Beware of Hydrogen in Water

Status: Prank
Here's a slight variation on the old dihydrogen monoxide prank. The director of the Waterfront Park in Louisville, Ky placed signs around the fountains warning people of dangerously high levels of hydrogen in the water:
It seems authorities, tired of swimmers splashing around in the fountains and leery of the possibility of bacteria developing in the water, were hoping the public would be scared away by the foreboding signs — even though there was nothing amiss. David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corp., said he had the signs made in the hopes that a lack of understanding of the chemical makeup of water and the association of hydrogen to dangerous weapons such as the hydrogen bomb would keep the fountains people-free... Unfortunately for Karem, the hot summer days and a few good students have him fighting what he knows might be a losing battle.
I figure it's only a matter of time before someone sues him for emotional distress caused by the signs.

Pranks Science

Posted on Thu Jul 20, 2006


George W. Bush heard about the "high levels of hydrogen" in the fountain's water. He had two reactions:

1. He issued a press release saying that not ALL scientists were convinced that hydrogen in water was dangerous.

2 He blamed Bill Clinton for the possible problem.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  01:06 AM
^^It's just another theory, and therefore to ensure balance in education, it should be taught in all schools :p
Posted by Owen  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  09:20 AM
I'll never pee- I mean Swim, in a fountain again.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  09:30 AM
Hmm, this could lead to a war of the signs.
Her's a few suggestions: (with explanations)

Exposure signs
Warning exposure to fountain water...
may cause epidermal saturation. (wet skin)
may cause flare-ups in people suffering RAYNAUD'S SYNDROME. ( )
may cause follicular swelling. (hair absorbs water)
may result in apnea if head is submerged. (holding your breath)

People suffering one or more of the following should avoid contact with fountain water:
Epilepsy, Narcolepsy, diarrhea, incontinence, STDs etc. etc...

Although the fountain water is regularly tested and cleaned, we cannot rule out the possibility that it may contain at one time or another trace amounts of:
E coliform bacteria
organic chlorides
insects, either living or decomposing
fecal matter
disease causing organisms
litter, garbage or other human waste.

One or more of these should keep people out of the fountains. or maybe just a booth dispensing paper towels and hand sanitizer, prominently labeled "To be used in case of accidental exposure tp fountain contents"

(Anyone fancy a dip now?) })
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  10:35 AM
You're getting your stereotypes confused, it's Al Gore who always thinks all scientists agree with him.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  11:12 AM
Even worse -- the sometime vice-president thinks he IS a scientist. "I'm not a scientist but I play one on TV" should be printed on his noggin.
Posted by Sam  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  03:08 PM
Lonewatchman said:

"You're getting your stereotypes confused, it's Al Gore who always thinks all scientists agree with him."

No, you got the joke wrong. Bush likes to find the few scientists who support his view and act as if that means that there's a "controversy" about the issue. I mean, you COULD find a few people who think that the Earth is flat, but that doesn't really make the shape of the planet "controversial."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  06:39 PM
off topic, but this came up on my snopes rss feed and i thought of you guys:

Posted by sara  in  ca  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  01:13 AM
Yes, Sara. That's where the name came from...
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  05:38 AM
They should also warn people about the other main ingredient in water, oxygen. It can make almost anything burst into flames.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Lake Michigan  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  07:13 AM
Don't Forget, excessive exposure to liquid dihydrogen monoxide can cause maceration of the skin.

Contact with gaseous dihydrogen monoxide has been shown to cause thermal damage to the human dermis.

Excessive exposure to solid dihydrogen monoxide has also been shown to cause thermal damage to the human dermis.

All of these facts show that the UN should move IMMEDIATELY to protect the public from this dangerous chemical.
Posted by cthelmax  in  england  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  07:43 AM
Thanks for the warning Captain DaFT. I actually have Raynauds Syndrom so i'll be sure to stay away from any hydrogen.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  01:16 PM
Well, to be the truth, Big Gary Guy, oxygen itself cannot burn, but it is an accellerant, causing other combustable materials to burn faster and hotter. The Fire Triangle requires a source of ignition, burnable material as fuel, and oxygen. So, that's it: heat,fuel, oxygen. Even chemically induced spontaneous combustion needs oxygen to burn. Burning metals, like magnesium, can burn underwater. I was the Fire Chief in my hometown. We had the big trucks and the turnout gears, and all the women loved us too much. They mainly loved me, when I would put on my boots and suspenders and wave my hose like a madman. They also liked it when I fought the fires. Ha ha ha. Now I am started and we are all in trouble, okay? Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  08:52 AM
Actually, if I were to see signs warning of high levels of hydrogen around a fountain, I probably would be cautious. I'd assume that they meant more hydrogen than just that from the water itself, perhaps some sort of a hydrogen leak or something. And as anybody who has seen footage of the Hindenberg knows, lots of hydrogen can be rather a problem.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  08:52 PM
Accipter said:

"And as anybody who has seen footage of the Hindenberg knows, lots of hydrogen can be rather a problem."

Yeah, but that was only because there was a massive amount of hydrogen in gaseous form.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  01:22 AM
Not to mention tons of extremely flammable cellulose covering the hydrogen, which seems very likely to be the reason the fire spread so fast.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  09:27 AM
I was at the water park last night and the signs ARE a joke. They don't warn on "high levels of hydrogen." They warn of "water contains high levels of hydrogen." If it become deuterium like some others then we'd have an answer to our energy problem if we could get it from a fountain...
Posted by Magicant  in  Louisville  on  Wed Sep 24, 2008  at  04:35 PM
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