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April Fool's Day, 2006
Slow Camera Avoidance. (2006) BMW warned that "Slow Cameras" would soon be installed on British roads to photograph drivers going more than 20 mph below the speed limit. In response, BMW engineers had developed "ZIP" (Zoom Impression Pixels):
ZIP is a pixel-based coating that covers the entire exterior of the car. If you are travelling below the speed limit in range of a Slow Camera, sensors around the car detect the camera and the pixels immediately become blurred. This gives the impression of higher velocity and the Slow Camera is fooled into thinking the car is travelling at the correct speed.
The iRon. (2006) Retailer Gear4 unveiled the iRon:
"The iRon™ is a revolutionary cable free travel iRon™ for the iPod™. Simplicity is the key to the iRon's design, simply unfold the iRon™, fill with water, dock your iPod™ and "Steam Your Tunes". The iRon™ uses the iPod's battery for power and the steam jets are controlled by the tunes playing on the iPod™ . Thanks to GEAR4's unique SteamTempo™ technology, the jets spray in time to the music – fast, bass heavy tunes producing more steam and softer music providing less."
Red Door for 10 Downing Street. (2006) The Daily Mail reported that Tony Blair, in a "literally incredible break with decades of tradition," had decided to paint the door of 10 Downing Street "socialist red." The color choice was made with the help of design consultant April Fewell.
On a Tea Break. (2006) Holiday-makers flying back to Britain from Tenerife were told by their pilot that they could not land because an air traffic controller was on a tea break. The passengers initially thought his announcement was an April Fool's Day joke, but it wasn't. The plane had to circle for almost half an hour before the air traffic controller came back to work.
I’m Here To Take Money. (2006) A 57-year-old woman stopped at a Wells Fargo Bank in Brainerd, Massachusetts to make a withdrawal. After concluding her transaction, as a joke she handed the teller a note that read, "I'm here to take money." The teller called the police and told them the bank was being robbed. By the time the police arrived, the woman had left, but they later picked her up and charged her with disorderly conduct.
Jamsphalt. (2006) The Daily Express reported that jam biscuits were being mixed into tarmac to help make roads safer. "Scientists yesterday revealed that broken biscuits are in fact the perfect material to help resurface roads... Years of experimental research revealed that crushed-up ginger nuts are the best biscuit for a road's sub-base, as they are more porous and allow water to drain away."
Penguin Far From Home. (2006) The Sun reported that a penguin had been spotted wandering along the banks of the River Thames:
"It is believed to be the first time a penguin has been spotted in the Thames and comes weeks after tragic Wally the Whale got stranded... Experts said the penguin, normally seen at the South Pole, may have been released into UK waters by fishermen who accidentally snared him... Marine biologist Lil Faroop said: 'It looks like a Jackass. They feed on sprats and fly through the water at five miles (eight kilometres) per hour. They have a donkey-like bray.'"
iPop Bra. (2006) PopXpress, a UK chain of stores dedicated to iPod and MP3 accessories, unveiled the iPop Bra, a product designed to help people keep "abreast of music":
"The new bra incorporates a concealed pocket for your iPod or MP3 player and control buttons built into the fabric. Available in white or black and in cup sizes ranging from A to F, the ipopBra has been designed so you can keep the smallest of gadgets right next to your biggest assets."
Rugby Refs to Wear Glasses. (2006) Ad placed by the Rugby Football Union:
At the Rugby Football Union (RFU) we're constantly striving to improve things for players and public alike. That's why we're harnessing the latest technology to give hard-pressed referrees "an extra pair of eyes". Eight fibre-optic cameras in the ball, a GPS satellite and laser read-out glasses should once and for all put an end to interminable "was it a try or not?" arguments. Professor Avril Premier, who is also a leading researcher into odour-sensitive shorts that change colour at the first signs of in-scrum flatulence, is confident that diehard traditionalists will soon be won over.
Chip and Sing Cards. (2006) The London Times reported that "Britain's banks are developing a system of credit card security that uses the voice's tonal range. Rather than needing to recall a PIN, you will need to remember a line of a song... Optical scans are too fallible, and standard voice recognition too easy to mimic electronically. But no two people sing the same way. Tills and cash dispensers are to have microphones."
Attack of the Mario Power-Up Cubes. (2006) Five teenage girls living in Ravenna, Ohio strung brightly colored boxes designed to look like power-up cubes from the Super Mario Bros. video game around town. Local residents who didn't recognize what the boxes were supposed to be called out the bomb squad. The police initially warned that the girls could face criminal charges for their actions. However, the prosecutor decided not to press charges, noting, "None of the girls had any prior contacts with the police or juvenile court and are all good students."
Royal Family Tree. (2006) The Daily Mirror reported that an oak tree bearing the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince Charles had been found by "Lionel Day" as his dog chased a squirrel. "The exact location of the tree in the New Forest, Hampshire," the article noted, "is being kept secret because of fears it could attract druids."