Giant Freakin' Robots!
(?) January 17th, 2001

Sometimes, we come across a story that is so obviously a hoax that we wonder how anyone could come up with enough nerve to pass it off as fact.  This story is a prime candidate for Lamest Hoax of the Century. 

We received an email yesterday from a faithful reader named Tom White, who sent us the url for this website.  The author of the site claims to have been a researcher on a project codenamed "Thyropod," somewhere in Elko County, Nevada.  This project was intended to develop "a machine that was capable of traveling via the use of articulated limbs." 

These vehicles are known in the science fiction world as "mecha," a popular component in Japanese anime cartoons.  The US has its own version, from a tabletop strategy game called Battletech (you might have heard about its computerized offshoot, Microsoft's Mechwarrior game series).  Here is a fine example of the kinds of robots we're talking about:

There is a striking resemblance between these mecha and the drawing supposedly sketched by the website's author while left to himself in the hangar that houses one of these Thyropods

We have to doubt the legitimacy of these claims, if only because mecha are pretty much useless in a realistic battlefield environment.  There are lots of reasons why this is so.  First of all, the necessity of articulated legs would make such a vehicle incredibly difficult to service in a wartime environment.  Also, a 2-meter mecha is a much bigger target than a tank. 

The author of the site claims that the Thyropod was developed to handle terrain that stops a normal tank, like "steep inclines or uneven ground."  As far as we know, modern battle tanks have no trouble negotiating these types of terrain.  And in the rare case of obstacles that stop tanks in their tracks, the militaries of this and other countries already have vehicles that are quite capable of avoiding ground terrain altogether, while still providing massive close support and firepower to ground forces.  They're called helicopters.  While such vehicles exist, there is no credible reason to develop a mecha, especially with such a massive potential security leak in the guise of the author of the Thyropod website. 

There are a few other photographs on the Thyropod website, including an alleged aerial photograph of a Thyropod in action.  It looks awfully fake to us, if only because the thing doesn't cast a shadow.  And if the author could get his hands on a photograph like that one while he was working on the project, why didn't he get one of the Thyropod itself? 

Somehow, I'll bet he can't answer that question. 



June 11th, 2001

A Million Damn Dollars
May 31st, 2001

Government Stooges
May 13th, 2001