How many of these irritating pranks ended up shared to your Facebook feed? Antiviral is here to remind you that there's bullshit everywhere all the time.
Flowchart: Should your company do an April Fools gag tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/7m6nuwJyRj
— Bored Elon Musk (@BoredElonMusk) March 31, 2014
This is the internet. Every day is April Fools.
No, *NSYNC and the Spice Girls are not headlining a 1990s nostalgia mega-concert
You think you're sooooo funny, Refinery 29.
No, there isn't a Volkswagen-sized catfish stuck in an Alabama dam
I will never understand why a real newspaper would choose to run a fake story on purpose. But this Alabama paper actually published a made-up article about a giant catfish. Here's a screenshot of the illustration that went with the story:
The species of fish is the loof lirpa, is it? And it has "a reputation for creating havoc every year on this date," does it?
No, British scientists didn't clone a dinosaur
News-hound is a bullshit site that prints a bunch of bullshit, including a pretty widely-shared yet obviously made-up article about scientists in England cloning an actual dinosaur.
Even if you wanted to believe the premise, just googling a couple of the names referenced in the piece calls it into question. Gemma Sheridan, cited in the piece as a chemistry professor, was the name News-Hound used in a fake story about a woman rescued from a desert island after someone spotted her giant SOS sign on Google Earth. And the president of PETA is Ingrid Newkirk, not Craig Farmer.
No, Francis Underwood is not becoming a faculty member at Northeastern
No, One Direction's Zayn Malik isn't dead
And One Direction fans are not amused. THEY'RE SERIOUS.
the only one who's dead here is the one who started this trend
— irene (@1dstreetnarnia) March 31, 2014
#RIPzaynmalik the person who made this hashtag is so stupid and doesnt have anything to do with his life. Get well soon and leave him alone
— leeyum (@swaggiexharold) April 1, 2014
— Sarita Ramirez (@SaritaMRamirez) April 1, 2014
No, the Empire State Building didn't light up in response to church founder's death
But the Empire State Building's website keeps an online schedule of its ever-changing lighting scheme. March 20 was listed as "ad campaign filming," and the Twitter account @ESB_lights explains that it went technicolor for "filming purposes."
3/20/14 @EmpireStateBldg is changing colors tonight for filming purposes - right this second it's all the colors of the rainbow.
— Katie's ESB Project (@ESB_lights) March 21, 2014
If you look up on April 2, it's set to be all blue for World Autism Awareness Day, then all-white lights from April 3 until at least April 17.
No, this is not a real ad for Malaysia Airlines
Everybody deals with grief and uncertainty in different ways. Apparently mega-assholes cope by drafting fake advertisements and publishing them online. So, no, this is not a legit ad:
That's actually an Airbus A380 Super Jumbo aircraft.
I know this because the image comes from a 2012 ad campaign. The same airplane was pictured on certificates that passengers received for flying on the inaugural A380 flight.
Check out this Malaysia Airlines tweet from 2012:
— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) June 5, 2012
No, the government won't save $467M if it switches typefaces
A teenager from Pittsburgh made headlines by claiming that the federal government could save nearly half a billion dollars if it opted to print government documents exclusively in Garamond instead of Times New Roman and some of the other typefaces that are commonly used.
And you really have to love this kid for the ink-usage analysis he did. But it looks like he didn't go far enough.
As typography expert Thomas Phinney explains on his blog, the issue has to do with some of the nominal nuances in font size comparison. Garamond lowercase is something like 15 percent smaller than the average of the other fonts in the comparison, while its caps are only about 7.5 percent smaller, he said.
Phinney: "This is why most scientific studies comparing typefaces first compensate by resizing the fonts to eliminate differences in the lowercase height (called x-height by us font geeks). This study failed to do that. As a result, they actually get results that are the exact opposite of other studies."
In other words, "you could just as easily save ink by setting the same font at a smaller point size." (And smaller font size might not be the best solution for making the business of government accessible to the masses.)
Besides, Phinney explains, many large offices are able to operate printers under a maintenance agreement so they pay by the page — not by the amount of ink or toner used — another point that chips away at the original idea.
On top of that, Garamond doesn't have a "bold italic" option, which makes it not ideal for a widely used government typeface that would need diverse applications. Wah wahhh.
No, Goodreads is not about to publish a just-discovered Jane Austen novel
We get it, you monster.
No, Bill Murray didn't stop a bank robbery in Japan
I get it. I really do. We all love Bill Murray so much that we're willing to believe every last crazy story about him. I lost count of the number of Facebook friends who shared that bullshit Thought Catalog article about what it was like to party with him for a night.
But Bill Murray did not accidentally stop a bank robbery in Japan. The site that claims he did, National Report, is yet another site devoted to making up fake news. (No, George Zimmerman isn't writing children's books, etc., etc.)
I’ll fall for every Bill Murray hoax every time. I just believe in the guy, y’know?
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) March 30, 2014
It was November 2013 in Honolulu. He walked into Bogart's Cafe and then straight behind the counter like he owned the place. An employee said he'd never been there before and was looking for a trashcan so he could throw something away. Apparently he complained a lot about the place being cash-only.
He was wearing brown board shorts that said "Da Hui" on the butt. He did not smile once. He did not stop any robberies. Nothing remarkable happened. And I'm pretty sure that no celebrity sighting could ever top it.
Wednesday, 2064. RT @erikmal: from now until wednesday, everything you see on the internet is a hoax
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) March 31, 2014
Everything is a hoax. There’s a hoax right behind you. Don’t look.
— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) December 13, 2013
April Fools! There's no god; the universe is indifferent to your every struggle and joy.
— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney) April 1, 2014