Schmuck Bait / Real Life

  • The Science Museum in London since 2007 has had an exhibit called "DO NOT TOUCH". A large pole with a barred-off bare metal waist is surrounded by brain-searing yellow warning signs, proximity-sensor klaxons, and screens telling patrons that the pole will give them an electric shock. You can't help but touch it! Yes, you do get an electric shock.
  • This Place is Not a Place of Honor: The US Department of Energy is designing monuments that warn future visitors away from nuclear waste disposal sites such as Yucca Mountain and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The ideas they've come up with are fascinating — but not one of them has managed to avert the site being Schmuck Bait of the highest caliber. To their credit, they're well aware that anything they design is potential Schmuck Bait, and they're actively working to minimize the bait factor.
    • Jerry Pournelle once suggested an elegant solution: Put the waste in one of the areas of desert that are already radioactive because nuclear weapons were tested there. Surround it with miles of fence and lots of signs that say IF YOU CROSS THIS FENCE YOU WILL DIE. Some people will do it anyway. "Think of it as evolution in action. Average human intelligence goes up by a fraction of a percent."
  • Any Wet Paint sign.
    Tell a man there are 978,301,246,569,987 stars in the sky, and he will believe you. Show him a "Wet Paint" sign, and he will check and get his finger stained.
    Julian Tuwim
    • There is a similar joke about restaurant patrons touching hot plates 'just to be sure.'
  • Apparently, some tech departments will periodically send out emails supposedly with viruses attached, informing everyone at large not to open attachments like that. If someone does, it will turn out that the "virus" is actually a tracer that lets the department tell managers which of their employees cannot follow directions.
  • Turning off the Electronic Stability Control (either to get a quicker start-speed by turning off the Launch Control or to facilitate street race "drifting") on a Nissan GT-R will void the warranty, should the car get damaged in that mode. Sure, the ESC is shown to make crashes 35% less likely, and there are few legit reasons to turn it off, unless you are stuck in mud or snow... but a button that, when pressed, will let you go 0 to 65 in 3.4 seconds is preeeeety tempting. The 2012 Nissan GT-R would remove the bait, by adding the "R-Mode Start" option, where the ESC may be switched to an "R" mode, only coming on after the initial burst of speed.
  • Including Schmuck Bait options in multiple-choice questions is common practice for the SATs, standardized tests, and regular school tests. It's so common that test-prep courses actually give the Schmuck a name (e.g. "Joe Bloggs") and demonstrate how this gullible strawman, thinking he's being clever, always falls for the Schmuck Bait.
  • British revision site BBC Bitesize loves this "trick":
    In order to deal with a rapidly increasing population, the Chinese government introduced...
    a) The One-child policy
    b) The Two-child policy
    c) Free Contraception
    d) The Child Catcher
  • The Voltage Switch on the back of computer PSUs. Flicking it causes a loud bang, a lot of smoke, and a broken PSU.
    • Well, maybe. The switch routes to a voltage doubler on the 115V setting. Switching it to 230V in the US, Canada, and other 100V-120V countries won't do anything. Switching to 115V in 230V countries however will blow up the power supply.
  • Inverted with the PlayStation 3 - each console warns on the back that it will only accept one exact power voltage, usually the voltage where the PS3 was originally sold in. People who imported their PS3 found that it's a sham, a PS3 actually has a world-multi power supply board. Sony was most likely trying to discourage people from importing their consoles.
  • rm -rf / for novice Unix users. Especially don't run it as root. rm is "remove". The -r is "recursive". -f means "don't ask me if I'm sure." The single slash denotes the entire filesystem, kinda like C:\ for a Windows machine, but even more. If you run it as a regular user, it'll delete everything you have access to. If you run it as the superuser, (root, user 1, the administrative user) then it'll delete everything. At which point the computer will stop working. Most modern Unix variants will prevent you from running it, since it has no legitimate use.note 
    • Man page for hdparm. It is a utility of Linux systems for reconfiguring/testing how the OS interfaces with the hard disk, and optimizing those settings for the hardware installed. All the potentially data-destructing options are thankfully lined in BOLD, ALL CAPS warnings stating they are VERY DANGEROUS, and that you should NOT USE THESE OPTIONS.
    • Also, if one types fsck to check a disk on a mounted filesystem, Linux will give a dire error message: "WARNING!! The filesystem is mounted. If you continue you ***WILL*** cause ***SEVERE*** filesystem damage." It won't stop someone from doing it, they can press yes anyway.
    • For Debian-style distributions, attempting to remove an essential package will yield the warning "You are about to do something potentially harmful. To continue type in the phrase 'Yes, do as I say!'". Indeed, the action will not complete without typing the phrase. Copy/pasting the line won't work.
      • This message has the tendency to appear when a distro switch out one important package for an alternative (say, dumping SysV initscripts for SystemD) during a major distro upgrade under certain conditions. However, in this case, the admin doing the upgrade most likely is already prepared for this and knows what s/he is doing.
    • Also, people who tell Windows users to delete "System32" because it'll greatly improve performance. Windows usually prevents you from doing this however. If you're on an "Administrator" account, you can access the System32 files just fine, but only after seeing a message saying something like "These files are hidden, and are required for proper operation of your computer." You can "okay" the message, but it doesn't actually stop you...
  • Lecturers at some Universities to catch students.
    • Luis von Ahn at Carnegie Mellon sets at least one assignment per year with a Google-bomb phrase in the questions, leading to a website with the answer and the correct solutions, which logged the IP addresses of people who entered the website. As students were told not to use the internet to do such questions (and such phrases did not exist), he would then happily accuse students who visited the website as cheaters.
    • Samir Siksek is also famous for this at Warwick.
    • Some Software Engineer teachers bug their sample programs in this way to detect code reverse-engineered from that sample program. For example, a program that takes a random number to generate a result would, on a specific number in the test program (and thus all code derived from that program) return a message that the student had cheated.
  • Invoked by police all over the US with bait cars. A bait car is a Cool Car that's set out on the street and "abandoned", while an officer watches from a safe distance. All the car's functions are remote-controlled, allowing the police to shut off the engine and force-lock the doors in order to trap anyone that tries to break in or steal the car. And there's a camera hidden in the dashboard, so they have proof that the thief stole it.
  • This shirt neatly summarizes the phenomenon.
  • These ominously-labelled switches.
  • Sign on Newcastle Tramway: TOUCHING WIRES CAUSES INSTANT DEATH. $200 FINE.
  • Heart Attack Grill: It's as close to Exactly What It Says on the Tin as it can be. It doesn't grill heart attacks, but it is themed around food which is known to cause them and other health problems. Among the delicacies are extra-large hamburgers (the smallest weigh half a poundnote  and the largest run to two poundsnote , served with fries cooked in pure lard. It's themed as a hospital, with the staff being healthy "doctors" and "nurses" who serve to customers as "patients". And the food is named after health problems and surgeries (for instance, the burgers run from "Single Bypass" to "Quadruple Bypass" and the fries are called "Flatliner Fries"). Two spokespeople have already died at ages 29 and 52, respectively. If you are still willing to eat there knowing all of this...
  • Any action of which the showing is preceded by the words "Don't Try This at Home."
  • If you're going to the restaurant known as "The Crab Cooker," don't look up there. It's a red herring.
  • Pang Juan, a general of Wei in China's Warring States period, came across writing scratched on a tree: however, it was too dark to read. Accordingly, he had a torch lit, revealing the writing to be "Pang Juan dies under this tree". The lighting of the torch was the signal for an ambush, set by Pang's rival Sun Bin,note  to attack. Pang Juan would commit suicide under that same tree.
  • In Metro Manila in the Philippines, there is a sign set-up in the middle of a two-lane main thoroughfare which reads (in the vernacular) "Do not cross. Someone has already died here. Use the overpass." This is a warning to all potential jaywalkers to use appropriate overpasses and pedestrian crossings. Guess what most of the Filipinos reading it do next.
  • Rabbits, despite being oh-so-cute and snuggly, are reportedly prone to kicking forcefully with their (clawed!) hind feet in response to the inevitable attempts at snuggling them.
    • Similarly, cats. Ultra-cute, fuzzy, and snuggly, but also extremely flexible, pointy at five of their six ends, and notoriously prone to violent mood swings. They often like to cuddle, but don't expect them to remain in that mood for a very long time...
      • A cat lying on its back exposing its belly - it's not inviting you to pet its belly, it's inviting you to play. Unfortunately, it's a kind of playing that typically involves claws, teeth, and pain.
  • If you access the about:robots page on Mozilla Firefox, there is a button like with most error pages that reads "Try again". Pressing the button yields another message: "Please do not press this button again."
    • Pressing the button again causes it to disappear.
  • Bot messages. Especially when they hijack someone you know that has potential to send you links. The only exception are YIM spam bots, as they know that any message exchanged opens door for programs to snatch login data.
    NotASpamBot: Hi! I just met you and this is crazy! So here is my site and join me maybe! www.totallysafesexychicksite.org
    Friend: I just found a way to find out if someone blocked you! Click here >> www.amiblocked.com
    • In a similar manner, people that send you message or emails that say something like "We need to verify your account/your account information may be compromised. Please enter your account information to secure/verify your account." Nearly every single website or online company will NEVER ask for your personal information, yet people on a daily basis keep giving up their info and have their bank accounts or personal identity stolen as a result.
  • In 2008, Valve attempted to get a hacker arrested in an FBI sting operation by offering him a job. Though they did get him to admit to infiltrating their network he didn't fly to the US for a "face-to-face" interview after the German police caught wind of it and arrested him in his home of Europe.
  • If anyone ever asks if you if you want a Hertz Donut, the correct answer is no. If you say yes, they'll punch you and say, "Hurts, don't it?"
  • Shortly after the launch of the Xbox One, an image spread around with instructions that supposedly enables backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, by going into the developer console and changing the sandbox ID to "freezone.reboot". It actually sends the console into an infinite reset loop, effectively bricking it.
  • A psychological experiment found that, left alone for fifteen minutes with a button that delivered a painful electric shock, two-thirds of men and a quarter of women would press the button. One 'outlier' pressed the button 190 times.
  • Some people catch pedophiles on webcam by pretending to be a child and using a fake webcam video, hoping the pedophile is too stupid and/or horny to notice the video is on a loop.
  • The Other Wiki has a similar concept in its project pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Don%27t_stuff_beans_up_your_nose
  • The Jimmy John's sub sandwich food chain have folded paper displays on their tables with a giant QR code that says "WHY WOULD ANYONE SCAN THESE!? (I don't even know what they do.)" Scanning the QR code gives you a message.
  • The "Bullet Catch" is an infamous feat of stage magic which is virtually never attempted today, as several professional magicians who'd historically made it a part of their repertoire have either killed their assistants doing so, or been killed themselves. Despite its deadly record, or more likely because it's so lethal, it's still a tempting prospect for little-known magicians who want to build up their reputations very fast. (The ones who've already made it big avoid this trick like the plague.)
    • The last widely publicized time that this trick/stunt was attempted was in 1995 when Penn & Teller decided to try it, with Teller firing the gun for Penn to catch the bullet, complete with a US Air Force officer and a Las Vegas Metro Police officer. The stunt was the grand finale for the 2nd annual "World's Greatest Magic" show on Thanksgiving night. Everything worked flawlessly.
      • Then again, if there's anyone who could be counted on to know how to do this trick/stunt competently, and to make a point of abiding by that knowledge, it's those two.
    • A more recent attempt in 2012 by Steve Cohen led to him being hospitalized for bruising due to a piece of glass that the bullet was shot through. He's not only lucky to have caught the bullet; he's lucky to have survived the trick at all!
    • The MythBusters proved in one episode that the bullet catch trick is just that—a trick. Any real attempt to catch such a bullet with your teeth would shatter said teeth and leave you seriously injured, if not dead.
    • The important thing to remember about magic tricks is that they use visual and audio trickery to give the impression of the impossible. Bullet-catching involves keeping the bullet in the magician's teeth the entire time while the assistant uses a blank cartridge, the "cutting a box containing a person in half" trick sees the assistant retracting their legs into the front half of the box (often with a pair of convincing fake feet sticking out of the back half) as the box is split apart, and so on. Anyone who takes these tricks at face value and tries to replicate them without knowing how they work is likely Too Dumb to Live. "Magicians" as it were, do not actually refer to themselves as such. They market themselves as it, and have no problems with being referred to with that name, but personally they prefer "Illusionist."
  • The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa has an entire chapter devoted to the subject called: "All About Schmucks''.
  • For Black Friday 2014, Cards Against Humanity took their game off of their store and replaced it with a $6 box of "Bullshit." Despite repeated assertions on the store page and through social media that the box would contain "literal feces, from an actual bull," over 30,000 people purchased the box. Yes, it contained (sterilized) bull poop. Yes, people were upset.
  • The line for the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland is made up to look like you are walking through ancient ruins. At one point, you go through a hall with poles holding up the ceiling. One of these is within reach of people in line and says "Do Not Touch". If you pull on it, the ceiling of the hall begins to shake and may even drop slightly. At another point you pass a well with a rope and a sign saying "Do Not Pull". If you decide to do so, the rope actually has some resistance and you will hear some audio from the well of something breaking and a person complaining about you destroying some artifact.
  • A fairly popular prank amongst dirty-minded children is to ask someone to spell "icup", Gullible folks will not notice that they're saying "I see you pee".
    • A variation is to ask the victim to spell "oil cup" without using the letter L. This yields, "Oh, I see you pee."
  • Nature is full of these. One great example are anglerfish. Their dorsal fin has evolved into a tempting lure. Fish swimming by see a morsel, but find themselves violently engulfed by the far larger predator.
  • Search for any recent big movie on YouTube and you'll see tons of videos claiming to be the full movie, but if you click it it will give a link to where it claims the full movie really is, but it really leads to a virus. Sometimes these fake videos go up before the movie is even out. Sometimes the thumbnail is just a promotional image for the movie or the logo for the movie studio. Sometimes it's not even the right movie studio logo.
    • It doesn't even have to be something recent either. This happens for just about any movie or TV show when you search it up, regardless of age.
  • Clicking on links leading to the Website www.nicht-klicken.org (don't click) will get you spammed with over a thousand pop-ups.
  • Some virus files will masquerade as very tempting files such as "(filename involving pornography).avi"...but are actually executable files, i.e. the actual full filename is "(filename).avi.exe". This is why many tech-adept users strongly advise disabling the "Hide extensions for known file types" option (which is on by default) in Microsoft Windows. Joel of Vinesauce had a field day with these in his "Windows 8 Destruction" video, the climax of which involves him opening up a file named "videoxxx.avi.exe" and discovering that it's ransomware that prevents his PC from booting unless he pays for an unlock code. (Fortunately, he was using a virtual machine.) There was also the slightly more benign Gin and Juice.exe.
  • In the late 2000's tons of videos appeared on YouTube claiming to have found glitches, exploits, or secrets in the most popular video game titles at the time (such as Halo 3 or Grand Theft Auto IV). However, once you clicked on the video, it turned out to be a Rick Roll, Screamer, or YouTube Poop. Additionally, the image was a random screenshot of the game pulled off the internet and placed in a certain position so that it would show up as the video's thumbnail. However, these videos are not as prevalent today due to YouTube cracking down on misleading content, and users nowadays generally viewing such prank videos as Deader Than Disco.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SchmuckBait/RealLife