Q/A June 2019

I’m getting a lot of questions via Twitter. I’m trying to solve this challenge by collecting questions and answers to a monthly blog post. Please make sure to check these posts if you have a question.

Rules of engagement (before asking something):

  • Check my Twitter timeline. Also check tweets and replies.
  • Check this blog and QA-posts (use the search function if needed)
  • I try to answer frequent or interesting questions here or post them as tweets. I don’t have time to react to all questions so please keep checking my timeline and blog.

Note that this list of questions is not exhaustive. I’m simply unable to answer all questions due to lack of time.

Note: send your questions via the contact form.

Is the screaming turtle video real?

A: That’s a snapping alligator turtle. The scream is a common sound effect that has been added later.

Q: Aftermath of the Trump rally in Orlando

A: True. Check this Snopes article.

Q: Square cloud?

A: That’s a real, square cornered cloud. Check out this Metabunk thread about similar pictures, videos and explanations.

Q: real life black hole in California

A: That’s a man made concrete funnel spillway. More in this article.

Q: ghost in video

A: looks like an opening in a tent that moves due to wind or draft. Answer from one of the threads: the ‘ghost’ that u see is actually due to the lighting hitting the canvas (the roof is a canvas).

Q: is this video of planes flying on top of the water real?

A: yes. South African group Eqstra Flying Lions have done many similar water skiing stunts. See e.g. this video.

Q: is this a real video of weird looking fish?

A: I think that’s CGI or to be more precise, Adobe After Effects work.

Q: is this video of kettles found inside a tree real?

A: Video seems real. Here is one news site covering the story. One of the earliest YouTube hits dated 2-Jun is from a channel called “Cimjolly prank”. Jinns may refer to spirits/ghosts, but because we can rule out all paranormal explanations, only questions that remains are why and how.

Q: is this liquid pig video real?

A: Yes. That is a toy.

Q: charging a phone with apple and ginger ale?

A: This won’t work. Idea is that an apple produces same chemical reaction that occurs in batteries. In principle that could work, but in practice the output is too small.

Q: what is this thing filmed from an airplane?

A: it’s a contrail. See explanation by UfoOfInterest (and please follow/tag them in case of UFO etc. cases).

Q: a stone rain?

A: that was a severe hailstorm in Romania. No stones raining, there’s some debris probably from nearby trees and roofs. News report about this storm (in Spanish).

Q: best way to peel garlic?

We love garlic, but never tried this approach and don’t have time to test this now. Many people did try after seeing this post. Here’s one article discussing the topic.

Q: 128-year old person from Argentina claims to be Adolf Hitler?

A: Not true. This story originates from a satire website.

Q: worlds smallest buffalo?

A: no reliable source was found for this video. Based on behavior, the animal is most likely a dog.

Q: Does marijuana contain Alien DNA (confirmed by NASA)?

A: Not true. This is based on ILFScience article that was intended to be a demonstration of how often people will share articles on social media without reading them… More info via Snopes.

Q: hospital “ghost” story

A: This is just a simple trick. See my tweet about this.

Q: earth is breathing

A: that’s real. “During a rain- and wind-storm event, the ground becomes saturated, ‘loosening’ the soil’s cohesion with the roots as the wind is blowing on a tree’s crown,” – Mark Vanderwouw via LiveScience.

Q: Dobby video

A: That’s most likely a young person in a costume/underwear doing a silly walk. See Snopes article as well.

Q: a plug gets caught under a table

A: see my tweet above

Q: diver and a shark

A: Most likely real footage from South Africa.

Q: crazy lighting

A: that seems like real lightning footage. Most likely slowed down.

Q: ?? MDC / Wikileaks

A: I was tagged to this post. I have no idea what I’m supposed to check because I didn’t have time to check the context or claim.

Q: Pure vegetarian water ad?

A: this is from 2014, but has gone viral now. An Indian home appliance company Prestige LifeStraw introduced the idea of ‘vegetarian water’ in an ad campaign. I’m not sure if this ad is genuine or a joke. Please comment if you know something about this.

Q: is this swing in Bali real?

A: that’s real. See: analysis by Marco Faustino

Q: crab using an upside down jellyfish?

A: that seems true. See this post by Marine Biology News.

Q: chemistry experiment

A: That’s a plausible Elephant Toothpaste experiment. See my tweet.

Q: is this a real photo of Donald Trump and Andrew Wakefield?

A: yes. Photo by Jake L Crosby / SPLASH NEWS. Source: The Telegraph. (2018)

Q: what kind of bird is this?

A: best answer so far, see full thread

See also a similar looking pose:

Q: what happened to this cemetery in Thailand?

A: could be something caused by flooding. I haven’t find any related news yet, though.

Update 24-Jun, with help from Marco Faustino. The video was not recorded in Thailand, but in Konibodom, Tajikistan early June 2019.

Q: endless staircase (again)

A: not real. See the debunk video below

Q: what’s happening in this video (ghost or what)?

A: All three signs swing sideways during the video, the first one more than the others. I suspect draft from the rooms or some kind of wind effect in the corridor. It would be nice to see this place from other angles.

Note that people are not very interested in the swinging sign. Most of them look at the person filming this clip. This could mean the signs are swinging every now and then. Disclaimer: I have no information about the location, time or context in general.

Q: is this water slide video real?

A: it’s quite plausible. There are other videos of this same location and people doing the water slide. This persons just finished the slide with style.

Q: did this person really try to jump over a moving car and got hit?

A: Most likely that’s real. Please don’t try stunts like this, it’s very dangerous. I found a related Instagram account and via that, a link to a YouTube video that shows the same stunt from a different angle.

You can also find quite many similar videos from YouTube and Instagram. Other persons jumping over fast moving cars. Again: just don’t try stunts like this.

Q: magic sword gadget?

A: very simple and classic trick. The “sword” moves fast about 350 degrees backwards. The sword never touches the pole or stick. Our brain tells us the sword went through the stick, but it’s just an optical illusion made possible by fast backwards movement.

Q: is this real video of “Alexander”, a victim of bear attack?

A: I don’t think this is true. It looks like makeup special effects (FX). It started circulating from Russia, possibly via WhatsApp or Pikabu website (“Russian Reddit”).

The story doesn’t sound right. If a person was stuck in a bear den for a month, would they skin look like that and why? Why the teeth are not affected? How is it possible that this person can still speak? Can you really drink your own urine for month and survive?

And most importantly: why is there no evidence of this story?

As of 27th of June, Russia Today seems to agree this video is a fake. Update: so does Independent with more details.

Update 1st of July via Marco Faustino:

Based on the new information, the video could be real and the person was suffering from psoriasis. I’m still bit skeptical because of the way this video went viral and multiple stories attached to it. But certainly this new story is more plausible than the previous ones.

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