Famous Fools for Fool’s Gold

So what would you do if I said, “Look! I got you some gold!” and handed you a chunk of this?

Image shows a nice piece of pyrite with octrahedral crystal faces.
It’s very golden! Image courtesy Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Well, you would look at those lovely well-developed crystal faces, for one. You would maybe bounce it gently on your hand and determine it’s hefty but not heavy. You could take out a knife and discover you can’t scratch it. If you had a plain white bit of porcelain, you could scrape it along and see that it leaves a mostly-black streak, with maybe a little green or brown tint to it. And if you wanted to make me cry, you could pound it into a pile of black dust with a hammer. Any or all of these tests would leave you shaking your head and saying, “Dana, I’m not a fool. You can’t fool me with fool’s gold! Especially not on April Fools’ Day.”

And then if I told you that there is gold in it, but it’s invisible, you would laugh in my face because it is April Fools’ Day, so I will wait until next week to tell you that there’s invisible gold in there. Well, maybe not in that particular sample, but we can find some that definitely does have invisible gold in it. Continue reading “Famous Fools for Fool’s Gold”

Famous Fools for Fool’s Gold

Well, My Gosh. I Am Certainly Convinced!

Oh, my darlings, I have been so wrong. Sooo so wrong. All this time running around thinking God doesn’t exist, and yet there are these convincing arguments which I have never ever heard before. Checkmate atheists, indeed!

Image shows a baby. Caption says, If evolution is real and adults come from babies, how come babies still exist? Checkmate, atheists!"

There were two signs this week that I was totes wrong about the existence of God. See, there was this one dude with his “7 Things that Prove God is Real,” and lemme tell ya, they’re doozies. They are: Continue reading “Well, My Gosh. I Am Certainly Convinced!”

Well, My Gosh. I Am Certainly Convinced!

April Fools

Yes, I rather ignored April Fool’s Day this year. I’m not much good at the pranking – I hit my pinnacle the year I attached a TVGuide pic of Richard Dean Anderson to a photo of a San Diego sidewalk using glitter nail polish and still managed to convince all my friends I’d actually met him – despite the fact he would’ve been 9 feet tall if that had been a real-life photo. And he had a little bit of glitter coming out of his head. It’s sad how easy it is to snooker folks.

Cujo359 had a rather different take on the day. Instead of fooling people, he went looking for fools. He didn’t have to search for long:

Of course, Glenn Beck is a fool any time of year, but since today is so special, why not take a look at his latest foolishness? The first comes courtesy of Think Progress:

For almost a year, Glenn Beck has been warning with increasing panic that America is headed toward socialism. Tonight, he issued a correction: “They” are are not marching the United States toward socialism, Beck explained, but actually fascism:

It all adds up to me, having to admit that I was wrong. Our government is not marching down the road towards communism or socialism. … But now I have to tell you that they’re not marching us that direction. They’re marching us to a non-violent fascism. Or to put it another way, they’re marching us to 1984. Big Brother. … Like it or not, fascism is on the rise.

Though Beck claimed he didn’t mean “Adolf Hitler kind of fascism” and that he was talking about “fascism with a happy face,” he illustrated his point with more than a minute’s worth of Nazi footage, played dramatically on the full screen behind him.

Glenn Beck: I was wrong. We’re Not Marching To Socialism, We’re Marching Toward Fascism

Of course, Beck isn’t the first damn fool to redefine fascism so he can invent new ways to insult liberals, but this strikes me as a particularly pathetic example of that pathetic rhetorical strategy. Boiled down to its gooey essence, his argument is:

That kind of socialism that I made up so I could call Democratic fiscal policy socialist? I was wrong, it’s really more like this kind of fascism I just made up.

That’s one of the most apt shorters I’ve ever seen. And don’t forget to visit that last link – you’ll be glad you did.

Glenn Beck is one of those people I used to believe only existed on pirate radio stations and street corners near mental institutions. Yet this buffoon has a show on Fox.

I think that’s all we’ll ever need to know about the quality of the Faux News Channel.

Continuing a tradition I began last year, here’s a couple of the clever April Fools posts I came across:

Evolving Thoughts managed to punk a few folks by cleverly posting his prank on March 31st.

Panda’s Thumb explored the merger of AIG with AIG. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Alas, I didn’t have much time to really dig for clever gems. If you unearthed some, let me know in the comments, por favor.

April Fools

April Fools Hall o' Fame

Since I was too lame to prank you myself, I’ve taken the time and effort to spelunk the blogosphere looking for April Fools shenanigans for ye. If any of you are taken in by any of these, I shall be very disappointed – or enormously impressed by the skills of the pranksters.

Just you wait for next year, my darlings. I have 364 days to plot – I’ll get ye yet!

New Humanist reports:

In an unprecedented victory for rationalism, Catholic priests in the north east of England will from today be required to read out a disclaimer prior to delivering the holy sacrament of Communion.


“Congregants should be aware of the gaps and/or problems in the Catholic theory of transubstantiation, including, but not limited to, the Protestant notion that the bread and wine are merely symbolic, the opinions of other religions on the life of Christ, and the lack of conclusive scientific evidence available to support this theory.”

Yes, my darlings, your own dear blogger would have been taken in by that one hook, line and sinker if I hadn’t read the disclaimer and thought, “Wait an effing minute. That sounds awfully like those evolution disclaimer stickers put on textbooks a while back…”

Kudos to Paul Sims for almost pwning me!

Oh, and click the link for the stickers – I nearly peed myself.

Next up, Universe Today announces NASA’s new fundraising initiative:

In an effort to raise additional funds, NASA has announced new partnerships with corporate sponsors. It is becoming increasingly difficult for government-backed space agencies to support the vast range of missions currently exploring the solar system, so urgent measures are being taken. Planetary missions in particular, such as the Mars Exploration Rover project, have fallen on tough times. As already demonstrated by research groups in the UK, funds from private companies are essential for survival and some weird and wonderful methods to capture public interest have already been exploited.

Now it is the perfect time for the biggest marketing stunt yet: tattoo Mars with corporate logos for orbiting spacecraft and ground-based telescopes to observe…

I think it’s the Doritos logo in the accompanying photo that makes the piece plausible. After all, photos can’t be faked, right?

Alas, it can’t all be fun and games. Brian Switek over at Laelaps has a very sad announcement to make:

As many of you are aware, my academic career has been rather rough, my university not being of very much help in preparing me for a career in vertebrate paleontology. This past week, I received notice that I have been in college for so long (and that my transcript is so poor), that I would have to start all over from freshman year again. 120 credits, gone in the blink of an eye. What’s more, I’d have to pay double the regular tuition rate in cash, delivered to a shadowy figure 6 months before the start of each semester, the final indignity being having to wear a “Dunce” cap while retaking my courses.

Brian, darling, no worries. You and Mrs. Laelaps are welcome to crash at my beachfront home in Yuma, AZ until you’ve got things sorted out.

PZ Myers has been cropping up everywhere lately, it seems. Perhaps he’s mastered the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – or he’s become some strange incarnation of Schrödinger’s cat: he’s both present and not present until he’s observed! But The Panda’s Thumb has the exclusive scoop on the true scope of his talents:

As many of you probably know, controversy has surrounded James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s 1953 seminal paper on DNA structure since its publication. Most of the sometimes heated discussions have focused on the attribution of authorship, centering on the source of the data and on the identity of the person who actually originated the DNA double-helix model.

You’ll find the revised list of authors on the second page of the Nature paper. It’s very difficult to see and indistinguishable from the original list of authors, so of course it must be true!

PZ, imitating quantum particles is no way for a biologist to behave. For shame! You must cease your uncertain, both-there-and-not-there, time-travelling ways!

I know I’ve likely missed some spectacular pranks worthy of attention. That’s what I get for having a damned day job! Please feel free to link to your pranks in the comments. My glass is raised high to all of you merry pranksters, undaunted by the challenge of pulling the wool over eyes on the one day everyone becomes a skeptic.


April Fools Hall o' Fame