April Fools Day goes hi-tech

A street performer dressed as a skomorokh at a Clown Parade on April Fools' Day. Source: ITAR-TASS

A street performer dressed as a skomorokh at a Clown Parade on April Fools' Day. Source: ITAR-TASS

Every year, April Fools’ Day brings something new. This year, the majority of practical jokes in Russia and around the world were connected to the Internet, computer technology or social networks. Even a Russian lawmaker got in on the fun to lighten the mood in parliament.

Leading the pack of April Fools’ tricksters this year were Mail.Ru and Intel, who announced plans to release digital contact lenses to compete with Google’s innovative Google Glass computer.

“The contact lenses are a hardware solution that can be used as an add-on to smartphones that run on the Intel Atom microprocessor,” the news release said.

According to the developers, the “innovative lenses” can send images from your smartphone directly to your retina. “Just look at a person for at least five seconds and you will get information about them from their social networking profiles and their instant messaging accounts.”

The device will be equipped with a LED chip projector, a battery and an antenna. Following Google’s lead, the companies published “photographic evidence,” supposedly taken with the contact lenses.

Kaspersky Lab pulled one of the bigger April Fools’ jokes, claiming that they had “discovered” the most powerful cyber-system in the world – Mother-SCADA.

“You’ve probably all heard about the progressive work of the American scientists the Wachowskis, which confirms that the terrestrial Earth (as it is seen by us humans) is a projected, virtual world of a real world. Technically, this projection is made possible using the industrial complex of the Matrix. And so our uncovering Mother-SCADA – the chief behind-the-scenes enabler of the Matrix – is no less than phenomenal,” Eugene Kaspersky wrote in his blog.

It turns out that “literally everything on the planet: from how breakfast tastes and the size of annual bonuses, to the hours of night and day time and how fast the sun and the stars move across the skies” relies on the “smooth and uninterrupted operation” of Mother-SCADA.

The company went on to say that the architecture of the Mother-SCADA system does not allow for a 100-percent guarantee of its security. This is why Kaspersky Lab is planning to start development of a security solution for the “mother of all SCADAs,” inviting the world’s top experts to help design secure SCADA operating systems.

Mother Nature got in on the act as well. April in Moscow kicked off with the kind of snowstorm that you could only dream about on Christmas. Russky Reportermagazine later announced that the storm was actually the work of scientists who had invented warm snow.

The snow does not melt until the thermometer hits a balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means Muscovites will be able to keep building those snowmen and going cross-country skiing for a few more weeks yet.

According to Kommersant, journalists delight in the April Fools’ tradition more than anyone. It turns out that people are quite happy to get their April Fools’ fix from newspapers and television.

In everyday life, most people cannot do much better than a dull “your shoes are untied” joke. Only 7 percent of those who talked to Kommersantsaid they could be bothered to think up something original.

As for politicians, Sergei Ivanov of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia received the most laughs for his draft bill banning the consumption of garlic in public places. The explanatory note to the draft bill stated that the use of garlic is widespread in Russia.

According to experts, over 40 percent of the adult population (almost 44 million people) are regular users. The remaining 60 percent suffer from the negative effects of garlic use.

The draft bill thus proposed that garlic be banned in buildings that are not properly ventilated, as well as in children’s play areas and public spaces. Additionally, garlic should not be sold to pregnant women, nursing mothers or artists.

Journalists were quick to point out the similarities of the bill – which has been officially registered and given a number in the State Duma database – with the recently adopted anti-smoking laws in Russia.

Ivanov later explained: “We’ve been adopting a large number of draconian laws recently […] I just wanted to show people that there’s no need to take ourselves so seriously; we need to take a different perspective on what we do here sometimes.”

There was no shortage of April foolery around the world either. The European Organization for Nuclear Research announced that it was giving away fundamental particles, and Google made public its plans to launch the Google Nose service, which allows users to detect and even share various odors.

Meanwhile, Twitter announced that it was going to start charging for its services. You can still tweet for free, however – provided that you do not use any vowels.

Based on materials from Kommersant, RIA Novosti and Digit.ru

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