About a billion years ago in internet time (call it 1986) ...
... I filed a bug report on a batch of bad EEPROMs that were throwing spurious errors. In the bug report, on a lark (and to see if anyone actually read the bugr), I suggested that it was probably Alpha particles off the heavy metals concentrated from sea water evaporation in the salt pile in Redwood City, which was just off our shipping & receiving dock.
PhD Engineers scurried about for about a week, until I confessed to the joke. I nearly got fired. It's amazing how little highly trained people know about stuff outside their field. Me, I generalize ... seems to keep me saner than most.
Note that back then there WERE some EEPROMS that were contaminated by Alpha particles, but that was caused by a manufacturing error before they were sealed up. If you know anything about such things, you'd know why my hoax was obviously bullshit.
Why bring this up here? In the thirty years since then, I've heard the story of the salt pile in Redwood City ruining electronics "due to Alpha Particles" half a dozen times, at half a dozen companies, in three states, Canada, the UK and Australia. Usually in relation to spurious errors in electronic gear. I suspect the hoax will out-live me by many decades. If you run across it in your meanderings and it causes you any trouble, I apologize ... have a homebrew on me :-)