Which part of this beggar's act is a scam?

Gary Thompson relies on an 
artful mix of truth and fantasy.

Gary Thompson works the streets of Lexington, Kentucky while rolling around in a wheelchair.

Does he need to use a wheelchair? Maybe.

He talks like he has a mental handicap of some kind. Is his speech really as bad as it sounds? No, it's not. (In fact, he has a degree in speech pathology.)

As part of his story, he tells people he used to be a millionaire. That makes a great story, doesn't it? He should be able to get some bucks from suckers with that one, right? Except for the strange fact that the "former millionaire" part of his story is true.

The Lexington police department held a press conference about Mr. Thompson, and afterwards a reporter talked with him.

He bragged that he makes between $60,000-$100,000 per year. True? Well, if it is, why is he stupid enough to drop his act and brag about it?

I guess it's hard to tell which parts of a professional beggar's story are true, and which parts are not.


Bogus Beggar

Alleged Lexington Scam Artist Caught In The Act By LEX 18 Reporter, Lex18>>

An illustrated skull on a living head - an illusion

It's both illustrated and alive.

This face was created by artist Lisa Berczel from Battledress Paint N Body. It's all makeup except for a bit of tape over one eye.

Battledress Paint N Body>>

3 colorful optical illusion cubes by Jessica Eaton

Canadian photographer Jessica Eaton took photographs of cubes painted white, black and grey and used different colored gels and multiple exposures to create these photographs.

She said she's gained inspiration from these 4 troublesome heads:

Un Homme de Tete, 1898

A rainbow in her studio

Jessica Eaton>>

This guy built a full-size train car in his basement

It looks like the interior of a train., but...

There was an episode of the old Mission Impossible TV show where the IMF team fooled a man into thinking he was on a sinking submarine so he would give up a secret code. The final reveal was that the entire submarine was a fake that had been built in a warehouse.

If secret agents need to create a fake train, they might contact Jason Shron, who built a twenty-foot-long replica 1980 Canadian Via Rail train car in his basement.

His obsession with detail and love of trains comes in handy; he runs a model train company called Rapido Trains.

The Guy with the Train in his Basement

Why film in New York to blow up New York?

You see the city in the background?
It wasn't really there.

The secrets of the digital city are revealed in this video from Industrial Light and Magic about the special effects illusions of the 2012 The Avengers movie:
Although roughly a third of "The Avengers" is set in New York City precious little was actually filmed there. ILM crew members photographed 7-miles of city streets from a variety of heights and at different times of day totaling 250,000 images. The crew then digitally recreated roughly 20 square blocks of mid-town Manhattan using a variety of techniques. Live action shoots were held primarily on sound stages in New Mexico and in the streets of Cleveland.
Building a Digital New York for "The Avengers"

How to unzip your book

No, it's not available for your ebook reader.

You can zip right to your page.

Zipmark from Anima Causa>>

When you want to camp in deceptive style

 Kissing couple

The company FieldCandy makes limited-edition designer tents, some with illusive designs.

Natural reading

Field of sheep


Anna Ayala has yet to learn not to lie to people

Anna Ayala has been in court before.

Anna Ayala told police that her son, Guadalupe Reyes, was shot by two men. She gave police a detailed description of the suspects, and they found one man they thought was a culprit.

Except that he was not the culprit. She had lied. What really happened is that her son had accidentally shot himself in the ankle with his own gun, and since he was a convicted felon and should not have had a firearm, she lied to cover for him.

The courts may not treat her kindly for lying. In 1995, Ms. Ayala was arrested and spent four years in prison for lying about finding a finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili.

(There was an actual severed finger, but it was one that her husband had purchased for $100 from a coworker who had had a workplace accident.)

Both she - and her son - were arrested on various charges.

Finger in Chili Hoax Lady Accused of Making Up Another Story, ABC News>>

Yes, the Chinese are still buying!

You can trust us, we're on the news.

Television news stations covered the opening of a new apartment building in downtown Vancouver, Canada by interviewing Chris and Amanda Lee, two sisters from China. They said they were visiting Vancouver and that their parents were helping them buy a place together.

They said that "Chinese people like to buy at this time" due to the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Except the "sisters" were not really sisters at all. They actually worked for the company, MAC Marketing Solutions, that was promoting the apartment project.

It was a public relations scam, hoping to convince news-watchers that the Chinese were still investing in Vancouver real estate.

Cameron McNeill, the president of the PR firm, said:
"I apologise for that incident and pledge that nothing like this will happen again at MAC. Having had the opportunity to assess the situation, I have taken decisive actions. Although it will take time, we hope that we can earn back our good reputation and your trust. This situation has been difficult for everyone and as a company, we will learn from this, grow stronger and be better for it."
The scam was exposed by an anonymous blogger.

Bogus buyers exposed in scam to boost property market in Vancouver, South China Morning Post World>>

Alfred Hitchcock - The Night the World Ended

One of his jokes gave a man a three-month hospital stay.

A newsman and cruel joker named Halloran plays a deceptive gag on a down-and-out barfly named Johnny in this worthwhile and ironic 1957 TV episode, a morality lesson on practical jokes.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents - The Night the World Ended

It's also on Netflix streaming.

(And in the useless trivia department, look for one of the street kids who is played by Harry Shearer of The Simpsons voice actor fame.)

A city destroyed and rebuilt - but is it deceptive?

These historic old buildings are beautiful, 
but they're not that old.

99% invisible calls itself "A tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world." This episode is about the rebuilding of Warsaw, Poland.


Like many cities in Central Europe, Warsaw is made up largely of grey, ugly, communist block-style architecture. Except for one part:  The Old Town.

Walking through the historic district, it’s just like any other quaint European city. There are tourist shops, horse-drawn carriage rides, church spires. The buildings are beautiful—but they are not original. 

During World War II, German forces razed more than 80% of Warsaw.  After Soviet troops took over, much of the city was rebuilt in the with communist style: fast, cheap, and big. They built apartment blocks, wide avenues, and heavy grey buildings. It was communist ideology in architectural form.

But when it came to the historic district of Warsaw—the Old Town and a long connecting section called the Royal Route—they decided not just to rebuilt, but to restore. Builders would use the same stones, and use special kilns to make special bricks to preserve its authenticity. After six years of reconstruction, the new Old Town was opened. Poles were ecstatic to have it back. Even in the West, it was seen as a triumph of the human spirit.

But here’s the thing: Warsaw’s historic Old Town is not a replica of the original. It’s a re-imagining. An historic city that never really was.
Read more: Episode 72- New Old Town, 99 percent invisible>>

Should I be honest during my job interview?

 They say honesty is the best policy.

This short exchange during a job interview illustrates why honesty might not always be the best idea:
Potential employer: Let me ask you this: What's your greatest weakness?

You: I'd have to say my greatest weakness is honesty.

Potential employer: That's interesting. You know, I don't think honesty is a weakness.

You: Really? Well, I don't give a rat's ass what you think.
Modified from a tweet sent by Jorgen Sundberg>>

5 tranquil images by Don Hong-Oai

Mr. Hong-Oai displayed an 
Asian aesthetic in his art.

Don Hong-Oai was born in China in 1929 and then lived in the Chinese community in Vietnam, later moving to the United States. He passed away in 2004.

His art travels in the opposite direction of a style like photo-realism, which tries to mimic a photographic reality via painting. Instead, his images mimic traditional Asian painting and prints via photography.

Don Hong-Oai photographs on Flickr>>

Is this offensive Christian rap video a hoax?

Pastor Jim Colerick raps: "Jesus Christ is my n----"

A video was posted on YouTube by a man who said he helped his pastor make it for their church, the West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ in Iowa.

Is it real, or is it a hoax? Is it a parody of clueless white people trying to be hip doing Christian outreach, or is it actual clueless white people?

You decide. And yes, due to use of the N word and bad rapping by old people, this video is NSFW.

Rappin' for Jesus

Iowa Church's YouTube Hit 'Rappin' for Jesus' Video a Hoax? The Christian Post>>

Craig Brittain and his revenge porn website

Mr. Brittain maintains he's doing nothing wrong.

A guy in his late twenties named Craig Brittain runs a website called IsAnybodyDown, one of many so-called "revenge porn" sites that display photos of nude women that were sent in without the women's consent. Mr. Brittain posts the photos along with the women's personal information.

He also links to a service run by an attorney that offers to take the photos down for $250. Mr. Brittain says he's not directly connected to that service, which is run by "David Blade III". (Although "Mr. Blade" might be Mr. Brittain, as well, according to this post>>)

Mr. Brittain says it's all for entertainment and it's all legal and he makes about $3,000 a month from advertising.

A news organization recently discovered that he may have tricked a woman into sending him nude photos by posing as another woman.

The woman who was tricked was corresponding with a woman named "Jess Davis" on Craigslist. Jess sent her nude photos of herself, along with the request to "Please send your name, age, and pics back.”

The woman did, only to discover that they wound up on Craig Brittain’s website. She said:
“I was livid. I felt violated to say the least. I wanted to throw up I was so distraught. This was something I didn’t want the world to see, to have easy access to.”
Mr. Brittain denies he was pretending to be "Jess Davis".

Except according to a security researcher, the emails from the fake "Jess" were sent from the same IP address, the same home and using the same email program as Mr. Brittain.

Mr. Brittain is not a particularly popular guy. Before this latest revelation, his personal information has been exposed by an Anonymous hacker, and he's been targeted by lawyers Marc Randazza (who blogs at The Legal Satyricon) and Ken White, who blogs at Popehat). Attorney Andrew Contiguglia has also been talking to people whose photos appeared on the site.

Mr. Brittain is also a convicted felon. (Craig Brittain Felony Record, PDF file>>)

But Mr. Brittain doesn't really like his job. He has written on his blog:
"I really hate this job and I do not do it for revenge, to hurt people, etc., I do it because Barack Obama is the second worst President in US history (second only to Jimmy Carter). The job market is really screwed up. A talented guy like me is easily worth seven figures or more in a good economy. ... Do you know what I'd be doing with my life if it wasn't for this website? Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Back against the wall, going to interview after interview and being rejected like every other honest, hard-working American."
- The face of revenge porn. Awash in 'honest' porn, Colorado Springs' Craig Brittain reigns as one of the most hated men on the Internet, Colorado Springs Independent>>
- How a “revenge porn” site got built: Fake identities to trade photos, Ars Technica>>
- Revenge Porn Website Operator May Be ‘Catfishing’, Impersonating Woman To Obtain Nude Photos, CBS Denver>>

Daniel Radcliffe's cunning ruse annoyed paparazzi

It involved this magic hat.

In 2007, while actor Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame was in London appearing in the stage play "Equus", he came up with a sly trick to frustrate the hoards of paparazzi waiting to take his photo after the show. He explained his plan to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show":
"I would wear the same outfit every single time with different T-shirts underneath but I would wear the same jacket and zip it up so they couldn't see what I was wearing underneath, and the same hat. So they could take photos for six months but it would look like the same day. They became un-publishable, which was hilarious because there's nothing better than seeing the paparazzi get really frustrated."
Daniel Radcliffe Is Growing Up, CBS News>>

The deceptive story about a dead baby

Rosemary Eaton and Jesse Brown

I don't usually quote an entire news story, but I'm quoting this entire short article from the Associated Press to make a point:
Pair accused of fabricating story about dead baby

PLYMOUTH, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut woman and a friend are accused of fabricating a story about the death of a baby in 2001.

The Republican-American reports that Rosemary Eaton and Jesse Brown were charged with falsely reporting an incident concerning serious injury or death and two misdemeanor counts of reporting false statements.

Police say the 29-year-old Eaton told a Waterbury social service case worker that she gave birth at an abandoned house 12 years ago. Eaton said Brown helped with the childbirth.

The case worker alerted police that Eaton said she buried the baby behind a ball field in Terryville.

Police, who found no remains, said Eaton eventually admitted she made up the story.

A phone number could not be found for Eaton and Brown was held on a $50,000 bond. It's not known if they are represented by lawyers.
So here's my question... Why? A dead baby makes for a compelling headline, but then I read the story and there's nothing. A woman said her baby died years ago, and a friend helped her, and then "Oh no, I made it up" and now they're both being held on $50,000 bond.

So to be charged with "falsely reporting an incident concerning serious injury or death and two misdemeanor counts of reporting false statements" warrants a $50,000 bond?

I don't think the story they told about a dead baby is the story that's deceptive.

An attractive woman explains fashion modeling

This is Cameron Russell's body, 
but this is not Cameron Russell.

Cameron Russell is 25 years old and models underwear, swimwear and clothing. She gave a short talk at TEDx MidAtlantic where she revealed some of the deceptive truths behind fashion modeling. Her talk has been viewed over a million times and garnered lots of comments.

Cameron Russell: Looks aren't 
everything. Believe me, I'm a model.

Read Ms. Russell's reaction to all the attention: Model Cameron Russell: I get what I don't deserve, CNN>>

Why is there a woodpile in my bedroom?

This stacked pile of cordwood could be in your 
bedroom courtesy of artist Mark Moskovitz.
He calls it "Facecord."

Its true function is cleverly disguised.

See more of Mr. Moskovitz's work at Fiftytwothousand>>
Via: Chest of drawers that looks like a woodpile, Boing Boing>>

The exploding Omaha manhole mystery

What caused all the manholes on 
this street in Omaha to belch fire?
(Click to enlarge)

It was an amazing photo of manholes with fire shooting out of them during an underground fire. There actually was a fire. But was it a real photo, or was it a fake?
The mystery began in a bar, as any good mystery should.

The patrons and employees of the Boiler Room had all seen the photo — the one that appears to show multiple fireballs shooting from the manhole covers along Howard Street, the defining image of the Sunday manhole fire that plunged downtown Omaha into darkness.

It seemed like every Internet-addled Omahan had seen the photo, which spread like an uncontrollable online manhole fire starting that night.

Nearly 1.5 million people viewed it on Reddit. It had been tweeted and re-tweeted and re-re-tweeted, and everyone appeared to be having the same argument that I engaged in Monday night at the Boiler Room.

It's real, some people said. It's clearly a fake, and you are an idiot, other people said.
A reporter decides to uncover the truth:
It included a man named Kenneth who wore no pants, a lawyer named Gwen who works in my own office building and a lot of purposeful staring at a fuzzy, blown-up iPhone image as if it were a modern-day Zapruder film.
And the truth, well it's almost stranger than fiction:

Read on: Hansen: The great Omaha manhole fireball photo mystery,>>

Via Metafilter>>

Landlord spies on tenants with ceiling camera

The images appeared to go back at least a year.

After a young woman in Maryland read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine about hidden cameras, she became concerned about a smoke detector in the room she was renting from Dennis Alan Van Dusen:
“Whenever the power would go out, all the smoke detectors on her level would beep, but the one above her bed did not,” according to Montgomery police documents.

The tenant said she and her boyfriend then examined the smoke detector and found video-recording equipment and wires leading back into the ceiling. In the early morning of Oct. 13, she called police, and two officers went to her apartment and took photographs of the device, according to police reports.

Police later confiscated Van Dusen’s laptop computer and two hard drives from his room in the house, according to a detective’s affidavit filed in court. An examination of the equipment found “sexually/nude videos” of the three tenants and their boyfriends, according to the affidavit. The videos also revealed that Van Dusen had put “hidden surveillance devices in each of the renters’ rooms,” the affidavit states.
According to Mr. Van Dusen's online resume, he has a Juris Doctorate and has "Three advanced degrees in computer science with business orientation technologies. (Penn State, Harvard)."

He also "Takes personal responsibility for challenges and solutions."

Read more: Chevy Chase landlord used tiny cameras to peep on tenants, police say, The Washington Post>>

Via Boing Boing>>

3 attempts at human disguise by Bence Bakonyi

 I particularly like her matching socks.

These photographs, in a series he calls Transform, are of people who have almost faded into their environment. Hungarian artist Bence Bakonyi dresses his models to fit in.

Her hair gives her away.

I wonder - am I going in the right direction?

Bence Bakonyi>>

Smile at the creepy robotic baby head

I love you. Are you my mommy?

Hanson Robotics built an oversized one-year-old baby head for the University of California San Diego's Machine Perception Lab. The robot, called Diego-san, was built by Hanson and Kokoro Co. Ltd., and will be used to read and mimic human faces to study how infants develop cognitive skills.


Head attached to body

- Hanson Robotics>>
- UCSD's robot baby Diego-san appears on video for the first time, Gizmag>>

The fake erotic book that didn't exist, until...

Gadzooks! quoth I, but here's 
a saucy "I, Libertine" hoax!

Year before his stories became the genesis for the movie A Christmas Story, Jean Shepherd was a radio DJ with a late night following:
... "I was new to New York, and I suddenly became aware that New York is almost entirely a city that really does run on lists." But, he asked his listeners, "has it occurred to you that these lists are compiled by mortals and that they are human just like you are and, in fact, they have many more axes to grind than you?"...

"The people who believe in these lists are asleep," he reminded his fans. "Anyone sitting up at three in the morning secretly has doubts."

He continued: "What do you say tomorrow morning each one of us walk into a bookstore, and ask for a book that we know does not exist?"

Shepherd fleshed out the details for this hypothetical tome. He asked his listeners to call in with suggestions for a title, and one listener came up with I, Libertine, perfect in its blend of the highbrow and salacious.
And so the idea for a successful hoax was born.

Read more: The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of "I, Libertine", The Awl>>

Sweet deal on nice car goes very very bad

1994 Chrysler Fifth Avenue for sale.
Driver's side window now needs repair.

For a month, a woman had been wanting to buy an 83-year-old man's old car. Finally, she told him, she had a source for the money, but first she wanted to take the car for a test drive.

She thought it was a great deal: A 1994 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, with only 64,000 miles on it, that had belonged to the man's mother.

They both got in the car, and the woman said she liked it and wanted to buy it, so he drove her to the Bank of America to get some money.

She quickly returned with $2,200, enough cash to buy the car.

On the way home, they heard sirens.

When the man pulled into his driveway ten minutes later, six police officers swarmed the car and drew their guns.

The woman told him to stay in the car because she had a gun, but with his hands already out of the partially opened door, he made the decision to get out.

He was led away by police.

The woman jumped into the driver's seat and backed up the car, but an officer smashed the window and shot her in the breast with a taser.

The woman, Gail Renee Castle, told officers, among other things: “I’m a gypsy and I can read your mind by looking into your eyes,”

She was arrested for bank robbery, elder abuse and resisting arrest.

Buying a car? Rob a bank. Suspect robbed BofA to buy car she had waiting outside, Manteca Bulletin>>

Mother tries Houdini ploy with jailed son

They weren't Houdini and wife.

I don't know if they knew the story about Houdini.

It's been said that after the great escape artist Harry Houdini had been been strip-searched and was about to be locked in a jail cell, he and his wife Bess shared a passionate kiss. That's when Bess transferred a hidden key from her mouth to his, helping to enable his escape.

Kimberly Margeson was caught doing something similar, except she's accused of transferring two Oxycodone painkillers from her mouth to the mouth of her son, William Partridge, during her visit to him in jail.

Unlike Houdini and his wife, she was caught and charged with a felony drug charge and introducing prison contraband.

Ewww! Mom busted passing convict son drugs during icky French Kiss: cops, New York Daily News>>

He pretends the police have locked up his car

He's trying to prevent theft.

Police will clamp a device called the Denver Boot on your car if you have too many unpaid parking tickets, which forces you to pay up.

But one guy in Chicago was spotted locking a Denver Boot device to his own car. Is he using the boot as a decoy so he won't get more tickets? Nope, it's just an extra lock he puts on his car so nobody will steal it.

The city says there's nothing illegal about it.

- Chicago Driver Gives Himself The Boot To Guard Against Car Thieves, CBS Chicago>>
- Guy Figures If He Boots His Own Car, Thieves Won’t Be So Tempted To Steal It, The Consumerist>>

He's still performing magic with those rings

They used to be linked together.

This photo of Denver, Colorado magician David Elstun performing the linking ring magic trick for student Shea Watson was taken by photographer Rhoda Pollack on May 5, 1981, during a school assembly at Bishop Elementary School. It's from the archives of the newspaper The Denver Post.

Dave is still performing 
with those rings.

This photo was found in an ebay listing by big_ole_photos>>
Dave Elstun>>

Why cheating gelada baboons have quiet sex

"I'll love ya, baby, but I have 
to be quiet about it."

So here's a puzzle about baboons: do they cheat?

Gelada baboons, who live together in small groups, follow certain rules. Most male baboons are forbidden from having sex with the females, except for one dominant baboon.

But research has shown that about 17 percent of the offspring are not from that dominant baboon. So what's going on?

Researchers watched copulating baboons to discover the answer.

The cheating baboons used tactics.

The less-dominant baboons waited until the dominant baboons were far away from the females until they started having sex.

But they also did something else: they kept quiet about it.

Instead of making their usual loud noises during sex, the male baboons were much less likely to vocalize, suggesting that they were actively trying to be sneaky.

Usually animals take advantage of an existing situation (such as the dominant baboon not watching the female) but this behavior shows that they're actively trying something else.

They're cheating, and they know it.

- Gelada Baboons Keep Sexual Infidelity Hush-Hush, Live Science>>
- Gelada baboon photo from TrekNature>>

Why Richard Turner always wins at cards

He has practiced... a lot.

Richard Turner doesn't deal fairly

- Richard Turner>>
- Photo by DParkPhotography>>

(By the way, Richard Turner is legally blind.)

A trippy animated cave - an optical illusion

Philippe Blanchard calls it "expanded animation."

Canadian artist Philippe Blanchard flashes a series of red, green and blue lights at red, green and blue designs to create the illusion of movement.

New Troglodytes / Nouveaux Troglodytes

New Troglodytes / Nouveaux Troglodytes from Philippe Blanchard on Vimeo.

- New Troglodytes / Nouveaux Troglodytes, Philippe Blanchard>>
- ARPRIM gallery>>

Can this guy paint a picture in 90 seconds?

He only has 1:26 seconds left...

'Speed Painter' D. Westry Takes Stage 
in 'Anderson's Viewers Got Talent'


How to steal from your local Walmart store

Just grab it and go

A couple in Longmont, Colorado are accused of shoplifting thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from local Walmart stores.

The shoplifting method they used wasn't sophisticated.

Ricky Woodall and Christina Rogers-Woodall would place the items they wanted into their shopping baskets - sometimes also putting the items into bags - and simply walk out of the store.

Police said they stole "Wii games, controllers, DVDs, children's toys and household goods."

The couple's children, who are 9, 12 and 17 years old, would help.

Said Officer Dan Kilian of the Longmont Gang Crime and Suppression Unit:
"They are really bold and brazen."
Police searched and recovered the stolen items, including a Razor scooter that had been given to one of the kids for Christmas. As it was being confiscated, the child told the officer that Santa gave it to him.

Longmont couple suspected of felony-level theft from Walmart stores, Daily Camera>>

A short film about anticipating magic

It'll take your breath away. 

Voice Over
VOICE OVER (English subtitles) from Kamel Films on Vimeo.

Kamel Films>>

These sculptures have a very freaky twist

They're solid, and they're made of paper

A honeycomb paper decoration

I've always been fascinated by the geometry of these types of paper decorations, but this artist has manipulated the paper to a new level.

Li Hongbo (李洪波 ) who lives in Beijing, China, loves paper. When he took apart a honeycomb paper decoration to see how it worked and realized it was very simple in construction, he decided to expand its possibilities. This led to gluing together thousands of sheets of paper and carving the resulting paper blocks into forms.

The results can either look like solid sculptures, 
or they can be unfurled to make eerie shapes.

This beam of wood has a bend

The solid man at left is constructed the same way 
as his twisted doppelganger on the right

flexible paper sculptures made up of 
thousands of layers by li hongbo  

Li Hongbo, Dominik Mersch Gallery>>