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Social change and continuing advances in technology will combine over years to come to enable ever grander and more ambitious pranks and hoaxes to be perpetuated upon the world. Such events will increasingly be limited only by the imagination of the planners.
Sure, some such things may cross over into the realm of criminal theft, extortion, or even terrorism, just as they did in the 20th century and before. Perpetrated at times by people at the very top of government and/or corporate business, either out of ignorance, malevolence, or simple greed. Such as listed below:
Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time
The pressure to hoax14 July 2006; By Lisa Jardine
The Child Porn HoaxBy Susie Bright, SusieBright.com October 2, 2007
Karl Rove's big election-fraud hoax Republican manipulation of the polls long predates the U.S. attorneys plot -- and the U.S. voting system needs an overhaul By Garrett Epps; May. 10, 2007
Ten of the best April Fool's Day hoaxes: US museum Mar 29, 07
10 great hoaxes fooled most of the people March 30, 2006
The Top 25 Web Hoaxes and Pranks These online spoofs and shams have made the rounds on Web sites and through e-mail. Perhaps you even believed one or two of them yourself. Steve Bass; May 03, 2007
Washington's Great No Inflation Hoax by Kevin Phillips; May 8, 2008
The Great Indecency Hoax; November 28, 2004 FRANK RICH
January 17, 2002 Energy "Crisis" Was A $71 Billion Hoax, And It's Not Over, Report Says Doug Heller
Too good to be true - (famous hoaxes)January 1, 2004
Hoax Nation How reliable are the images we see in the news by John C. Dvorak 05.10.04
But there are also those hoaxes and pranks performed solely for self-promotion or fun, with little or no expectation of harm to others. Like that of Orson Welles in his War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938.
Some other historical examples include the Amityville Horror, Piltdown man, and King Tut's Curse (the curse alone has launched billions of dollars worth of news, documentary, and entertainment fare since 1922) 1. And the potential for such things (and their frequency of occurance) may only increase in years to come.
Perhaps a potent sign of what's to come in this vein would be a list of recent, long-running, and/or currently on-going hoaxes perpetrated by both corporations and high government offices (check out the footnotes)2.
Shocking, isn't it? That so many criminals could be getting away with so much? It's breathtaking!
I suppose we can only hope that the rest of us can somehow upset this rotten apple cart with new technological options like the internet, or via the voting booth. Maybe even via some wonderful pranks or hoaxes of our own (which hopefully do not physically injure anyone or damage property; and yet take down a notch or two the high-living evil-doers which make life so difficult for the rest of us).
But man, are the odds ever against us...!
1. Hoaxing motivations and history
Don't Be Fooled: Strange Hoaxes That Endure by Joe Nickell and Matt Nisbet; April 1, 1998; csicop.org
Why hoax? by Mark Easton; 24 Jul 08
19th century hoaxes Mark Twain’s Amazing Hoax that Deceived the World July 1, 2008 by Thomas Davie
Revealed after 50 years: The secret of the greatest-ever student prank By Laura Clark; 27th June 2008