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Pulling a McFly one, The Chaplin Time Traveller solved.

October 29, 2010

You’ll have heard by now about the Time Traveller in some 1928 footage of people attending a Charlie Chaplin premiere at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. No? Well, the Daily Mail want you to believe that there is someone in the film using a mobile phone. Yup, a mobile phone in 1928. Here is a quote from the article.

Perhaps she really is a time-traveller, sent back through the decades to make a jaw-dropping cameo appearance.

Or maybe she was a maverick genius, secretly testing out advanced technology for the government and caught on camera at the wrong moment.

Whatever the explanation, this footage from a Charlie Chaplin promotional film in 1928 showing a woman apparently using a mobile phone has left viewers stumped.

Here is a picture of the woman, just so you can see what “has left viewers stumped”:

Mobile phone user on the right of the frame?

What could people be making of this amazing discovery? Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you. The DM lists all the things that people suggest it could be.

Some viewers have suggested she is listening to a portable radio close to her face, although this would not explain why she appears to be talking.

Others say she may be displaying signs of schizophrenia and covering her face to hide the fact that she is talking aloud to herself.

It has also been suggested that she is simply trying to hide her face from the camera so she is not filmed.

There are also sceptics who believe the footage is just a stunt created by Mr Clark – a film maker with Yellow Fever Productions – to publicise his latest film festival.

The first device that could be likened to a mobile phone was Motorola’s original ‘Walkie-Talkie’ which was developed in the 1940s, but that was the size of a man’s arm and still came more than a decade after the Chaplin film.

Well, that’s obviously all the options mentioned. I mean, just look at this even better shot of the woman.

It's good to talk.

I reckon that the Zebra is the phone mast, but I’m not sure what tariff she is on – it’s certainly the best ‘roaming’ package I’ve ever heard of. Obviously the phone will have been disguised in some way, so what would a steampunk mobile phone look like? How about…

1920's mobile phone disguise.

Excellent design, that would fit right in. Check it out, it even has an antenna to help boost the signal.

Can you hear me now?

There are only a few questions remaining:

  • Who were they calling? One time traveller on their mobile phone means there must have been at least one other. It is possible that they were calling their own time, but then common sense overrules that idea. Why? Prank calls. If someone in the future invents a phone that can call back to 1928 then you can be damn sure that the teenagers of that era would be calling people from their past and winding them up or giving their grandparents the lottery numbers. It would just be a mess.
  • Where is the phone mast? Cellular technology wasn’t about, neither were satellites. Unless they took one with them, but it would stick out a bit. Hey, wait a minute. She was standing right outside this building:

Mega phone mast in disguise?

  • Why would they let themselves be filmed? Surely a time traveller would want to avoid bringing attention to themselves? So why would they wander around at a busy Charlie Chaplin premiere in the middle of Hollywood using a piece of space age technology? Maybe they just didn’t see the camera, they’re pretty small after all. Oh, wait:

Easy to hide, eh?

I’ve seen this story being retweeted, and Facebooked, so I thought it was time to call bullshit on the whole thing in my own way. Everything I’ve just said is complete and utter rubbish, of course it isn’t a time traveller just haplessly wandering through the streets and using a device that would have made them stand out.

What is the real answer? Well, it’s simple – a bit like those who believe they’re looking at a 1928 mobile phone. That ‘steampunk mobile’ I showed the pictures of, well it’s really a small Audios Marque Déposé, faux tortoiseshell, Celluloid Ear Trumpet from (shock horror) the 1920’s – you can find it at The Hearing Aid Museum.

That article is actually in the DM’s Science & Tech section, oh dear.


I assume there is a reason you’re telling me this.

October 26, 2010

I think I may have missed a change to this article, mostly based on the first word of the headline.


So, quite obviously, this story all hinges on the fact that the man was a transvestite. Just to show how critical that information is to the reader I have made a screen capture of the entire article and highlighted every instance of ‘transvestite’ in orange – that way you can quickly scroll through, no need to read an entire Daily Mail article.

I think there must be something wrong with my highlighter, or there really is no reference to the man being a transvestite in the article at all. There are references to the fact that the man has yet to be identified, therefore his family and friends won’t have been notified. Maybe that’s why they don’t mention what may have been a secret in the actual article, they just make it the first word of the headline instead.

This story is the second most read article on the website just now, but the link elsewhere doesn’t have ‘transvestite’ in the headline.

Perhaps the Daily Mail decided that the news about the man being a transvestite should be kept secret until The Police have at least identified the deceased and informed his next of kin – they just forgot to change the headline on the article. That would maybe be an acceptable explanation if I hadn’t noticed the third most read article on their website today.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘that’s the exact same headline’. It is, but it actually links to this article where the headline is:

This article features the following quote:

It was initially reported that a woman had died in the 6.30pm tragedy, with witnesses reporting how they saw two women sharing a joke before the victim was killed.

However, it since emerged the dead person, whose next-of-kin are yet to be traced, was a man aged about 50.


If the Daily Mail hadn’t wanted to make a big deal about the gentleman being a transvestite they could have used ‘commuter’, or any other gender neutral description, until the next of kin were informed.

As if the Daily Mail’s habit of changing headlines and links on their website wasn’t bad enough, since I took my original screen shots the top 3 most read stories now look like this:

Yes, that’s the same link title for the 2 different articles now.

Perhaps the Daily Mail decided that the news about the man being a transvestite should be kept secret until The Police have at least identified the deceased and informed his next of kin – they just forgot to change the headline on the article.

How wrong could I have been?

You have to be extracting the urine

October 22, 2010

We all know what a bunch of idiots the Daily Mail are, particularly when it comes to misrepresenting the facts.

Where they really excel at this is when it comes to their bigoted, xenophobic and just plain intolerant agenda of hatred, as they cling to the sinking mast of the good ship ‘Britannia 1890’. They’re so stuck in the past and full of old fashioned, outdated ideas that The Doctor should probably scan them with his Sonic Screwdriver to make sure they aren’t a squad of evil Victorian monsters pining for a return to the days of the British Empire.

In their latest misleading headline, which is slightly different from the original headline, they proclaim:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed ‘smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’

Now, if you look at the address of that page you will see the remnants of the original headline. The Mail site sets the page address by using part of the first headline that is used. Here is a quick example. This story about James Caan was originally published under the headline James Caan filmed offering to buy a baby girl in flood hit Pakistan village. That story has now been updated following comments from Caan, it’s headline is now Dragons’ Den star James Caan ‘regrets’ offering to buy baby girl from Pakistan village, claiming: ‘I was being emotional, not rational’. So that links to the original story keep bringing traffic to the site, the articles address still ends with the original James-Caan-filmed-offering-buy-baby-girl-flood-hit-Pakistan-village.html.

What does that have to do with the bacon story? Well, in the address bar you can figure out the original headline from the fact it ends with Cafe-owner-ordered-remove-extractor-fan-case-smell-frying-bacon-offends-passing-Muslims.html

So, what is the real story? Were ‘passing Muslims’ offended? Did the neighbour claim that the smell of frying bacon ‘offends Muslims’? The answer, as always, seems partially visible within the text of the article.

A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan – because the smell of her frying bacon ‘offends’ Muslims.

Planning bosses acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next-door neighbour’s Muslim friends had felt ‘physically sick’ due to the ‘foul odour’.

Planning officials told her to take the extractor fan down in case passing Muslims smelled bacon? Erm…

The fan has been in Beverley’s Snack Shack takeaway in the Shaw Heath area of the town for the past three years.

Mrs Akciecek and her husband Cetin, 50, – himself a Turkish Muslim – work more than 50 hours a week buying, preparing and cooking hot and cold sandwiches and hot-pots for their customers.

Today mother-of-seven Mrs Akciecek said she plans to appeal against the decision.

She said: ‘I just think it’s crazy. Cetin’s friends actually visit the shop, they’re regular visitors, they’re Muslim people, they come in a couple of times a week.

‘I have Muslim people come in for cheese toasties. Cetin cooks the food himself, he cooks the bacon.

‘When we go to a cafe my husband wouldn’t be offended by the smell of bacon. His friends are not offended by it, we have three visitors who come here for a sandwich, friends of my husband, and the smell doesn’t offend them at all.

‘My brother-in-law doesn’t flinch if he comes and we’ve just taken out three trays of bacon.

Doesn’t it occur to any of these people that none of the aforementioned Muslim visitors are offended because the couple have an extractor fan? Having worked in many restaurants I can tell you that a kitchen without an extractor can be a very smelly place. It’s very job is to remove steam, smoke and odours from the premises, and their one must be doing a good job because, according to Mrs Akciecek:

It will be a good hour a day washing the walls down, I will not work anywhere with the grease falling down the walls.

A 7 hour day without the fan creates enough grease for it to be ‘falling down the walls’? That must require a lot of cooking very greasy food, and a lot of odours.

So, what exactly has the neighbour complained about?

Mr Webb-Lee objected to the aplication – complaining that his Muslim friends refused to visit him becase they ‘can’t stand the smell of bacon’.

Mrs Akciecek, who also attended the meeting, said: ‘He said he had a daughter with an eating disorder, the Muslim friends, and the bad smell all the time is making his clothes smell.

Then, later in the article:

Mr Webb-Lee said: ‘The vent is 12 inches from my front door. Every morning the smell of bacon comes through and makes me physically sick.

‘I have a lot of Muslim friends. They refuse to visit me anymore because they can’t stand the smell of bacon.’

Now, although I’m just speculating here, I think this is a case of a phrase being slightly misinterpreted – surprise, surprise. Mr Webb-Lee states that it is the smell of bacon that fills his home each morning, then states that his Muslim friends ‘can’t stand the smell of bacon’. Does that last line refer to his friends disliking the smell of all bacon or, as I think is more likely, disliking the bacon odour which Mr Webb-Lee has already said is so strong that it makes him feel physically sick?

Doubting that the extractor is 12 inches from Mr Webb-Lee’s door? It does sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t. This picture shows you the extractor on the wall between the shop and the Mr Webb-Lee’s door frame, only just visible in the photograph. You will also notice that, by tracing a line up from the end of the wall, the fan is as close to Mr Webb-Lee’s property as it is possible to be. This also makes me wonder whether some of the odour is actually entering his home through the wall.

Extractor fan

The extractor fan

The couple had never applied for planning permission as they had simply replaced an existing extractor fan with one of the same size and in the same position, but, following further complaints from their neighbour, they were informed by the council they would have to apply retrospectively as an objection had been raised.

Another chance to mislead, helping to aid outrage, lies within that paragraph. The article states that the new extractor fan is replacing one which was 6 years old. It was surely being replaced for a reason, probably because the old one was either broken or simply not strong enough. An extractor fan of the same size does not mean that it has the same power motor – same way a 17″ laptop from 8 years ago won’t be as powerful as one from 3 years ago. A stronger fan could easily mean stronger odours externally.

A spokesman for Stockport Council said: ‘The retrospective application was rejected on the grounds of residential amenity, as the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents

Absolutely no mention anywhere of the Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan in case the smell of frying bacon offends passing Muslims from the original headline, not even a single mention of any ‘passing Muslims’. Also, how can anyone even pretend that there was an ‘in case’ involved when the reason is clearly stated as ‘the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents’. Neighbouring residents are an entirely different issue from people who are simply passing by, I wouldn’t complain about walking past a cafe and smelling food – I would complain if it was next door and causing my flat to smell 6 days a week.

Seems perfectly acceptable to me, I can’t remember the last time I saw an extractor fan that was on the front of a restaurant/cafe/bar/chip shop, or one which was so close to a residential entrance. It seems to me that the only reason this story was picked up in the first place was because it allows the Mail to do another story about Political Correctness having gone mad, if the extractor had been deemed inappropriate with no mention of Muslims then it simply wouldn’t have been covered.

One of our wallabies is missing

October 20, 2010

Wallaby dies after being plied with ecstasy and drink at birthday disco

What? That’s horrible. Some sick bastard at a disco gave drugs and alcohol to a wallaby that then unfortunately died? Really? Does the article say if they caught the person?

Detectives questioned a circus owner today about allegations that a wallaby died after being plied with ecstasy and drink at a birthday disco.

The marsupial was let loose among more than 150 revellers dancing at the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley, west Dublin, to the theme tune of Australian television show Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.

Outraged animal welfare campaigners sparked an official Garda investigation when they passed on complaints about the alleged mistreatment of the animal.

Wait a minute. “allegations that a wallaby died after being plied with ecstasy and drink at a birthday disco.”?

So now it’s only alleged that drugs and alcohol killed the wallaby? Maybe they’re just waiting on the results of some blood tests that have been performed on the body of the poor deceased animal.

‘There is no evidence at this stage of a body, or evidence to suggest it is dead,’ said a Garda source.


A Garda source confirmed allegations had been made that a wallaby died after being given ecstasy and alcohol but added they had yet to see any evidence to back up the claims.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

Meow Me-yawn

October 20, 2010

Anyone else bored with the Daily Mail’s lazy reporting about Mephedrone? Yup, thought so.

This story has the very definite headline:

Two friends die after taking Meow Meow at house party

Then they state in the article that:

Two friends died after taking a variety of drugs including notorious plant fertiliser mephedrone, also known as Meow Meow, an inquest has heard.

A variety of drugs you say? Wouldn’t that make the headline a bit misleading and sensationalist? I suppose that none of the other drugs have a history of causing death though, that’s how they know it was definitely down to the fact they had taken Meow Meow.

The inquest in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, heard Ben had taken Meow Meow, which was banned this year following a public outcry, and morphine. There was also evidence of cannabis use.

Well, morphine never did anyone any harm. Did it? There is a quote from the Coroner, Edward Thomas, who said:

the morphine would have brought the teenager’s heart rate down, while the mephedrone, a stimulant, would have speeded it up.

He added: ‘The heart couldn’t cope. It didn’t know if it was supposed to go up or down. Mixing these drugs is incredibly dangerous.’

Miss Wilson had also taken morphine but it is unclear whether she had Meow Meow because a blood sample taken when she was admitted to hospital had been lost, meaning a toxicology report could not be completed.

So now they’re saying that one victim might not have taken Meow Meow at all? Doesn’t that mean the deaths could have been due to the Morphine that they somehow know had been taken by both victims? I guess that Two friends die at a house party where they both took Morphine and at least one took Meow Meow isn’t as catchy a headline. It’s not as if the ‘public outcry’ they previously mentioned was based on similarly sensationalist articles about teenage deaths which were later revealed to have no connection to the drug.

Oh wait, there is the case of Louis Wainwright and Nicholas Smith. On March 17th the Mail told the world how Meow Meow had killed these 2 young men, you can read the article here. If visiting their website makes you feel as nauseous as it makes me, here’s a quick snippet of it:

The government has pledged to ‘take any action’ needed over mephedrone after two teenage friends died within hours of each other after taking the ‘legal high’.

Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, are thought to have taken the controversial drug during a night out together on Sunday, and died the following day.

The Home Office said it would receive advice from the the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on 29 March.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who admitted that he had never previously heard of the drug, said today: ‘We will take any action that is needed, any action that is justified, to deal with this and to avert such tragic consequences occurring in the future.’

There is one part of the story that I can’t find anywhere on their website, despite having searched for all stories featuring Louis Wainwright’s rather distinctive name. Searching for his name on the BBC website will bring up this story which features the following information:

Toxicology tests have shown that two teenagers whose deaths were linked to mephedrone had not taken the drug.

The deaths of Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, in March 2010 sparked concern about the synthetic stimulant, which was then legal.

The Labour government banned the “legal high” in April, making it a Class B drug.

Former chief drugs adviser Prof David Nutt said the test results undermined the reasons behind the ban.

Oh, you’d think they’d have mentioned that.

Now, I’m not saying that drugs are good – even if I think that some of them are. I’m also not saying that Mephedrone doesn’t kill people, it probably does – you could die instantly from a first sniff of many household chemicals. What I’m saying is that The Daily Mail’s style of journalism, if you can call it that, is misleading to the point of being irresponsible.

I’m not expecting that to change, so this blog might end up a bit busy. Let me know if you think you could contribute.

Also, please feel free to leave a little comment.

Hello there.

October 19, 2010

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my new blog.

I know that there are similar sites out there, but this one will probably be a little bit angrier and rantier than sites like the excellent Mail Watch.

Let me know if you would like to be a contributor.