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April 1, 2006

April Fools, 2006
Posted by Teresa at 09:00 AM *

As usual, Google has an elaborate AFD hoax.

Via Jim Henley, Civil War Reenactors Come to Lebanon.

ThinkGeek has once again come up with an assortment of AFD merchandise. This year’s offerings include the iZilla Digital Media Monster, the USB Desktop Tanning Center, a 1Up Mushroom Growing Kit, an RFID Blocking Kit T-shirt that’s “free while supplies last,” Wireless Extension Cords, the Buzzaire Metered Dose Caffeine Inhaler, and a heavily hyped product called The Screened Sphorb.

The Register reports that Bush & Co. are drafting a memo laying out Bush’s wartime authority to remain in office past 2008:

Bush preps historic Third Term - memo It’s war. It’s a ‘Continuity Presidency’

Exclusive The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the office of the White House Counsel are preparing a draft document laying out the President’s wartime authority to remain in office past 2008, The Register has learned.

The scheme is described as an emergency “continuity presidency,” made necessary by the extraordinary circumstances and unique challenges of protecting the United States from the threat of international terrorism.

“The world changed on 9/11,” a confidential DoJ memo obtained by The Register explains, “and no Administration is US history is better suited to adapt productively to those changes than this one.

“The Attorney General supports the basic framework in the White House Counsel’s draft proposal for a future Executive Order establishing a Continuity Presidency, with two provisos: 1. There must be at least the appearance of a time limit, which the AG believes might be satisfied by tying the duration of the Continuity Presidency to the duration of the GWOT [global war on terrorism]; and 2. The House and Senate Majority Leaders and the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees must issue a written certification that they have approved the plan. …

Wikipedia is compiling a list of AFD 2006 hoaxes. So far, my favorite item from their list has been’s articles on animated tattoos and the U.S. military’s hydro-ordnance weapons system.

Wikipedia lists spoofs at a great many gaming sites, few of which strike me as particularly funny. One exception is the Dark and Shattered Lands MUD, where the administrator started a locked topic in the main forum titled “The Anti-Christian Sentiment Here,” where he posted:

I’m tired of it and with every comment you heathens make, the less I want you around my creation.

For now on, only the saved can play DSL.

The rest of you can go to hell.

When you try to log in, you get this prompt: Do you renounce Satan and accept Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour? Y/N. Only saying “yes” will let you log in and play.

Urgo is also compiling a list of AFD pranks.

Along with their own brief list of AFD hoaxes, the BBC has thoughtfully compiled a list of current news stories that could be mistaken for hoaxes, but aren’t.

Comments on April Fools, 2006:
#1 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 09:57 AM:

I love Google's April Fool's day pranks. They're so techy and shiny.

That regfiter one, however hits a little too close to one of my worst paranoid fears; the squicky monkey part of my brain that is sure someone in the white House is actually thinking along these lines. So i give it a nervous chuckle and move along.

#2 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Register, not regfiter. Need more coffee...

#3 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 10:10 AM:

NPR's traditional April Fool's item, this morning was the i-Bod.

#4 ::: Steven List ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 10:58 AM:

Thank you for finding all of these! Woohoo! I plan to share them with all of my favorite people.

Steven List
Co-Founder, Back Of The Room

#5 ::: Dan MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 11:24 AM:

The BBC link is to last year's list: I can't find this year's list of true stories, but here's their roundup of fakes:

#6 ::: Evil Monkey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 11:50 AM: has actually run an April Fool's piece this year...

#7 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 01:09 PM:

The Bush-third-term story is in the best tradition of April Fools, because you believe it at first - it's only too probable - and then the penny drops.

A while ago the (London) Times ran a very realistic story that Belgium was to split along the language line (Wallonia joining France and Flanders joining the Netherlands), with lots of circumstantial detail, so that you didn't get it until nearly the end of the story.

#8 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 01:23 PM:

The Cool Tools mailing list (Charles Platt & Kevin Kelly) has a great list of products in today's mailing. I was totally falling for the initial product; it wasn't until I got to the Eastern European sneakers with the semiconductor "gravity shielding device" in the heels (which only work properly if you top them off with liquid nitrogen) that I went "wait a minute..."

Unfortunately it's not on their website so I don't have an URL to post. First product writeup follows..

Turn Yourself into a Flashlight
Firefly Liquid

This weird product is being marketed as a "spooky" toy for kids but I find it useful where I live out in the sticks, far from any urban lighting. The liquid is almost colorless but when you spread it on your skin it reacts with the air to form the same kind of chemical that enables fireflies to glow. The label notes that although the liquid is based on the firefly compound, it is made in a laboratory and is not made by killing millions of fireflies! Either way it is much brighter than luminous paint. It emits a pale yellow glow that is about as bright as a keychain flashlight.
I like to put it on the palms of my hands, so that on moonless nights I can find my way through the land around my home in the wilderness just by holding my hands up and turning them from side to side. I have also experimented putting it on my cheeks so that the landscape is illuminated wherever I turn my head.

Firefly Liquid


#9 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 01:34 PM:

Here's Fermilab Today, our daily newsletter. I suppose of the gags are funnier if you work here.

Although I was left wondering if it really is National Theory Appreciation Day.

#10 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 01:44 PM:

I am not 100% sure this one is an April Fools story, but I suspect it should be on the BBC list of stories that looks like jokes but aren't:

Condi Rice: Don't take Iraq errors 'literally'

BLACKBURN, England (CNN) -- One day after Condoleezza Rice said the United States made possibly "thousands" of tactical mistakes in the war against Iraq, the secretary of state says she was speaking "figuratively, not literally."

Riiggghhhtt... The war was just meant to be a metaphor. No, not a metaphor, a pun.

#11 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 03:37 PM:

Since it's not just AFD, but the 30th anniversary of the incorporation of Apple, Chuq explains what he does over there.

#12 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 03:40 PM:

Snrrrrkk!!! Very geeky April fools:

FreeBSD 2.2.9 release announcement

It is my great pleasure and privilege to announce the availability of FreeBSD 2.2.9-RELEASE. This release is the culmination of SEVENTY-SEVEN months of tireless work by the FreeBSD developers, users, their children, and their pets. Significant features in this release:

- - XFree86 3.3.3, the industry leader in support for cutting edge PCI graphics adapters and 2D acceleration.
- - The 8GB barrier in IDE drive sizes has finally been broken. The wd(4) driver now supports unimaginable sizes of 137GB on a single drive!
- - Support for all of the latest high-speed FAST-WIDE (20MB/s) SCSI-2 controllers.
- - The Linux emulator is now able to run Quake2 out-of-the-box.

A full description of the release can be found here:


#13 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 03:56 PM:

Alas, it's not available outside the corporate firewall, but Intel put together an April Fool's corporate webcast (announced and scheduled just like other occasional executive briefings) about the Apple/Intel merger - the new logo to be "mactel". Among my favorite bits were the new dress code of black turtlenecks for everyone, including over the "bunny suits" that the fab workers wear, and the new corporate acquisition plans targeting other fruits - RIM, for the Blackberry, and the European telecom company Orange, to begin with.

#14 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 04:08 PM:

That BBC one is from last year...

#15 ::: Laurel Krahn ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 04:17 PM:

My favorite is the one I helped put together, but I feel safe in mentioning it because my contributions were just a few of the 300 pieces posted at

Teevee cranks out great AFD stuff year after year.

#16 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 10:36 PM:

Yay! Link-love from tnh! (I wrote the Lebanon story). My favorite April Fools day hoax came a few days early, when MEMRI got caught out by an Arabic station broadcasting a fake interview with Saddam Hussein.

#17 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 01:25 AM:

The Star trek authors are getting a bit rowdy over here. With gratuitous shots at Tor for good measure.

#18 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 03:31 AM:

I have suspicions about that story from Locus.

#19 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 03:54 AM:

One of my favourites is that "MAKE" magazine is to be rebranded as "BUY".

Worth heading over to slashdot. They've removed their cute pink theme, unfortunately, but the posts are still there, along with links to a lot of other pranks.

#20 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 04:16 AM:

The TeeVee folx turn out great AFD stuff, every year.

The 24 article is to die for.

#21 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 06:58 AM:

It isn't actually an April Fool thing -- except for the editorial -- but Eileen Gunn has broken radio silence with an unexpected 1 April update of The Infinite Matrix.

(Including a new instalment of my own Runcible column. Oh God! That makes me a comment spammer. Sorry about that ...)

#22 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 07:48 AM:

Bush preps historic Third Term - memo
It's war. It's a 'Continuity Presidency'

Why does this seem more like a dark prophecy than an AFD joke...


#23 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 09:39 AM:

Andrew Rilstone takes the piss (so to speak) out of C. S. Lewis scholarship.

#24 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 04:16 PM:

My favorite was the expiration date on the green cheese moon. And by the way, I was briefly a published Tor author in an alternate reality.

#25 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 07:40 PM:

Damn ThinkGeek. I still want my Easy Bake Oven internal drive.

#26 ::: John M. Ford observes ideographic spam on ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 03:11 AM:

Oh, good, it's "good" again. Mysterious East and all that. And [bleep] the salt, I will have the cowboy leg.

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 10:45 AM:

That caffeine inhaler would sell!

#28 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 04:09 PM:

The library blog community had a lovely one:

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 04:38 PM:

Janet: The cure is an infinite loop?

#30 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 05:50 PM:

Well, actually -- the closed loop DOES limit the amount of information you have to deal with drastically! It sure cured MY post-meeting overload feeling.

#31 ::: bonniers ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2006, 07:55 AM:

I want some of that firefly glow stuff. For Halloween. I'm going to rub it on my cats and watch the neighborhood kids freak.

#32 ::: Dog tired ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2006, 11:21 AM:

That desktop tanning center is hilarious. I especially like that it comes with "eyeball cover thingys" ha.

#33 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2006, 12:27 PM:

Hey, Teresa, congrats on getting quoted by the Washington Post this morning!!! An excellent quote to be repeated.

#34 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2006, 12:07 AM:

They'll still never top Give Piece a Chance.

#35 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2006, 11:57 AM:

I just happened upon a lovely hoax in the online version of Archaeology Magazine -- on the role of zombies in ancient history.

#37 ::: protected static sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2006, 02:54 AM:

spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon and spam

#38 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 11:21 AM:


#39 ::: Cally Soukup still sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 01:44 PM:

Spam at #38

#41 ::: dcb sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 07:58 AM:

Boring spam.

#42 ::: cd sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2014, 06:51 AM:

Currently #42.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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