The British Weather Machine

Much of the April 1, 1981 issue of The Guardian was given over to discussion of an exciting scientific breakthrough. Scientists at Britain's research labs in Pershore had developed a machine to control the weather within a 5000-kilometer radius. This was good news for the British, who were to be guaranteed long summers with rainfall only at night, but it turned out to be somewhat less good news for the rest of Europe, who would be stuck with whatever Pershore decides to send it. One photo showed Prof. Max Chisholm-Downright, inventor of the weather machine, expressing quiet satisfaction as a computer printout announced sunshine in Pershore and a forthcoming blizzard over Marseilles. Readers were assured that the machine would produce only minor side effects, such as a ten or twelve-foot rise in mean sea level.

The 26-Day Marathon

The Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. Nakajimi was reported to be somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race. Various people had spotted him, though they were unable to flag him down. The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said,

I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there.