The Watering Hole: April 1, 2011, April Fools Day


April 1, 2001, in Denmark, regarding Copenhagen’s new metro

April Fools Day is celebrated all over the world; a day for practical jokes, hoaxes and silliness.  What you may not know is that April Fools Day has been celebrated for centuries.  A reference to this day is found in the Canterbury Tales in 1392!

Here are some awesome April Fools Day pranks:

Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased theLiberty 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.

Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect: In 1976, British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners of BBC Radio 2 that unique alignment of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull making people lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. that day. He invited his audience to jump in the air and experience “a strange floating sensation”. Dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment had worked.

Spaghetti trees: The BBC television programme Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, showing 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.

In 2010, British newspaper The Sun run an article about its new “Scratch and Sniff” paper, providing a sample of plain newspaper. This led to a lot of readers sniffing the paper in an attempt to smell the scent.

Real news happened on this day as well:

The April 1, 1946 Aleutian Island earthquake tsunami that killed 165 people in Hawaii and Alaska resulted in the creation of a tsunami warning system, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, established in 1949 for Pacific Ocean countries. The tsunami in question is known in Hawaii as the “April Fools’ Day Tsunami” due to people drowning because of the assumptions that the warnings were an April Fools’ prank.

The AMC Gremlin was first introduced on April 1, 1970.

That last one has to be a joke, right…?

This is our daily open thread — What was your most awesome
April Fools Day joke?