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April Fools Day
Here are a few more April Fools that I missed on Friday:
  • What April Fools prank should you play? (This is actually a quiz, not a hoax. It told me that based on my personality type I should play the stink bomb prank).
  • The MINI Always Open Contract: a detail in the contract requires owners of the MINI Cabrio to always keep the top down, no matter what the weather conditions are.
  • MINI Pullman Edition: MINI also announced the release of a special new model "adapted to ride on all domestic gauge rail lines throughout North America."
  • King Kong Sequels: Peter Jackson announced that he was going to be making back-to-back sequels to his upcoming remake of King Kong. In the sequels the son of Kong would battle Nazis. (See Peter Jackson's Production Diary: Day 123)
  • Maple Woes: NPR's All Things Considered announced that less demand for maple syrup means that New England maple trees are going untapped, leading to disastrous results (exploding maple trees, etc.)
  • Orchestra Steroid Scandal: NPR also reported on a steroid scandal involving classical musicians.
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 05, 2005
Comments (28)
It's an entire search engine devoted entirely to April Fools. Put in a word and it pulls up every page related to April Fool's Day that contains that word. The Museum of Hoaxes seemed to figure prominently in the results for the few words that I picked at random, which I thought was cool. For a second I thought this was something that Google itself had created, but then I noticed the small disclaimer at the bottom: "This parody by Philipp Lenssen is unrelated to the real Google".
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 04, 2005
Comments (2)
I'll try to post about April Fools Jokes here as I find out about them. Already I've found a few:
  • Residents of Melbourne arrive at the beach to help save 'needle-nose dolphins' washed ashore, only to learn needle-nose dolphins are syringes.
  • A Taiwanese university student posted a fake story alleging that China had launched a 'decapitation strike' against Taiwan. Taiwanese authorities don't find it funny.
  • UnderGoos: Google underwear search engine (Google parody)
  • Bare Bones Software announces new software that will record critical user data onto a "durable backup medium": punchout cards.
  • UN votes to shut down the internet: the rapid and uncontrolled flow of information was destabilizing the governments of many of the member states... The Nigerian representative stormed out after the vote saying that the shutdown would destroy his country's largest source of income.
  • THIS IS REAL: Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin stripped of her crown because she can stand.
  • THIS IS REAL: BBC tries to interview Bob Marley; doesn't realize he's been dead for 24 years.
  • The Sun reports that a 650-year-old law has allowed gypsies to set up camp on the lawn at Windsor Castle.
  • The Sun also reports that "Barmy Brussels bureaucrats want to BAN April Fools' Day -- because it is too dangerous".
  • The Independent reports that Jamie Oliver (the Naked Chef guy) is going to run as a Tory candidate in the UK's next election.
  • The Mirror announced that sheep are going to be used to mow the lawn at Wembley Stadium: "the natural fertiliser of their droppings has reduced the need for chemicals meaning less allergic reaction on players"
  • The Daily Mail has published pictures of Prince Charles visiting a lingerie shop to pick out things for Camilla: "he is caught pondering over a matching camisole and apparently seeking advice from his young son Prince Harry on the delicate question of how one should invite one's wife to turn one on".
  • Giant Penguin: Tokyo Zoo announces the discovery of a new giant penguin.
  • Left-Handed Golf Ball: The Birmingham Post reports that "Sports manufacturer Dunlop has announced its plans to mass produce a revolutionary new golf ball, designed specifically for left-handed players"
  • The Melbourne Herald Sun reports that Virgin Australia has announced the debut of scratch 'n sniff barbecue-scented credit cards: "Virgin says the scratch 'n sniff card will be a hit with homesick Aussies travelling overseas."
  • SpaceDaily reports that "Bush Cancels Space Shuttle Program": "US President George W Bush declared today that he had signed a rare presidential decree canceling any further expenditure of Federal funds on the US Space Shuttle program." (thanks to Gabe for spotting this)
  • Network Working Group calls for Morality to be considered in the design of internet protocols: It has often been the case that morality has not been given proper consideration in the design and specification of protocols produced within the Routing Area. This has led to a decline in the moral values within the Internet.
  • Texas Enacts Leviticus as State Law
  • Uninvent The Wheel: BMW has an ad in today's Guardian, describing a new car they've developed that has no steering wheel. It's to make it easier for the British when they have to change the side of the road they drive on. Includes mention of a Dr. Bitt Fishi.
  • Google Gulp: Google debuts a new 'smart drink', "a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second"
  • See a graphic of a new Firefox extension
  • April edition of the UK magazine Scootering (for Vespa and Lambretta enthusiasts) includes an article about a guy who lives near a former Lambretta factory. If you ship him your scooter's tires, he'll fill them with "Genuine Innocenti Lambretta Air". (Hmm. Could be real?)
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day: Water Found on Mars
  • Encyclopedia Britannica announces a semi-hostile takeover of Wikipedia
  • From the Register: Apple founder Jobs joins IKEA
  • Also from the Register: Bush twins to join Air Force tech unit in Iraq
  • Slashdot joke: Stand outside and wave at 10 am to have your picture taken by the new Google satellite
  • Opera SoundWave: Opera announces new technology that will allow "users to communicate in real- time without the use of computers or mobile phones"
  • From Nature.com: Apollo bacteria spur lunar erosion
  • ThinkGeek announces new products including a desktop USB fondue set, and the SkyTag - Green Laser Aircraft Tracker
  • Creationists Win: Scientific American announces that it's giving up the Evolution vs. Creationism debate. The Creationists have won. (reported on SlashDot)
  • Bad April Fool: A Croatian news service announces that Croatia will be banned from participating in the World Cup Finals unless the country hands over fugitive general Ante Gotovina. The announcement sparks massive street protests. The news service then admits it was joking.
  • Bad April Fool: Man posts signs warning of mercury spill. Sets off hazmat scare, shutting down more than 10 businesses. Says it was an April Fool's prank.
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 01, 2005
Comments (49)
The Guardian has an April Fool's Day quiz that lets you test your skills at separating real news stories from April Fool's Day jokes. I got 9 out of 9, so I did very well. However, I also spotted a mistake in their test. Question Five asks: Telescopes belonging to the Chicago Times discovered a penal colony on the moon in 1876 (True or April Fool). The correct answer, according to the test, is that it's an April Fool. That's not totally accurate. The story was a hoax, but it wasn't an April Fool. It was published in February 1876, as I have noted here on my site (scroll down to the paragraph titled 'Prisoners of the Moon'). I figure that for finding the mistake on the test I really scored 10 out of 9. I also figure that I deserve a prize.
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 31, 2005
Comments (7)
Has the government been monitoring and recording your telephone conversations? A government contractor was able to copy 1 terabyte worth of phone calls recorded by the government. Enter your phone number to find out if they've been spying on you!
Categories: April Fools Day, Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 31, 2005
Comments (19)
The site seems to be loading very slowly today, and a few people have reported not being able to access it at all. This is the beginning of the April Fool's Day effect. Traffic to the site increases and causes the performance of the site to nosedive. I'm guessing this will last until April 2nd. There's absolutely nothing I can do about it.
Categories: April Fools Day, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 31, 2005
Comments (10)
FamilyFun has a list of thirteen pranks that can be played on family members on April Fools Day. The list includes:
  • Wake the kids up at 3am and tell them it's time for school
  • Sew shut the fly on Dad's underwear
  • Create a fake coffee spill (includes a recipe for doing this: mix together equal parts white glue and brown puff paint and let the mixture dry on wax paper... I have no idea what 'puff paint' is)
  • Fasten a rubber band around the spray attachment on the kitchen sink
Categories: April Fools Day, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 27, 2005
Comments (27)
Joey Skaggs has announced details of NEW YORK CITY'S 20th ANNUAL APRIL FOOLS' DAY PARADE (he's got that page very oddly formatted in a single long column, but you can also read the news release in pdf format). A few details:

This year's parade, "Divided We Stand", will memorialize the efforts made by people around the world to maintain their power, whether political, religious or personal, at the cost of the greater common good. The Parade Grand Marshall will be Ex CBS Anchor, Dan Rather. The theme song "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" will be sung by President George W. Bush. The public is encouraged to participate, in or out of costume, with or without floats, and may join the procession at any point along the parade route. Large float entries must be at 59th Street and 5th Avenue no later than 11:30 a.m..
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 24, 2005
Comments (3)
To complement my list of the Top 100 Best April Fool's Day hoaxes of all time, I've now created a list of the Top 10 WORST April Fool's Day hoaxes ever. These aren't jokes that are just lame or old. These are (at least in my opinion) attempts at humor that are profoundly awful. But they're so bad that a few of them are kind of funny, in a dark, twisted way. Enjoy.
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 22, 2005
Comments (16)
About a week ago I linked to an article that discussed how Gulf Coast teenagers have been going around licking catfish, in the hope that it'll make them high. Now a follow-up article reveals the source of this strange behavior. It all started out as an April Fool's Day joke published in Sport Fishing magazine five years ago:

OK, listen up catfish lickers.
You've been punked. There's no hallucinogen in the slime.
A Florida magazine editor said he made the story up five years ago for an annual April Fool's special - and somehow it just kept on going...

He [Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine] claimed the catfish goop was popular among college kids, who called themselves "slimers" and paid as much as $200 for a fresh catch.
The slime was supposed to produce a "whisker-lickin' good" trip that would give users the sensation of being under water.
He attributed the information to University of Florida scientist Dr. Benjamin Joon.
As in "Benny & Joon," the romantic comedy with Johnny Depp.
Categories: Animals, April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 06, 2005
Comments (3)
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.
Categories: Animals, April Fools Day, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Wed May 19, 2004
Comments (5)
After having had a few days to consider this year's crop of April Fool's Day hoaxes, I've picked a personal favorite, which would be NPR's news story about the "portable zip codes" program. This program, inspired by the new FCC ruling that lets you take your phone number with you when you move, would supposedly allow people to take their zip code with them when they move. I like the story because, unlike most of the hoaxes this year, it's actually semi-believable. Absurd, of course, but somehow believable.

The prize for the most successful hoax, in terms of how many people actually fell for it, would seem to go to a story in Norway's Aftenposten about a supposed plan by government health authorities to plant electronic id chips under patient's skin in order to better monitor their medical needs. Apparently thousands fell for it, and I can see why because it doesn't sound that far-fetched to me, even knowing that it's a joke.

Finally, the prize for the absolute worst April Fool's joke goes to this guy who called up his ex-wife and told her to come over, then strung himself up with a harness so that when she arrived she thought he had hung himself, prompting her to immediately call 911. No wonder she divorced him.
Categories: April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 06, 2004
Comments (2)
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