One of the most dangerous mistakes a parent can make with their child is treating the television or DVD player like a babysitter. Not only do films teach children terrible life lessons, they also proliferate lies as if they are facts. These misconceptions have entered the public knowledge, and it may be surprising to learn that the following five facts are not true at all but were dreamed up by famous film makers.
Lemmings Jump Off Cliffs
This is a very old misconception and won’t be found in with the new DVD releases. Although Disney had earlier been proliferating this myth through their Scrooge McDuck comics, their 1958 nature documentary White Wilderness is generally considered responsible for the mass popularisation of the rumour. It was later discovered that the lemmings weren’t leaping from a cliff, but had been launched with the help of a turntable.
Explosions in Space
This isn’t specific to one film, but to the entire sci-fi genre. Generally film makers create space explosions based on what the audience would expect to see, and not on what would actually happen. With regards to physics, an explosion in a vacuum would not look the way that a general audience would expect. Explosions look the way they do due to interaction with the matter (e.g. air and water) around the blast; in a vacuum the air would not heat up the same way, so the effect would be similar to a flashbulb with no visible debris.
Third Class Passengers on the Titanic Were Locked Downstairs to Drown
Although a popular myth showing the injustices of the British class system, this again is not true. It is widely repeated during newspaper and film recreations of the Titanic disaster that the third class were locked downstairs during collision, but in reality they were allowed free movement via the second class stairwell. The reason that there were so many deaths within the third class quarters was mainly due to misunderstandings from the boat crew (many didn’t believe that the ship would actually sink) but also due to the vast majority of passengers in this section being immigrants who spoke poor English and couldn’t understand the directions they were given.
You Can Make Napalm with Equal Parts Gasoline and Orange Juice Concentrate
Fight Club is one of my favourite films of all time, so it saddened me to discover that Tyler Durden’s recipe for napalm (a gasoline based gel which is extremely good at conducting fire) wasn’t factually accurate. It’s probably for the best as it would be a disaster for a mass audience to have such access to deadly weapons, however a quick search on Google brings back plenty of recipes for home-made explosives (including napalm).
Dogs Can’t Look Up
An often trotted out animal fact and the basis of some debate in zom-rom-com Shaun of the Dead, some experimenting with my own Labrador has left me with the conclusion that yes, dogs can look up. It may depend on the dog whether or not they lift their head to look up, however on typing the question “can dogs look up?” into Google and finding a first page full of results from Yahoo Answers I realised that this must be a ridiculous question.
Jennifer is a part of the digital blogging team at cashzilla.co.uk who work with a growing number of finance brands. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in finance news, check out my posts at cashzilla.co.uk or visit my Twitter account, @cashzilla.