Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day

April 1st is known as April Fools Day in many countries. This is the day for tricks and practical jokes. Wikipedia has a great article listing a number of famous April Fool Pranks. To see the entire article look HERE:

Here are a few of the highlights.

* Alabama Changes the Value of Pi: The April 1998 newsletter of New Mexicans for Science and Reason contained an article written by physicist Mark Boslough claiming that the Alabama Legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi to the "Biblical value" of 3.0. This claim originally appeared as a news story in the 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

* Spaghetti trees: The BBC television programme Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, showing the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. They had claimed that the despised pest, the spaghetti weevil, had been eradicated. A large number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti trees. It was, in fact, filmed in St Albans.

* Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out of the right side. Not only did customers order the new burgers, but some specifically requested the "old", right-handed burger.

* Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell." When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

* San Serriffe: The Guardian printed a supplement in 1977 praising this fictional resort, its two main islands (Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse), its capital (Bodoni), and its leader (General Pica). Intrigued readers were later disappointed to learn that San Serriffe (sans serif) did not exist except as references to typeface terminology.

* Metric time: Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves claiming that the time system will be changed to one in which units of time are based on powers of 10.

* Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success. [12] In 2007, the BBC website repeated an online version of the hoax.

* Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported once in the 1950s that the Tower of Pisa had fallen over. Many shocked people contacted the station


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I remember the spaghetti tree hoax but hadn't realised it was so many years ago. That was in the days of black and white tv and we genuinely were taken in by the article that that was the way spaghetti came about. How stupid can a nation be but, in our defence, holiday travel abroad was still an almost unknown thing and nor did we have millions of Italian restaurants as we do now.
The innocence of youth :-)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Meant to ask - did you enjoy your visit to the dentist?


Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

I had a back tooth pulled and will get a bridge to replace it. I am on my 3rd temporary as they keep breaking. I get the real one Monday and hope that will be the end of ie. In answer to your question, no, not particularly.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Poor Bill, I'm still with my temporary crown until next Thursday afternoon. Aren't we babies where the dentist is concerned?
I'll cross my fingers for you on Monday if you'll do the same for me Thursday:-)


Stan Gray said... [Reply to comment]

We were on a short holiday in Pagham Beach, near Bognor Regis, staying with some friends when we saw the Spaghetti tree broadcast. The husband , quite a bit older than us, had been in Italy during the war, and knew it was rubbish, and we already knew how to make pasta. So it was 1957 ? That helps me because I have some photos of that stay but didn't know which year they were taken, so thanks !