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April Fool's Day, 2010
The Graffiti Grannys. (2010) Residents of Mousehole, Cornwall woke to find their town had been overrun by knitted mice. The small, woolen rodents lined the harbor and perched atop handrails. Each mouse had a note attached, "If you like me, please feel free to keep me." A group calling itself the Graffiti Grannys took credit for the prank. They were a group of women, ranging in age from their mid-40s to 96, who loved to knit and loved to share their work. They explained that their motive for unleashing yarny creatures upon Mousehole was simply to make people smile.
BMW Political Roundels. (2010) BMW revealed that, in the spirit of the upcoming UK elections, it had created a way for BMW owners to display their political leanings by changing the color of their hood roundel to match the color of their favorite political party. The "Political Roundel Attachment Tag" (PRAT) would be available in the colors of all major UK parties.
Should the car owner decide to switch political allegiances, the roundel tag could be replaced in a matter of seconds.
Left-Handed Sandwich. (2010) UK bakery chain Sayers announced the launch of a new "left-handed sandwich" designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand and result in fewer embarrassing "spills." All the ingredients in the left-handed sandwich had been rotated 180 degrees in order to redistribute the weight of the sandwich, so that the bulk of them skewed to the left. The packaging was also altered so that the door opened to the left.
Johns Hopkins Drops the “S”. (2010) The Johns Hopkins University announced it was removing the seemingly superfluous "s" from its name, thereby becoming "John Hopkins University". It admitted that it had long been fighting a "losing battle" against people who didn't understand why the extra 's' was there, and it had finally decided to "give up". The University was named after merchant Johns Hopkins who left a $7 million bequest to create the institution in 1873, but new evidence suggested that Johns Hopkins had been the victim of "one of the most epic misspellings in the history of birth certificates" caused by "a slip of the quill by a myopic, and perhaps slightly tipsy, hospital registrar."
YouTube Text Mode. (2010) As a cost-saving device, YouTube introduced "text mode" for its videos. When this feature was activated by a user selecting "TEXTp" from a dropdown menu, the images in any video were converted into a series of letters and numbers (like animated ASCII art). This conversion reduced bandwidth costs, and also had "the added benefit of promoting literacy!"
The CFO of YouTube posted a note to the company's official blog urging people to watch videos in text mode because, "For every person who selects TEXTp and keeps it on while you watch a video, you save YouTube $1 a second, resulting in potentially billions of dollars of savings for us."
Virtual Ice Cream. (2010) Ben & Jerry's invited visitors to its website to try out Ice Screen, "the world's first virtual ice cream."
The company explained: "NASA developed nanotechnology can now be streamed into your PC operating system through any internet browser. So we decided to merge this with our state of the art coding script to transform ice-cream at a moo-lecular level!"
Starbucks Introduces New Sizes. (2010) Starbucks announced the introduction of two new beverage sizes — the Plenta (128 fl oz) and the Micra (2 fl oz).
The company noted that the Plenta, because of its size, could also be subsequently used as a "popcorn receptacle, rain hat, perennial planter, lampshade or yoga block." The Micra, it suggested, might also serve as "a convenient milk dish for kittens, soft boiled egg cup or paper clip holder."
Aromatography. (2010) Kodak announced that thanks to a recent breakthrough in "Neuro-Optic-Nasal-Sense Imaging" (aka NONSense), their researchers had developed a way to create "aromatized still images." They called the technology Aromatography.
It was anticipated that it would soon be possible to apply the technology to video devices, creating Smellevision. However, the company cautioned that not everyone could smell the images. "Emerging trends indicate a significantly greater response among subjects born in the months between May and June."
Ferret Broadband. (2010) Virgin Media revealed (via an article in The Telegraph) that it was using "specially trained ferrets" to help lay cables to expand broadband service to rural areas.
The ferrets wore jackets fitted with a microchip that was able to analyze any breaks or damage in the underground network. Jon James, director of broadband for Virgin Media, remarked: "For hundreds of years, ferrets have helped humans in various jobs. Our decision to use them is due to their strong nesting instinct, their long, lean build and inquisitive nature, and for their ability to get down holes. We initially kept the trial low-key as we wanted to assess how well the ferrets fitted into our operations before revealing this enterprising scheme."
Butterfly Attacks. (2010) In the wake of several videos appearing online showing people being savagely attacked by butterflies, Qualcomm convened a press conference to explain that the victims had recently stolen prototypes of its Mirasol displays which used technology that mimicked the reflection of light off of butterfly wings. The displays apparently triggered aggression among wild butterflies.
However, a Qualcomm representative stressed that the current displays were completely safe.
Step Outside, Posh Boy. (2010) The Guardian writer "Olaf Priol" reported that the UK Labour party had decided to embrace Prime Minister Gordon Brown's "reputation for anger and physical aggression" by rolling out a series of campaign ads that presented Brown as a "hard man, unafraid of confrontation." One ad had Brown declaring, "Step outside, posh boy," followed by the tagline: "Vote Labour. Or else." Another ad asked, "Do you want some of this?"
The hope was that voters would be drawn to an alpha-male personality who was "prepared to pummel, punch or even headbutt the British economy into a new era of jobs and prosperity."
Miracle Shirt. (2010) An ad that ran in UK newspapers announced the debut of a new odor-fighting "Miracle Shirt." The shirt contained a "neutralizing agent" that was released from the "unique microfibre technology" as soon as the wearer started to sweat. "Slip it on and Bang! — the BO is gone," the ad promised.
Those who visited the accompanying website, miracleshirt.co.uk, discovered the Miracle Shirt was an April Fool product designed to promote Gillette Anti Perspirant.
Whole Foods Market Action Figures. (2010) Organic grocery store chain Whole Foods Market debuted eco-conscious action figures. Eco Suave, the male figure, asked, "Hey baby, you gonna recycle that?" Patchouli Pam, the female figure, boasted a "6-foot aroma radius!"
The action figures provoked a negative response from novelty-dealer Archie McPhee who accused Whole Foods, via Twitter, of stealing its signature action figures. Whole Foods tweeted back, "No way! Patchouli Pam & Eco Suave are Exclusive Brands originals. If you'd like to speak w/ our lawyers, we can arrange that."
Flavored Newspaper Page. (2010) On page 17 of its print edition, The Sun announced that it was proud to offer the "world's first flavoured PAGE." Readers were invited to lick a white square that bore the message "Lick Here." However, the square also carried the warning, "May contain nuts."
The flavor of the page was not revealed. Instead readers were asked to email The Sun with their "taste test results."
WD-40 Aftershave. (2010) The maker of WD-40 lubricating spray announced it was expanding its product line to include WD-40 aftershave. This would ensure that WD-40-branded products would be "not only in every shed, garage and toolbox, but now in the bedroom."
The aftershave would come in the "famous blue and yellow can," and like the standard multi-purpose product it would have a "smart straw option for those who require a more precise spray."
Alien Invasion of Jafr. (2010) Jordan's Al-Ghad newspaper ran a front-page article describing the landing of three extraterrestrial spaceships the previous night in the desert outside the town of Jafr, in eastern Jordan.
Many of the residents of Jafr, unaccustomed to April 1st hoaxes, believed the article to be true. Frightened students didn't go to school, and the Mayor of Jafr considered evacuating all of the town's 13,000 residents (but ultimately decided not to). Security personnel searched for the aliens in the desert, but found nothing. Al Ghad's managing editor later apologized for the article, saying "We meant to entertain, not scare people."
Was Shakespeare French?. (2010) The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 ran a segment reporting that an excavation at Shakespeare's last home had unearthed evidence (a locket with a French inscription) suggesting that the playwright's mother was French — and that, by extension, so was the Bard himself. The segment included an interview with a former French Culture Minister who said, "We are delighted to learn that Shakespeare was French... Of course we have Racine and Molière, but we will make some room for him in our national pantheon of literature." France had reportedly asked to borrow the locket to display it in France.
Prescription Windscreens. (2010) The UK company Auto Windscreens launched what they claimed was the "first prescription windscreen."
"Researching the curvature of corrective spectacles for myopia (short sightedness) led Auto Windscreens to successfully develop a windscreen which can be curved to match an individual's ophthalmic prescription. The resulting prescription windscreen will ensure that UK drivers will never have to be frustrated with finding their glasses or, more importantly, risk driving illegally without them."
Google Becomes Topeka. (2010) Google announced that it was officially changing its name to Topeka. The name change was a response to the recent decision by the mayor of Topeka, Kansas to change the name of his city to Google.
Google remarked: "We didn't reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of brand equity tied up in our old name. But the more we surfed around (the former) Topeka's municipal website, the more kinship we felt with this fine city at the edge of the Great Plains."
Google cautioned that its new product names might take some getting used to. For instance, the former Google Maps would now be called Topeka Maps. But it assured everyone that its services would continue to offer information from across the globe, not just from Topeka.
DIY CrunchPad Kit. (2010) Technology news website TechCrunch released a video detailing its new "DIY CrunchPad Kit" that allowed people to convert any laptop screen into a touchscreen device. The process involved removing the screen from the laptop, placing a (highly toxic) nanobot-driven "F.U.J.J." film over the screen, adding a new CPU, power unit, and 4G module, and finally "special radioactive shield casing." The price was only $49.99.
iPad Fit Series. (2010) Health and Fitness company Dailyburn introduced the iPad Fit Series. This app transfored an iPad into a scale. After a person stepped on the screen, the app would instantly analyze body fat percentage, calculate BMI, and then announce their weight out loud, either scolding or congratulating based on the results.
Artline Memory Stick. (2010) Pelikan Artline placed ads in Australian papers announcing its new "Artline Memory Stick" — a pen that could remember everything you wrote. "The Artline Memory Stick digitally records everything you write or draw on a 2GB built-in flash drive. Forget the worry of losing the shopping list or the scrap of paper with that vital name or number on it. You can download it all later - as you wrote it, or in the typeface of your choice. How's that for back-up?"