Friday, April 01, 2005

The island of San Serriffe

One of my favourite April Fools pranks is this one from The Guardian in 1977:
"In 1977, The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement in honor of the tenth anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. Articles described the eccentric culture of the island. One strange island custom was the Festival of the Well Made Play. Authentic advertisements also accompanied the articles. For instance, Texaco offered a contest for which the first prize was a two-week trip to Cocobanana Beach in San Serriffe.

"The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot.

"Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology."

As a "leftie" myself, I can't resist The Left-Handed Whopper either:

"In 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a Left-Handed Whopper specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new Whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, many others requested their own 'right-handed' version."

98 more great pranks

Other links today:

+ Nine Inch Nails are back! New album out in May. On tour now. Great Reznor interview in current Kerrang magazine. Time to start visiting my favourite NIN site again.

+ Eboy's London. Tokyotastic! (Large image file)

+ Why cyclists wear black shorts. ROTFL!

+ English accents and dialects. A collection of audio samples at the British Library.

+ Brian Eno in Index magazine, 2002. "Musician, producer, and artist Brian Eno would much rather talk about urbanism, new computer applications, or emergence theory than something as pedestrian as EQ levels or his own brilliant musical history."

+ Eskimos actually have few words for snow, says linguist Steven Pinker. "Contrary to popular belief, the Eskimos do not have more words for snow than do speakers of English. They do not have four hundred words for snow, as it has been claimed in print, or two hundred, or one hundred, or forty-eight, or even nine. One dictionary puts the figure at two. Counting generously, experts can come up with about a dozen, but by such standards English would not be far behind with snow, sleet, slush, blizzard, avalanche, hail, hardpack, powder, flurry and dusting."

+ The way we live now: Bad connections. More on ego-casting. (Reg. req.)

+ Are socialites still networking? "More than a year after social networking became the leading buzzword in internet startup circles, companies in the sector haven't gained the traction early enthusiasts predicted. Still, many of the bigger networking services say the number of users is growing steadily, and if they're not profitable already, they soon will be."

+ Contact lenses react to blood-sugar levels. "Contact lenses that change their appearance according to the wearer's blood-sugar level could one day help people with diabetes keep track of their levels non-invasively, new research suggests."

+ Western states offer the most coffee shops."Coffee drinkers in the Western United States have the most stores from which to snag a cup of Joe, according to a new survey. Anchorage scores highest with the most coffee outlets per capita."

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