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|
Teleportation Machine (2013)The University of Michigan College of Engineering released a video revealing that their researchers had created a teleportation machine. Materials Science Prof. Xavier Vlad demonstrated how he could teleport a small key from one end of the machine to the other. He further explained that the process was discovered by accident — just like the discovery of Post-It notes.
The Sheep Albedo Hypothesis (2007)
RealClimate.org detailed the work of Dr. Ewe Noh-Watt of the New Zealand Institute of Veterinary Climatology, who had discovered that global warming was caused not by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but rather by the decline of New Zealand's sheep population. The reasoning was that sheep are white, and therefore large numbers of sheep increased the planet's albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space). As the sheep population declined, the ground absorbed more solar radiation, thus warming the planet: "It can be seen that the recent warming can be explained entirely by the decline in the New Zealand sheep population, without any need to bring in any mysterious so-called 'radiative forcing' from carbon dioxide, which doesn't affect the sunlight (hardly) anyway — unlike Sheep Albedo."
Noh-Watt also warmed of a potentially destabilizing feedback mechanism: "As climate gets warmer, there is less demand for wool sweaters and wooly underwear. Hence the sheep population tends to drop, leading to even more warming. In an extreme form, this can lead to a 'runaway sheep-albedo feedback,' which is believed to have led to the present torrid climate of Venus."
However, skeptics disputed the Sheep Albedo Hypothesis. Steve Ramsturf, spokesman for the New Zealand Sheep Farmers Guild, was quoted as saying, "Baaah, Humbug. No matter what goes wrong with the world, they're always trying to blame the poor New Zealand Sheep Farmer."
Nature.com reported a startling discovery made by astronomers. The increasing force of trade winds had slightly accelerated the spin of the Earth. As a consequence the length of the day had decreased over the past century, meaning that the calendar was now inaccurate: "Just as February has an extra day in leap years, we conclude that March ought to have 30 days once every 100 years, not 31… If we start the adjustments this year we should be back on track." In other words, "today should be 2 April, not 1 April."
Smaugia Volans (1999)
The scientific journal Nature, in its online edition, revealed the discovery of "a near-complete skeleton of a theropod dinosaur in North Dakota." The discovery was referred to in an article by Henry Gee discussing the palaeontological debate over the origin of birds. The dinosaur skeleton had reportedly been discovered by Randy Sepulchrave of the Museum of the University of Southern North Dakota. The exciting part of the discovery, according to the article, was that "The researchers believe that the dinosaur, now named as Smaugia volans, could have flown." In actuality, the University of Southern North Dakota does not exist; Smaug was the name of the dragon in Tolkein's The Hobbit; and Sepulchrave was the name of the 76th Earl of Groan in Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan. This Earl, believing that he was an owl, leapt to his death from a high tower, discovering too late that he could not fly.
The Discovery of the Bigon (1996)
Discover Magazine reported that physicists had discovered a new fundamental particle of matter, dubbed the Bigon. It could only be coaxed into existence for mere millionths of a second, but amazingly, when it did materialize it was the size of a bowling ball. Physicist Albert Manque and his colleagues accidentally found the particle when a computer connected to one of their vacuum-tube experiments exploded. Video analysis of the explosion revealed the Bigon hovering over the computer for a fraction of a second. Manque theorized that the Bigon might be responsible for a host of other unexplained phenomena such as ball lightning, sinking souffles, and spontaneous human combustion. Discover received huge amounts of mail in response to the story.
Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers (1995)Discover magazine published an article detailing the discovery by wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo of a fascinating new species: the hotheaded naked ice borer. Dr. Pazzo, the article explained, encountered this creature while studying penguins in Antarctica. She noticed a frightened penguin rapidly sinking into the ice, and when she pulled the hapless creature out of the rapidly growing slush pool, she found small, bizarre animals attached to its lower body. They were about half a foot long, and quite light. Their unique feature was a bony plate on their head that they could cause to become burning hot, allowing them to bore tunnels through the ice at high speeds, "much faster than a penguin can waddle." Packs of them would rapidly melt the ice beneath a penguin, causing it to sink into the slush, at which point they would surround the creature and consume it.
Dr. Pazzo hypothesized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. "To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin," she was quoted as saying. Discover received an enormous amount of mail in response to this article. The responses of most readers were very tongue-in-cheek, but a few readers were annoyed that Discover had taken liberties with the trust of its readers. (For more details, see article: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer.)
The Musendrophilus (1975)The famous 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 an alleged night-singing 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.
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.]
The Yonghy Bonghy Bo (1957)
Rear Admiral Tully Shelley, managing director of a company of oil refinery and construction engineers, designed a match striking machine as an April Fool's Day joke. He called it his "Yonghy Bonghy Bo" (an allusion to Edward Lear's poem, "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo"). However, the machine actually did work and could be used to light a cigarette.
Echinocereus dahliaeflorus (1900)
A German garden journal, Möllers Deutsche Gärtner Zeitung (15:148), printed details of a fictitious species of cactus, Echinocereus dahliaeflorus, in its April edition. The editor of the journal apparently forgot his own joke because he indexed the cactus name at the end of the year. [The Cactaceae]