5. Ciara's Sex-Change Operation
Among the most popular search queries here all year long was the question "Is Ciara a man?" which may seem nonsensical if you've ever seen the voluptuous "crunk" singer perform onstage, but it's a quandary that nevertheless gripped a great many fans in 2005, apparently. The answer from the diva's own mouth is no, by the way. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was unavailable for comment.
4. Telemarketers Want Your Cell Phone Number
Let there be no doubt, the only thing Americans hate more than unsolicited calls from telemarketers is the prospect of receiving them via cell phone. Sparked by announced plans to compile a universal 411 directory of private numbers, this email alert urging recipients to add their mobile phone information to the National Do Not Call Registry hasn't lost an ounce of steam since it went into circulation in late 2004.
3. Photos of Hurricane Katrina's Approach
This set of ominously beautiful images of massive storm formations was circulated under the pretense of documenting Hurricane Katrina's deadly landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi in September, but when we tracked down the photographer he told us the photos had actually been taken the previous year in locales far removed from Katrina's path.
2. Bill Gates Will Pay You for Forwarding This!!!
Eight years old and annoying as ever, the Microsoft "email tracking" hoax, in all its many variants, must be the most forwarded prank message of all time. The secret of its success? None of the folks forwarding it know it's a prank. It is gullibility to this degree that gives proof to the old Internet saying, "There's a sucker born every nanosecond."
1. The Deadly Wave
At this point it should come as no surprise that one of the most widely shared photographs of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 also turned out to be the phoniest. Which is too bad, because despite the collage-like quality of the image and its implausibility, it was also breathtaking in a larger-than-life, "The Day After Tomorrow" kind of way.