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April Fool's Day, 2013
Google Nose. (2013) Google announced Google Nose Beta — allowing people to smell what they searched for online. The company explained that they had leveraged "new and existing technologies to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available," with their "street sense vehicles" roaming far and wide to index millions of different scents, thereby creating the "Google Aromabase" of 15M+ "scentibytes."
The scents were smellable by people at their computers because Google had figured out how to manipulate the photons coming out of the screen, causing them to intersect with "infrasound waves," thereby temporarily aligning molecules to emulate particular scents.
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.
Parrot Air Drone Postal. (2013) The French postal service announced it was teaming with drone-manufacturer Parrot to experiment with the use of drones to deliver mail in Auvergne, in south central France. The new delivery service would be called Parrot Air Drone Postal. A team of 20 postal workers would control the drones via an app on their smart phones.
A number of American news sources, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Business Insider, reported the announcement as fact.
Zebracorn. (2013) The Monarto Zoo in South Australia announced that a "zebracorn" had been born in the zoo. It was so named because it had a "peculiar looking bump" on its forehead, as if it was growing a horn. Thus a zebra-unicorn. However, the zebracorn was not on display as it was residing in an off-limits area.
The Yorkshire Savoury. (2013) The Yorkshire Times reported that a new "EU Labelling Directive" mandated accurate descriptions on all food products, including "an indication of whether the product is a sweet or savoury item." It would be illegal to use misleading terms such as "pudding" on a savoury product.
For this reason, the term "Yorkshire Pudding" would be banned. The regional delicacy would henceforth be described as a "Yorkshire Savoury." The legislation was facing stiff resistance from Yorkshire chefs and restaurateurs, but the Times warned that "EU legislators are unlikely to be swayed."
Bacon Mouthwash. (2013) Procter & Gamble announced the introduction of bacon-flavored Scope mouthwash. However, it made the announcement on March 28, and even posted mock-ups of an advertising campaign on its Facebook page, leading many to conclude that the product was real. Also, bacon-flavored mouthwash sounded like an appealing product to some bacon lovers. So when it became clear that the product was an April Fool joke, Procter & Gamble suffered some negative press.
Domino’s Canned Pizza. (2013) Domino's Japan revealed an exciting new product — pizza in a can. Perfect for those on-the-go. Each can contained a rolled-up slice of pizza. Simply open the can, heat it up, and enjoy pizza that tastes as if it's fresh from the oven!
The concept parodied "bread in a can," which was a real product that became popular in Japan around 2006, and was sold in vending machines.
Pandas in the Pyrenees. (2013) Television channel France 3 revealed that the French government planned to release giant pandas in the Pyrenees, as part of the continuing reintroduction of bears to the region. Negotiations with the Chinese government were ongoing, but it was hoped that the first panda pair could be introduced in the spring of 2014.
Of course, pandas eat mainly bamboo. This was seen as a positive, as it meant the pandas were unlikely to attack farm animals. However, bamboo is not found in the pyrenees. Therefore, the plan was to use a helicopter to fly several tons of bamboo to the pandas every week.
Lindsay Lohan Pregnant?. (2013) 26-year-old actress Lindsay Lohan tweeted that she was pregnant. She posted the announcement at 10:35 pm (west coast time) on April 1st, which caused confusion because it was already April 2nd on the east coast. Therefore, her followers weren't sure whether or not she was joking. She clarified her intent the following day by tweeting, "April Fools. Where's everyone's sense of humor?" Then she deleted the posts.
Curator's Note — The official rules of April Fools state that jokes are supposed to be sprung before noon. Those who delay their jokes until after noon are themselves considered to be the fools.
Braille Chocolate Letters. (2013) Chocolate letters are a popular candy, especially around Easter. But the Netherlands-based Decidon Foundation (which specializes in creating alternative forms of reading for people with sight or reading disabilities) realized there was a gap in the market. There were no chocolate letters for the blind, so they decided to introduce braille chocolate letters. The braille letters were made of 150 grams of chocolate. They came in a special package, also printed with braille.
Vertical Bath. (2013) Bathstore, a UK seller of bath products, announced a "world first in bathing" — a Vertical Bath. The product was designed to allow homeowners to save space in their homes, while simultaneously being able to enjoy the pleasure of soaking in a bathtub. To use the Vertical Bath, you simply stepped into it, closed the door firmly behind you, and allowed it to fill with water. Bubble baths were not recommended.
Glass-Bottomed Planes. (2013) Virgin Airlines announced that it would be adding glass-bottomed planes to its fleet, in order to ensure that "passengers can enjoy both an unparalleled flying experience, as well as a selection of stunning landscapes from the comfort of their seats."
The company promised that every passenger would enjoy "the chance of a bird's eye view with an extra special opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly."
Military Working Cat Program. (2013) The U.S. Army announced the launch of a "Military Working Cat Program" at the Old Guard in Virginia. Cats would work alongside military police, assisting them with narcotics detection, tracking criminals, and taking down criminals. The program sought to take advantage of the olfactory and hearing prowess of cats, which is superior to that of both humans and dogs. Unfortunately the program had gotten off to a rocky start, with a lot of soldiers "scratched up pretty badly." However, one cat, Gino, had already successfully graduated from the program.
E-Lager. (2013) The Smokers Angel, makers of an electronic cigarette, revealed they were expanding into a new line of products: e-lager. They explained: "It looks and feels just like a real can of lager, but when you hold up the can and vrink (def: to slurp vinkahol) an atomiser is activated which vaporises the e-foria liquid inside. The resulting thick vapour tastes and feels just like a real lager, but, after swallowing, the contents vaporise away, escaping through your nostrils, mouth and other orifices. What’s left behind? Alcohol - with none of the fatty carbohydrates of real beer.
Super Hot Chillies Banned. (2013) Chilefoundry.com warned that the federal government was planning to classify Capsaicin (the component of chili peppers that gives them their heat) as a controlled substance. Seeds of any chili pepper capable of producing 1 millions SHUs (Scoville Scale heat units) would become illegal. The government made this decision after noting that after eating extremely hot sauces, people frequently talked about feeling a "high" afterwards.
The HondaHAIR. (2013) Honda introduced the HondaHAIR™, the world's first in-vehicle haircutting accessory, promised to be a feature in the 2014 Honda Odyssey. Honda elaborated:
"Our philosophy is to imagine mobility in areas once thought immobile... Getting a trim is typically thought of as a location-based activity that requires a special trip to your hairstylist or barber, but that's where the HondaHAIR comes in. It's simple, efficient, and it's an enjoyable way to cut hair on the go. Using the HondaVAC in the 2014 Odyssey simply attach the hair-cutting tool to the nozzle, then let the powerful suction of the HondaVAC take over."
Trout-Pig Hybrid. (2013) L'Indépendant reported that a fisherman, Jean Bonnet, caught a bizarre creature that appeared to be a trout-pig hybrid while fishing in the Tet River in southeastern France. It took him 51 minutes to reel it in, and as soon as it landed on the ground it attempted to burrow into the earth with its snout. Bonnet suspected the creature was the result of genetically modified corn being grown nearby.
Health authorities soon arrived to investigate, but by that time Bonnet had already grilled and eaten the trout-pig, which he described as "a treat."
The Chi Wallet. (2013) CrowdSupply.com, an online "store and crowdfunding platform," debuted the Chi Wallet, available in models ranging in price from $29 to $250.
"We introduce to you today the Chi Wallet. Chi is transformative, inspiring, and yet disruptive. Born from natural rubber trees, lovingly caressed, sustainably harvested... It's the last wallet you'll ever buy."
The Chi Wallet looked a great deal like a rubber band.
IKEA Flat-Pack Lawnmower. (2013) IKEA UK revealed it would be selling a lightweight lawnmower, that would come in a flat-pack for self-assembly at home. It would be called the GRÄSSAX.
IKEA designer, Ingrid Lindengreen, commented: "When we were designing GRÄSSAX we were conscious that people live with little or shrinking garden space. That’s why, GRÄSSAX is designed to be stored easily in a small space, it is easy to assemble, environmentally friendly and affordable!”
National Express Triple-Decker Buses. (2013) National Express announced it was adding triple-decker buses to its service in the West Midlands. Michael Takkin, Head of Product Development, noted the company was experiencing a rising number of passengers: "I needed to come up with an innovative way to ensure that these new bus commuters had a comfortable journey to work. I was watching Harry Potter with the kids, saw the Knight Bus and thought Eureka!"
Because of the extra height of the buses, National Express engineers had designed a spinning gyroscope system to keep them perfectly upright and ensure stability.
Glow in the Dark Popcorn. (2013) Technology review site Pocket-lint.com revealed that "scientists in a research laboratory in Cambridge" had invented glow-in-the-dark popcorn. The invention was expected to help cinema-goers "see if they've got any popcorn left and not discard boxes of half full popcorn on the floor."
Dr A. Täuschen, leader of the research team, insisted that the green-glowing popcorn tasted the same as regular popcorn, and he urged that customers should see it as "a benefit" rather than something to be "afraid of".
SpecSavers Prescription Windshields. (2013) "Always in focus with SpecSavers, even on the go!" The Netherlands branch of SpecSavers (a chain that sells glasses and eyecare services) announced a new product: prescription windshields. "How great would it be to drive without glasses?" their website asked. Created in collaboration with the Faculty of Product Development at the University of London, the new windshields came in any desired prescription strength.
And for a limited time they were offering an online special. Buy a prescription windshield for €299 and get the rear window free!
Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile. (2013) BMW UK debuted the limited edition "Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile," aka P.R.A.M., inspired by the royal baby due in the summer. The infant carrier featured "air con, reclining seat, ambient interior lighting and paparazzi-proof hood as standard." It was available in either Royal Blue or Princess Pink.
Fifty Shades of Grey Toilet Paper. (2013) The Daily Mail reported that the supermarket chain Asda, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, had inked a deal with its author to offer a new range of Fifty Shades of Grey Toilet Paper.
The toilet paper would indeed come in fifty different shades of grey — each shade named after one of the lead character's traits, ranging from 'enigmatic' to 'obsessive'. Kevin Merden, Asda's "director of tissue buying," was quoted as saying, "Much like Grey’s character all rolls are tightly wound and will take time to unravel.
YouTube Closes to Pick Winner. (2013) YouTube revealed that it was actually a massive competition — a competition that would end at midnight with the closing of the site, allowing the judges to spend the next ten years reviewing every video uploaded and declare a winner.
"Tonight at midnight YouTube.com will no longer be accepting entries. After eight amazing years it is finally time to review everything that has been uploaded to our site and begin the process of selecting a winner. We started youtube in 2005 as a contest with the simple goal to find the best video in the world. We had no idea we'd get such a great response. You've uploaded over 70 hours of footage every minute and we've been blown away by the variety, imagination, and anything-goes spirit that's driven the competition."
Animalia Tech Products for Pets. (2013) Sony unveiled the "Animalia Line of Tech Products for Pets." The line included M3-OW KittyCans (headphones for cats), K9 4K TV (television for dogs), and In-Cage Speakers for hamsters.
A Sony representative explained, "Now that there are more households with pets than with children, we are targeting pet owners who want to provide unique entertainment experiences for their furry, four-legged family members."
Double-Decker Armrests. (2013) Delta Air Lines announced on its Facebook page that it was introducing "double-decker armrests" on its planes:
"Say goodbye to confusing elbow etiquette. Introducing the new Double Decker Armrest. More arm space, less elbow rubbing — middle seats will never be the same again."
Twitter eliminates vowels. (2013) Twitter announced they were shifting to a two-tiered service. Users of the basic service, "Twttr", would only be able to use consonants in their messages. While those who upgraded to the premium "Twitter" service for $5 a month would also be able to use vowels.
The company posted an example, showing how Barack Obama's famous post-election-victory tweet — "Four more years" — would have appeared with the new Twttr service.
Dolphin Oral History Project. (2013) Robert Siegel, of NPR's All Things Considered, reported on an effort to record the experiences of U.S. Navy dolphins in their own words. The dolphins were aquatic veterans housed in a home for retired dolphins in landlocked Belleville, Illinois. Graduate students prompted the dolphins to speak by feeding them fish and then recorded their chatter with underwater microphones.
However, project curator Cory Storr admitted, "We have no (bleep) idea what these dolphins are saying. They could just be shooting the (bleep) or singing or talking smack about seals. We have no idea."
No fishy name jokes. (2013) French MP Jean-Frédéric Poisson (shown) proposed a law that would protect politicians with "aquatic animal surnames" from being ridiculed. ("Poisson" in French means "fish" — "poisson d'avril" is the equivalent of "April fool").
Fellow MPs Franck Marlin and Philippe Goujon backed the proposal. (Marlin and Goujon, or gudgeon, both being types of fish.) They said, "We other aquatic MPs are very concerned about the respect of biodiversity and anything said against us could reduce biodiversity." However, Jean-Marie Tétart objected, even though his last name means 'tadpole' in spoken French.
Beckham fractures his coccyx. (2013) RTL Belgium disappointed soccer fans by reporting that soccer star David Beckham had fallen and fractured his coccyx while collecting Easter eggs with his children. "Beckham is clearly not as nimble at picking Easter eggs as he is with a football at his feet," the report noted. Beckham suffered the injury while celebrating Easter in England with his family. He slipped on wet grass and fell violently backwards. He quickly realized he was hurt as he lay immobilized on the ground. A doctor examined him and declared that he would have to rest for the next six weeks, and would not be able to play as Paris Saint-Germain midfielder during this time.
Roselyne Bachelot Bond Girl. (2013) French station RTL announced that Roselyne Bachelot, former French Minister for Health, would play a "Bond girl" in the next 007 movie alongside Daniel Craig, despite the fact that Bachelot was 66 years old. Apparently the production company in charge of casting was hoping, by choosing her, to appeal to a "more senior" audience in the next movie.