April Fools 2009 Hoaxes
Here are Will and Guy's collection of hoaxes from April Fool's Day 2009. No doubt, these same types of pranks will be a rich source of hoaxes for the 2011 season.
1. An elaborate April Fool's Day hoax featuring video footage of the world's first "flying hotel" in a converted helicopter. The viral email clip appears to show a Russian-made Mil V-12 being used as the first-ever flying five star "Hotelicopter".
Will and Guy have found out that it claims to have 18 luxurious rooms; apparently the hotel guarantees a first class, unique and memorable experience. We learn that hundreds of prospective passengers fell for this trick which transpires to have been an elaborate marketing ploy.
2. The Sun newspaper has published a spoof that England fans [preparing for tonight's Wold Cup qualifier at Wembley] would have to stand through the world's longest national anthem: some at six and a half minutes, before the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.
3. The Daily Express records that a British inventor has created an invisible car to allow motorists to beat speed cameras.
4. The Daily Mail has a photograph making it appear as if the British Home Secretary, Mrs Jacqui Smith was walking out of a branch of an Ann Summers sex shop.
6. The Times produces a photograph of what appear to be "tartan" sheep.
7. Finally, The Daily Telegraph claims that harnessing the power of fish swimming through a river could hold the key to meeting Britain's future electricity needs.
Please let us know what April fool jokes have been played in your neck of the wood. We will publish the best and give credit to everyone who sends a story to us.
Google are beginning to make a name for themselves as April Fool's Day pranksters. In 2009 they offered an "autopilot" tool for Gmail. The idea was it would send out the appropriate automated responses to messages. "As more and more everyday communication takes place over email, lots of people have complained about how hard it is to read and respond to every message. This is because they actually read and respond to all their messages," said Google.
Google introduced the CADIE artificial intelligence service, which stands for Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity, it had a "mind of her own" and the potential to "change the world". Its Google Brain Search tool would use CADIE technology to index web users' brains, "improving the speed and accuracy of memory retrieval" and eliminate "tip of the tongue syndrome". CADIE even had its own logo a cartoon panda with her own website.
In another development Google announced that its Chrome web browser would be available in 3D. Furthermore, Google provided printable red and blue 3D glasses in case web users don't have a pair at home.
Google has a long history of April Fools pranks. In 2000, it launched MentalPlex, a search technology that could read people's minds, eliminating the need to physically type in search queries, while in 2004, the company said it had established a research facility on the moon.
While back in 2004 the launch of Gmail in 2004 was erroneously considered an April Fools prank, potential users simple could not believe the offer's free 1 GB of online storage.
This could be a double bluff. The Conficker.c virus could become virulent on April 1st 2009. What seems to have happened is that thousands, possibly millions of machines have been infected, but so far the infection has not done anything malicious. However, on April 1st a master computer may be programmed to gain control of these infected zombie machines. One possible outcome it that the virus manifests self as invitations to buy a variety of fake products.
Another possibility is the April Fool's Day virus is another hoax. A quick way to see if your computer has been infected is to see if you have received any automatic updates in the last month. If so, then all is well.
Stop press: Conficker.c exploits a vulnerability that Microsoft patched last October as part of Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 (see URL below). However, about 25% of all Windows machines worldwide are still not protected against this vulnerability.
ELECTRONIC TAGGING for "Tax Exiles"
The Department of Finance is considering ELECTRONIC TAGGING for "tax exiles" in advance of next week's budget. The measure is aimed at monitoring the presence in the State of individuals who claim to be non-resident for tax purposes.
Last year, 5,803 people claimed non-residency for tax. The Revenue
believes that 440 of those are "high net worth"
"We're still concerned that there are a few fairy tales being told about where people are actually living," said the spokesman.
Electronic tagging is a form of non-surreptitious surveillance consisting of an electronic device attached to a person, usually certain criminals, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored. The devices locate themselves using GPS and report their position back to a control centre via a mobile phone network.
The devices are usually built into ankle monitors, which are designed to be tamper-resistant and will alert the authorities to tampering attempts. According to the spokesman, certain technical issues remain to be resolved before the plan is implemented.
"For example, many of these people have 'panic rooms' in their homes to protect themselves against criminals," he said. "We're not absolutely sure of the technicalities, but if these rooms are lead-lined, they might block the signal from the electronic tag. "In theory it might be possible for a high-net-worth individual to remain in a panic room for days or even weeks without us knowing."
The Office of the Revenue Commissioners is in discussions with a US-based high-technology security company, FailProof, on providing the service.
One of the world's leading luxury cruise operators is about to announce the launch of a new credit crunch cruise liner, 40 per cent of which will be owned by its passengers on a time-share basis.
The ship concerned is an old classic which has been quietly renovated in one of Europe's biggest shipyards and expected to be re-launched from Southampton in June 2009.
Initially, time shares will be available through the national press and by applying on-line on the cruise operator's website. Time share holders can take up to six brief luxury cruises a year. Tickets will also be available to non-time share holding customers on a strictly first-come-first-served basis for specially reduced rates that match or are well below prices for similar cruises by other operators.
All of the ship's usual facilities will be available to time-share passengers including the bargain liner's leisure suite, theatre/cinema, crèche and library; although the swimming pool will only be heated for a few hours in the morning to encourage passengers to take a swim rather than have a shower.
Other measures to keep costs down and ensure that time share holders get value for money will include passengers making up their own cabins. The cruise ship's laundry will, as usual, be self service but energy-inefficient tumble dryers will be replaced by environmentally-friendly washing lines hung from the ship's mast and funnel.
All passengers will be encouraged to make their own entertainment by participating in karaoke, amateur dramatics, and stand-up comedy. Midnight buffets will be replaced by vending machines selling drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. Passengers will also be encouraged to bring on board their own alcoholic drinks - to keep their extras down. All meals will be served on re-usable plastic plates which, at the end of each cruise, will be burnt in the ship's furnaces with other waste to reduce fuel costs.
One cruise industry insider remarked last night that, "...there is general agreement in the industry that we must do everything we can to encourage more people to take a cruise for there has been significant investment in recent years and we must look to the future.
"No doubt many potential passengers would like to to own shares in a cruise ship for it would guarantee holidays afloat for themselves and their families and friends for many years to come, at an affordable price."
At Midday on April 1st
April Fool's gone past
The origin of this ditty is Hampshire, England. The meaning is that you cannot play any more April Fool's jokes after midday, or else you become the fool.
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