Type “college prank” into YouTube and you will be greeted with hundreds of videos. Most will be really, really dumb. Many won’t even be pranks at all. Some will make you furrow your brow, shake your head, and fear for the future of our country.
But a few of them push the art of the prank to new heights. Being able to share videos online has encouraged the best college pranksters to make their stunts more elaborate. It also allows us to share in their glorious inanity.
A Chronicle employee â€” OK, fine, it was me â€” spent hours sifting the semi-funny from the truly idiotic in order to bring you five of the best college prank videos. While none of these pranks involve duct tape or shaving cream, they are all pretty juvenile.
After the initial flurry of interest, International Polar Year (IPY, launched this March) seems to have gone a bit quiet. I propose pepping things up with a good conspiracy theory.
Handily, a recent paper in Polar Record1 describes one. The Nazis, some believe, established a secret base in Antarctica to which they spirited Hitler at the war’s end, fought off British special forces and an American military taskforce, partly by shooting down US planes using flying saucers. The Americans eventually destroyed the base with nuclear weapons in the 1950s. Since then, various governments have striven to conceal this…
…Like all good conspiracy theories, this one is built on a skeleton of facts. There was a German expedition to Antarctica in 1938-39. There was classified British military activity in Antarctica during the war. In July 1945, two months after VE Day, the German submarine U-530 appeared at the Argentine naval base of Mar del Plata. The next month, U-977 did the same.
In 1946-47 the US military mounted Operation Highjump, the largest ever Antarctic expedition, consisting of 4,700 men and 13 ships. And in 1958, they carried out three nuclear explosions in the southern hemisphere that were meant to stay secret, but didn’t.