April Fools Hall o’ Fame


Since I was too lame to prank you myself, I’ve taken the time and effort to spelunk the blogosphere looking for April Fools shenanigans for ye. If any of you are taken in by any of these, I shall be very disappointed – or enormously impressed by the skills of the pranksters.

Just you wait for next year, my darlings. I have 364 days to plot – I’ll get ye yet!

New Humanist reports:


In an unprecedented victory for rationalism, Catholic priests in the north east of England will from today be required to read out a disclaimer prior to delivering the holy sacrament of Communion.

[snip]

“Congregants should be aware of the gaps and/or problems in the Catholic theory of transubstantiation, including, but not limited to, the Protestant notion that the bread and wine are merely symbolic, the opinions of other religions on the life of Christ, and the lack of conclusive scientific evidence available to support this theory.”


Yes, my darlings, your own dear blogger would have been taken in by that one hook, line and sinker if I hadn’t read the disclaimer and thought, “Wait an effing minute. That sounds awfully like those evolution disclaimer stickers put on textbooks a while back…”

Kudos to Paul Sims for almost pwning me!

Oh, and click the link for the stickers – I nearly peed myself.

Next up, Universe Today announces NASA’s new fundraising initiative:


In an effort to raise additional funds, NASA has announced new partnerships with corporate sponsors. It is becoming increasingly difficult for government-backed space agencies to support the vast range of missions currently exploring the solar system, so urgent measures are being taken. Planetary missions in particular, such as the Mars Exploration Rover project, have fallen on tough times. As already demonstrated by research groups in the UK, funds from private companies are essential for survival and some weird and wonderful methods to capture public interest have already been exploited.

Now it is the perfect time for the biggest marketing stunt yet: tattoo Mars with corporate logos for orbiting spacecraft and ground-based telescopes to observe…


I think it’s the Doritos logo in the accompanying photo that makes the piece plausible. After all, photos can’t be faked, right?

Alas, it can’t all be fun and games. Brian Switek over at Laelaps has a very sad announcement to make:


As many of you are aware, my academic career has been rather rough, my university not being of very much help in preparing me for a career in vertebrate paleontology. This past week, I received notice that I have been in college for so long (and that my transcript is so poor), that I would have to start all over from freshman year again. 120 credits, gone in the blink of an eye. What’s more, I’d have to pay double the regular tuition rate in cash, delivered to a shadowy figure 6 months before the start of each semester, the final indignity being having to wear a “Dunce” cap while retaking my courses.


Brian, darling, no worries. You and Mrs. Laelaps are welcome to crash at my beachfront home in Yuma, AZ until you’ve got things sorted out.

PZ Myers has been cropping up everywhere lately, it seems. Perhaps he’s mastered the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - or he’s become some strange incarnation of Schrödinger’s cat: he’s both present and not present until he’s observed! But The Panda’s Thumb has the exclusive scoop on the true scope of his talents:


As many of you probably know, controversy has surrounded James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s 1953 seminal paper on DNA structure since its publication. Most of the sometimes heated discussions have focused on the attribution of authorship, centering on the source of the data and on the identity of the person who actually originated the DNA double-helix model.

You’ll find the revised list of authors on the second page of the Nature paper. It’s very difficult to see and indistinguishable from the original list of authors, so of course it must be true!

PZ, imitating quantum particles is no way for a biologist to behave. For shame! You must cease your uncertain, both-there-and-not-there, time-travelling ways!

I know I’ve likely missed some spectacular pranks worthy of attention. That’s what I get for having a damned day job! Please feel free to link to your pranks in the comments. My glass is raised high to all of you merry pranksters, undaunted by the challenge of pulling the wool over eyes on the one day everyone becomes a skeptic.

Salud!