul, I am reminded that this labor of love is well worth it. One week I had over 800 comments from an eclectic collection of web sites, most of which, I sheepishly admit, I had never heard of. At the risk of sounding immodest, the feedback from these spammers has been almost universally effusive. Many times, the comments are surprisingly coherent, if you can just decipher the mangled spelling.

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  • Published On Oct. 07, 2011 by TEJ
  • My love letter to my Internet Help Desk

    [Background: Last week, I spent 19 hours over five days dealing with the tech support call center from my Internet Service Provider (ISP) – all because I installed their software “security program” from one of their email offers, which mucked up my computer, making it completely inoperable.

    Below is the actual enthusiastic letter of appreciation I sent to my ISP. Because I don’t wish to embarrass my ISP by name, I have chosen to alter the company’s actual name to protect its identity.

    Everything written below is the 100% truth of my actual nightmare experience. Well, perhaps 90%. – tej]

    Dear KOMKAST,

    Can I just say, I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN! Your commitment to keeping your customers satisfied has never been more on display than over the past five days. In that time I’ve gotten to know  many of your tech support team members so well, they almost feel like family to me now. I am writing to tell you how grateful I am for everything that you have done to restore my faith in large bureaucratic, monopolistic utility companies for which their customers are merely numbers on an income statement spreadsheet.

    My original  plan for last Saturday had been to go on a nice long day hike with my family. Little did I know that at precisely 9:07am that morning KOMKAST was going to radically change my agenda for the next five days. What an educational experience it was. Can I share it with you?

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    • 123, 4567 89 0123456 78901234!! 56 789012 3456 7 89012 34567 89012 3 45 67890. 1234 567, 89012
      Kevin
  • Published On Jun. 23, 2011 by TEJ
  • Watson vs. Palin in mock presidential debate – Who will win?

    [To LISTEN to an audio podcast of this week’s column, press the PLAY button arrow below.]

    Last week I told you about the phenomenal Watson Super Computer from IBM. Watson appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! and completely dominated the competition against his two human opponents, the two most successful champions in the quiz show’s history.

    As a result, I told you about Republican plans to vet Watson as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. And so far, so good. You can read last week’s column here.

    As I mentioned last week, thanks to incriminating photos I have of House Speaker John Boehner, this reporter has obtained exclusive access to a private debate prep session in which GOP strategists pitted Sarah Palin against Watson in a mock presidential debate. The candidates’ responses showed pronounced differences in approaches to confronting the nation’s problems. Here is an excerpt from that debate, moderated by Larry King.

    King: Do you believe global warming is a real phenomenon, and if so, do you believe man has played a part in escalating it? Watson?

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  • Published On Apr. 08, 2011 by TEJ