Hardy Har Har, AkzoNobel

When we in C&EN’s Northeast New Bureau in Edison, N.J., noticed a press release from Dutch coatings giant and bald male advocacy organization AkzoNobel about Invisulux, a new coating that “renders people wearing painted garments invisible”, we did what any responsible news organization would do in a slow news week: we ran with it. Now, someone at our news meeting did point out the April 1 dateline on the release. But, I suppose that was dismissed as coincidence. Mike McCoy, assembling the news stories submitted to him for Business Concentrates, noticed that the name Olaf Proli, supposedly a Norwegian nanotechnology expert, was an anagram of “April Fool”. He killed the story. On further inspection, Neil Pear, Akzo’s “head of nanotech coatings,” is an anagram of “April Een”. “Een” is “one” in Dutch. Also the phrase “unravel the mysteries of the ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum” should have set off more alarm bells than it did. First of all, why “solar” and not “electromagnetic”? And, why would ultraviolet be more mysterious in the physical or chemical sense than, say, the blue or microwave parts of the spectrum? Apparently, this sort of thing is common in the Netherlands. And we did chuckle at our near miss here in Edison.

Author: Alex Tullo

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