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Eagle hoax part two

dandelion
So, @TweetsOfOld just posted this link. The highlighted news story, from a 1906 Kentucky newspaper, reads in its entirety: "A four-year-old boy was playing in front of his parents hut at Varallo, Italy, when an eagle suddenly swooped down and carried him off. The eagle was seen to alight on the summit of a high mountain some miles away with his burden safely in his beak. No trace of boy or eagle has been discovered since, although fully 100 mountanineers (sic) spent three weeks continuously searching on the mountains."

This story was either made up completely by the newspaper, a la the Weekly World News, or was spun by the grieving but guilty parents of a child whose death was caused by negligence or malice. The tiniest four year old could not be lifted by the most powerful of european eagles (the golden, again), and eagles don't carry large prey animals with their relatively weak mouths.

Once I asked an ornithologist, "besides mute swans, what flying birds could possibly kill a human being?" She thought for a moment and said "a harpy eagle could kill a small human." Harpy eagles prey on monkeys and sloths, so a four year old is in the right size range for that. They don't pluck the animals from the trees and fly away with them to eat them in their aerie like a roc, however. (oh, wait, yes they do.)

The eagle snatches child video was all too reminiscent of the eagle snatches dog urban legend--another clue to it's doubtfulness.

I don't want to come off as smug--I was totally taken by the eagle video at first. The student filmmakers did a good job of shaking the camera in horror, animating a plausible-appearing grab by the bird, and so on. What this really makes me think about is how valuable it is to actually experience something first hand. Technology can make anything look real--you can synthesize a virtual dragon, dinosaur, faerie, troll, god, alien, or trip to the sun. Why should a child who can watch a perfect artificial dragon bother going to a zoo (for example) to see an anteater or (perish forbid) out into the wilderness to see a moose?

Donnie Davies, unmasked!

The Devil
The homophobic fundamentalist Christian rock video I posted today has been revealed as a far-too-plausible parody. The painfully closeted protagonist of the video seems to be, in reality, Joey Oglesby, a pleasantly out of the closet gay comedian and actor. I'm apparently about a week late to the foofaraw. I found out through the dark_christian community, which supplied this link: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/01/donnie_davies_outed_1.php

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