Top 10 April Fools' Day Joke Web Sites

If we can believe Wikipedia's own Wiki page on the subject (at first unqualified, but subsequently clearly labeled as a joke), the popular user-created reference site was nearly absorbed by venerable dead-tree competitor Encyclopædia Britannica on April 1, 2005. Despite the promise of handsome severance packages for the founders of what was slated to become known as Wikimædia, the deal likely fell through--perhaps due to the onerous financial burden it would have placed on contributors to the newly merged publications. Though future costs were estimated at an astronomical £99.97 for each page creation or edit, the new Wikipædia promised to offset them by offering contributors a chance to win a rare photo of Margaret Thatcher from her days on the burlesque circuit.

NASA logo.NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day tends to be a beautiful high-resolution image of a far-off nebula, one of the moons of Saturn, or perhaps a comet streaking through the heavens. But the most startlingly unexpected image in the Astronomy Picture of the Day archive may be a photograph dated April 1, 2005, that conclusively establishes the presence of water on Mars.

In other space-related news, alert readers of the ordinarily factual Space Daily news site were surprised to learn on the same day that President Bush had canceled the Space Shuttle program.

It was only a matter of time before someone achieved a technological breakthrough to lift body art above its humble drunken-sailor beginnings. That breakthrough was announced and documented on April 1, 2006, when the trusted HowStuffWorks Web site revealed the secret behind the animated tattoo--the Programmable Subcutaneous Visible Implant (PSVI). Warning: The article's graphic photos of the PSVI implantation procedure are definitely not for the squeamish.

Buoyed by the article's success, HowStuffWorks followed it up last April with another behind-the-scenes look at tech implantation: How Cell-Phone Implants Work.

ThinkGeek, the Web-based retailer of "Stuff for Smart Masses," usually observes April Fool's Day by posting new products that not only serve as a catalyst for mirth, but often defy the laws of physics. Starting in 2002 with the Desktop Zero-Point Power Generator, which converted abundant and "naturally occurring" electromagnetic energy into 120-volt AC power ("less than 600 rem of residual ionizing radiation!"), ThinkGeek went on to offer CaffeDerm caffeine-delivering dermal patches (reminiscent of Nicarest smokable nicotine sticks, reported in the Onion back in 1998); a Buzzaire caffeine inhaler; a PC EZ-Bake Oven (fits in a 5¼-inch drive bay); wireless extension cords; the vinyl-ripping, 2-terabyte, 33-pound iZilla Media Monster digital media player; and a USB desktop tanning center.

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