April 1 is a day of fun and many people shock or surprise their friends with April Fools jokes and pranks. Here are some examples that happened worldwide today.
April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar. Ancient cultures originally set the first day of spring as the new year. Then the Roman Senate changed the first day of the year to January 1. However it began, it is sure to cause some laughs.
April Fools on the web:
Google had fun, as usual: they introduced Google Maps 8-bit for NES - see video above. On the video information Google advises that the Google Maps app is now available for 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES). They say that it is not currently available in the Google Store, but you can try it out in your browser. Just go to http://maps.google.com and click "Quest" in the upper right hand corner of the map. Sure enough, there it is!
In Australia:Headlines read: "Bulletproof Networks to offer first off-planet Disaster Recovery service". In Sydney today, Australian Mission Critical Cloud Hosting provider Bulletproof Networks told the world that they had launched a new service. They said it was a world first in Disaster Recovery technology. Named "New Dawn", this great new service would provide hosting for their customer's applications on facilities orbiting Earth. This space-based service would use orbiting satellites, with a multi-hundred satellite footprint. The future is here - well not quite!
In New Zealand:Air New Zealand announced on the social media this morning that Grabaseat is introducing "straight up fares". 737-300 aircraft on domestic routes will be fitted with ceiling-mountain hand straps, like those seen on buses, which will boost the planes' capacity by an extra 69 persons. "Unlike buses, passengers will not be able to request stops,'' a statement said. And the punchline was - these fares are only for passengers who could "stand it''.
The prank was widely shared on the social media website, Twitter. Most tweets praised the joke, but some were taken in, with one person sending the tweet "What a great concept!''
Also in New Zealand, 3 News reported on its website today that Intercity was introducing triple-decker buses. The article mentioned that the company said that the need for this fleet was due to the rising numbers of passengers and demands for sleeping and entertainment options, and they say that the buses will be equipped with “all the modern amenities of home”.
InterCity Group CEO Malcolm Johns said that the venture would cost around $50 million and that it is worth every cent: “The economies of scale are significant when adding an additional level to our standard vehicles and the extra floor space enables us to introduce sleeping options as well as a lounge/bar area,” says Mr Johns.
In South Africa:
April Fools just wouldn't be April Fools without jokester airline, Kulula.com having a go. The airline is renowned for its amusing advertising pranks.
One of kulula.com's planes.
Today they announced in Johannesburg "a new era for South Africa's favourite no-frills airline, kulula.com". In an increasingly turbulent time for the aviation industry, Kulula is planning to curb rising airport traffic congestion. One of their ideas will see selected flights landing on state-of-the-art water runways (see images) near Cape Town and Durban harbours and also Hartebeespoort Dam in Gauteng.
Kulula group spokesperson, Heidi Brauer reported that: “Globally, all airlines are feeling the pinch and 2012 will be a watershed year where only the most agile will keep their heads above water. kulula has always prided itself on successfully maintaining a low fare business model which motivated us to find new ways to ensure ticket prices remain affordable.”
Kulula advised that in July they will take delivery of 8 brand-new, next-generation Boeing 737-800's and that 2 of the aircraft are "specifically designed for water landings".
Sir Richard Branson
In the UK:
Richard Branson has announced "tongue-in-cheek" that he intends to voyage to the centre of the Earth. On his website, virginvolcanic.com, it states: “Sir Richard Branson to launch journeys to the centre of the Earth through Virgin Volcanic”
This announcement was made just before the weekend, and an early clue that this was a joke was that the press release from Branson's PR people cannot be published until April 1.
The idea apparently came from the recent trip by James Cameron by submarine to the deepest point of the world's oceans: the Mariana Trench in the Pacific.
In the United States:Huffington Post reports that a very convincing art forger has been donating his copies of Picassos and other artists' work to museums in 20 states. The forger, Mark A. Landis, apparently poses as a wealthy donor or Jesuit priest when he donates the work and has never taken money for his forgeries. No arrests have been made.
Now the University of Cincinnati is holding a "tongue-in-cheek" exhibit, called Faux Real, which opens, coincidentally on April 1, to display Landis' artwork.
Even Digital Journal had a prank on the go, with the breaking news announcement of alien mother ships appearing above major cities worldwide.
Video: Past April Fools pranks: