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|•||Chilis Narrowly Avoids Funding Anti-Vaxxers 04/08/2014|
|•||Dutch April fools jokes 04/02/2014|
|•||Japanese stem cell breakthrough exposed as a fabrication 04/02/2014|
|•||April First - April Fools Day 04/01/2014|
|•||Cloned dinosaurs? 03/31/2014|
|•||US ‘psychic’ Cynthia Miller jailed for $1.2 million fraud 03/29/2014|
|•||Test of intelligence. Person calls police to report their cannabis plant stolen 03/25/2014|
|•||Malaysia air disaster 03/22/2014|
|•||Fred Phelps is gone 03/21/2014|
|•||Iran building fake aircraft carrier 03/20/2014|
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Can't think what to get your significant other for their next birthday? What about a penguin? As Penguin Warehouse, the internet's #1 domesticated penguin dealer, notes: "Penguins make wonderful birthday and holiday gifts all year long." Penguin Warehouse offers a variety of penguins including Emperor, King, Rockhopper, and Macaroni.
Cicadaville reveals the dangerous truth about cicadas. For instance, did you know that cicadas are vicious killers that prey on children and pets? You do now. I was also surprised to learn that there are many cases of cicadas being successfully altered, with minor surgery, to look like Ryan Seacrest.
According to Horse & Hound magazine, British health authorities have decided to make it the law that all children must wear face masks and rubber gloves while doing yard work or grooming horses. Health and Safety spokeswoman Lirap Ducek is quoted as saying, "Childhood asthma has increased three-fold in the last 10 years, and we want to ensure that children are protected against picking up bugs which can have long-term health implications." But before you send your kid out in a rubber mask, you might want to check the release date on that story: April 1. That's right, it was an April Fool's Day joke. But apparently hundreds of people in England fell for it.
Roman Kingsley is an Australian man who has trained geese to do skywriting, or 'birdtyping' as he calls it. Impossible, you say? Not at all, according to Kingsley. As he says in this interview, "It normally takes about three months to train the birds to spell out a word. Once each bird knows the letter, they have to know where in the word that letter occurs. But I’m hoping to speed it up more in the future. The curved letters, you know, like o, c, and b take the birds a bit longer. But it’s early days." His plan is to have his birds spell out various corporate logos. Volvo is his first client (Volkswagen passed on the offer). He's going for clients with straight letters in their name. In the future he even hopes to have the geese squawk on cue, to add a sound element to the skywriting. Okay, I wouldn't bet a lot of money on the reality of Kingsley and his skywriting geese, but maybe he is real. I'll let you decide for yourself. He's described in a new book by Australian writer Stephen Banham called Fancy that mixes together factual and fictional stories about typography
The cicadas have returned, and with them the rumor that researchers at Johns Hopkins University will pay up to $1000 for specimens of rare blue-eyed cicadas. Unfortunately, the rumor simply isn't true. In fact, no researcher at Johns Hopkins even studies cicadas, let alone insects, though back in 1947 the university did employ a Biologist, William D. McElroy (who later moved out to UC San Diego), who announced that he would pay kids twenty-five cents for every 100 fireflies they could catch. McElroy was always criticized for this by people who said that he was somehow contributing to the depletion of the firefly population, though I doubt the kids ever made a dent in their numbers. (via David Emery).
In case you were confused, here's what you need to know about what badgers eat. According to Jeff, who sent me the link, the site derives from an episode of The Simpsons (one that I haven't seen). I guess you could also figure out the Simpsons connection from the logo at the bottom of the screen.
Teresa wrote in to ask about the truth of that email rumor going around alleging that the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning fluid contains antifreeze and can be fatal to pets (you can read the full text of that email rumor here). Swiffer itself addresses this rumor on its corporate website, so it can be pretty easily debunked. It's totally false. But since I'm on the subject of Swiffers, I've got to note something about them that I find incredibly annoying... how you can only use Swiffer brand cleaning fluid with the Wet Jet. And, of course, the Swiffer brand fluid ain't cheap. Out of frustration, I ended up carving a hole in the top of the Swiffer brand bottle and pouring generic cleaning fluid into it, but that didn't work well at all since the fluid kept splashing up out of the bottle whenever I moved it too vigorously. So yes, Swiffer may be innocent of killing pets, but in my books they're still guilty of selling overpriced cleaning fluid. Yeah, I could stop using the Wet Jet entirely, but I don't want to do that because I like how the Wet Jet works. I just don't like being forced to buy only Swiffer brand fluid to use in it. (Sorry about the rant).
Are you tired of cleaning dirty cat litter? Then "Don't change the litter. Change the cat." Get some Catch-It Diapers for Cats. Actually I had a dog that had to wear diapers for a while (really), but somehow I don't think a cat would take too kindly to these things. Which must be why Catch-It also offers a line of bandages and other first-aid supplies.
Are you constantly swatting away mosquitoes as you work at your computer? Here's your solution: anti-mosquito software. A Thai computer programmer named Saranyou Punyaratanabunbhu developed it about two years ago, and it proved so wildly successful that he soon came out with version 2.0, that also promised to repel cockroaches and rats. It drives away the nasty critters by making your computer speakers emit high-pitched frequencies. But does it actually work? Well, I wouldn't bet on it. As the pest control experts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln note in their Cockroach Control Manual, "There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cockroaches (or any other insects) respond negatively to ultrasonic sound waves." Still, this hasn't stopped a South Korean phone company, SK Telecom, from offering anti-mosquito software that you can download to your cellphone. (Thanks, Steve)
Residents of Gahanna, Ohio have worriedly been following reports about a lion loose in their vicinity. Police have fanned out to search for the creature, but with no luck. Now some are beginning to suspect that the lion sightings were just a prank, perhaps engineered by local college seniors. Ohio is, of course, no stranger to non-existent wild beasts on the loose. Those with a long memory might remember the Paulding County Hyena that terrorized people back in 1858. But the greatest escaped-animal prank of all time was the Central Park Zoo Escape of 1874. On the other hand, the Gahanna Lion might suddenly turn up. Here in Southern California we have to deal with mountain lions wandering around all the time. (Thanks, Rita)
If you can't make it down to the pet store, then just order a pet by mail. This seems to be an April Fool's day joke created by a Philadelphia radio station, as is revealed when you click on the 'order here' button.
Recently a four-eared cat named Lilly has been in the news. Lilly and her four ears are quite real. They're the result of a genetic defect. By contrast, the four-eyed kitten shown in the thumbnail to the right doesn't seem real at all. The top set of eyes is exactly identical to the bottom set of eyes, indicating a cut-and-paste job. (Thanks to Alicka for the picture).