Saturday, March 10, 2007
April Fools' Day - Real Life Hoaxes
Here are some weird and illogical rules and regulations and decisions imposed on the people in various regions. Thankfully, they were just April Fool hoaxes or they would have had drastic effects and might have resulted in rebellions, revolutions and mass movements to dethrone such stupid and eccentric authority.

In 1959, the Kokomo Tribune of Indiana announced that to cut the costs, the city police would close each night from 6 pm to 6 am and one can leave their messages on an answering machine, which will be screened by an officer in the morning. It will also lessen the pressure of work as many of the calls would be old by that time and there would be no need to answer them. A spokesman for the police commented that in the case there is an emergency call in the night, they can go check the hospitals and the coroner in the morning and know if anything has happened or not!

In 1987, a Los Angeles disc jockey that Los Angeles Highway System would be closed for an entire month for repairs from April 8. The citizens were highly alarmed by the startling news for they could not avoid the use of the highway to navigate through the city and immediately the radio station and the California Highway Patrol were flooded with thousands of frantic calls. The intense public response stunned even the station, not to mention that the California Department of Transportation didn't find it 'very funny.'

In 1991, the London Times announced the cabinet's approval of the plan of Department of Transport to alleviate overcrowding on the M25, the circular highway surrounding London by making the traffic on both carriageways travel in the same direction. Thus, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the traffic would travel clockwise while on Tuesdays and Thursdays it would travel anti-clockwise. On weekends, traffic can go on as usual. Many people voiced their protest. A spokesman for Labor Transport warned that many people have 'trouble telling their left from their right.' A resident of Swanley, Kent said that the scheme was impractical because the villagers using the motorway to go for shopping to Orpington, would have to drive just for two miles on some days and 117 miles on others. Well, it was just a joke.

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In 1993, the China Youth Daily, the official state newspaper of China had a government's decision as its first lead on the front page, where Ph.D. holders were exempted from the one child limit imposed by state to control population explosion. The story had a disclaimer in the end identifying it as a joke. Yet, Hong Kong's New Evening News and Agence France-Presse (an international news agency) were taken in and reported it as a fact.Intellectuals of the country thought the idea to be prompted by the Singaporeans who encouraged their intellectuals to marry and have children to ensure better crop of citizens for the next generation. The Chinese government declared such hoaxes and April Fool's Day as a hazardous tradition of the West while the Guangming Daily, Beijing's main newspaper read mostly by the intellectuals, published an editorial stating April Fool's Day to be a Liar's Day and having bad influence.

In the same year, Westdeutsche Rundfunk, a German radio station, made an official announcement about a new city regulation for the citizens of Cologne where the joggers going through the park could not go faster than six mph to avoid disturbing the squirrels in the middle of their mating season.

The physicist Mark Boslough's article published in April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter state that the Alabama state legislature had passed a bill and voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi. It was to be put to the Biblical value of '3.0' instead of the actual value '3.14159'. The article reached the world over through the Internet and soon the Alabama legislature was stormed with calls protesting such an illogical move. The original article was actually a parody on the legislative attempts to confine the teaching of evolution.

In 1999, the Savings Bank of Rockville placed an ad in the Connecticut Journal-Inquirer on 31st March to announce that they would charge their customers $5 fee for the help of a live teller to ensure enhanced 'professional, caring and superior customer service.' Though, it was a joke, customers were highly agitated by it and it was reported that one woman even closed her account with the bank because of it. The bank ran a second ad revealing the first one to be just a joke with the comment of bank manager that it had actually committed the bank 'to not charging such fees.'

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posted by Gerry at Saturday, March 10, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤