Dihydrogen Monoxide Claims A Victim

I didn't think there was anyone left who hadn't heard this joke already. It's the one about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide, a chemical found in many toxic substances and often used as an industrial solvent. Sounds scary, but dihydrogen monoxide is, of course, simply the scientific name for water, or H2O. Apparently the city council of Aliso Viejo, California hadn't heard the joke before, because they were about to ban the use of styrofoam cups because dihydrogen monoxide was used in their production. Luckily someone clued them in before they embarrassed themselves even more. Their one comfort is that they're not the only ones to fall for this joke. Last year disc jockeys in Olathe, Kansas warned listeners on April 1 not to drink water because it contained dihydrogen monoxide. Over 150 terrified people then phoned up the city's water superintendent to ask about this dangerous substance, prompting the superintendent to describe the radio station's prank as a terrorist act.


Posted on Sun Mar 14, 2004


One single Google search would have revealed the truth, and saved a lot of people a lot of embarrassment.

Really, really sad.
Posted by Mister Dingle  on  Tue Mar 16, 2004  at  05:56 AM
It's really strange how some university graduates and teachers do not even know this term and is commonoly fooled by the term 'monoxide'. Strangely amusing, but still a most uncommon knowledge to most people.

How gratifying.
Posted by Nick  on  Tue Mar 16, 2004  at  10:53 AM
Actually, a Google Search would probably be even *worse*, given the number of very serious-looking anti-DHMO sites out there. A harried paralegal, popping up a few sites and skimming them could easily miss the humor angle..

And since when do you need a basic knowlege of chemistry to practice law?
Posted by Bobcat  on  Sun Nov 28, 2004  at  05:40 PM
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