Wednesday, April 01, 2015
April Fool's Day!
I am sure that there will be many gems for April 1st this year, just as there was last year and in previous years. Here is a link to some pranks from 2011 and to April-Foolish arXiv papers from 2010 (here and here). I have more April-Foolish blog entries around here somewhere... This year, Google got into the act early by letting people play Pac-Man on Google Maps. Now, CERN has demonstrated that The Force exists. (Now that is a truly fundamental force!) [Tip of the cap to Josie Messa for the "news" from CERN.] And in other news out of CERN, apparently rainbow universes are for real.. [Tip of the cap to Kevin Hickerson.] And now we have an article in Nature by Bob May and collaborators indicating that dragons might be real after all. The article has been published in Nature, so we know that we can count on its scientific accuracy. [Tip of the cap to Catarina Amorim and another source that I can't recall.] The journal Science has also gotten into the act, indicate that NASA has found strong evidence at least one Hell (the many-Hells theory is more plausible than the existence of just a single Hell), and it appears to be located on Mercury. Considering the planet's namesake, it kind of makes sense that one might find a Hell there. I really love the article's culminating quote: "Congress told NASA to go to hell, and, by Jove, they made it." [Tip of the cap to Physics Today.] The BBC has summarized some of the pranks from "Tech sites", and of course technology sites tend to take the lead when it comes to April Foolishness. :) [Tip of the cap to Carlos Castillo Chavez.] Also, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum unveiled a "limited exhibition" of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. [Tip of the cap to Foster McLane.] And the American Physics Society, in their popular blurb, reported on killer app for graphene. It was published in a strange journal called Physical Review Graphene. Choice quote: Markus Merk of the Max Planck Institute for Topological Physics in Dingenskirchen, Germany, who wasn’t involved in the research, said the finding is “Refreshing—and potentially very important.” But he thinks other materials could outperform graphene. “Graphene, unfortunately, has no spin-orbit coupling. But topological insulators do. Using these novel materials could increase the plaque-prevention efficiency of toothpastes by at least 35% at liquid helium temperatures.” I love it! And the world apparently went backwards over at Google. [Tip of the cap to Jimmy Lin.] The "Association for Computational Heresy" at Carnegie Mellon University produced an entire conference proceedings with serious realizations of joke ideas and joke realizations of serious ideas. [Tip of the cap to Juegren Pfeffer.] Meanwhile, in a new paper on the arXiv, some scholars have proposed that we give up not only on Falsifiability (as others have suggested) but also on other 'F' words, such as Fidelity, Factuality, and Frugality. [Tip of the cap to Vinko Zlatić.] Even DARPA got into the act. They advertised new programs that simultaneously test the limits of technology and credulity. [Tip of the cap to Heather Dean.]