Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Entry: Fan death

I love urban legends. Sure, many of them prey on people's ignorance, and a fair chunk are born out of ugly stereotypes, but I can appreciate how they add a touch of the bizarre to everyday life, and how, even in an age where political revolutions are being Twittered, we still have a tendency to whisper to each other about monsters lurking in the night. Might be silly, but I find it very humanizing, and humbling, after a fashion.

This, however? The mortal peril of going to sleep in a closed room with a fan on? Oh man.

It's apparently possible that electric fans could, in rare cases, contribute to heat stroke, but consider some of the reasons given for fans supposedly being deadly:

"That an electric fan creates a vortex, which sucks the oxygen from the enclosed and sealed room and creates a partial vacuum inside."
"That an electric fan chops up all the oxygen particles in the air leaving none to breathe."
"The fan uses up the oxygen in the room and creates fatal levels of carbon dioxide."
"That if the fan is put directly in front of the face of the sleeping person, it will suck all the air away, preventing one from breathing."

Come on. I'm an abject moron when it comes to science, and even I know it doesn't work that way. The way you die from an electric fan is by sticking your fingers through the grate, then the fan blade severs your fingertip clean off and you bleed out. From your finger.

I think my favorite aspect of this urban legend is that Korean electric fan manufacturers cater to people who believe in it by putting timers on their products. GUYS. We're in the 21st century. Surely you'd make a lot more money if you slap some copy on the box about using the timer to reduce carbon emissions.


Galadriel said...

Aw, c'mon! There are so many more methods of death-by-electric-fan. I'm thinking removing the plastic cover to the motor while it's running...water + electricity in all its many forms...hanging yourself with the cord...dropping it on your head...

Regina said...

Man, at that point, I'll take my chances with chopped-up oxygen molecules. o_O

Pooka said...

As urban myths go, this one seems fairly... blah. I'm much more a fan of the old cockroach-eggs-on-the-envelope story.

Meanwhile, while reading the fan death article: they've done RESEARCH on this???