Thursday, March 05, 2009


I just finished a really neat book, The Sun & the Moon, by Matthew Goodman. It's about a series of articles published in The Sun newspaper in New York City in the 1830s which claimed to be the reports of an astronomer who, using an ultra powerful telescope, had discovered intelligent life on the Moon. It was, of course, a hoax, but that didn't stop it from being a huge success. The whys, hows, and whos of the hoax (its orbit includes such luminaries as Edgar Allan Poe and P.T. Barnum) is what makes the book very interesting.

While reading about a hoax perpetrated more than 150 years ago, it's easy to start feeling a little superior. Those rubes - who could ever believe such obviously made up hokum? Here in the 21st Century, we're much too sophisticated to be taken in by such things, right? Well . . .

Here's the debunking from a more reliable source. How wonderful is 24-hours cable news?

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