Lew Lefton's April Fool's Jokes
Shouldn't you be working right now instead of surfing the web?
This is an archive of the April Fool's Jokes I've played on friends,
family, and co-workers.
There was a nice article
in the March/April 2011 Georgia Tech
Alumni Magazine that says I am apparently "renowned on campus" for
my April Fools
jokes. The article also has some nice coverage of D.U.C.K. which is a youth improv
group which I
2003 Unpublishable proof
of the Riemann Hypothesis
appended to outgoing email
2005 New software
automates the teaching of calculus
2006 GT Math Mail Server
people took this one seriously, and I had to send a public
2006 My dog has a brain
tumor and needs
other dogs to donate blood. I missed the mark on this one, too. It only
went to my
family and friends, but it was taken quite seriously and people got
Don't joke about your dog's health.
2007 Rolling Brownouts
www.gatech.us is the new GT
campus website. Probably my most sophisticated AFJ to date. A complete
www.gatech.edu home page. I actually found that the domain www.gatech.us was available at the time, so I bought it for this joke, and later gave the domain to the Institute to maintain.
2007 Please collect tree
pollen for research.
2008 Hired by Google (a.k.a. Lewgle) Click here for the live lewgle search engine
2009 Georgia Tech Code of Ethics -
2009 Posting to neighborhood
mailing list looking for an animal exorcist.
2010 State budget miscalculation. Binary
decimal. Note that the real blogger whose column I spoofed wrote
about it the next day and this was then picked up by the Georgia
Tech Daily News
Buzz for massive redistribution on April 5th.
2011 A fabricated Institute Committee on
complete with a website that matched the style of campus news stories.
The link was
widely circulated (even tweeted by a Vice Provost) and it was the
"Exhibit A" lead
entry on the Chronicle
of Higher Education April Fools report. It also made the round
up of Internet April Fools jokes on the MSNBC Technolog. Apparently
it was picked
up as a real story by the midtown patch.com site and then GT
Communications and Marketing
started getting a lot of calls. They forced my site offline, but I'm
still not sure
why. I thought it actually made Georgia Tech look like we had a sense
All that was left at icsm.gatech.edu
single statement that said "The previous announcement concerning
Georgia Tech's use of social media was an April Fools joke." I went
back in and
added another link to this page, so people can actually see the joke,
but who know how long that will stay up! [NOTE: New GT website formatting has since been put in place so the link above no longer resembles the standard GT news release.]
2012 I sent around some emails
posted the www.mathshot.com website on
Facebook. This year was a high water mark in production value with
several people helping to design the mathshot logo, produce good
graphics for the screnshots, and carefully edit the design/styling to
make the site look
real. The reaction
was slow but steady (perhaps since April 1 fell on a Sunday). On April 4 the University Communications got this
message via their website:
“I find it hard to believe that a
technical college is advocating the
use of software to calculate higher level mathematics. Is there proof
of a lack of connection
between conceptual understanding of mathematics and engineering
principles? At what point do our engineers and scientists become
technicians? What is the logic behind a decision that promotes
solving a problem without knowing what it means?
NAME REDACTED, M.Ed.
UPDATE 1: I have continued to receive a steady stream of people wanting to buy this app. Most recently on November 19, 2014. This may be the first April Fools joke of mine which fooled people for over two years!
UPDATE 2: We recently saw photomath.net which is not a joke! Life imitates art....
2013 Georgia Tech replacing it's mascot due to external pressure. I circulated a survey to solicit feedback on new mascot ideas. Web analytics showed over 11,000 hits.
The survey results were sort of interesting, too. We had a near tie between "Keep Buzz" and "A actual yellow jacket, genetically engineered to be 5' 4" tall".
We were covered in two AJC blogs, one on sports and one on education.
Both had some entertaining comments.
We also hit reddit, stingtalk (a GT sports message board), and the GT Alumni Magazine.
Perhaps most entertaining of all, a friend who works are the Board of Regents says they were getting angry calls all day with people demanding to talk to the chancellor! Lesson learned, never kick a yellow jacket nest!
2014 Georgia Tech "Office of Institute Branding and Public Perception" sends me a CEASE AND DESIST letter demanding that I no longer circulate April Fool's Jokes. This was so convincing, even I believed it, and so I did not do any other joke that year.
2015 Georgia Tech "Vice Provost for Online Initiatives" announces on his blog that GT students will automatically earn college credit for Internet and social media use. Grades are assigned using machine learning that has been trained to recognize intellectually valid content in all authenticated network traffic. The student receives a monthly report of their progress. The more they use the Internet, the faster they graduate!
2016 Inspired by the construction on the Georiga Tech green, I created a poster announcing a new math building. Some of the key features were an infinite number of power outlets, each one is only half as large as the previous one, a cafe with a coffee IV and 3.14 flavors of pie, and a mathematical makerspace with 2D plotters, 3D printers, and 4D time machines. There's also an Escher staircase, "Perkins" study areas which are larger on the inside than the outside, and of course the self-cleaning, Klein bottle sinks.
2016 I started a rumor that the Decatur City Commission was discussing a proposal to ban fossil fuel vehicles within the city limits by December 2017. I said they were partnering with Dekalb county to build several large parking structures just outside the City of Decatur, and anyone driving a fossil fuel powered vehicle will have to park their
car there and take an electric Uber into Decatur. I strongly urged attendance at the City Commission meeting on April 4th.
2017 I announced several new MS degrees being developed at Georgia Tech but said they haven't been publicly announced. You could reveal them by going to certain college websites (e.g. Computing, Design, Engineering, Sciences ) and then typing the famous Konami video game cheat code:
↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A
That sequence takes you to a "hidden" site (http://pwp.gatech.edu/upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart) that leaks the degree announcements.
Time magazine included it on their list of "Best April Fools' Day Pranks of 2017".
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