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April Fools Day 2013: The internet’s best hoaxes

Nasa's Curiosity Rover, Sir Mick Jagger, and an owl all feature in our April Fools round-up. Picture: Nasa/Getty/PA

Nasa's Curiosity Rover, Sir Mick Jagger, and an owl all feature in our April Fools round-up. Picture: Nasa/Getty/PA

  • by RAY PHILP
 

April Fools is over now, so you can stop squinting at your Twitter and Facebook feeds with Columbo-esque suspicion. From mail-delivering owls to Twitter storms in outer space, we round-up the best of the web’s April Fools efforts

An early contender for obvious April Fools’ joke of the day was a report in The Sun that Princess Diana had been smuggled into a gay bar dressed as a man by Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett, which, it turns out, is actually true. 
The Metro’s April Fools’ gambit invoked the dreaded Twitter storm - in outer space. Reporting the downcast Twitter musings of the Curiousity Rover, the Metro told of the Nasa vessel’s frustration at abuse from online trolls telling it to “eat dust”, while also noting its veiled threats to withhold information it discovered about Mars, and even destroy the Earth.

The Times also looked to the stars for inspiration, reporting the US space agency’s bid to catch an asteroid in a giant bag as part of a plan to enable humans to live in space. The asteroid would be towed to the moon using an unmanned craft in a $2.6 billion mission.

Meanwhile, The Guardian invited readers to take a peek at its latest invention, Guardian Goggles. Parodying the Google Glass spectacles, the left-leaning eyewear enables users to download reviews of everything from latest films to local restaurants, just by a purposeful jut of one’s jaw, apparently. Michael Gove even makes a cameo.

Google, not shy of a sense of humour themselves, claimed that Youtube has been an elaborate eight-year search for the best ever video (some otherworldly combination of cats, Psy, and Harlem Shake ought to do it) and will shut down today. It also unveiled Google Nose, a sniff-based search engine that technology that promises the “sharpest olfactory experience available”.

We smelled a rat when spying the Daily Mail’s April Fools’ story, a suspicion confirmed when it was swiftly gobbled up by the Royal Mail’s owl-based internal mail delivery service. The Mail reported that animal sanctuary experts had trained owls to mimic those seen at Hogwarts amid Royal Mail staff cuts which left a backlog of mail.

Twitter’s announcement on its consonant-only service this morning proved that cuts aren’t just for state-owned organisations - they’re for vowels too. A two-tiered system will see users who don’t want to pay $5 a month relegated to pblshng twts lk ths, in order to encourage “a more efficient and ‘dense’ form of communication.”

The Sun continued the downsizing theme as they claimed Rolling Stones millionaires Sir Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood deserted their stately piles in favour of the great outdoors in a £70 tent, in preparation for their headlining slot at Glastonbury. Extra marks for the accompanying headline, ‘Gimme shelter’.

Our own April Fools’ joke had it that athletes competing in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow could choose to represent either Scotland or Great Britain. Secret talks in the wake of the Olympics had raised the possibility of a Team GB competing alongside Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Finally, the Metro revelled in the April Fools trickery as it created a fake round-up of April Fools’ jokes and hoaxes, including a story about Nick Clegg’s application for a Ukip internship, Cheryl Cole as a pink Angel of the North, and a Buzzfeed writer’s nervous breakdown laid bare (in list form, of course).

Among our favourites was the Vatican’s announcement that Pope Francis was to shun the chance to pimp his Popemobile in favour of something more modest - a bulletproof donkey-drawn cart.

 

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