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When I was a boy living in England I though I could re-charge flshlight batterries by wrapping some wire around a battery and inserting the ends of the coli into a live light socket. When I tried this I was rewarded by a loud bang and shower of sparks which caused me to fall off the step ladder. Later I tried the battery in a flashlight and was happy to see a very dim orange glow on the bulb filament.
When I was little, my family had a stereo system with the speakers standing upright. This is the way it was set up all through my childhood. I used to believe that if the speakers were put on their sides, the music would come out sideways.
My father (who at near 80 doesn't really qualify as a kid anymore) knows one thing about computers: they can only put out what has been put in in the first place. So he once told me he couldn't understand how the computer programmers could know beforehand what text I would want to write one day.
When we passed a construction site once, where everyone's gone home but the machines are still there, my brothers told me they were still working, the machines just moved really slowly. I believe this for a few years until I saw a crane and bulldozer moving for real, and was blown away.
I always thought we would be living in space pods and fly around pods like the Jetsons in 2000. This is not the case.
I didn't understand what a microphone was, and thought the mics and brown microphone covers used by performers on Top of the Pops during the late 1980s were actually gigantic bulbs of chocolate, put there in case the singers became hungry. But I'm alright now...
I first saw a piezzo-electric gas-oven lighter when visiting some of my parents friends. They (the adults) thought it'd be fun to pretend that it was a space-gun and that one of these friend used to be a astronaut. I am sure I remember telling all my friends back at school about my astronaut friend and his gun...
I used to think that little elves lived in my computer and that when the computer was turned off they were sleeping. The computer was right outside the bathroom, so whenever I tried to go to the bathroom I would tiptoe past the computer and if I made a noise I would hide because I was afraid they'd be mad at me for disturbing their sleep.
When I was young, my older brother told me that there were tape recorders that could record voices and more expensive tape recorders that could record music. If you tried to record music with a less expensive voice-recording tape recorder, you would play back silence. We were very lucky that we had one of those expensive, music-recording tape recorders!
I used to believe that to use a microphone you had to put a special device in your mouth which made your voice very quiet so that the microphone could 'pick up' the sound. I think this belief came from when I went to a circus when I was younger and the ringmaster leant over to speak to someone next to him without using the microphone and I couldn't hear his voice (even though he was about 25 foot away!)
I remember being scolded for not shutting the refrigerator door all of the way. Somehow I came to believe that if I didn't shut the refrigerator door all the way that it would eventually stop closing. I would test this theory out by leaving the refrigerator door slightly ajar and then quickly running in a circular path throughout the house (out one kitchen door and in another)back to the refrigerator to see if the door was any harder to shut.
My father-in-law, who is his 50's, has recently got himself hooked up to the internet. Every night, before he goes to bed, he unplugs the main power supply and disconnects the modem. The reason? To stop the computer merrily browsing on the web all by itself and running up a huge phone bill. I swear this is true.
When I was small, I was told that if you left an electrical device plugged in with the power turned off, it would catch fire or explode.
I used to believe that the computer would blow up if I did the wrong thing or asked it to do too much.
Sadly, I still kinda do.
I used to think that if you put geraniums into electric switches it would blow up the whole world!
Iused to belive that the key ctrl was short for citral
I used to believe,there was a little person inside my Dad's box Brownie camera.
When you put a letter in the post box, it goes to an underground conveyor belt that takes it all the way to the house of the nearest postman to the destination. Is that not true? (!)
Yay, I am so delighted to find out that I am not the only idiot that thought a piece of paper went in to the fax, de-materialised (like on Star Trek) and re formed again at the other end. Mind you, this was back in the 60's when I first saw a fax on a TV show. The cops were sending an identikit picture of a criminal to another state - I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before people would travel this way!!
My family lived next to an electric company right of way when I was growing up. I got the idea that not only were the power lines dangerously electified, but that touching the big, metal high-tension towers would mean instant death. Birds seemed to be ok when they perched on the towers, but I decided that that had something to do with them having no blood in their feet.