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Little Known Fact Service

You stretch the truth, we supply the proof.
  (+13, -9)
(+13, -9)
  [vote for,

Say you’re at a cocktail party with a bunch of smart people. They are all talking about their smartstuff and you are just nodding your head, pretending you understand. As conversations usually goes, the time inevitably comes where you have to supply some of the witty banter or interesting factoid. You pull together thoughts on a subject you hope nobody else is well versed in and let fly a farcical fact…that the early settlers of Canada didn’t have easy access to cotton and so used the fuzz from the Nex tree to blow their noses, and that is where Kleenex Tissues (clean-nex) derives it’s name from.

With that said, and fearing your new found friends will double check your “fact” on the internet, you beat them to the punch insuring your “fact” is, in fact, “true”. You contact the Little Known Fact Service, give your credit card number, and they pepper the internet with your half-to-quarter truth (or flat out lie). They find some paper from 1954 documenting the decline of the Nex tree in Canada. They create a brief bio of a certain Doctor who packaged the fuzz for sale, way back in 1400 or something. Anyway, the different price brackets will speed up and expand the propagation of your little white lie.

Like many people believe, if you find in 2 places on the internet, it must be true.

macncheesy, May 14 2007

Jason's helpers Jason_20and_20The_20Arguenots
my own version of this general notion [xenzag, May 14 2007]

uncyclopedia http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
The anti-wikipedia, unwarrented vulgarity without intelligent humour [marklar, May 14 2007]

collaborative web fiction collaborative_20web_20fiction
by egnor [calum, May 14 2007]

Urban Legends already in circulation http://www.snopes.com/
Just go to Snopes and learn a few urban legends. [baconbrain, May 21 2007]


       //how best to verify false facts//   

       Ask [calum]. He's trustworthy and knowledgeable and knows that Shania Twain has a wooden leg. I'll vouch for him. There's your two hops, right there.   

       Don't use the Internet. It is full of untruths and errors. I generally frown upon students who cite t'Internet in favour of a published textbook. I'll frown upon you too.   

       [macncheesy]: Is this just a light-hearted, little known version of Orwell's "Ministry of Truth"?
Jinbish, May 14 2007

       But if this practice became widespread and easy-to-update sites like wikipedia became full of such 'facts' then no one would trust them any more...
hippo, May 14 2007

       I laud the intent, but I fear that you are creating a technological solution to a problem of your own making. The reason your co-cocktailpartyers pause to check your "fact" is that it is dropped in the conversation in isolation. Merely trotting out "The Dutch have no concept of rust" is no good. No, these "facts" are remarkable by their bizarritude. People want them to be true, so that they can marvel and wonder at the incredible freakishness of this world (or, in the case of facts astrophyisickal, universe), so they will check them, unless you provide related buttressing lies and half-truths, lend an air of truth to your initial conversational depth-charge. Thusly, I explained to my mother that the low-lying nature of the Netherlands was such that the damp air had a remarkably high salt content, which was so damaging for Dutch ironwork that, in the 1920s, the Dutch legislature passed an act mandating protective galvanisation for all metal products and infrastructure. So successful was this, I told her, that the youth of the Netherlands have no idea what rust is.
calum, May 14 2007

       Indeed, the web-based application is tending towards egnor's "collaborative web fiction" (linked).
calum, May 14 2007

       Alternatively, a phone could have a LKF button on it. When pressed a request is sent to the server and a sms is sent to the phone with a suitably interesting fact. This would be better than an rss feed on a PDA as the button could be pressed in your pocket and the message read without it being obvious that you have just looked something up. Similar derivatives could be made which allow you to slip away from the conversation, request a fact related to the conversation and return armed with knowledge. Another version would have the same LKF button but would have an operator that would call you. You could then answer the phone and say "Hi, I'm at a party talking to someone about gerbils" whereby the underpaid operator gives you details of Wartime shenanigans while you say "Um hmm, yeah I should be able to make it on Tuesday".
marklar, May 14 2007

       Facts are simple and facts are straight   

       Facts are lazy and facts are late   

       Facts all come with points of view   

       Facts dont do what I want them to   

       Facts just twist the truth around   

       Facts are living turned inside out   

       Facts are getting the best of them   

       Facts are nothing on the face of things   

       Facts dont stain the furniture   

       Facts go out and slam the door   

       Facts are written all over your face   

       Facts continue to change their shape
nuclear hobo, May 14 2007

       Most of these false facts probably wouldn't work, as there would either be something else on the internet contradicting it, or they just wouldn't make sense or would be impossible.
apocalyps956, May 14 2007

       [Jinbish]- I guess this is similar to "the ministry of truth." I just looked it up. But it is more for the little guy than the overbearing empirebuilding government. It is a inexpensive way to blanket the internet with some little tid-bit you want findable somewhere.   

       So, in response to [apocalyps956], these could not be too fancyfull, like "A dragon ate all my homework, just look it up on this site Ms. Teacher." It would depend on the teller of the tall tale to have some tact.
macncheesy, May 15 2007

       What works best is to write a detailed report about the "fact" that you wish to share. Cite lots of confidential sources. Then send that report to other agencies around the world. Once those agencies report on your report, you can use their reports as evidence of the truthfulness of your report.
Galbinus_Caeli, May 21 2007

       It would be a lot easier to just learn a few obscure facts, and better if they were in some area that interests you. "Be what you wish to seem."   

       Really, there are enough falsehoods drifting around without adding to the confusion. And making people like me very angry. [-]
baconbrain, May 21 2007

       I work with a guy who would appear a lot smarter if he could get through the day without spouting his LKFs. Some are right, some are wrong - making his in fact Little Known Falsehoods - but most are at best only tangentially relevant to either his work or the conversation at hand.   

       He rattles them off to look smart. It isn't working.
elhigh, May 23 2007

       Yeah, I had a boss who would do that, poorly. I overheard him start up on the S.H.I.T. legend, and was online, at The Urban Legends Reference Pages (see Snopes link), and had a refutation before he finished telling it. I didn't correct him, though, I just had even less respect for the git.
baconbrain, May 23 2007

       what [baconbrain] and [elhigh] said: [-]   

       We of the half-bakery fight on the side of unhelpful truths, not helpful untruths.
pertinax, May 24 2007

       ..."Why did "Jason and the Args" get such high ratings and this has not" he whined to himself.
macncheesy, Jun 20 2007

       Good point; I'll just go and stick an equitable fishbone up the Arguenots.
OK, Jason actually got more negative votes that you did; he was just lucky enough to get more positive ones as well... maybe because of a higher standard of surreal humour. Tough break, I know.
pertinax, Jun 20 2007

       maybe you can explain how the dog ate my kids homework.
abhorsen1983, Jun 21 2007

       Surely the real solution to macncheesey's problem is not to seed the internet with even more falsehoods but to establish the unreliability of the internet in the minds of those who are likely to check up on his 'facts'. So, starting the LKF recitation with the line "You'll find this incredible I know but I couldn't find any reference at all on the internet to the Canadian Nex Tree. I mean really, what's the point of the thing if half the facts on it aren't facts at all and half of the information you want isn't on there either?" should solve the problem nicely. It also has the additional benefit of being true and, as we all know, the best lies are those that are seeded with a grain of truth
DrBob, Jun 21 2007

       I think it was Steven Wright who said that 87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot. If I said something obscure in front of my family or wife and could prove it using this fact service, I would be viewed as some sort of genius.
dougp01, Apr 25 2008


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