Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
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Craigslist Server Contracts HPV

SAN FRANCISCO—A team of system administrators, web developers, and health care professionals reported this week that Craigslist, the free online network of classified advertisements, has contracted the anogenital disease commonly known as HPV.

Administrators can't say for certain how many strangers have used the online classifieds site.

The shocking diagnosis, made after an hour-long examination of Craigslist's main server, marks the first time an Internet site has ever contracted a sexually transmitted virus.

"No doubt about it, that's definitely HPV," said Dr. Howard Morrison, a general practitioner who was brought in Tuesday to administer a series of tests on the popular website. "Looks like it's already attacked the central mainframe and several LAN routers. Pretty severe strain of it, too. One of the worst I've ever seen."

"Knowing what I do about Craigslist, though, I can't say that I'm surprised," Morrison added while scanning through lines of infected HTML code. "It was only a matter of time before something like this happened."

While tests were unable to determine how Craigslist contracted human papillomavirus, the site's casual relationships with more than 40 million users nationwide is likely to blame. Internal records revealed that Craigslist routinely allowed complete strangers to sign up on its site, the vast majority of them sexually perverse, morally depraved, and lacking even rudimentary hygiene skills.

"We tried to ignore the signs, but every day more and more of those weird wart-looking things started showing up on our home page," said a Craigslist developer who wished to remain anonymous. "I honestly didn't think it was possible, but the cotton swabs confirmed it. Craigslist has HPV."

Dr. Morrison swabs the Craigslist mainframe and advises an 80 percent reduction in traffic to avoid gonorrhea.

Founder Craig Newmark said he suspected that the sexually transmitted disease was contracted from the "Casual Encounters" section of the website, a popular service used by people looking to engage in consequence-free intercourse. Newmark did not rule out other potential sources of infection, however, including the many thousands of listings for "female help around the house," amateur modeling work, and free used mattresses.

"It could've been anyone, really," said Newmark, who estimated that between 90 and 95 percent of the site's users are HPV carriers. "Especially that landlord who offers rent- reduced apartments for certain 'unspecified services,' or that guy pimpdadder84 from Chicago, who's always posting want ads for previously owned underwear."

"Considering the kind of stuff that goes on in here, I'm relieved HPV was all we caught," Newmark added.

Since the diagnosis, Craigslist administrators have suspended all traffic to the website and started regular treatment for the virus. System analysts have been instructed to apply anti-inflammatory cream to affected WAN hubs, file servers, and other problem areas, as well as wash Craigslist's main Ethernet connections in podofilox topical solution three times daily.

Doctors have also recommended the website contact any past partners or clients and ask that they too get checked out for HPV.

"How could we have been so stupid?" embarrassed Craigslist site officer Michael Sturges said. "I knew it wasn't exactly safe, and that we shouldn't be allowing just anyone from anywhere to join. But I wanted for the site to be, you know, popular."

Added Sturges, "I can't believe we let those creeps get into our CMS database."

Though worrisome for all involved, this week's HPV diagnosis has reportedly taught the online network a number of valuable lessons. System administrators claimed that if and when the website finally returns, it would do so with a number of new policies.

Future users will be required to disclose their real names when registering with Craigslist, in addition to providing a brief summary of their past sexual history, taking a standard blood test, agreeing to a month-long trial period during which both site and user can better get to know each other, and entering a valid e-mail address.

Approximately 300 new firewalls will also be installed.

"You can never be too careful in this day and age," Craigslist security and network technician Sheila Wilder said. "Just look at MySpace. That poor site's been knocked up three times in the last year alone."


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