Have you heard the hoax?

By Michael Vass | December 7, 2010

To be fair, we can’t completely confirm this as a hoax. It’s more honestly a satire. But it looks to be spreading across the internet and radio, with many believing it is fact. We learned about it via facebook from a friend that heard about it over the radio in Upstate New York (an area that is not a hoax).

The story is simple enough. Scientists studying snowflakes, via a 20 million British Pound Sterling (roughly $40 million US) government grant, have found a miraculous item. An exact duplicate snowflake of the 1963 Bentley snowflake.

"Recent" and past images of Bentley Snowflake

Why is this a big deal? Well first is the well known adage that

“No 2 snowflakes are the same.”

Which in fact is not exactly true. The odds of 2 snowflakes being exactly the same is 1 in one million trillion. That’s 1:100,000,000,000,000,000. But if the above pictures were true it would be a first in 47 years at least. Quite an accomplishment.

But the big point of the article is more political. It’s the fact that so much money is being spent by a Government (not identified by name, thought the fact British Pounds Sterling is used is a clue) on such a useless cause. Given the international economic climate, like the problems in Greece and Ireland, so much money for the patently absurd is infuriating.

As the story progresses from site to site, and via the radio, people ignore or simply miss the foreign currency notation. Given the nature of some of the items funded by the Obama Stimulus for example (like the wild animal highways) the notion of funding snowflake research is not that far fetched. The price tag likewise fits the nature of the exhorbitant amounts found in many Obama Stimulus programs.

Thus the story is spreading as if it were true. Plus searching the internet will find several sites quoting the story as if it were 100% true. Though most of those same sites do not note where they got the original story from. Not that it is too difficult to find the probable source.

The source is NewsBiscuit.com. The site is a satirical play on British news, akin to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show on Comedy Central in the USA.

But the thing we wonder about, is how long will it take before this goes viral and it’s used to denounce the Obama Administration economic polices – which have their own farcical but true programs. That’s not to defend the Obama Administration, but it is interesting to see who is really paying attention and doing their homework.

Don’t spread the word (unless you want to see how silly a friend might be), just watch and see what happens.

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