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April Fool's Day, 2012
Invasion of the Geese. (2012) 132 plastic lawn geese, dressed in various outfits, appeared around Portage, Wisconsin on April 1st. The perpetrator of this prank is unknown, but the geese cost around $30 each. So whoever did it spent almost $4000 to do so — unless they got a volume discount on the geese. [wiscnews.com]
Virgin Volcanic. (2012) Richard Branson announced that his company, Virgin, had developed a vehicle "capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano." With this vehicle, he planned on journeying to the cores of five active volcanoes. And in the future he hoped to be able to offer commercial transportation that would go "through the Earth rather than round it," traveling from Hawaii to Naples via molten lava flows.
BMW Car Coach. (2012) BMW debuted a "driverless Running Coach" feature that transformed the car into a fitness coach. Cars fitted with this technology would be able to drive themselves, while following behind the jogging owner.
Exterior speakers would play encouraging words to keep the runner motivated, while the "Lock Out Logistics" feature would prevent the jogger from getting into the car until he had completed his full run.
The Heineken Ellipsus. (2012) Heineken revealed that the Keukenhof gardens had succeeded in creating a new type of tulip that looked like a glass of Heineken beer — yellow with a white head, and a red star like the Heineken logo. The tulip had been named the Ellipsus, after the Heineken glass.
The YouTube Collection. (2012) YouTube debuted their latest innovation. Every video ever uploaded to YouTube, made available on DVDs. Upon ordering, the DVDs would be shipped to your home in 175 YouTube trucks, arriving in shrink-wrapped crates on pallets. A new truck would then arrive every week, with all the latest videos.
Owners of the DVD collection would be able to experience YouTube while completely offline, but they wouldn't lose interactivity. By filling out a comment form and placing it in a stamped, self-addressed envelope, they could send feedback directly to the creator of any particular video.
Beethoven’s 10th Symphony. (2012) NPR's Weekend Edition revealed the discovery of a 10th symphony written by Ludwig van Beethoven. It had been found by Professor of Musicology Friedrich von und Zum Hagen while doing research in the library of New York's Masonic Hall. It was hidden inside a folder labeled "Johann Nepomuk Maelzl" — the name of a 19th-century inventor of a transcribing piano that produced a printed version of any piece of music played on it. Zum Hagen speculated that Maelzl asked Beethoven to try out this piano "since the composer was very enthusiastic about technical advances." When Beethoven did so, the machine transcribed the 10th symphony. Maelzl then "absconded to America with the manuscript."
Left-Handed Allen Key. (2012) IKEA ran an ad in Australian papers apologizing to customers who had received left-handed allen keys with a product. "To exchange your incorrect key," the ad said, "we'll provide a swap box at the store entrance."
An illustration showed the difference between an "erroneous left-handed allen key" and a "correct right-handed allen key."
Peugeot Mood Paint. (2012) Peugeot announced that the Peugeot RCZ would be the first car to come with "mood paint." This paint consisted of a "specially developed psychochromatic coating" that altered its molecular structure to emit light at varying wavelenghts — "literally changing the color of the car to reflect how you're feeling."
Water Runways. (2012) South Africa's Kulula airline announced that selected flights would soon be landing on new water runways near Cape Town and Durban harbours and Hartebeespoort Dam in Gauteng. Passengers would embark and disembark from piers and be ferried to the planes by water shuttles. The airline noted that the new runways should help "curb rising airport traffic congestion and high airport taxes."
Hungry Hungry Hippos for iPad. (2012) Online retailer ThinkGeek.com debuted Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippos for iPad. It was just like the classic 1970s version of the game, "except this time, the hippos fit over your iPad and the game board is an app!"
And ThinkGeek assured Hungry Hippo purists that the iPad version was "Fully endorsed by the International Hungry Hungry Hippo Association (IHHHA)."
Tweets Get Smaller. (2012) NPR News tweeted that "Tweets Will Shrink To 133 Characters: The seven-character change is expected to save Twitter $1.4 billion this year."
The tweet provoked numerous replies, including "Good luck on expressing anything" and "Not enough characters to tweet my outrage."
A link directed Twitterers to the NPR blog where it was revealed that the headline was "just a joke." Although NPR admitted, "The productivity of the newsroom took a hit to come up with that fake headline."
Cooked Unicorn. (2012) The British Library's Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog announced the discovery of a long-lost medieval cookbook that included a recipe for cooked unicorn.
"Taketh one unicorne," the cookbook instructed, then marinade it in cloves and garlic, and finally roast it on a griddle. The compiler of this cookbook was said to be one "Geoffrey Fule," who worked in the kitchens of Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England (1328-1369).
Gmail Tap. (2012) Gmail introduced "Gmail Tap". This app replaced the QWERTY keyboard on mobile phones with two keys, a dot and a dash, allowing users to communicate using morse code. This not only simplified the act of typing on a phone, but also allowed it to be done without looking at the screen, making it "ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you're on a date or in a meeting with your boss."
Google Maps 8-bit. (2012) Recognizing the continuing popularity of retro gaming systems, Google Maps announced that it would soon be offering a version of Google Maps for the Nintendo Entertainment System, featuring low-res, 8-bit maps and "a timeless soundtrack". It would be the first time an NES cartridge had been sold in 18 years. Though until the cartridges were available in stores, the public was invited to experience a trial version of the 8-bit maps online.
In case of technical difficulties, users were directed to "blow on the cartridge to fix bugs."
Plastic Island. (2012) Dutch entrepreneur Merijn Everaarts unveiled a plan to create a floating island made entirely out of plastic. His idea was that he would use a machine called a "Sea Duster" to collect plastic waste floating in the ocean — the so-called "plastic soup" of marine debris. The machine would then process this waste into buoyant plastic blocks, using algae as a binder resin to attach them together. Slowly the island would form, like Lego blocks being put together. The new plastic landmass, which he planned to call "Dobber Island," would be constructed off the coast of Zandvoort, a popular Dutch beach town.
Intercity Triple-Decker Bus. (2012) New Zealand's Intercity Coachlines launched that country's first fleet of triple-decker buses. The company noted the "rising numbers of passengers" as well as "greater demands for entertainment and sleeping options" as providing the need for the new buses. To prepare for the triple-deckers, the company had mapped low-height obstacles around the highway network, identifying "several tree branches that would require remedial work." However, transport expert A. Fool was skeptical about whether the public would be able to accept triple-decker buses, saying, "They really have to be seen to be believed."
Skype for String. (2012) Internet phone company Skype announced it was releasing an experimental version of its service that didn't require a direct internet connection, or even a computer or mobile device. It was called "Skype for String." All that was required was "two cups and a piece of string with a minimum bandwidth of 5mm." Any cup and string would work, but for best results a "Skype certified set" was suggested.
Sony Ultra-Small Ultrabook. (2012) Sony debuted the VAIO® Q Ultrabook, boasting 8GB of RAM, HD 1080p resolution, and full 3-D graphic support. It could also fit in your pocket because it was the size of a quarter. Sony promised that it was the "lightest, most portable ultrabook ever," offering "portability without compromise."
"Watch the future of mobile computing unfold before your eyes," the company said, "and soon, in the palm of your hand."