Sunday 1 April 2012

April Fools' Day 2012

It's that time of the year to get out your whoopee cushions, ink-leaking pens, and even prepare a couple of pie plates of custard or whipped cream to perpetrate some good natured mayhem at home and at work throughout this annual day dedicated to the silly. Be ready to contend with stuff that is normally just sitting there to be glued, nailed, stapled, or tied in some manner to render it fixed. Listen carefully for a suppressed giggle as the caller expresses their condolences at you being terminated from your job. Watch for the slight curl at the edge of the mouth indicating a hint of a smile as somebody tells you that your boss has just signed the papers to transfer you to some far-flung spot on the globe.

Yes, for one day, everything may be suspect. Members of your family, your friends, and your colleagues at work will all be a list of possible pranksters targeting your gullibility. However it doesn't stop there. Over the years newspapers, television, and radio have all taken advantage of this one day respite from being factual to pull the wool over our eyes in a comical profiteering from our naivety, and blind acceptance of any news without any critical assessment.

The Spaghetti Tree Harvest
From the web site the Museum of Hoaxes:

On April 1, 1957 the British news show Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success of the crop was attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil." The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show's highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti."

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax generated an enormous response. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC diplomatically replied, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

To this day the Panorama broadcast remains one of the most famous and popular April Fool's Day hoaxes of all time. It is also believed to be the first time the medium of television was used to stage an April Fool's Day hoax.

The full article goes on to explain that spaghetti was not widely eaten in Britain at that time. It was considered an exotic food and hence most people had no idea of its origins.

Google's Pranks
I pull a prank; that's one thing. However when the search giant pulls a prank, just about everybody on the planet knows about it. In fact, they rate their very own article in Wikipedia chronicling their exploits in pulling the wool over all of our eyes. (Wikipedia)

Pigeon Ranking
Back in 2002, Google revealed that their page ranking system used pigeons. They had a "pigeon rank" system.

Jobs on the moon
In 2003, they advertised jobs for the moon. Yep, that's right, the moon!

Google is interviewing candidates for engineering positions at our lunar hosting and research center, opening late in the spring of 2007. This unique opportunity is available only to highly-qualified individuals who are willing to relocate for an extended period of time, are in top physical condition and are capable of surviving with limited access to such modern conveniences as soy low-fat lattes, The Sopranos and a steady supply of oxygen.

The Google Copernicus Hosting Environment and Experiment in Search Engineering (G.C.H.E.E.S.E.) is a fully integrated research, development and technology facility at which Google will be conducting experiments in entropized information filtering, high-density high-delivery hosting (HiDeHiDeHo) and de-oxygenated cubicle dwelling. This center will provide a unique platform from which Google will leapfrog current terrestrial-based technologies and bring information access to new heights of utility.

Google Romance
In 2006, they announced Google Romance.

Upload your profile – tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you’d like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are.

Who you want others to think you are? [bursts out laughing] That's hilarious! They even offer a tour.

Google's calculator
[shaking my head] Everybody calls programmers nerds but they do have quite a sense of humour. Go to Google's main screen. Type in "2+2" (without the quotes) then click on Search. You get as a result "2 + 2 = 4". Now type in "2 plus 2" (without the quotes) and click on Search. You get as a result "2 plus 2 = 4".

What other amusing expressions? "a baker's dozen" (without the quotes) equals 13. "the loneliest number" equals one, a reference to a song by Harry Nilsson.

Type in "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything" and click on Search. You get "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything = 42". "Huh?" you say? Hey, get onboard. This is an amusing reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Google: 2012
Wikipedia lists various pranks the Internet search giant has pulled this year

When I was a kid
When I think of this now, I have to roll my eyes, but it's true, I actually did this around the age of eight or nine. Either the night before, or early in the morning, I switched the salt and sugar. At breakfast, I would try to keep a straight face as Mom and Dad and my brother would all dig into their cereal to find it salty or possibly dig into something like scrambled eggs only to find it sweet. Gawd, was I funny? Gawd, was I brilliant? In the words of Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World, "Not!"

One more Charlie Sheen video!
This is from 2011 at the height of the craze about Charlie Sheen going off the rails but remains an amusing recap of this much publicized event, a video of Charlie at his finest but set to music. All these buzz words, #winning, #tigerblood, or maybe #machete fit right into this mashup of celebrity meltdown with a beat.


Wikipedia: April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is celebrated all around the world on the April 1 of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a legal holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc.

Wikipedia: The Museum of Hoaxes
The Museum of Hoaxes is a website created by Alex Boese in 1997 in San Diego, California as a resource for reporting and discussing hoaxes and urban legends, both past and present.

In 2004, PC Magazine included the site as one of the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without," and Sci Fi Weekly named it "site of the week" for the week beginning 7 February 2007.

Boese has published two books on hoaxes: Museum of Hoaxes (E.P. Dutton, 2002, ISBN 0-525-94678-0) and Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. (Harvest Books, 2006, ISBN 0-15-603083-7). A third book by Boese, Elephants on Acid (Harvest Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-15-603135-6), focuses on unusual scientific experiments. His latest book is Electrified Sheep published by Boxtree 2011 is also about strange scientific experiments.

The Museum of Hoaxes
The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
As judged by notoriety, creativity, and number of people duped

The April Fool Zone
Fun & Harmless Pranks & Practical Jokes

Google Search: April Fools' Pranks

Uploaded by jeremiahjw on Mar 28, 2012: The History of April Fools Day

Uploaded by geobeats on Mar 29, 2012: April Fool's Pranks - 10 Best Ever


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