|And there will be meowing and barking!|
As reported online by The Atlantic Wire, the authorities of Lee County have decided “not pursuing any other charges” against two morning-radio hosts that on April Fool’s Day warned listeners of dihydrogen monoxide coming out of their taps.
As duly noted by wikipedia, dihydrogen monoxide, “shortened to ‘DHMO’, is a name for water that is consistent with basic rules of chemical nomenclature” and used “almost exclusively” in humorous context.
Back on April 2, the local NBC-affiliate in the area reported that the hosts of "Val and Scott In The Morning" had “sent people into a panic, concerned over Lee County's water quality.” Such was, apparently, the panic, that Lee County authorities felt themselves compelled to issue a press release [see screenshot below].
You also have this from The Atlantic Wire in its update from Wednesday: “The DJs' joke was totally immature—think grade-school level—and yet remarkably successful. They warned listeners that dihydrogen monoxide was coming out of the taps in the Fort Myers area. Of course, dihydrogen monoxide is water, but people were so freaked that Lee County Utilities had to make a statement saying that their water is safe to drink.”
Make that another relieved “Whew!”
In an era of public safety and security concerns, it’s probably understandable that an April Fool’s joke created such a ruckus among the Lee County commissioners.
But it’s not even new.
As noted in the wikipedia hyperlink above:
A popular version of the hoax was created by Eric Lechner, Lars Norpchen and Matthew Kaufman, housemates while attending University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990, revised by Craig Jackson (also a UC Santa Cruz student) in 1994 and brought to widespread public attention in 1997 when Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student, gathered petitions to ban "DHMO" as the basis of his science project, titled "How Gullible Are We?".
No news yet on whether the “chemically challenged Floridians” [as TAW described them in its initial report] have expressed any concern for those cats and dogs raining over Lee County, as can be seen on the screenshot atop this post.