April Fool's Day Content
April Fool's Day Content
April Fool Categories
April Fool: Recurring Pranks
April Fool: Regions
April Fool: Perpetrators
April Fool's Day Archive, Contents:
|Before 1900:||Origin of April Fool's Day | 1700-1799 | 1800-1899|
|Early 1900s:||1900 | 1901 | 1915 | 1919 | 1920 | 1923 | 1925|
|1930s & 40s:||1933 | 1934 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1949|
|1950s & 60s:||1950 | 1957 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1969|
|1970s:||1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979|
|1980s:||1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989|
|1990s:||1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999|
|2000s:||2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009|
|2010s:||2010 | 2011|
April Fool's Day Science
April Fool's Day Science
Chickpanzees (1991)The Daily Mirror reported that Professor Vogel Brayne, a "top genetics expert," had succeeded in crossing the genes of a monkey with those of a chicken. He had thus created a "chickpanzee," a tiny monkey-like animal covered in white down, which was shown hatching from an egg as two bewildered chickens looked on. The little chickpanzee, named Charlie, was said to have left the world of science "shell-shocked".
The Dinosaur Vine (1989)Garden News magazine revealed that a prehistoric plant had been discovered growing out of a fossilised stegosaurus dropping found preserved within a Mojave Desert cave. The plant, dubbed the dinosaur vine, was being studied by Professor Adge Ufult (say it out loud).
Einstein Was Wrong (1984)
Lloyd Stallkamp, electronics instructor at South Dakota's National College, announced that Albert Einstein was wrong about the existence of photons that travel at the speed of light. Stallkamp had discovered that, in reality, it was darkness that was composed of "darkons" that were gradually filling up the universe:
"All the caves are filled with dark already. Outer space is filled with dark already. Once the sun gets filled up, that's it. There's no other place to put it... We can see inside the sunspots that the sun is black inside. So my theory is that the sun is going to fill up with black and become a black hole."
Stallkamp offered experimental evidence to back up his theory: "I took a flashlight. Now a flashlight doesn't emit light. It's just sucking in dark. So I did an experiment. I left the flashlight on a considerable time until it went out. Then I cut the battery apart — and it's all dark inside."
Stallkamp also had concluded that darkness was heavier than light: "Just look in a pool of water. You'll see all the dark has settled to the bottom."
The British Weather Machine (1981)The Guardian reported that scientists at Britain's research labs in Pershore had "developed a machine to control the weather." A series of articles explained that, "Britain will gain the immediate benefit of long summers, with rainfall only at night, and the Continent will have whatever Pershore decides to send it." Readers were also assured that Pershore scientists would make sure that it snowed every Christmas in Britain. A photograph showed a scruffy-looking scientist surrounded by scientific equipment, with the caption, "Dr. Chisholm-Downright expresses quiet satisfaction as a computer printout announces sunshine in Pershore and a forthcoming blizzard over Marseilles."
"Dr. Chisholm-Downright expresses quiet satisfaction as a computer print-out
announces sunshine in Pershore and a forthcoming blizzard over Marseilles."
The researchers had been monitoring the responses of plants to stimuli such as humidity level, root temperature, and photosynthesis rate, when they began to see patterns of "vibration waves" emerging. For instance, loud rock music produced an upset and unstable response, while classical music produced an even and stable readout. The researchers concluded that some form of higher awareness was operating in the plants — signs of "plant intelligence."
Eventually the scientists devised a way to translate the plant responses into audio readouts. Their experiments focused, in particular, on ferns, having found these plants "to be among the most sensitive and responsive."
The scientists then realized they could converse with the plants by translating their own voices back through a computer into the form of "vibration waves" which the plants could respond to. "I'm not saying that it's possible to have any great philosophical discussion with the ferms or any nonsense like that," the chief scientist admitted, "but we do have some form of two-way communication."
The Musendrophilus (1975)
The naturalist David Attenborough gave a report on BBC Radio 3 about a group of islands in the Pacific known as the Sheba Islands. He played sound recordings of the island’s fauna, including a recording of a night-singing, yodelling tree mouse called the Musendrophilus. He also described a web-footed species whose webs were prized by inhabitants of the island as reeds for musical instruments.
Brunus edwardii (1972)The April 1st, 1972 issue of the Veterinary Record, the weekly journal of the British veterinary profession, contained an article about the diseases of Brunus edwardii, which was described as a species "commonly kept in homes in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and North America." The article warned:
For months afterwards the correspondence section of the Veterinary Record was dominated by letters about Brunus edwardii, most of which offered new observations about the species. However, a few correspondents were outraged by the article, such as A. Noel Smith who wrote, "How three members holding sets of impressive degrees can waste their time writing such garbage in a journal that is the official publication of the B.V.A. is beyond my comprehension, as is your effrontery to publish it under 'Clinical Papers'."
It was reported that the British Library later had difficulty deciding how to classify the article, but the article proved so popular that it was eventually published in a special edition by Whittington Press.
The images below, which accompanied the article, illustrate some of the diseases of Brunus edwardii. They are (from left to right): 1) Alopecia, discoloration (very loved); 2) Torticollis and loss of limb; 3) A case of emotional disturbance, hypertension; 4) Attic bear and mice; 5) Lopsided squint.
The Body of Nessie Found (1972)On the morning of Friday March 31, 1972, an eight-member team of scientists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo were having their breakfast in the dining room of the Foyers House hotel, on the shore of Loch Ness. They were there on a joint mission with the Loch Ness Phenomena Bureau to prove the existence of a monster in the loch. They had developed a new form of "hormone sex bait" that they hoped would lure Nessie out of the depths.
As they dug into their bacon and eggs, the manager of the hotel approached them. Someone had just called, she said, to report seeing a "large hump" floating in the loch near the hotel. Intrigued, the team put down their knives and forks and walked outside. Sure enough, a large, dark object was bobbing up and down in the waves about 300-yards offshore.
Terence O'Brien, the leader of the team, immediately swung into action. He directed the team into their boat, and they headed out to investigate. Twenty minutes later, at around 9 a.m., they returned, dragging behind them a bizarre object. It appeared to be the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster.
BBC TV interviewed a professor from London University who had perfected a technology he called "smellovision." It allowed viewers to smell aromas produced in the television studio in their homes. The professor explained that his machine broke scents down into their component molecules which could then be transmitted through the screen.
The professor offered a demonstration by placing first some coffee beans and then onions into the smellovision machine. He asked viewers to report by noon whether they were able to smell anything, instructing them that "for best results stand six feet away from your set and sniff." Viewers called in from across the country to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Some claimed the onions made their eyes water.
The Smellovision experiment was repeated on June 12, 1977 by Bristol University psychology lecturer Michael O'Mahony, who was interested in exploring the effect of the power of suggestion on smell. O'Mahony told viewers of Reports Extra, a late-night news show that aired in the Manchester region, that a new technology called Ramen spectroscopy would allow the station to transmit smells over the airwaves. He told them he was going to transmit "a pleasant country smell, not manure" over their TV sets, and he asked people to report what they smelled. Within the next 24 hours the station received 172 responses. The highest number came from people who reported smelling hay or grass. Others reported their living rooms filling with the scent of flowers, lavender, apple blossom, fruits, potatoes, and even homemade bread. Two people complained that the transmission brought on a severe bout of hay fever.
An April Fool's joke by an amateur American astronomer was apparently taken seriously by a highly regarded Soviet scientist. Walter Scott Houston, professor of English at Kansas State College and editor of the Great Plains Observer, the monthly newsletter of the Great Plains Astronomical Society, included an article in the April edition that made the following claim:
Houston later explained that he chose the story because it was "so ludicrous it would not need to be labeled a gag." Both Dr. Hayall and the University of the Sierras were fictitious.
But soon after, the same theory was advanced by a Soviet scientist, Dr. Iosip Shklovsky, in an interview with Komsomol Pravda, a Communist youth league publication. American scientists were baffled by Shklovsky's assertion since there was no indication he was joking. Dr. Gerald Kuiper of the Yerkes Observatory was quoted as saying, "He is much too brilliant to believe such nonsense." [Jefferson City Post-Tribune, May 4, 1959.]
World To End Tomorrow (1940)On March 31, 1940 the Franklin Institute issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The release was picked up by radio station KYW which broadcast the following message: "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." The public reaction was immediate. Local authorities were flooded with frantic phone calls. The panic only subsided after the Franklin Institute assured people that it had made no such prediction. The prankster responsible for the press release turned out to be William Castellini, the Institute's press agent. He had intended to use the fake release to publicize an April 1st lecture at the institute titled "How Will the World End?" Soon afterwards, the Institute dismissed Castellini.
Atmospheric Energy Harnessed (1923)The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported that a Russian scientist, Professor Figu Posakoff, had discovered a method of "harnessing the latent energy of the atmosphere," the energy displayed in thunderstorms and other atmospheric catastrophes. Harnessing this energy would allow the Soviets to hurl objects "of any weight almost unlimited distances."
The prospects opened by the new invention are of incalculable importance and certainly surpass by far the discovery of steam and electric power. This discovery was the reason for the military blockade of Uralsk and vicinity while for weeks the experiments proceeded with astounding results, which extended far into the Caspian plain and Siberia, the details of which are being kept strictly secret.
The Soviets were said to have promised to use this discovery only for peaceful purposes. However the Allgemeine Zeitung noted that it would certainly give the nation a powerful advantage in warfare.
The New York Times ran the story on its front page on April 3, having failed to realize that it was a joke.