It's time again for our most popular feature, in which we take photos that have made millions of Internet users scream "FAKE!" and prove that they are, in fact, real. In case you missed the previous episodes, here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, the gritty reboot that doesn't acknowledge the previous editions, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10.
Frank Korte/Guenter Kamlage/epa/Corbis
"Deal with it."
Even though it looks like a still from some goofy CGI ad they'd show during the Super Bowl (maybe the cool fly is about to drink a tiny bottle of Pepsi), this is an actual photograph of a set of 2-millimeter-wide sunglasses being worn by a common housefly. Because sometimes scientists just get incredibly bored and/or high.
The picture was submitted to a science photo competition back in 2005 to promote advances in laser machining (you can make things ridiculously tiny now!). It seems a little lazy that they didn't also make him a tiny little hat to wear, but whatever.
A rule 365 million years in the making.
This looks like an entry to one of our own Photoshopping contests, something like, "If 13-Year-Olds Were Put in Charge of Museums." Though, let's be honest, if we had two dinosaur skeletons in our possession, this is what we'd do with them.
This is, however, a real display on dinosaur reproduction at the Jurassic Museum of Asturias in Spain. And while technically there's nothing wrong with showing museum visitors how dinosaurs porked each other (don't say you've never wondered), what makes it magical is the facial expressions they chose to give the lovers. It looks like the male is pumping his tiny T-Rex arms and shouting "WOOHOO, I'M GONNA TYRANNOSAURUS WRECK THAT ASS" while the female seems to be expressing, "I just bent over to eat some grass!" surprise.
Our favorite entries in these articles are always the ones that don't just look like Photoshop, but look like shitty Photoshop. It appears some lazy hoaxer spent about 10 minutes cropping and pasting the face of a black cat onto this orange tabby. They didn't even bother to make the eyes match!
But this is an unaltered photo of a cat named Venus. (There are videos embedded there, if you still think it's fake.)
Both sides get pissed if you interrupt their nap.
She has her own Facebook fan page (with 100,000 fans, because of course she does). It's the two different colored eyes that make you realize this isn't just an unusual fur pattern -- experts think she's a chimera, a merger of cells from two different zygotes (i.e., the thing that sometimes results in horrific, two-headed freak show animals). This appears to just be a one in a billion case where the two halves lined up perfectly to create something that would clearly be a supervillain in the kitty world.
This would look exactly like one of those "Tourist stands in the foreground pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa" photos if his legs weren't behind the snow-covered trees there. But this photo from the U.K. Telegraph was taken at Legoland in Windsor, and, yes, those are Lego skyscrapers there. How much would you pay to get to go on a Godzilla rampage through that shit?
No, we don't know why that building is shaped like a dick. To be frank, we're a little ashamed that you even noticed.
As much as we wish we had a similar explanation to the chimera cat up there and could thus tell you that this is the world's only double rhino, we cannot. It's just a convenient shot of a rhino standing in front of another one. Still, if you look away from the picture, then look back, your brain will tell you it's a two-headed rhino again. We just want it to be true so badly, even though deep down we know that if a zoo had such a creature, it would be world famous by now.
If you're worried that this is going to be the tragic story of a tiny little foot-tall man with a rare genetic disorder, don't be. But it's not fakery, either -- it's a scene by artist Jean-Francois Fourtou, who also creates scenes of giant people in tiny situations. In both cases, it's done by laboriously building everything in the room to the completely wrong scale.
Though he'll apparently observe the "five-second rule," regardless.
In fact, the artist has an entire house that he's built with everything on a giant scale and then another entire house where it's all shrunken down to a fifth of its normal size. Why? Come on, don't you understand that the entire point of being an artist is never having to answer that question?
Shake too hard and you can end up with 1,792 years of bad luck.
Now here's one that just screams "album cover." That's the advantage of owning a kick-ass mirrored suit that makes every photo of you look like one:
The suit is worn by an anonymous street performer who has been spotted in both L.A. and Seattle, and we're guessing if you see him crossing the street at night, hitting him with your headlights will make you feel like you're having a stroke. We know nothing else about the man (woman?) or exactly how much of a pain in the ass it was to make it. We do know that it took 200 hours for a performer in New Zealand to make a similar one and that you'd have to do it all over if you trip and fall down the stairs just once.
Feng Li/Getty Images
It's like human Magic Eye.
It doesn't matter how many times you tell us this is just soldiers marching perfectly in formation, it still messes with our eyes. It looks like they just clicked one soldier with the clone tool and dragged it across the screen.
But, of course, it isn't China using trickery to make their army look bigger than it is, it's just very disciplined troops marching in ridiculously well-drilled ranks. It's pretty difficult to spot the irregularities, even when you know it's a real picture -- they're not just in the same pose, they're all exactly the same height and body type, as well. It looks more like one of the too-perfect, computer-generated clone armies from one of the Star Wars prequels. Look at the feet in the middle row -- you can lay a ruler across them.
There is no non-ridiculous explanation for why this beach suddenly bears a gaudy star pattern, but here's a hint: You can blame that tractor back there.
This is the work of the comic-book-heroine-named Gunilla Klingberg, who built this sand pattern machine out of old truck tires:
Why she chose to do this instead of creating thousands of huge sea monster footprints to scare off tourists, we'll never know.
On top this looks like a real mountain landscape. On bottom it looks like either a Photoshopped pattern or a very long day's work on the part of a guy with a snowplow. But all of it is actually a piece of art by Motoi Yamamoto, created entirely out of salt. Yes, the mountains, too. And yes, we were also hoping it would turn out to be cocaine.
So ... a couple of tourists with a cardboard cutout of Sylvester Stallone? Two guys at a 75-percent-scale wax museum? A pair of brothers badly Photoshopping movie stars into their vacation photos to impress their Facebook friends?
Because that's just ... cartoonish. We mean, it's pretty common to find out that actors aren't all they're cracked up to be on the big screen, but Sylvester Stallone is 5-foot-9 or so in reality -- not exactly a munchkin.
But the monsters surrounding him there are the Klitschko brothers, heavyweight boxers in the 6-foot-7 range. Oh, and if you're trying to figure out what the backdrop behind them says, don't worry -- they're just advertising the live musical production of Rocky. We're not kidding.
Here's yet another one that would have been far, far easier to just Photoshop than to stage a complicated scene that merely results in something that still looks like Photoshop. This "globe" is a high-speed trick photograph taken by German photographer Markus Reugels, capturing a drop of water in mid-air, just as it passes in front of a map.
And we're guessing it takes a shitload of attempts to get this just right.
Justin Lee/Caters News Agency
Presenting God's urinal.
It looks like somebody wasn't satisfied with this waterfall being a perfectly beautiful piece of scenery in its completely unaltered state and decided to add some "flair" in the form of rainbow colors in the mist.
But it really happened -- it's a perfectly timed photograph taken at Yosemite National Park. The rainbow is just the result of lucky positioning of the sun in relation to the mist of the falls, as opposed to, say, an explosion at the Skittles factory.
Regrettably, this isn't a dude who discovered how to explode his own torso on demand. It's a picture of someone being hit in the face with a bunch of colored powder at an event in Berlin where they do this sort of thing. We're not sure what part the skateboard plays in the ceremony or who has to clean up afterward, but we can say that turning humans into color explosions is so popular worldwide that they have a whole holiday dedicated to it in India.
It looks like fun but we're betting that stuff tastes like shit.
Suzanne Beard/National Geographic
"Crap, you two are going to try to play "We Didn't Start The Fire" again, aren't you?"
Sadly, these pelicans aren't making a break for the Caribbean on a stolen piano with dreams of starting a band. It's just a photo from National Geographic.
The piano was found on a sandbar near Miami and was too heavy for the authorities to move away (it weighs 650 pounds). If you're wondering how it got out there (and we're surprised we haven't gotten a Facebook forward insisting it was carried by a tsunami), well, so was everyone else -- it just turned up one day. It was a mystery until some teenagers fessed up to dragging it out there to make some kind of artistic statement or other. Don't you guys have some video games you should be playing?
The aircraft carrier looming back there makes this scene look like somebody inserted it by hacking the background graphics for a basketball video game. Even the sky looks fake.
But what you're looking at is the Carrier Classic, a college basketball game played on board an aircraft carrier. This one was between the University of North Carolina and Michigan State a couple years back.
They actually had to cancel a game last year because the court got wet. Not, as we were hoping, because somebody landed an F-18 on there at halftime.
A painting? A close-up of a winter scene postcard?
Nope, it's an aerial photograph of a dried-out river bed in Mexico from National Geographic.
Water runoff, as it turns out, produces the same type of fractal patterns as plants do when they grow new branches. And snowflakes. And human blood vessels and neurons. And so many other natural phenomena that we're starting to wonder if the whole universe isn't fractals. For instance, can you guess what this is?
It's what happens when you run electricity through a block of Plexiglas.
Mark Henle/Associated Press
"Anyone else smell barbecue?'
A ghost being possessed by the body of a shirtless man? A guy seconds away from spontaneous combustion? A liar whose pants actually did catch fire?
According to this Boston.com photo, it's what happens when you get out of the pool after a swim and the freezing cold air starts rapidly evaporating the water off your skin. Also we're pretty sure his hair has frozen like that.
Hey, it turns out if you look at the suburbs from a helicopter, you see a swirling mass of roads and houses that will make you dizzy if you stare too long.
This unbelievably ordered subdivision is a suburb called Henderson, outside Las Vegas. A Google image search turns up dozens of similarly Stepford-esque shots. It's almost like someone just showed up one day and unrolled the whole development in strips, like sod. So in places like this, are people just constantly accidentally walking into the wrong house?
We suppose you could think this is just a stone monument to giant, angry horses with a little snow piled at the base. But, in fact, everything you're looking at is snow.
These giant snow sculptures are the sort of thing they do at China's winter festivals, and we're assuming they all get destroyed when tourists get drunk and try to ride them. What these artists are able to create with just shovels, ladders, and snow is often downright stunning.
But not always.
For more images that are so obviously fake (but so really aren't), check out 18 Old-Timey Photos You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped and 13 Old War Photographs You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The True Story of Every Crappy Ad You See on TV.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn why screaming FAKE at your computer screen isn't very healthy.
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