Thumbs 2.0

14 Aug 2007
00:00

had his thumbs surgically whittled down

'From my old Treo, to my Blackberry, to this new iPhone, I had a hard time hitting the right buttons, and I always lost those little styluses,' Thomas Martel told the North Denver News. You can guess the rest.

Except, of course, that it was all a hoax - a satirical piece that, reports Computerworld, was picked up and run as real news (or at least not knowingly fake news) on sites like MacDailyNews, Engadget, and The Inquirer.

Oops!

Well, it happens. Remember when everyone thought "toothing" was real‾ That said, the best hoaxes are the ones that are just plausible enough to be true. And while the North Denver News says that 'Careful reading of the piece makes it clear to any critical consumer of information that the piece is pure humor and not news or reported as fact', that would depend on how unlikely the average reader thinks the story would be.

For example, go check out ModBlog [NSFW] some time (preferably after work, and preferably on an empty stomach). There's a whole counterculture of people experimenting with body modification that borders on the extreme, from extreme piercing, scar art and corneal tattoos to sticking pens through your nose, DIY finger amputations, installing Wolverine-style claws and "&brkbar; well, you get the idea.

The point is that there's quite a lot of people doing body modification in the name of art, adrenaline rushes, or simply pushing the limits of what the human body can stand in terms of cosmetic or even functional alterations. [Here: Warren Ellis gives a better description of it than I ever could.]

So that's why thumb whittling isn't as far out an idea as it might seem. And I can almost guarantee you that if someone on ModBlog hasn't done it already, they're probably working on it now thanks to the North Denver News' sense of humor.

Whether the fine people at MacDailyNews, Engadget, and The Inquirer even know what ModBlog is, I have no idea. But when you live in an age where people are queuing up for RFID implants and double amputees with J-shaped carbon-fiber blades for legs can potentially outrun Olympic champions, having your thumbs shaved into stylus points isn't that big of a stretch.

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