March 28, 2003
Time travelling stock traders?
Repeat after me: criticize online sources, criticize online sources, criticize online sources...
A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Yahoo's story: 'TIME-TRAVELER' BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING
Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!
Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.
"It was just too tempting to resist," Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. "I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn't look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment."
In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge "historical facts" such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.
If this was real news; you'd think other news sources
would pick it up? Sure, that it's Yahoo "Entertainment News & Gossip", not Yahoo! Finance is also an indication, but I think a lot of people would not distinguish too clearly on first view. It's Yahoo, and they're quoting the SEC....
C r i t i c i z e O n l i n e S o u r c e s !
It makes sense as soon as you look at the source of the article: Weekly World News. Granted, I don't expect Europeans to recognize that this so-called newspaper is a complete fabrication, kind of like TV wrestling. Sadly, there are way too many people that believe it's true...
My favourite story of theirs was the bomber that appeared on the moon. They had "before" and "after" pictures of a crater on the moon containing a WWII bomber, combined with an article describing mistified scientists.
The kicker: Two weeks later, they ran the *same* pictures, in the opposite order, with an article saying that scientists were now astonished that the moon bomber had disappeared again!
Harald, that's exactly what I mean; Weekly World News may mean something to the average American (or so one might hope) but in Europe or elsewhere; people would see the "Yahoo" label and not (necessarily) detecting it being a work fiction and entertainment.
I was surprised, quite frankly, that Yahoo would run stories like this...
You guys are forgetting that excellent things like this happened, where people have mistaken articles from the Onion as legit.
I have a little theory. All news is totally fabricated. All of it. Its made by incredibly powerful computers that use what little is known about the real world (fed to it by spy satellites) along with complex algorithms, to generate news articles. It just cranks them out, hundreds and hundreds per day. Then, people read everything coming out, and organize them into piles based on their believability, then, different companies bid on the different piles. CNN and the New York Times big heavily on the 'very believable' piles, and various other sources bid for the most believable piles they can afford. Companies like the Onion and the Weekly World News bid on the highly unbelievable articles, with the Onion getting the 'better' unbelievable stuff, usually stuff thats right on the line between 'real' sounding and 'not real' sounding, where the Weekly World News generally gets the dregs of the unbelievable stuff.
This is how news works. If you think of news in this fashion, you are generally much better equipped to judge its relevance to your life, and to the world around you.
Final conclusion, the reason articles like the time travelling one get into other news sources is because the sorting of the piles is all done by falliable humans, and sometimes they accidentally put something in the wrong pile.
I also forgot to provide a link for the 'onion article being mistaken for real news' http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/news/stories/20020926/localnews/160109.html
I know this has happened other times too, when foriegn news sources have picked up onion articles as 'real'. Bonus points to anyone who can provide links. :)
Oh damn, three comments in a row..
Another possibility for the Yahoo article... Maybe they planned on running it as an April 1st article, but then in some miscommunication, it ended up slipping in a few days early.
Well...well...well...look at what we have here...
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