Recurring Decimals…..

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And a new urban legend/e-mail Fwd is born

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Coming soon to an Inbox near you:

I can sense the e-mails already pouring into the Snopes.com webmaster’s Inbox. A photographer took the above image (from the ground) near London on Saturday, apparently believing that the two airplanes were on a dangerous collision course. Of course, local civil aviation authorities have denied this and most experts have agreed that the image is only an optical illusion that exaggerates the proximity of the planes. Given that there was bright daylight and the amount of sophisticated gadgetry that is carried in modern airplanes, it would be pretty improbable that the planes got this close.

Seeing the photograph, my first thought was that the planes must have been at different heights. The photographer got lucky with the angle making it look that the DHL plane is about to bump into the JAL flight. As anyone who has flown into Heathrow during daytime and sat next to the window will tell you – the airspace over London is pretty crowded – you see airplanes flying all over the place (looks almost like the flying car scences in the otherwise forgettable film, The Fifth Element)- but as per regulation they are all flying all different altitudes.
But I bet you anything that application of simple common sense will not stop someone from sending this picture to all the people in his address book with a exclamatory subject line (‘You won’t believe it – two planes close to collision !’). And you know what will happen next – some guy you worked with/was at school with ten years ago, someone you vaguely remember, but happens to have your e-mail, will send it as a ‘Fwd: Remarkable photograph of two planes about to collide’ . And so a new spam is born.

Update: Just as I thought: Snopes now has an entry on this.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 30, 2006 at 9:27 am

Posted in Fun, General

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