The first April Fool's Day has arrived: Tweets Will Shrink To 133 Characters

Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 10:17 am
NPR Source: Tweets Will Shrink To 133 Characters
April 1, 2012
by Eyder Peralta - NPR

Happy April Fool's Day!

Rest easy, that headline was just a joke. You still have 140 characters to compose a tweet. Believe it or not: The productivity of the newsroom took a hit to come up with that fake headline. A whole host of people across NPR contributed a bunch of ideas. These were our 20 runners-up:

— NPR Blogger Wins Mega-Millions Jackpot

— Ford: All New Cars Will Have Air Bags For Cats and Dogs

— Citing Safety Risks, 30 States Outlaw 'Driveway Moments'

— More Teens 'Going Amish,' Shunning Technology

— Facebook Adds 'Meh' Button

— Facebook App Lets Friends See Your Tax Returns

— Biden Out, Boehner In As Obama Shuffles Team

— House, Senate, White House Agree On Budget

— How Your Brain Is Like A Turkish Bath House

— Limbaugh, Olbermann Plan 'Unity Tour'

— Scientists: Pink Slime Is Really Chartreuse

— Lady Gaga To Open Olympic Ceremonies With 20 Singing Kittens

— Penguin Brawls Reported From Shrinking North Pole

— Six Surefire Ways To Lose Weight Without Exercising Or Eating Right

— Internet Goes Down. Experts Advise: Reboot

— CPB Paid Clooney, Others For 'I Love NPR' Endorsements

— Men Of NPR: The Calendar

— Five Reasons Pink Slime Is Good For You

— NPR Listeners Demand: No More Stamberg Cranberries. Ever.

— R. Kelly Commissioned To Write New ATC Theme

At NPR, running a hoax story on April 1 is a long tradition. Back in 1992, Talk of the Nation ran a segment in which Richard Nixon — played by Rich Little — announced he was running for president using the campaign slogan, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again."

Snap Judgment, a public radio show distributed through NPR and PRX, is also celebrating the holiday with a special edition, "Original Prankster," described as "amazing stories about people who take the joke waaaaaay too far ..."

One of our favorite hoax stories came in 2009, when All Things Considered reported from Belleville, Illinois where "the nation's first farm-raised whales are being grown and harvested."

Last year, All Things Considered reported on the "slow net wave," a movement of people who savored slow, dial-up Internet.

If you're hungering for more April Foolery The Museum of Hoaxes has a "Top 100" list.
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Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 10:43 am
Faux Science In Honor Of April Fools' Day
March 31, 2012
by Barbara J King - NPR

We scientists have a sense of humor, and often it emerges on April 1. Fake press releases about made-up discoveries or experiments get trotted out annually at this time.

Last year, England's Bristol Zoo announced "an ambitious experiment" aimed to explore the acuity of captive gorillas' sense of smell when it comes to the scent marks we humans emit. Two groups of people— one of normal dress and a control group of those (as attested to by a photograph) entirely unclothed— would be used in the experiment. Only later did the Zoo add the "only kidding!" April Fools' update to their announcement.

More famous (but also British!) was the 1976 caper in which astronomer Patrick Moore devised a tale about how an unusual alignment of Pluto and Jupiter would temporarily reduce the Earth's gravity. He told BBC listeners to leap into the air at precisely 9:47am on April 1st to feel a strange floating effect. A good number of people did jump, and claimed to feel the effect.

Scientists have an explanation for why primates of our ilk sometimes fall for April Fools' jokes: through brain imaging they found a region called the inferior supra-credulus. Funny thing, though, that announcement was reported by science writer Ed Yong in 2010... on April 1st.

Can't wait to see what happens this year.
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