For an hour, the prestigious newspaper The New York Times had surprising news in its online version: police found watermelons on Mars.
That’s right, with the title “Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars, Police Say”, the alarm went off around the world after thousands of readers read the text with their mouths open.
Logically, on Mars there are no watermelons, no policemen, so it is clear that it was a mistake. The question is what kind of error? How can something like this happen?
Well, we are in a world where a configuration error can cause a click to drop the Internet, as happened yesterday con Fastly, so it is not uncommon to think that a “test” story ends up being published in one of the most respected media on the planet.
Some of the text can still be read in archive.is:
Authorities say the rise in alien fruit is due to excess watermelons in outer space.
The FBI declined to comment on the reports of watermelons raining down, but confirmed that kiwis have been intercepted. This story is terribly boring.
Watermelon tastes good, police say
After this story was initially published, a New York Times spokesperson commented that it was a mock article intended for a test system, and was posted on their site in error. Of course, the article has already been removed.
It was just a content management system test that was accidentally released, a “random” text that is written to see how a new version of a CMS works, although in this case it was tested on the production system and published by error, something difficult to imagine in environments where there is development, testing, quality, production … in short, version control.
Strange things happen in the digital world, although rarer would be to find a watermelon invasion on Mars.