1976 At precisely 9:47 am on April 1, Pluto will pass behind Jupiter, causing a brief reduction in Earth's gravitational pull. Astronomer Patrick Moore urges his BBC Radio audience to jump into the air at that exact moment to experience a floating sensation. At 9:48, dozens of light-headed listeners begin calling the station to report their success.
1984 Never mind the Cold War; the Soviets want to initiate unfettered discussions with Americans via Usenet newsgroups. This according to a message from what appears to be a Kremlin server (kremvax.UUCP). Thus the Internet hoax is born. When Moscow's first real Usenet site appears years later, it's named kremvax.
1994 A proposed law will ban online sex chat and inebriated Web surfing. "Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is," editorializes PC Computing. The bill's supposed sponsor, Senator Ted Kennedy, is not in on the joke. After an onslaught of complaints from drunken perverts, he issues a formal denial.
1995 The hotheaded naked ice borer, a sort of mole with a searing, bony forehead, lurks under Antarctica, melting the ice beneath the butts of hapless penguins and eating them as they sink. When Discover magazine publishes its retraction, penguins everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief.
1997 Between March 31 and April 2, the World Wide Web will be closed for cleaning. Five Japanese-built, multilingual Internet-crawling robots will remove "electronic flotsam and jetsam." But don't believe everything you read in an email.
1998 In accordance with a biblical passage describing the circumference-to-diameter ratio of a bowl in the Temple of Solomon (1 Kings 7:23), the Alabama legislature has voted to round the value of pi to 3.0. Well, that was the claim made by the New Mexicans for Science and Reason in their newsletter ... or rather, circular.
1998 Disney has bought MIT for $6.9 billion. The School of Engineering will be renamed the School of Imagineering and the campus will move to Orlando, according to hackers who altered the MIT homepage. Hey, anything's better than trying to work in an Athena cluster.
1999 To fund the US government's $4 billion next-gen Internet project, millions of Internet nodes are available for an initial price of $100 each at Webnode.com. The Business Wire press release induces nearly 2,000 would-be investors to try to buy in. Another name for this April foolery was "the tech boom."
2003 Bill Gates is dead, shot by a lone gunman at a charity event in Los Angeles. After three South Korean networks broadcast the story on local TV, ensuing panic triggers a 1.5 percent drop in the Seoul stock exchange — a value loss of $3 billion. Just another Windows-related crash.
Oh, there are only 9 of them. April Fools!