ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 44

Foolproof quiz

By Smriti Daniel

Here's a truth for you: Never trust a media person as far as you can throw him or her.

We have our own complications, motivations, and cleverly-hidden aspirations. We're not filled with the milk of human kindness; we're not trying to "make the world a better place."

In fact, we're almost always laughing at you – you just don't know it.

So you see, we're a nasty, wicked lot. Yes, I mean that. Really, I do. The question is, can you tell?

For our April Fools' Day special we've compiled a list of some fantastic stories that newspapers and television channels have carried in the past.

Some are simply gags, in honour of April 1, others are the real deal. Which is which? Take the quiz.

1. Silence: Squirrels getting it on
In 1993 city officials in Cologne, Germany, imposed a new regulation on people jogging through the city park. Runners were required to pace themselves to go no faster than six mph. Any faster, the city officials cautioned, could disturb the squirrels who were in the middle of their mating season.
a) It's the truth – cross my heart…
b) Pull the other leg…it's got bells on.

2. Crustless Bread: The best thing since bread came sliced!
For those who just can't stand the taste of crusts, and are too lazy to cut them off themselves, Sara Lee introduced in 2002 the ultimate in convenience: crustless bread. Available in stores everywhere!
a) Why can't I ever find this stuff at Keells?
b) Ha, ha!

3. Get a cool, corporate tattoo, get an even cooler discount!
The Pepsi-Cola Company, in search of more innovative ways to reach out to young consumers, once experimented with offering teenagers an intriguing deal. The company sponsored teenagers to tattoo themselves with its corporate logo. In return for permanently branding themselves, the teenagers received a lifetime 10% discount on the company's products. Teenagers were said to have responded enthusiastically to the offer.
a) Sounds like the deal of a lifetime!
b) Ha, ha, ha.

4. Spaghetti Trees: It's been a good year!
Thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded, destructive spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers enjoyed a bumper spaghetti crop from their flourishing spaghetti trees in the summer of 1957.
a) Where can I find a seed?
b) I'm still laughing.

5. Keep on running, my good man!
Japanese long-distance runner Kimo Nakajimi entered the London Marathon in 1983 but got confused by a poor translation of the rules. The result? He thought he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. Apparently, several people saw him, but were unable to flag him down. He was finally discovered, well after the race was over, still out running in the English countryside.
a) There he goes! Somebody stop him!
b) Its a gag, duh!

6.Chicken Manure- Powered Electrical Plant!
In 1991 Mitsubishi Bank contacted venture capitalists about an exciting new investment opportunity: Fibropower, a 14-megawatt generating plant fuelled entirely by chicken poop. Finally, the investment prospectus boasted, a way to put unwanted chicken manure to good use. Suggestions that this was a chickens**t idea were ignored.
a) I say: Let us waste nothing we can use!
b) Something smells bad... and it ain't no fish!

7. Prehistoric Penguin Murals
Man and penguin once lived as one. In 1991 prehistoric murals were discovered on the walls of an underwater cave in eastern France revealing that penguins and man once lived side-by-side in that region.
Historians, accustomed to seeing prehistoric depictions of animals such as bison and deer, were extremely surprised to find the penguins.
a) How fascinating!
b) <snorting> Now we've heard it all!

8. Excuse me, my tooth is ringing
Engineers unveiled the world's first tooth telephone, perfect for those who want to talk hands-free while on the go.
When implanted into a tooth, the tiny device vibrates to let the user know there's a call. Users speak normally, and the tiny microphone picks up their voice. Incoming sounds are transferred to the inner ear by means of bone resonance.
a) What happens when I'm eating and it rings?
b) Pass the pop corn, this is finally getting creative.

9. Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
An once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event occurred in 1976 when the planet Pluto passed behind Jupiter; temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity.

People, who jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, experienced a strange floating sensation.

10. Karate fare collectors: Don't try hopping this bus for free!
Faced with a growing number of unruly passengers, one town in Ukraine recently adopted a unique solution: Karate-trained fare collectors.
The number of passengers trying to ride without paying was said to be down sharply ever since the new collectors were introduced.
a) Here's the exact change.
b) Where's your black belt! I say "Ha!" to you.

11. Elephants can go “cuckoo!"
A recent study revealed that elephants have hitherto unheralded powers to mimic sounds, including birds, and nearby traffic.
a) Awwww….but how does an elephant manage to sound like a truck?
b) Somebody get me some earplugs. This is really stretching it.

12. Whistling Carrots
Tired of overcooking the carrots? Now there's a solution.
British scientists announced last year the development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot.'
Tapered air-holes inside the carrot cause it to whistle when properly cooked.
a) Gee, that's handy!
b) Right. That's it.

That's the last lie! I can’t take it anymore!
Ha, ha! We just bet we've made a fool out of you…at least once! Check the scoring tables anyway, to see which ones, if any, you did get right.

Scoring Table:

1.April Fool! Perpetrated by Westdeutsche Rundfunk, a Cologne radio station, in 1993.

2. True. This product was actually marketed by Sara Lee.

3. April Fool! Reported by All Things Considered, on National Public Radio, in 1994.

4. April Fool! Reported in 1957 on the respected BBC news show Panorama. (Huge numbers of viewers were taken in, and many called up wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. To this question, the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.")

5. April Fool! Appeared in the Daily Mail in 1981.

6. True. In 1991 Mitsubishi Bank in London sought investors to back a 22 million pound loan to fund Fibropower. Because Mitsubishi Bank publicized the offer around April 1, many investors assumed they were joking.

7. True. French divers discovered a partly flooded cave filled with prehistoric rock paintings and engravings, a great underground amphitheater studded with running horses, bison and deer as well as images of human hands believed to have been drawn some 18,000 years ago. The cave lies deep inside a cliff on the edge of the Mediterranean. Its murals surprised specialists because they included drawings of seals and penguins – not the usual suspects.

8. True. Invented by Jimmy Loizeau and James Auger, researchers at MIT Media Lab Europe. Not yet available for consumers.

9. April Fool! When the moment arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation.

One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

10. True. A strategy implemented in 1993 by the city of Chernivtsy in western Ukraine following a number of attacks on bus inspectors.

11. True. Elephants – especially when bored and lonely – have an unusual ability to mimic and learn new sounds which scientists believe they use as a form of acoustic communication.

12. April Fools! Advertised by Tesco, a British supermarket chain, in a half-page advertisement in The Sun in 2002.


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