September 2009 Newsletter

The Real Scoop on the Hoax Email

In 2006 someone sent around an email about a "fantastic machine" (that was usually the subject line) that had a video clip attachment. Here's what the email said:

Check out this farm equipment. Read the information below before
clicking on the attachment.

This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between The
Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of
Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machines
components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of
Bancroft Iowa, yes farm equipment!

It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment,
Calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see it
was WELL worth the effort.

It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the
University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.

Of course it's not even remotely true. The video clip was from Animusic's "Pipe Dream" animation. But that didn't stop the email from spreading, in fact such hoax emails get passed along because they are questionable and many people enjoy the curiosity caused by inventive stories. There are whole web sites dedicated to hoaxes and urban legends, such as, where you can read about this particular tale and many others.

You guys launched the hoax email, didn't you?

No, we really didn't, but we certainly appreciate whoever did! And we find the whole thing pretty amusing. It's amazing the email continues to spread years after it was started (guess it hasn't reached everyone on the entire Internet just yet).

People who sort out the real story often email us, asking if we're aware of the hoax. So we are thankful that the fictional tale has lead lots of folks to discover the real Animusic.

The University of Iowa might not be as thankful, as they have had to take lots of phone calls - and even a few personal visits - from people wanting to see the machine in person.

(If you’re the individual who did launch the hoax, drop us an email.   You’re not in trouble – in fact we’d like to thank you.  We’ll keep your identity confidencial if you’d like, but it would be fun to do a news story about it if you don’t mind.)



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