Wednesday, 27 June 2007

TRUE or FALSE?

It's always hard to know with the Internet, isn't? Fascinating fact of foolish fallacy?

Every day, in addition to our regular diet of spam, we receive funny stories, touching messages, and incredible photographs many of which, we are told, are absolutely genuine and, what's more, carry with them special bonuses in the way of unspecified luck or unidentified miracles --- providing we forward them to at least 10 of our friends within the next five seconds in order to similarly clutter up their mail boxes!

Two recent - equally dubious - images have come my way...

The first, which came as part of a Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow, depicted a lakeside rock formation that - with the mirror reflection in the water - looked like a mother and child at prayer....


According to the accompanying text...
This picture shows a rock on a sea in Birmania, it is only possible to see this once a year with a special angle of the sun and special light conditions. Bend you head to the left to see how spectacular it is.
Hmmm, I thought, even before I started receiving e-mails with variant texts that either question or endorsed the picture's authenticity.

So, the truth?

Well, not too surprisingly, it turns out to be a piece of art: the work of the Korean illustrator, Kim Jae-hong...



So, next time you get a copy of this image, you can only send it on to ten or more other people if you also promise to tell them the truth about it! Otherwise, something terrible will happen to you! I won't say what, but just remember Pinocchio...

Now, here's another photograph that, this time, at least looked like a photograph...


However, it also looked like a photograph that had undergone a serious amount of Adobe Photoshoping. Allegedly taken in Montana, the supposition is that the eagle swoops in, grabs the fox in middle of its having a snack and carries him off for a real dinner!

The truth?

The picture was snapped in South Finland by Finnish photographer, Pekka Komi, as part of a genuinely amazing series of shots in which the fox and the eagle haggle over who's getting lunch...


And - as the final shot reveals - the fox actually lived to feast another day.


Pekka Komi's pictures can be viewed here.

Interestingly, on one blog-site, Field Notes, where the photo was being discussed, many people continued to maintain that it had been 'doctored' even after the sequence shown above had been referenced. Here's a typical response...
Looks fake as hell to me... and any old web sight cant conferm [sic x 3] it either... The position of the fox... the eagle... size relation... it seems pretty sketchy to me...
"WHAT is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer," wrote Francis Bacon in his essay On Truth...

Nowadays, of course, one would simple tell Pilate that the first thing he should do is check out Hoax Slayer: my source for the verifications above and a regular and invaluable port of call when surfing the dangerous waters of the www...

4 comments:

Brian Sibley said...

GILL writes...

"My comment is really about the 'chain emails' you mention and not the images [although the fox and eagle sequence is stunning].

"I don't get any anymore having absolutely refused ever to play.

"Don't care how good the cause is,or how bad my luck will be for refusing, I just won't do it. [Though I don't suppose my circle of correspondents is nearly as wide as yours!]

"Now, however, I am getting chain texts on my mobile........what is the matter with these people?!"

Brian Sibley said...

GILL - I wish I knew...

I also refuse to pass on chain e-mails; but whenever I receive, as I did yesterday, a bogus 'virus warning', I check it out on HoaxSlayer.com or Snopes.com and send the TRUTH about the scam to the person who mailed me and all of his or her recipients.

I do this in the vague hope of breaking at least one little link in one chain --- AND in the hope of alerting people to the fact that they can easily check these scares for themselves before bombarding others with unwanted junk mail and unnecessary anxieties...

Elliot said...

Although I don't care for outright hoodwinking, like the Microsoft image, it's perhaps worth mentioning that almost EVERY image we see in print or on film and television has been treated in some way.
Even if it's not direct tampering with the content of the image, there colours are almost always tinkered with.

Qenny said...

Ah, if only everyone was as meticulous in checking the things they forward. I have taken to trying to stop the rot my hitting reply-all when someone sends me an email warning of some horrendous new computer virus that has the experts stumped.

I once received a very indignant response (also sent to all the recipients of the original message) informing me that if I'd stopped being a Mr Smartypants for long enough and actually checked, I would have discovered that the file containing the virus was real, and had shown up on the PCs of many of the recipients exactly where they were warned it would be. Naturally, I then had to explain that it was a standard part of Windows, and that was part of the scam to make it more convincing.

Some people!