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April Fool's in the News
(Know of other examples? Send them in.)

Be careful not to be too trustworthy of anything you read online. Of course, a sense of humor is a great way to give your site personality and help it stand out from the pack. Here's a look at April Fool's jokes that made the news:

NPR: Federally Funded Flea Dips for Fluffy?
The Bush administration announced a new, $345-trillion proposal to extend universal health care to pets -- causing the fur to fly on Capitol Hill as fiscal conservatives, animal rights groups and pro-human advocates joined the heated debate. NPR's Julie Rovner reports for All Things Considered.


Napster Buys Microsoft, Plans to Sue Itself
Napster Inc., the start-up music file-swapping company shuttered by the courts that has never generated a single dollar in revenue, announced that it has bought Microsoft Corporation, the world's largest software company, valued at more than $328 billion.

Net laughs at itself on April Fool's -- or does it?
CNet/ZDNet UK reported on Napster's joke purchase of Microsoft -- but who has the last laugh? The site quoted Sidd Finch of GigaLaw, who said he wrote the hoax press release. Finch? You may recall that's the same name of the baseball pitcher who
could throw the ball 163 miles per hour and was introduced to the world in a George Plimpton Sports Illustrated cover story on April 1, 1985.

Harrods 'float' plan an April Fool hoax
Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods, the London department store, appeared to be behind a bizarre April Fool hoax suggesting he was about to "float" Harrods on the stock market.

Wall Street Journal's World Watch doesn't see so well
From The Wall Street Journal's correction's page: "HARRODS, the London retailer, didn't disclose plans to list its shares. An item in yesterday's World Watch column reported that Harrods had said it would do so on April 1. On April 1 the company said that statement was an April Fool's joke."

Washington Post gets had
We were had. We fell hook, line and sinker for Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's April Fools' joke about him and his new wife, former top staffer Jennifer Crawford, expecting twins on Aug. 18.

Toledo Blade columnist falls for prank
After promoting for more than a week a planned "broadcast subscription service" for WVKS-FM in Toledo, Clear Channel radio said that its promotion was an April Fool’s hoax. Oops -- Toledo Blade staff writer Russ Lemmon wrote about the "broadcast subscription service" in his media column.

The technology behind Google's great results
How exactly does Google manage to find the right results? The heart of Google's search technology is PigeonRank™... Low cost pigeon clusters (PCs) are used to compute the relative value of web pages faster than human editors or machine-based algorithms. Laugh all you want, but Pigeons can transmit information over the Internet.

What is "Dismal Swamp Thing"?
This photo was taken in the Great Dismal Swamp by two hikers shortly after they encountered a strange animal. Some experts said the creature was nothing more than a black bear. Others say it's a much larger, more primitive animal. And still others believe the photo is a hoax. What do you believe?

Canadian Finance Minister Quits Job to Breed Cows
An April Fool's Day internet report that Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin would quit his job to breed Charolais cows and ``handsome fawn runner ducks'' sent the Canadian dollar lower on Monday, as the market grabbed at the straw of anything that might resemble news. Author Pierre Bourque, who flagged the spoof report on his political gossip Web site bourque.org, said he was baffled by the reaction. "It is April 1, after all,'' he told Reuters. "The ducks were the tell-tale sign.''

Burger King Changes its Name to Chicken King
A full-page ad in USA Today declared that Burger King Corporation was changing its name to ``Chicken King Corporation'' to underscore its commitment to its new Chicken Whopper sandwich. "To all those who had a beef with our chicken joke, we're sorry for the foul. We hope no one got their feathers ruffled,'' said spokesman Christopher E. Clouser.

Ventura Plays April Fools' Joke
The governors of Minnesota and Pennsylvania both played pranks on reporters Monday, announcing bogus re-election campaigns as an April Fool's Day joke.

"Hubble Resolves Expiration Date For Green Cheese Moon"
Using the new camera on the recently refitted Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have been able to confirm that the Moon is made of green cheese.

Bogus front page confuses Beckley
The fake front page looked like the regular Register-Herald, except for a couple of details: The name of the paper was spelled "Register-Hurled," and a line at the bottom warns, in small type, "Good morning, readers! Careful - don't be fooled today." Also see editor's apology.

April 1 episode of “Martha Stewart Living”
Learn how to make perfect ice cubes, use them to cool a glass of delicious water, sew a maddeningly complex quilt with more than 6,000 pieces, and go behind the scenes to see Martha’s visit with a rogue cow. Also see
Martha Stewart Living has fun with Martha Stewart on April Fool's Day

MSN Acquires world's largest web directory
The MSN® network of Internet services, with more than 270 billion unique reboots worldwide, today announced the addition of the Gates Open Directory (GOD), formerly known as the Open Directory Project. The Gates Open Directory is part of Microsoft's vision to simplify copyright on the Internet by buying all copyrighted material.

Fuckedcompany.com receives funding from idealab
New York's PK Interactive, best known as the owner and publisher of popular "dot-com deadpool" site, F---edcompany.com, has received $18 million in private funding from idealab and its existing investors, Chase Capital Partners, Flatiron Partners and TechFund Capital.

2004 Presidential Election Canceled
President Bush announced today that the 2004 presidential election will be canceled due to the war on terrorism and other scheduling conflicts.

Virgin Atlantic announces plan to use butterflies for advertising
Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to begin advertising via butterflies, becoming the first US advertiser to take advantage of research recently announced by the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Batman Books Announces Major Tolkien Venture
Batman Books proudly announced that they have reached agreement with the Tolkien Estate to authorize a certain major fantasy writer, identified only as T— B—, to do a 21-book rewrite of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings for a "solid" eight figure advance.

Cousins once removed
At 25, she has already experienced both the highs and the lows of fame: the parties, the drugs, the celebrity boyfriends, the tragic deaths. Can things get any better - or worse - for Harmony Cousins?

Total Access: Pole Cats
Defending Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves remembers his first cat race 15 years ago. Plus if you're intrigued by the sport of cat racing, read the cat chat transript.

Dodo Returns and Harrods Floats on April Fool's
The Dodo came back from the dead, news broke that Harrods would open a floating store on London's River Thames and a German castle was to be wrapped in an orange cover.

Figment: The New Nicotine-free, Carcinogen-Free Cigarette
A new cigarette with no carcinogens or nicotine and the slogan "Get Addicted to Livin''' was touted in a new television commercial on Monday in a "product launch.''

You've got blogs! AOL buys Weblogs
"AOL gets it! Steve Case gets it!" beamed Dave Winer today, after brokering a deal that sees two hundred of the most popular weblogs become part of the AOL-Time Warner publishing empire.

Bill Gates hoodwinked by Canadian prank
He may be the world's richest man, but that didn't prevent Bill Gates from falling for an April Fool's Day joke by two Quebec radio comics pretending to be Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Listen to the conversation (about 2 minutes into the clip).

The Dick Clark Caper
Dick Clark will be replacing Regis Philbin as host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- or will he?

Deutsche Boerse Says LSE Bid Rumor 'April Fool's Joke'
The U.K.'s Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that the German stock-exchange operator planned to buy its London-based counterpart in a move to create a GBP4 billion European trading and settlement powerhouse.

Kuro5hin.org buys Metafilter
Kuro5hin.org, backed by development funding from a company that wishes to remain anonymous for now, has purchased Metafilter... This announcement also kicks off the foundation of the K5 Community Network, which will seek to acquire other leading-edge sites, and become the net's premier destination for online community. See the new Met4Filter.

Exclusive! bin Laden found alive and well in Rome
The world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, was found today at the Vatican in Rome, where he announced his intention to convert to Catholicism and become a priest.

Internet 'Spring Cleaning' E-mail Circulating Again
Each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead email and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites, allows for a better-working and faster Internet.

Not all amused by WFNX joke on Bulger
By the time the DJs at WFNX radio announced that the fugitive gangster's arrest was an April Fool's Day prank, the daughter of one of the Bulger gang's alleged victims had frantically called friends and relatives to announce that he had finally been caught after seven years on the lam. The FBI was barraged with calls from the media.

Blast from the Past: Net pranksters fool with Explorer
A Swiss Web site run by the International Data Group, PC Tip, caused a sensation by posting what appeared to be a "special preview" version of Internet Explorer 4.0 for users to download.  Meanwhile, Microsoft spoofed its own Internet Explorer Web site with a page that proclaimed the fictitious arrival of "Internet Explorer 9.0."

Top 10 April Fool's Day hoaxes of all time

© 2000-2003 Jonathan Dube, CyberJournalist.net
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