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Design for life: www. april fool; Your guide to the internet with CAROL VORDERMAN.

PLANNING to play an April Fool on your pals tomorrow? You'll find plenty of inspiration on the net.

For a potted history of the tradition log on to www.usis.usemb.se/Holidays/celebrate/april.html It explains that April 1 was New Year's Day until 1562, when Pope Gregory devised his new Christian calendar and moved it to January 1.

Those who were slow to catch on and carried on partying on the wrong day were known as April Fools.

BBC News Online has a Special Report at news2.thls.bbc.co.uk/low/english/special_report/1998/newsid_70000/70980.stm which recalls two of the best April Fools ever.

In 1975, Panor-ama ran a deadpan report on spaghetti trees, which had thousands of pasta lovers flooding the BBC switchboard wanting to know where they could buy one!

The internet has given April Fool's Day a new lease of life. In 1997 millions were fooled by an email from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which said the internet was closing down for spring-cleaning.

/april-fools gives details of lots of other famous net pranks, including a story in 1994 that Microsoft was buying the Catholic Church.

The normally serious American science magazine Discover has got in on the joke too.

You can enjoy its best spoof stories at www.discover.com/science_news/fool.html They include the building of a giant pair of bellows to blow away the Los Angeles smog.

For a really fiendish joke, visit www.expage.com/page/gagsandpranks where you can download free prank programs designed to baffle your friends by making their computers go crazy. The site promises the programs are all harmless to computers.

Whether they are harmless to humans depends on their sense of humour!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2000
Words:294
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