India’s SMS Hoax Panic: Could It Happen In The U.S.?
I talked with Shlok Vaidya about what conditions would lead to an “SMS panic” like the one last week in India. There’s also a cameo by John Robb in there:
Trying to think of something that fit the mold of what happened in India, I asked Vaidya about the calls for Obama’s birth certificate in the U.S. Those rumors are more difficult to debunk because the target audience was already distrustful of the government and mainstream media, and right wing institutions were either slow to distance themselves from the demands and rumors or propagated them themselves. So even once the birth certificate and a Hawaiian newspaper birth announcement were made available, so-called “Birthers” weren’t convinced and claimed the birth certificate was fake and/or called to see a long form birth certificate.
Some Birthers will never be convinced, no matter what evidence is produced. This is similar to the problem in India: no one could prove conclusively that the northeasterners weren’t in danger. Any attempt to engage with Birthers and conspiracy theorists, such as such as Cass Sunstein’s “cognitive infiltration” proposal is likely to backfire and make them even more paranoid.
TechCrunch: India’s SMS Hoax Panic: Could It Happen In The U.S.?
The Man Who Told the Internet He’d Come from the Future
Mike Lynch, a private detective hired for an Italian documentary on Titor, suggests that Haber’s brother, John Rick Haber, is Titor. John Rick Haber is a computer scientist who would have known about the IBM 5100 and Unix 2038 problem, with a post office box application later linking John Rick Haber with the John Titor Foundation. Lynch believes John Rick Haber to have the computer knowledge and wit to perpetrate the Titor hoax.
i09: The Man Who Told the Internet He’d Come from the Future
Human hair solar panel probably a hoax
Previously reported human hair solar panel most likely a hoax:
The young man claims he has sent several units out for evaluation which, on the face of it, lends credibility to his claim: ‘I’m trying to produce commercially and distribute to the districts. We’ve already sent a couple out to the districts to test for feasibility,’ he said. On the other hand, this means that he has built prototypes capable of producing 9VDC at 18W. Based on the analysis below, this seems highly unlikely and, unfortunately, seems to indicate this is a deliberate hoax.
As discussed below, the claimed output of this device does not agree with the published properties of photoelectric organic dyes, making it likely that a conventional solar cell is concealed inside the panel. Furthermore, the article states, “Half a kilo of hair can be bought for only 16p in Nepal and lasts a few months, whereas a pack of batteries would cost 50p and last a few nights. People can replace the hair easily themselves, says Milan, meaning his solar panels need little servicing” and “The young inventor says that human hair due to the presence of Melanin is sensitive to light and also acts as a type of conductor”. These statements indicate that the device uses human hair directly, not purified, extracted melanin which further invalidates the claim. The melanin can’t be electrically active because keratin is an insulator. Human hair is non-conductive and not photochemically active as published articles and my own experiments show.
Nepal Human Hair Solar Panel Hoax
(Thanks Mart K!)