Clone Zone was built by a pair of artists and opened to the public last April, after the artists’ TechCrunch spoof site won them some Facebook love. The tool aims to democratize the art of spoof-making, letting users create fake spins on popular sites with as little time and effort as it takes to craft a tweet.
Because it was out of beta weeks after April Fool’s Day 2015, Clone Zone wasn’t ready for the public to test its true Internet-trolling potential last year. This year it is live, but is the Internet ready?
Oops. If posting nude animal pictures is a sin, I’m guilty.
On their website, National Geographic fesses up to the prank, offering a slideshow of “real, quirky snapshots of well-dressed cats and dogs, created by photographer Harry Whittier Frees in the early 1900s.” Behold, tiny kittens in clothes:
We think we’ve spotted something unusual on the surface of Loch Ness in Scotland. The lake extends for approximately 23 miles (37 km) and is well-known as the possible home to “Nessie” - reportedly a massive sea monster resembling a plesiosaur. While water visibility is exceptionally low at the lake because of high peat content in the surrounding soil, our Overview perspective does not suffer from the same limitations and picked up this figure in imagery from 2014.
March Madness is old news, guys. It’s April now, and you know what April 1 brings? Madness. Absolute madness. And the worst type of madness, as anyone who as been on or heard of the Internet knows, is #brand madness.
So, of course, we made a bracket about it. We rounded up 16 pranks from 16 #brands and divided them into four categories: media, tech, stuff you can buy, and other, because some pranks are just so special that they defy categorization. Fill it out yourself, if you like! But also know that this is objectively correct and definitive. Enjoy!
(April Fool’s! No one enjoys this.)
The New York Timesannounced it will stop publishing crossword puzzles. “There are plenty of perfectly good crosswords out there,” wrote the Times’ “puzzle constructor,” Deb Amlen. “They’re not the New York Times Crossword, but like I said, you’ll adjust.” This is probably the daddest joke in the bracket.
National Geographictweeted that it would “immediately stop publishing nude animal pictures,” an announcement that was accompanied by an embarrassed-looking hedgehog thing (as Caroline noted earlier). Shows that Playboy can still be an industry leader.
GQ replaced every image on its homepage with a photo of Jason Alexander, perhaps better known as George Costanza from Seinfeld. We’ll give him this: the man knows how to wear a raincoat.
Writers for sister sites Deadspin, which focuses on sports, and Jezebel, which is geared toward women, switched roles for the day. Jezebel’s writers did a better job, occupying their colleagues’ homepage with headlines like “Man Achieves Adequacy” and “I’m Pretty Sure Most Straight Men Would Have Sex with The Rock.”
Samsung announced a new line of “intelligent trousers,” which ostensibly monitor their wearer’s vital signs and send them a smartphone notification to keep their pants on if they get too excited. Coming from a company that recently released a 5,000 dollar refrigerator with a 21.5’’ touchscreen crammed into it, we weren’t at first sure if this was a joke.
Google showed off its latest virtual-reality headset, the see-through Cardboard Plastic. “What’s realer than real?” the voiceover deadpans in an announcement video. “Probably nothing. Or maybe something. I doubt it, though.” Points for self-parody.
Google tried a little too hard with a cutesy addition to Gmail it called MicDrop, which added a new button to the email screen. When clicked, it appended a mic-dropping gif of a minion (from the Despicable Me movies) to outgoing messages and muted the responses. The prank went over very, very poorly, and Google pulled the feature last night.
In a better, happier world, Zoosk’s dating site that matches users based on their burrito preferences—delightfully named Burrit-OH!—would be real. And it would be a smash hit, and it would save all kinds of bickering on the Chipotle line, and the people would rejoice. Alas, it’s not actually happening. To all you tofu-bean aficionados tryna make it with a carnitas lover: Godspeed, you crazy kids.
Cultural powerhouse H&M teamed up with fashion icon Mark Zuckerberg to bring his signature look to the masses. Yep, it’s a box of seven identical gray t-shirts and a pair of blue jeans. Check out the lookbook for photos of Zuck doing his thing.
You’re a freshman about to show your dorm rooms to your mom for the first time, and it smells, um, less than presentable. Time-honored tradition says you reach for a candle or five. But forget that lavender honey Yankee candle. Show some personality with a Sbarro pizza candle. That’ll make mama proud.
Waffle House may have falsely promised waffle delivery, but there’s hope yet for all those who are really jonesing for some waffles right now but also don’t want to get up: Pick up the shattered pieces of your heart and rejoice in the new UberEats.
If you thought Quilted Northern’s new line of “rustic weave” artisanal toilet paper made from tree bark was real, you probably deserve the butt splinters.
That annoying acquaintance on your Facebook feed who’s announced that they’re engaged or moving or pregnant or something. Spoiler: This will always lose. You’re the worst. You know who you are.
The Amherst Police Department’s faux-newest member is Dusty, the Narcotics Detection Rabbit, complete with official police harness and adorable lil’ tail. If you have to suffer through an April Fool’s prank, at least you get to look at a picture of a bunny.
Unfortunately, no, Mattel did not purchase Juneau, Alaska, and rename it after everyone’s favorite slumber-party card game, but they made a hell of a logo. (Uno-fied April 1, 2015). (Uno-fied!) (Fine, we’re suckers for wordplay.)
Trulia, the real-estate website, jumped on the hipster-hating bandwagon (“Hipsters are the WORST”) and made a map to let house-hunters know where to avoid if they can’t stand to look at their “skinny jeans and perfectly coiffed mustaches and mermaid hair.” But Trulia may be helping out their enemy here: Hipsters across the country are gathering their belongings to conquer the last remaining pristine landscape.
Thirty-one-year-old Andrew Giuliani finds himself in a surprisingly comfortable corner of the White House—for now.
It’s hard to turn on cable news or scroll through Twitter these days without catching the name “Giuliani.” Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is a central character in the House’s impeachment inquiry. Meanwhile, Rudy’s third wife, Judith Giuliani, has commanded her own headlines as she’s aired details of the couple’s contentious, ongoing divorce proceedings. Scarcely mentioned, however, is Andrew Giuliani—the former New York mayor’s 31-year-old son—who works in the White House.
Rudy Giuliani told me his son’s hire “wasn’t the usual ‘hire my kid’ situation.” “He’s known the president since he was a baby,” Rudy said. “Now, did he know him in the first place because he was the mayor’s son? Sure, but they also had a relationship independent of me.”
People in different regions of the U.S. have measurably different psychological profiles.
A few years ago, Jason Rentfrow, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, dug into a question that has captivated him for decades: Do different places have different personalities? Do people in Los Angeles, for instance, have measurably different temperaments from the residents of Augusta, Georgia? If so, what does that mean for both places? Rentfrow decided to test these questions on a phenomenon that has captivated all of America lately: the rise of Donald Trump.
Together with his co-authors, Rentfrow analyzed a set of surveys that had been conducted from 2003 to 2015 in 2,082 U.S. counties—about two-thirds of all the counties in the country. The surveys asked 3 million people 44 questions about their habits and dispositions. Rentfrow and his co-authors focused on neuroticism, a tendency to feel depressed or anxious and to respond more severely to stress. Neuroticism is one of the “big five” traits that psychologists often use to measure personality. The study authors compared each county’s level of neuroticism with whether those counties later voted for Trump in the 2016 election, and whether they had historically voted for Republicans.
Yet his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein—which continued after the latter’s conviction for solicitation of prostitution involving a minor—is disturbing on another level. The prince’s decision this weekend to give an interview to the BBC about that friendship, which entirely lacked empathy or remorse, compounds the offense.
From the start, it was apparent that the queen’s second son dwells not on Earth, but on Planet Aristocracy. It is a land governed by rules and codes that are unfathomable to the rest of us. When the BBC’s Emily Maitlis asked whether he had invited Epstein to a party, Andrew quickly corrected her: “It was a shooting weekend … a straightforward shooting weekend.” The distinction—between an evening event and staying with friends to fire guns in muddy fields—is meaningless to anyone who grew up outside the English upper classes. Throughout, he seemed to adhere to an honor code where ghosting a friend is unconscionably discourteous, but exploiting underage girls is merely a “manner unbecoming.” It is essentially a two-tier view of the world, where people are divided into equals and human chaff.
Thirteen years ago, a young woman was found dead in small-town Texas. She was nicknamed “Lavender Doe” for the purple shirt she was wearing. Her real identity would remain a mystery until amateur genealogists took up her case.
The dead girl had perfect teeth.
That’s what so many of the strangers who obsessed over her case online noticed, and one of the few things that could even be noticed. Her body was burned so badly as to be unrecognizable when she was found in the early hours of October 29, 2006, near Longview, Texas.
The two men who saw her thought, at first, that they had stumbled across a mannequin set on fire, perhaps as an early Halloween prank. It was the smell that alerted them to something more sinister in the woods—a smell like charred hot dogs. When they stepped closer, they realized the awful and obvious truth. A human being had been killed, then doused in gasoline and set on fire, and probably only minutes before: Her body was still ablaze.
My parents recently divorced, and I’m not ready to spend the holiday with new people.
I’m in my late 20s, and my parents recently divorced after several decades of marriage. The divorce process was initiated about a year ago, and finalized about six months ago. I genuinely feel relieved that my mom and dad got divorced, and I think it is the best thing for both of them. My dad quickly got a new girlfriend, which I expected, and she moved in with him. I’ve met her once, at a large gathering, and she seems fine. My sibling has been living abroad temporarily, so has not yet met her.
For the upcoming holidays, my sibling and I will likely spend half of Thanksgiving Day at my dad’s house and the other half at my mom's house. When discussing Thanksgiving, my dad indicated that he is expecting us to spend time with his girlfriend (who will be doing the cooking) and her family (her adult children, their spouses, and her grandchildren, none of whom I’ve met).
In an effort to prove that he did not sexually assault a 17-year-old in the 1990s, Prince Andrew offered a bizarre medical explanation.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, had a long friendship with the deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell. Over the course of a decade, he stayed at their homes in New York and Palm Beach, traveled on Epstein’s private jet, and partied with the pair.
All of this is according to the prince. But according to Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has said she was a victim of Epstein’s, the prince’s involvement in Epstein’s crimes went deeper than complicity. Giuffre has alleged that Epstein and Maxwell forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew multiple times, beginning when she was 17.
In August, Buckingham Palace issued statements denying the allegations. But the prince had not spoken for himself until Saturday, when the BBC’s Emily Maitlis interviewed him in the State Room of the palace.
By migrating in huge herds, bison behave like a force of nature, engineering and intensifying waves of spring greenery that other grazers rely on.
Chris Geremia was surprised. After considerable effort, and substantial risk to life and limb, he and his colleagues finally had the results from their decade-long experiment, and those results were both clear and unexpected: Bison do not surf.
Specifically, bison (or buffalo) don’t follow the waves of new shoots that burst from the ground every spring. This phenomenon, known as surfing the green wave, allows animals to eat plants at their most nutritious, when they’re full of nitrogen and proteins and low in indigestible matter. Such freshness is fleeting, and so grazers undertake large migrations to track the new greenery as it crests across the landscape. Over the past decade, scientists have shown that mule deer, barnacle geese, elk, elephants, Mongolian gazelles, and a dozen other species all do this. Geremia wanted to see whether bison, which once formed the largest grazing herds in North America, follow the same pattern.
I first met him 21 years ago, and now our relationship is the subject of a new movie. He’s never been more revered—or more misunderstood.
A long time ago, a man of resourceful and relentless kindness saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. He trusted me when I thought I was untrustworthy, and took an interest in me that went beyond my initial interest in him. He was the first person I ever wrote about who became my friend, and our friendship endured until he died. Now a movie has been made from the story I wrote about him, which is to say “inspired by” the story I wrote about him, which is to say that in the movie my name is Lloyd Vogel and I get into a fistfight with my father at my sister’s wedding.
I did not get into a fistfight with my father at my sister’s wedding. My sister didn’t have a wedding. And yet the movie, called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, seems like a culmination of the gifts that Fred Rogers gave me and all of us, gifts that fit the definition of grace because they feel, at least in my case, undeserved.
More than two centuries after it was designed to empower southern white voters, the system continues to do just that.
Is a color-blind political system possible under our Constitution? If it is, the Supreme Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 did little to help matters. While black people in America today are not experiencing 1950s levels of voter suppression, efforts to keep them and other citizens from participating in elections began within 24 hours of the Shelby County v. Holder ruling and have only increased since then.
In Shelby County’s oral argument, Justice Antonin Scalia cautioned, “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get them out through the normal political processes.” Ironically enough, there is some truth to an otherwise frighteningly numb claim. American elections have an acute history of racial entitlements—only they don’t privilege black Americans.
A tectonic demographic shift is under way. Can the country hold together?
Democracy depends on the consent of the losers. For most of the 20th century, parties and candidates in the United States have competed in elections with the understanding that electoral defeats are neither permanent nor intolerable. The losers could accept the result, adjust their ideas and coalitions, and move on to fight in the next election. Ideas and policies would be contested, sometimes viciously, but however heated the rhetoric got, defeat was not generally equated with political annihilation. The stakes could feel high, but rarely existential. In recent years, however, beginning before the election of Donald Trump and accelerating since, that has changed.