Real News vs. Fake News… Guidelines For Users
Recently, there have been numerous stories in the media about fake news. However, with the wide dissemination of fake news, it can be difficult to determine which fake news stories are real and which are fake. To help our readers in this regard, we offer the following guidelines:
- How to tell real news stories
Real news stories are those which are upsetting, depressing and/or ridiculous sounding. For example, suppose you were to read the following headlines just a few years ago…
“Twitter-Obsessed Reality TV Star Elected President of U.S.”
“Former Olympics Decathlon Champion Gets Sex-Change Procedure.”
“Kim Kardashian Doesn’t Publicly Expose Her Rear End for an Entire Month.”
“Dems Get Tough on Russians. Some Repubs Say, ‘Back Off. More Important Things to Worry About.’”
You’d undoubtedly think these were all fake news, yet they are real.
- How to tell fake news stories
Fake news stories are those which sound far-fetched, but which some people really want to believe are true, so they do. For example, check out the following headlines:
“Hillary Clinton Caught Eating Kittens Stuffed With Hummus While Wearing Burka and E-mailing U.S. Security Secrets to Terrorists.”
“Donald Trump Shoots Seven People on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Supporters Remain Loyal. ‘We Told You He Was Different,’ They Say.”
Sounds absurd, we know, but we guarantee some people would believe them. The question is why. According to the Institute for the Preservation of Fake news, there are three reasons:
- Such stories re-enforce what they already believe.
- They are gullible morons who are too lazy to check out the veracity of the story.
- They think anything they read on the Internet is true, even this crap.
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If You Don’t Like Soccer…
You’re A Moron
By James Roundtree
And so am I. And so, apparently, is the majority of the American people, because the likelihood that soccer will someday compete with American football (aka Concussions-R-Us) for popularity is nil.
Speaking of nil (note the smooth segue), isn’t that the most asinine word for “zero” you’ve ever heard? But if you’re in the company of soccer nuts, you darn well better use it. If you announce a soccer score of, say, “Two to nothing,” the nil Nazis will assault you like the panzers invading Poland. “It’s two nil!” the raving twits will scream, as though you’ve committed a crime against humanity.
Still, I keep watching soccer and keep trying to find reasons to enjoy it. After all, we’re constantly being told that it’s the world’s most popular and “sophisticated” sport. The implication is that most Americans are just too simple-minded to appreciate it.
However, from what I’ve seen, soccer is about as sophisticated as mud wrestling, because a typical match consists of a bunch of people randomly kicking and head-butting a ball around for 90 minutes, until—on extremely rare occasions—the ball goes into the goal. Whereupon the players, announcers and fans fly into a complete frenzy, as though they’ve witnessed one of the most unique events in the universe. Which isn’t very far from the truth.
Since the game itself doesn’t do anything for me, I decided to try and find other positive aspects of it. One of the things I really like is called “diving.” That’s when a player collapses to the ground and writhes about in agony if an opposing player so much as nicks his knickers. These histrionics often lead to yellow cards or even penalty kicks.
“Why, that’s out-and-out cheating,” I thought when I first saw it. Of course, that’s fine with Americans, because our athletes have been cheating for decades with PEDs and it hasn’t hurt the popularity of any major sport.
Then there is FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, and arguably the most corrupt group of officials in sports. Clearly, as with cheating, corruption is no problem for most Americans. After all, we keep electing the same politicians to public office year after year.
What about soccer fans? In general, they are even drunker and more deranged than American sports fans. Not only that, but they are far more violent. They have been known to assault, and even kill, players and officials who cost their teams big games.
To sum up: Soccer has cheating players, corrupt officials, public drunkenness, deranged fans and extreme violence. What could be more American?
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Exhausted Board Members Plan Three-Year Vacations
Taking their first action in a year, the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise the key interest rate by 1/4 percent. In announcing this decision, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said, “Well, we haven’t done squat for the past year except go to meetings and order takeout. With a new president coming in, we figured we had to take action or we might lose these cushy jobs. Besides, that’s the official motto of the Fed: ‘Do something… even if it’s wrong.’
“It was a lot of work, too,” explained Ms. Yellen. “Since we have only five members on the board instead of the usual seven, we each had to raise the rate by 1/20 percent to get to 1/4 percent. That’s some heavy lifting, so we voted to take three-year vacations.”
Reaction from the financial community was swift and, as usual, virtually incomprehensible. As Morton Shmidlap, head of the Council of Economic Obfuscation said, “We believe that raising the key interest rate, coupled with the lackluster performance of the bond market, will create fluctuations in the GDP that are hitherto beyond the scope of our prognostic timeline.”
When a reporter remarked that this statement sounded like a load of useless gobble-de-gook, Mr. Shmidlap responded, “I know. That’s why I became an economist. But what the hell, I get paid for it anyway.”
President-elect Trump reacted to this news by tweeting: “This is the worst idea in human history… unless it works. Then it’s the best.”
President Obama reacted by promising board members clemency, although he didn’t specify what for.
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A two-year marijuana study, directed by the National Institute of Stoners, has recently been completed. The following is a summary of their findings:
- It’s all good, man.
- Um, uh…
The study involved two groups of 20 volunteers each. The first group was given a non-psychotropic placebo, while the second group was given an unlimited supply of high-grade marijuana. Unfortunately, everyone in the placebo group quit after two hours with comments such as, “Worst weed ever!” However, the stoner group stuck to their regimen like troopers.
The testing began after three months of constant marijuana ingestion. Members of the active group (make that the semi-active group) were asked to perform a variety of complex physical and mental tasks. The first task, a demonstration of physical dexterity, required the subjects to stand up from a seated position, and remain standing for a least ten seconds. Eleven subjects were able to do this, one while chewing gum.
At the one-year interval, the subjects were given mental acuity tests such as counting backwards from four, and naming at least ten letters of the English alphabet. Nine subjects were able to do both tasks successfully, although one subject was given credit for naming the letters in his made-up language.
The final test, general knowledge, involved two questions:
- What planet are we currently on?
- What is the apogee and perigee of the Earth’s orbit around the sun?
Of the seven people who were still able to speak, five got the first question right. Of course, no one got the second question correct, but three people were able to identify the sun as “…the big yellow thingy in the sky.”
A press conference was held by Wilfred Budman to announce the results of the study. Following his opening statement, Mr. Budman was asked by a reporter if there were any adverse effects of marijuana on short-term memory. After thinking for a few seconds, Mr. Budman replied, “What was the question?”
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Modern Life Archives
Biblical Reality Shows
With reality shows flooding the TV channels, it can’t be too long before producers run out of ideas and start looking for new sources. Sooner or later, they will realize that the Bible has some great reality scenarios.
The Cain and Abel Big Brother Show
(Caution: Graphic violence)
Brothers try to outdo each other by seeing who can make the most pleasing gift for the show’s host. The loser tries to kill the winner.
The Abraham and Sarah Geriatric Mating Game
Elderly couples are taken to romantic locations throughout the world. The first couple to get pregnant wins.
Contestants compete to see who can make the best golden calf.
Judge Judy Solomon
Extremely difficult moral and legal questions are presented to the judge. She has to come up with ingenious ways of resolving the dilemmas. (Note: No babies will be harmed in the production of this program.)
The Newly Fed Game
Each week, four couples are each given a few fish and some loaves of bread. They compete to see who can feed the most people.
Holy Water Survivor
Catholics and Baptists battle each other while immersed in the Jordan River. Catholics try to splash the Baptists into submission. Baptists try to hold the Catholics under water until they concede.
“Salvation-by-faith” couples and “salvation-by-works” couples live together. Theological sparks fly.
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The nice folks at the Political Animal Shelter encourage you to come by and adopt one of their pol-dogs. Here are two you can check out.
Donald the Doberman
Although he’s a bit vain and overly proud of his striking orange coat, this pooch can be very entertaining. However, he often ventures into forbidden territory and gets himself in trouble, yet he always manages to bark his way out of it. He does have a habit of running into walls for no apparent reason.
Hillary the Husky
She’s known as “Alpha Bitch” around the shelter, an honor to which she feels fully entitled simply because she’s been around so long. She’s a lively, active female but often sneaks off for long stretches, possibly in search of her wayward pound-mate, Willie the Wiener Dog.
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Gravity Waves Detected
The “Chirp” Heard Round The Universe
By Silas Wheeler
In case you missed it, a while back two black holes collided and created ripples in the fabric of space–time known as gravity waves. Because “a while back” is about 1.3 billion years ago, it’s understandable if it slipped your mind. (Gravity waves are similar to the water waves made by a drunk spring breaker when he does cannonballs off the balcony into the motel swimming pool―unless he misses the pool. Then regular gravity comes into play.)
Meanwhile, here on Earth 1.3 billion years ago, multicellular organisms were just getting a foothold on the planet so naturally the black hole collision didn’t get much attention. Fast-forward to the year 1916 when a really smart multicellular organism named Albert Einstein theorized the existence of gravity waves. (If your last name is Einstein, that’s the sort of thing you have to do.)
Now, fast-forward to the year 2016. Scientists at a place called the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had detected gravity waves from the aforementioned collision, thus proving Einstein right again. Big surprise, that.
Physicists around the world hailed gravity wave detection as a major discovery, and insisted that it was certainly worth the cost―about $1.1 billion over the 40-year life of the project. Considering that the US government currently spends that much in less than three hours, it seems like a bargain.
“And what exactly did we taxpayers get for our money?” you might ask. We got a cosmic “chirp,” which is what the LIGO scientists called the audio rendition of the gravity waves. The chirp lasted for only a fraction of a second, but was enough to convince the scientists that they’d found what they were looking for.
You can listen to it here at two different frequencies: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/video/ligo20160211v2, although to me it sounds more like heavy breathing than chirping.
I know it seems like we didn’t get much from an expenditure of over a billion dollars, but if you replay it 20 times as I did, it comes out to about $50 million per chirp. That’s not bad for a government-funded project.
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Living Creatures Detected In A Parallel Universe
“They’re Screwing With Our Heads,” Say Scientists
By Red Dog
When we depict extra-terrestrials (ETs), we usually portray them in one of three ways:
- The proctological ones, who… well, you know. (You have to wonder what such creatures do for fun.)
- The hostile ones, who think of our planet as a Waffle House© on the galactic turnpike and we humans are the hash-browns―scattered, smothered and covered.
- The benevolent ones, who can teach us the secrets of the universe such as how to make ketchup that doesn’t get that watery goop on top.
Of course, those are the ETs from within our universe. However, many scientists believe that not only do parallel universes exist, but that some of them are inhabited by human-like creatures. Furthermore, there is empirical evidence that suggests these creatures can cross into our universe and mess with us.
“What empirical evidence?” you ask.
Okay, let’s say you put down an ordinary object. It could be your car keys, a cell phone—or, if you’re a pathologist—a bone saw. You come back an hour later and the object is gone. You search for it and eventually find it in a different location. There are two probable explanations for this:
- You’re losing your marbles. This is certainly possible, but since it happens to people all over the world, it can’t be the only reason. Otherwise, we’d be inundated in marbles.
- Creatures from a parallel universe have crossed over into ours and deliberately moved these objects just to screw with our heads. Since no one has seen these creatures, we have to assume they have figured out how to take on human form, quite possibly duplicating a friend, neighbor or family member.
So how can you tell if someone you think you know is actually one of them? Simply engage them in conversation. If they don’t complain about the government, their cable service or lawyers for more than ten minutes, then they are not human. Immediately report them to the authorities.
The other thing we need to do is build a wall around our universe. Since the universe is really big and expanding rapidly, this will be a very expensive project. Therefore, we can’t expect the Mexican government to pay for the entire wall. The rest of us will have to contribute our fair share. But isn’t it a small price to pay, knowing that your keys and your bone saw will always be right where you left them?
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A recent search of WWII Japanese military archives uncovered a large number of intriguing documents, including the only known copy of the Kamikaze Airlines Customer Survey form. It is shown below.
- Was this your first time on Kamikaze Airlines?
(Note: If your answer is “No” you’ll have to attend at least one Hara-kiri training class.)
- Other than the part where you crashed into an American naval vessel, would you say it was a positive experience?
□ It was positively smashing
- Would you volunteer to do it again?
- Would you recommend Kamikaze Airlines to others?
- If the answer to number 5 is “Yes,” to whom would you recommend it?
□ The guy who decided this was a good idea
□ My wife’s Karate instructor
□ Prime Minister Tojo
□ All of the above
- Tell us how we can improve our service, such as:
□ Ejection seats
□ Round-trip tickets
Other suggestions (please keep it clean) _______________
Thanks for your input! Thus far, 000 people have responded to this survey.
William Henry Harrison
The “Less Is More” President
There’s a prophetic saying that goes: “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” In Washington, D.C., there’s a similar saying that goes: “Anyone can be President for 32 days.”
The saying refers to William Henry Harrison, our ninth president, who, despite a 32-day tenure, compiled a record that is unmatched in American history. During his Administration, there were no wars, no scandals and no deficit spending (mainly because the government was out of money).
He was a member of the Whig party, a name that was chosen primarily because most people had no idea what it stood for. Harrison’s nickname was “Tippecanoe,” probably because whenever he got into a small boat it would eventually capsize. Get it? Tippecanoe? Capsize? (The Harrisons were not known for their sparkling wit.)
During the 1840 presidential campaign, Harrison’s opponents depicted him as a doddering old man. To prove his vitality, Harrison delivered a two-hour inaugural address without a topcoat or hat, even though it was a cold, rainy, windy day. This event would have been a major boost to his image as a healthy, vigorous man had he not dropped dead a month later.
His death was something of a surprise to his doctors who utilized the latest high-tech medicine of their time, including: Leeches, snakeweed extract and skin-blistering followed by suction cups to draw out evil substances. Surprisingly, nothing worked.
He died penniless, so Congress, in its magnanimity, awarded his wife a pension and (this is true) free postage for life.
Highlights of Harrison’s Presidency
- He delivered the longest inaugural address in history.
- He served the shortest term of any president.
- He was the first president to have his picture taken while in office.
- He was first president to die while in office.
That’s about it.
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Thinkster: The Future Of Social Media
Be Careful What You Think
By having a tiny neuro-transmitter implanted into your prefrontal cortex, virtually every thought you have will be instantly uploaded to your Thinkster page. These thoughts are well-protected and will only be shared with your private Thinkster friends and, of course, the FBI, CIA, NSA, ATF and several thousand Homeland Security agents.
However, if you have no coherent thoughts for more than eight waking hours, the system will assume you’ve gone braindead and transmit a high-voltage spike to reboot your brain. Unfortunately, it will also wipe out your entire memory and require you to restart your life from ground zero. This includes potty training so you should probably start carrying an extra pair of underwear when you sign up.
(Note: It turns out that the idea of Thinkster is not that fanciful. Researchers at the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies have developed a system whereby a brain-computer interface was able to decipher selected thoughts of test subjects and translate the output to text. So in the future, you will not only have to be careful of what you say, but also of what you think.)
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The Internet and Cyberchondria
A Doctor’s Nightmare
By Doctor Rap
Typical Doctor’s Visit in the Pre-Internet Era…
Patient: “Doc, I’ve been having [describes symptoms].”
Doctor: “Okay, let’s a take a look.”
(Doctor performs examination.)
Doctor: “I believe you have [names a complex condition].”
Patient: “Whoa! That sounds pretty expensive. Do you have anything cheaper?”
Doctor: “Well, we could go with [names a simpler condition]. That’s about half the cost.”
Patient: “I’ll take it.”
Typical Doctor’s Visit in the Internet Era…
Patient: “Doc, I’ve been having [describes symptoms].”
Doctor: “Okay, let’s take a look.”
Patient: “That’s not necessary. I know what’s wrong with me, and I know the treatment because I did an Internet search. I’m only here because I can’t write prescriptions.”
Doctor: “I’m not sure that an Internet search is the same as graduating from medical school, going through residency, passing certification boards and practicing medicine, so I’d like to take a wild stab at a diagnosis.”
Patient: “Okay, but I still think it’s a waste of time.”
Doctor: “We’ll see.”
(Then the doctor types in the symptoms and does an Internet search on WebMD. [Hah! Just kidding, Well, not entirely.] Doctor performs examination.)
Doctor: “You have a slight case of [names a simple condition].”
Patient: “I beg to differ. I have a severe case of [names a rare, complex condition].
Doctor: “No, you have a severe case of cyberchondria.”
Patient: “What’s that?”
Doctor: “That’s the unfounded belief you have some horrible disease based on an Internet search. My advice is to get plenty of rest and stay off of medical websites.”
Typical Doctor’s Visit in the Post-Internet Era…
Patient: “Doc, I’ve been—”
Robo-doc: “Please enter your symptoms.”