April Fool's Day Science Hoaxes
The Michigan Shark Experiment.
The Herald-News in Roscommon, Michigan reported that 3 lakes in northern Michigan had been selected to host "an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks." Two thousand sharks were to be released into the lakes including blue sharks, hammerheads, and a few great whites. The experiment was designed to determine whether the sharks could survive in the cold climate of Michigan, and apparently the federal government was spending $1.3 million to determine this. A representative from the National Biological Foundation was quoted as saying that there would probably be a noticeable decline in the populations of other fish in the lake because "the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older."
County officials were said to have protested the experiment, afraid of the hazard it would pose to fishermen and swimmers, but their complaints had been ignored by the federal government. Furthermore, fishermen had been forbidden from catching the sharks. The report concluded by again quoting the National Biological Foundation representative, who said that "We can't be responsible for people if they are attacked. Besides,
Holy Grail Discovered.
Discover magazine reported that an archaeologist digging in Jerusalem had uncovered the legendary Holy Grail. The archaeologist, Leon Decoeur, found the grail on Christmas eve when, for no particular reason, he had decided to work late at the dig. The discovery had sparked intense excitement and controversy in the scientific community, although some doubted Decoeur's findings, remembering that 15 years earlier he had claimed to have found the Sermon on the Mount. Most exciting of all, blood had been found at the bottom of the cup. Decoeur hypothesized that the DNA of Jesus might reveal, once and for all, "that we're closer to chimpanzees than to the deity."
Solar Complexus Americanus.
The Glasgow Herald described the recent arrival in Britain of a new energy-saving miracle: heat-generating plants. These plants, known by the scientific name Solar complexus americanus, were imports from Venezuela. One plant alone, fed by nothing more than three pints of water a day, generated as much heat as a 2kw electric fire. A few of these horticultural wonders placed around a house could entirely eliminate the need for a central-heating system, and when submerged in water, the plants created a constant supply of hot water. The Scandinavian botanist responsible for discovering these hot-air producers was Professor Olaf Lipro.
Sky Becoming Less Blue.
The British Mail on Sunday announced that the sky was becoming less blue. It cited a five-year study conducted at the Koenraad University in Amsterdam which had used special digital cameras and color charts to measure subtle shifts in the sky's color. The study's researchers had found that the "'coefficient of blueness'... has drastically diminished in five years from 9.3 per cent in 1996 to just 6.9 per cent this year." They attributed this color change to the effects of air pollution and the depleting ozone layer. The article explained, "Particles of airborne pollution are thought to be creating a thick blanket of dirty grey." This blanket of pollution was preventing the 'scattering' of sunlight as it passed through the atmosphere, causing the sky to darken. Astronomer Patrick Moore was quoted as saying, "There's an awful lot of pollution, making the sky turn a strange russety colour."
The Mail on Sunday invited its readers to help the researchers in Amsterdam by taking part in a "mass observation" scheduled to occur between 10am and noon on April 1. A "Skyometer" had been printed on the right side of the page that provided a graded chart of different shades of blue. By holding
An Oslo Township announced that city workers had discovered the remains of a 15,000-year-old body while digging part of a tunnel for the local subway system. As a result, work on the subway had been halted indefinitely. The skeleton was going to be named “Homo Metro” because of where it had been found.
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