Posted by Martin Poulter on 30 November 2008
When Dogbert writes a list of “Clues for the Clueless”, Bob the Dinosaur reads with growing dismay, “1. Professional wrestling is fake. 2. No one ever lost weight on a home exercise device…” “It’s not healthy to read them all at once,” advises Dogbert.
Maybe the same warning should apply to WikiPedia’s List of Common Misconceptions. Files used to circulate around the Internet, pre-Web, which listed “everybody knows”-type claims and assessed whether they were really true or false. This was a forerunner of sites like Snopes.com, or even the QI television series and books. Wikipedia’s contribution is a handy reference for things that in many cases we think we know but don’t. There’s even less excuse now for believing that water swirls down the plughole differently in different hemispheres.