Skeptics Circle #111

By Phil Plait | May 21, 2009 6:30 pm

Feeling a little skeptical? Then head over to Action Skeptics to read this week’s Skeptics Circle, a collection of doubtful blog posts. You really should if only because they posted this picture which makes me laugh a LOT.

Shamwow decapitation

And hmmm… it’s the 111th skeptics circle, and there were 111 screws the astronauts had to remove to fix STIS on Hubble. I’m a skeptic and I worked on Hubble! COINCIDENCE?

Well, yeah, actually, it is.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Debunking, Skepticism

Comments (21)

  1. ZOMG, that picture is PROOF that human heads can be swapped with folded towels, and yet the head and body will still continue to function!

  2. …only if you’re a ‘pitchman’


  3. I could be wrong, but I suspect there is some sort of photographic trickery at work here. Hmm.

  4. Darren Garrison

    I’ll consider visiting that site– but I’m not so sure.

  5. Alex


    You’re assuming that the head was functioning before the swapping. I’ve seen no such evidence.

  6. Thanks so much for the plug, Phil! I and the rest of the bloggers in the carnival really appreciate it. Glad you got a good laugh out of that picture; when I found it, I knew I had to work it in somewhere. It was just too frackin’ funny.

  7. Darrin

    SkepticWow! You’ll say WOW every time!*

    *note: wow not included

  8. Brian

    Kind of reminds me of Miracle Mike (aka Mike the Headless Chicken). Wasn’t he from your neck of the woods, Phil?

  9. Leonardo

    Hi, Can you please point the Hubble at the Apollo landing sites on the moon and take pictures to prove the missions really occurred? Thanks.

  10. Mat

    Totally Photoshopped.
    I can tell by the pixels, and having seen a lot of ‘shops in my time. :)

  11. AND… it’s an unlucky score in cricket

    The umpires have been known to do a superstitious little dance when the score is 111.

  12. Yojimbo

    @Leonardo – Oh come on, man! Everybody knows Hubble is a hoax….

  13. Nes


    Phil has explained — multiple times — why Hubble can’t do that, most recently as #5 in his post Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble.

  14. Bill

    Sham! Wow!

    There. Fix’t.

  15. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Theology, astrology, pathology, apology.

    ROFL. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that link!

    Can you please point the Hubble at the Apollo landing sites on the moon and take pictures to prove the missions really occurred?

    WTF, has our resident troll changed nick?

    Just in case it isn’t Quasar: no, we can’t. (Not nearly enough resolution, see the BAs posts on that.)

    Incidentally, I don’t know why you would like to, since we have plenty of observations that test that. Eye witnesses, movies, et cetera. But it will happen soon anyway, as the LRO mission to the Moon, launching next month, will do that during the primary one year mission, perhaps early on as a reference part of their mission to return to the Moon:

    “This mission is all about taking us back to the moon. LRO has 6 science instruments and is the size of a mini-couper. We are looking for water ice and will get a totally comprehensive look at the moon”, says LRO Deputy Project Manager Catherine Peddie of NASA Goddard.
    After the primary mission is complete, management responsibilities for the spacecraft will be handed over to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “A new science mission phase will then begin that will be operationally very different then our primary mission”. Traditionally, new project management “will then be assigned by NASA to oversee the day to day operations. How they fly LRO exactly and which instruments and observations they choose to use and to do could be very different”, explained Tooley. NASA hopes to operate LRO for perhaps 5 years and hopefully even longer.

    “We will look to photograph [one or more of] the Apollo landing sites with 0.5 meter resolution”, said Tooley. The high resolution camera will also be targeted to find other US and Russian unmanned robotic landers and rovers. “Initial images may be available during the first month. The lower half of the Lunar Module (LM) should be easily visible as well as the lunar rover tracks and perhaps the science instruments”.

    Now that should put a stopper in the more whining parts of the intertoobs. Just two more months. [Grumble, grumble….]

  16. Buzz Parsec

    It’s definitely faked. I can’t see any stars in the background. Also, the shadows are all wrong. And notice how the towel is wearing the boom mike, but the head is wearing the earbud. This is impossible since the mike is attached to the earbud and NASA doesn’t have the technology to separate them.

  17. I am truly amazed by the “ShamWOW!” commercials.

    It takes real guts to market a product on a late-night infomercial with “Sham” in its name.

  18. Hey! Stop dissin’ the Shah-Wow! guy! Living on the Wet West Coast of Canada has led me to create a line of clothing using the Sham Wow material… I have Sham coats, sham pants, and for all your diapering needs, the Sham Nappy! (Now available in Baby, Adult, and Crazy Astronaut sizes ! Ask about our discount on bulk orders of 10 or more!)

  19. @Michael L:
    Would the Sham Nappy be full of Sham Poo?



  20. ND

    That picture keeps creeping me out every time I page back to earlier postings! gah!


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