Ethics of Pranking

22.30.35 - Mark

I like pranks, that's all I'm really going to say about that. April Fool's day (which has come and gone) brings out the occasional original prank, a few variations on classics, and a lot of dreck. For example, I think Think Geek has always come up with at least one funny but plausible fake product in their April Fool's jokes (this year it was Surge Stix), while Google's TISP and Gmail Paper were both let downs (then again I don't think Google will be able to top Gmail's April 1st launch three years ago ) There's a whole list of 4/1/2007 internet gags here but most aren't worth your time.

The reason they aren't worth you time is that so many of them don't meet the requirements of the Pranks Code of Ethics, which is basically a ripped off version of the definition for MIT Hacks, but I don't think I've ever heard an objection to pranks that fall under these guidelines:

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Radio Randomization

09.22.11 - Mark

Recently my sleep cycle has been closer to a racoon's than your standard human, and part of that has been waking up and eating breakfast. This morning while eating a pile of pancakes I turned on NPR rather than my ususual podcasts. Glad I did. NPR was running this story on the i-Bod which was well produced, right down to the NPR reporter kicking the can while testing the device - I think it was in beta. Normally NPR won't kill it's reporters on air, but I think they were justified here (pledge week - gotta bring up those ratings), and I hope that there won't be that many angry liberals calling the FCC. (BTW check the date)

It really reminded me of Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything, which unlike normal NPR broadcasts, dosen't wait for April 1st to mix real reporting, smart interviews, well formed opinions, and a good bit of well staged fiction. I love it so much so that I'm working on both ends of the archives, listening to the archives from when it was a standard fixed time on-air broadcast as well as its current incarnation as an alt.npr podcast. Give it a good, dedicated listen, also check out AmigoFish which was the first of several things that turned me on to the Theory of Everything.

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