Thursday, April 4, 2013

Everybody Run

Well, it's happened again. Someone pulled the Dihydrogen Monoxide hoax and a bunch of people were sucked in. It's just that this time, there were nearly felony charges leveled. Now, I'm not going to get up on my high horse about scientific or mathematical literacy or anything like that. I'm old now, and so I've become okay with the fact that many people are completely unaware of the fact that you can actually refer to water in any number of ways other than just calling it "water." If you'd mentioned "Dihydrogen Monoxide" to me a month before I'd first heard of this rather long-running hoax, I likely would have had no idea what you were talking about, so I sympathize.

The problem here is the propensity to panic in the face of an unfamiliar and (albeit intentionally) scary-sounding name. Especially given that many people have, at their disposal, a quick means of looking things up. And, of course, it was April Fools day. Skepticism of anything that sounded the least bit off should have been at an all-time high - especially when morning show disk-jockeys are concerned.

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