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Top 10 April Fool's pranks we wish were real

While most geeks love Google with an unhealthy passion, even the most ardent "Don't be evil" fanboy still harbors a tiny bit of resentment that the so-awesome-we-wish-it-was-so promise of working for Google on the moon was a total April Fool's fake out. Don't be so hard on the search engine overlords, as they were just continuing a long tradition of promoting fake products and events on April 1st that we all wish were real...like these 10 pranks.

While most geeks love Google with an unhealthy passion, even the most ardent "Don't be evil" fanboy still harbors a tiny bit of resentment that the so-awesome-we-wish-it-was-so promise of working for Google on the moon was a total April Fool's fake out. Don't be so hard on our benevolent search engine overlords, as they were just continuing a long tradition of promoting fake products and events on April 1st. Products that we all wish were real, like the 10 listed below.

10. Smell-O-Vision - In 1965, the BBC aired an April 1 news story about a man who had found a way to broadcast smells over TV airwaves, a technology that was "demonstrated" by brewing coffee and chopping onions on camera. The joke was plausible because real Smell-O-Vision was tested in movie theaters in 1960 -- but only once, and to such meager reaction the whole effort was abandoned immediately. Trust me, the Food Network would only be improved by this tech becoming real, though certain episodes of Dirty Jobs, CSI, and MythBusters might need a whole new kind of viewer discretion advisory, to say nothing of Star Trek reruns (mmmm...fresh roasted redshirt). 9. BMW Instant Messaging - In 2007, BMW advertised a new options package that combined voice-recognition software and adapted Heads-Up Display tech to create the ultimate instigator of road rage. With BMW-IM, your Beemer recognized any choice words you had for the driver in front of you, and then autogenerated a reverse-text display of your statement on your windshield, so the driver could read it in the rearview mirror. Personally, I think the obvious safety concerns are outweighed by the comedic possibilities of BMW-IM. And once it gets a Twitter tie-in, we're talking Web 2.0 gold. 8. Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect - In 1976, British celebrity astronomer Dr. Patrick Moore told his BBC radio audience that a rare alignment of Pluto and Jupiter with Earth would result in gravitational cascade effect, allowing people to jump higher than normal. Hundreds of listeners called in confirming the "floating sensation" Moore facetiously predicted, proving exactly how badly we all want to fly. Or lose weight without dieting. 7. Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP) - Every year, the Internet Engineering Task Force publishes a fake Request for Comments on April 1, but none is so gallingly unfulfilled as 1998's RFC 2324, which laid out a specification for extending the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol to control Internet-connected coffee pots (it also had error codes for handling teapots). Since no one took the RFC seriously, all we are left with are Web-connected coffee pots with gaping security holes -- the kind that decent standards compliance could have prevented. 6. The Google Copernicus Center - It's Google. On the moon. It's a half-step removed from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. What more do you need to know? Check out the top five April Fool's pranks we wish were real.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

9 comments
paul-techrepublic
paul-techrepublic

Um, Actually, Virgle will be true, Check out OpenLuna... It's only the moon for now, but just think about the people involved...

rikonjohn
rikonjohn

Hey! You forgot about "Trunk Monkey"!

fcavaness
fcavaness

This idea has been around for awhile. The James Coburn movie "The President's Analyst" (1967) featured a terrific Bell System-style educational cartoon promoting what I think was called the "Intracranial Communicator". This was to be inserted at birth and your phone number would be your only identity.

wcallahan
wcallahan

I can remember a fake advert in a scifi mag from around the mid seventies of mini black hole garbage disposals. Very well done, then a month later announced a product recall because some of those little black holes gobbled up more than garbage.

Snak
Snak

Many years ago the BBC dedicated a whole episode of their 'Horizon' programme, a serious Affairs programme covering a range of serious news and science issues, to the Spaghetti Tree. On screen, we were treated to film of a tree festooned with sticks of spaghetti. It did look good. My mother is still convinced to this day that is was for real and refuses to acknowledge any correction. We're not sure whether it's because she refuses to accept the the BBC would do that, or that she could be so easily fooled or my favourite: she so wants it to be true.

egarnerit
egarnerit

This could be cool, but the new every two plan would be a pain.

ipaston
ipaston

The Hoax (possibly the most famous UK TV Hoax every) was in fact on the serious news/current affairs programme Panorma and not Horizion. This was in a time when Aunty's word was law and she didn't appear to have a sense of humour - classic and still shown today.

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