Last night, a group of culture jammers called Indecline improved a "1-800-GOT-JUNK?" billboard on a highway in Emeryville, California, just east of San Francisco. The billboard previously said "We make junk disappear" and they fixed it to read "We make kids disappear - ICE."
In a statement sent to the media, Indecline stated that the modification was a response to "President Trump's handling of the current immigration crisis, particularly, the separation of young children from their families."
Indecline also posted the following documentation of their work:
(SFGate) Read the rest
Bavaria's far-right, Islamophobic government enacted its Kreuzpflicht ("cross obligation") law, which mandates that every government building must display a Christian cross, and finessed this violation of Germany's legally enforced separation of church and state by claiming the crosses were "cultural," not "religious" and by saying that each building "should hang up the cross as they think best."
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For the first time in over 60 years, Easter and April Fools' Day are on the same day, creating the rare EasterFools' Day holiday.
To celebrate, former NASA-JPL engineer/current science YouTube star Mark Rober (previously) went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to demonstrate some easy pranks for this rare double holiday. For example, he fills hollow chocolate bunnies with broccolini and calls them "Brocco-Bunny" and puts Brussels sprouts on sticks and then dips them in melted chocolate, creating "Brussels Pops."
What he does with mayonnaise is unforgivable. And the kids they give these EasterFools' "treats" to are surely scarred for life.
FYI: the next EasterFools' Day happens in 2029. Read the rest
The Wind Symphony at Liberty University decided to prank their band director by playing the Mii Channel theme song instead of a Bach chorale. Fortunately, the band director has a great sense of humor. He immediately went to the flute section to check out the music they were playing, listens to the end, and then tells the band, "You're number one in my book!" followed by much laughter from the group of students. The music arrangement was written by band member Drew Harris, and it's quite good! Read the rest
Watch as this unsuspecting tourist crossing a glass bridge freaks out when the glass begins to crack. Special effects that make the glass walkway look and sound like it's shattering were added to the bridge, which is 3,871 feet high and 873 feet long. The gag is meant as a "provocative" experience, but it's been so believable that the masterminds behind it gave an apology – but will continue to terrify people who dare to cross.
According to CNET:
The gimmick was so believable the East Taihang administration issued an apology assuring the public the cracks were just an "effect" to make the bridge experience more "provocative."
While the administration is "very sorry that people got frightened," the panels will not be replaced. After all, this sort of prank is to get more curious tourists out on the bridge to see for themselves how scary the sensation of cracking glass underfoot can be, especially when walking alongside a very tall mountain.
Here's another video of a tourist scared out of his wits by this provocative bridge.
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Even by the hilariously sadistic standards of Japanese prank shows, this is outstanding. Read the rest
MG's Mr Self Destruct project takes the USB Killer to new levels, combining a $1.50 system-on-a-chip with a variety of payloads: smoke bombs, "sound grenades," and little explosives, cleverly choreographed with keystroke emulation, allowing the poisoned drive to first cause the connected computer to foreground a browser and load a web-page that plays an appropriate animation (a jack-in-the-box that plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" with the drive's explosive detonating for the climax).
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Central Michigan University student Anna G should earn an honorary doctorate in pranksterism. Welcome to, er, Wii U.
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At the University of Chicago in the early 1920s, psychology grad student William Blatz built a remote-controlled trick chair that would collapse when he pressed a switch. (It was padded to avoid injury.) Then he had subjects sit in the chair while wearing electrodes to measure heart rate and other vital signs. Blatz's goal was to "study the physiology of fear under controlled, repeatable conditions." I think he also probably just wanted to build a remote-controlled trick chair. From Weird Universe:
Blatz offered this description of their reactions:
"The observations of the subjects after the fall, of course, varied, but they were sufficiently in agreement to indicate the arousal of genuine fear in naive subjects. Some examples of these remarks were, 'startled,' 'surprised,' 'frightened,' scared,' etc. In most cases the subjects cried out, and some called the experimenter by name. They all made some effort to escape, thinking an accident had happened. In all cases they acknowledged that they had not anticipated 'anything like it at all.' From these statements, it was concluded that the stimulus was wholly unexpected, and unsuspected."
The electrodes registered the effect of the fright. The hearts of the subjects began hammering, and their breathing rapidly increased. Blatz also observed "striking changes in the electrical conditions of the body in the nature of an increased development of the electromotive force."
"Dr. Blatz’s Trick Chair of Terror" (Weird Universe)
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Oobah Butler once had a job writing fake Tripadvisor restaurant reviews for £10/each, paid by restauranteurs; having learned how powerful these reviews were, he decided to turn his south London shed into the best-regarded restaurant in all of London.
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A huge wooden penis has been, er, erected atop Mount Oetscher, 6,211 feet in the Austrian Alps. From Metro:
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The Oetscher ski lift operators were equally puzzled by the penis, but seemingly embraced the artwork as a future tourist attraction. One wrote jokingly on social media: ‘With us, not only winter is coming.’
The operators have however asked the ‘creative artist’ to ‘secure the object sufficiently’ as they fear it might not withstand a storm.
On the October 8, 1997 students and faculty at Cornell University noticed an unusual addition to the tip of McGraw Tower: a pumpkin. To this day, no one knows who put it there, or how they were able to do it.
From Atlas Obscura:
“One day, there was this thing at the top of the tower,” remembers Oliver Habicht, at the time a recent graduate working for the university IT department. It was way up at the top, impaled on the spire. It was round, and about the size of a beach ball. Was it… was it a pumpkin?
It was. Someone, somehow, had apparently carried the gourd up hundreds of steps. They had snuck it silently through the tower’s bell cage—a structure criss-crossed with cables that, if tripped, would have let out an immediate BONG—and gotten it up to the top of the very steep roof, all without being noticed. Not only that, but they had affixed it well enough that it stayed put until springtime, enmeshing itself in campus culture and becoming its own type of steady, albeit slowly rotting, beacon.
[via Clive Thompson] Read the rest
Consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen's Amanda Werner, dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, sat behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith this morning during his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee about the company's breach of 45,500,000 Americans' private data . From Public Citizen's statement:
Make no mistake: Arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins. Shockingly, the average consumer forced to arbitrate with Wells Fargo was ordered to pay the bank nearly $11,000. Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB’s rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity.
(The Hill) Read the rest
People are tying red balloons to sewer grates and it's getting on the cops' nerves because no-one wants to untie them and they end up having to do it.
Police are asking the “local prankster” not to continue placing the balloons on the grates, similar to the movie “It” which comes out on Friday.
In a post on Facebook, the Lititz Borough Police Department say they know the movie is coming to theaters in a couple days and give the prankster creativity for promoting the movie.
“We want the local prankster to know that we were completely terrified as we removed these balloons and respectfully request they do not do that again,” the post read.
From their Facebook page:
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The UK's Office of Communications is pursuing a pirate radio prankster who has interrupted the Mansfield 103.2 broadcast eight times over the last month. He cuts into the regularly scheduled programming with the below tune from 1978, "The Winker’s Song" (1978) by Ivor Biggun. From The Guardian:
Tony Delahunty, managing director of Mansfield 103.2, said: “Some people have told me that their children have started humming the song in the car.
“We have had calls from people who have found it hilarious, while some have raised their concerns, including our competitors, and a lot of people in the industry are aghast at how difficult it is to stop these people...."
“We are told by Ofcom who are investigating the matter, that you only need, and this is the frightening thing, a small transmitter and if you can get near where there is an outside broadcast or a signal and you can overpower that signal [and] you’re on the airwaves.”
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When I was a youngster, during the golden age of prank calls before caller ID, my friend and I found the name Zerba Zzyx at the end of the telephone book. We called Mr. Zzyx and asked if he realized he was the last name in the telephone book. Much to our surprise, he pleasantly told us that yes, he was aware of that fact, and hung up. (It wasn't one of our proudest prank call moments.)
Anyway, I hadn't thought about Mr. Zzyx for many years until I just saw this post on Weird Universe about "Zzyzx Road," just outside of Baker, California. Here's the origin of the road's name:
Entrepreneur Curtis Springer decided he wanted to be the last name in the directory, so when he opened a health spa at a natural springs in the Mojave Desert he called it Zzyzx Springs, so he could promote it as "the last word in health." By 1965 he had convinced the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to rename the road running to the springs Zzyzx Road. (It used to be Soda Road)...
Several movies have been named after Zzyzx Road, including the record-holder for the lowest-grossing Hollywood movie ever.
Sufficiently curious about any connection between Zzyzx Road and the Zerba Zzyx who I telephonically encountered in the 1970s, I did a Google search found this 1981 article from the Associated Press:
(Cincinnati) Roger Obermeyer wanted a way to make his name noticed in the city telephone book, so the advertising executive has himself listed as Zerba Zzyx, the last name in the directory. Read the rest
Charles Ross recorded himself removing stop signs for sweet, sweet YouTube views. He found an audience in the local police who pranked him back with a 3rd-degree felony charge. Read the rest