Michael Totten

Hysteria

First there is this:

Results of tests conducted by United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon showed that balloons which drifted from Israel into southern Lebanon over the weekend did not contain dangerous gases, a Lebanese security official has said.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday that helium balloons from a promotional event by Ha’ir, a chain of local newspapers, had floated north over the border into Lebanon.
The balloons sparked panic among villagers over the weekend amid rumors they were filled with poison gas.
Still, their appearance spread alarm among Lebanese — a sign of the tensions and suspicion that remain in the border region after last summer’s war between Israel and Hizbullah that devastated much of the south.

And then there is this:

BOSTON – Several illuminated electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most of the devices depict a character giving the finger.
[…]
Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.
Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.