Tagged: Politics

Occupy Wall Street Crowd 2011 Shankbone

Source: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

I decided to post a follow up to my previous post on the Occupy Wall Street photoshopped image, to clarify a couple of details and dispel some of the rumours going around.

Firstly, the origins of the image itself. The original photoshopped image was produced by digital artist Scott Lickstein, who intended it to represent a “virtual 99% turnout”, ie what the OWS protests would look like if all of the people supporting the movement online could turn up at the protests in person (thanks Terrance for the info). Whilst Lickstein’s other work certainly has a political bent to it, this piece was never intended to mislead people into believing it to be a real image. I mention this because it appears that Lickstein has had accusations levelled at him of deliberately faking the image to misinform the public and/or discredit the movement. To the best of my knowledge this is not the case.

The crowd in the original Google maps image along the south-east side of  Broadway is real, and captures a protest of New York City fire fighters against the cutting of twenty fire companies by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in June, 2011 (thanks Erik for the link). Lickstein expanded the crowd to fill the streets around City Hall to represent all the online supporters of the movement.

The image was picked up on the web by some people believing it to be real, and several individuals added their own captions to the image implying that the image is a real representation of the protests, and that the mainstream media was covering it up. This was when it came to my attention, and I decided to demonstrate that the image is fake and try and prevent it from being further disseminated as truth. I was not the first person on the internet to point it out as a photoshopped image. » Continue Reading…

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I’ve posted a follow-up post to this article to clarify a few details and put to rest a few rumours.

A fellow skeptic (President of the Granite State Skeptics Travis Roy) recently posted a request on the Skeptoid mailing list regarding an image that has been making the rounds on Facebook. The image is an aerial shot of a supposedly huge turnout for the Occupy Wall St protest against corruption and greed. What appears to be thousands of protesters clog the streets of New York near the City Hall, with a caption stating:

Occupy Wall Street Turnout: My TV says nothing. The only thing I hear is its [sic] a small 100 person turn out. Turn off your TV. Ask your friends. Dont [sic] trust the media they lie!

After a request from Wettstein (and a warning from my hosting provider) I have removed his plagiarised propaganda image from my site. However the original can be found on Google Image Search.

My skeptical colleague saw this image and immediately smelled something fishy. Travis noticed that the image was an aerial photo of New York City Hall, whereas the protests were happening several blocks away at Liberty Square. He sent the image to the mailing list for other opinions. To my eyes the mass of protesters looked out of place, the crowd looked too uniform and dense to be real. I took the image into Photoshop to see if I could pick up any pattern to the image. My original thought was that they had used the clone tool to make a smaller group of people look much larger. Not being able to find anything obvious, I started to wonder where the background plate may have come from. Immediately Google Maps came to mind. I looked up the location featured in the image, and then I saw it: » Continue Reading…

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The issue of gay marriage,  or marriage equality in Australia has become a hot topic in recent months. Prominent politicians have made statements about their personal opinions, the community has been polled for their perspectives, bills have been put forth to the Senate to try and amend the Marriage Act, there have been protests and demonstrations and a lot of vitriolic discussion on the Internet about this controversial issue.

I’d like to lay out some of the main arguments that have been put forth by opponents of gay marriage, and explain why I believe every one of these arguments is flawed and without merit.

» Continue Reading…

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