1982
1982

Athens Pollution Alert

Greece's state-controlled National Radio Network issued a warning that pollution had reached emergency levels in downtown Athens, and that the city would have to be immediately evacuated. All schools were called upon to close, and the children to be sent home. Furthermore, anyone driving a car was asked to abandon it and flee to open ground. Since pollution in Athens was a serious problem, thousands of people took the broadcast seriously and began to leave the city. Within three hours the Radio Network retracted the warning, revealing it to be a joke, but by then the damage had been done. One man sued the network for $820,000, claiming the prank had caused him mental distress. The director of the network submitted his resignation over the incident, and the originator of the hoax was fired.

The Interfering Brassieres

The Daily Mail reported that a local manufacturer had sold 10,000 rogue bras that were causing a unique and unprecedented problem, not to the wearers but to the public at large. Apparently the support wire in these bras had been made out of a kind of copper originally designed for use in fire alarms. When this copper came into contact with nylon and body heat, it produced static electricity which, in turn, was interfering with local television and radio broadcasts. The chief engineer of British Telecom, upon reading the article, is said to have immediately ordered that all his female laboratory employees disclose what type of bra they were wearing.