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.
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."
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:
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.
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
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.
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?
I'll bet he can't answer that question.