Breaking: The Gas Smell Is Still Unexplained!

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To the list of things that continue to elicit newspaper headlines despite no actual new news — the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, famously, or the death of President Gerald Ford — you can add a new one: Monday's gas stink across the city. After that day's orgy of we-don't-know-what's-causing-it coverage and yesterday's burst of no-one-knows-what-caused-it follow-ups, today the Times continues flooding that non-zone with "What's Next for a Mysterious Stench? Theories, Punch Lines and Cyberspace," in which we learn that in the absence of any real information "Commuters, Internet bloggers" — that's as opposed to the less widely read pen-and-paper bloggers, we presume — "and standup comedians filled a trove of ideas, some wacky, some sinister, some even believable." What are the theories, according to the paper of record?


• Rotten eggs.

• A chemical added to natural gas.

• "[G]ases from nearby swamps released due to peculiar sequences of weather conditions and trapped by an atmospheric inversion."

• "Others recalled smoggy clouds that had descended on New York in the 1950s and '60s."

• "They mentioned secret Army experiments in the 1950s that they said had involved releasing bacteria in San Francisco."

• El Nino.

• Louisiana.

• Rosie O'Donnell.

• "The animal that has taken residence on top of Donald Trump's head, masquerading as hair, has finally died."

• New Jersey.

• "A pretty big dead body."

Or, you know, none of those.

What's Next for a Mysterious Stench? Theories, Punch Lines and Cyberspace [NYT]