Maybe if more Americans knew about science, two radio announcers from Florida wouldn’t have been fired—and wouldn’t be facing felony charges—for an April Fool prank. According to ZME Science:
Florida country radio morning-show hosts Val St. John and Scott Fish are currently serving indefinite suspensions and possibly criminal charges for what can only be described as a successful April Fools. They told their listeners that “dihydrogen monoxide” was coming out of the taps throughout the Fort Myers area – as I’m sure you all know, dihydrogen monoxide, or H2O is nothing but water.
As it turns out, their readers unwittingly panicked so much that Lee County utility officials had to issue a county-wide statement calming the fears of chemistry impaired Floridians.
. . . now authorities are trying to prove the DJs are guilty of a felony; they may have pushed it a little too far.
Note the supposedly “superfluous” explanation that dihydrogen monoxide is water. There’s even a diagram for befuddled readers:
The locals see this as a serious issue; as author Mihai Andrei notes,
But apparently, calling water by its scientific name is a false water quality issue, blamed by both the authorities and the general public. A poll conducted on GatorCountry asked if the 2 should return to radio, and 78 percent of the answers were ‘Never‘. Sheesh… I just hope all these people would sit down, get a big cup, infuse some Camellia sinensis in dihydrogen monoxide, grab a graphite based writing implement and a chemistry manual, and thoroughly read it and take notes.
This reminds me of a watered-down version of Orson Welles’s famous “War of the Worlds” hoax in 1938, when his company broadcast a radio show about an invasion of Earth by Martians, a show so realistic, with simulated news bulletins, that it caused a panic throughout the U.S. My dad heard it live, and said that people were running amok in the streets of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, convinced that an alien invasion was imminent.
Welles didn’t suffer any punishment for this except a slap on the wrist from CBS. Times have obviously changed!
I need some hydroxyethane.