A TV spot for the film Gamer became an Internet hit when it claimed that "the last time Gerard Butler kicked this much ass was 300 years ago." Yeah, we're pretty sure they missed a comma there.note Amusingly, Gerard Butler has done quite a few other historical epics and at least one time travel story... covering damn near every period but the early 18th century.
A commercial for Oscar Meyer Franks has a father come home sees his three kids on those electronic gizmos kids use these days. Wanting to spend Quality Family Time he trips the circuit breaker of his house knocking the power out and shutting off the older brother's computer, the younger brother's game console, and the sister's cell phone.
Anime & Manga
One scene in Grappler Baki involved a character who blinded people by pulling out their optic nerves... by sticking a finger into the side of his opponent's neck and pulling said nerve out. The optic nerve, which connects the eye and brain via a hole through the eye socket, really has no business being there.
The ordinarily Genre SavvyAmbush Bug once made a huge error In-Universe. Seeing a young blonde woman in a familiar costume flying by, Ambush Bug immediately realized that some malevolent magic or Red Kryptonite had turned his "pal" Superman into a girl, and that Superman desperately needed the Bug's help. Somehow, Ambush Bug was completely ignorant of the existence of Supergirl, who was naturally mystified by the encounter. (Supergirl, In-Universe, was publicly known and quite famous in her own right at the time.)note Supergirl #16 (1984)
The Phantom Planet features a plot point where atmospheric changes cause the protagonist to first shrink in size, then grow back to normal. There's also a throwaway line in the movie stating that the planet's inhabitants have been shrinking for centuries due to the planet's gravity.
Reptilicus gives us this little gem: "It's impossible. The skin tissue of the lizard. The cells seem to multiply like bacteria."
Roland Emmerich's disaster movie 2012: this trailer for the film refers to the Mayans as "mankind's earliest civilization" within the first ten seconds. The Chinese, Sumerians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians are some of the many who say otherwise—also the Olmecs, who came up with the Long Count calendar all the brouhaha comes from in the first place.
In Patch Adams, the title character is ranting at God after love interest Carin dies. At one point, he laments that of all the creatures on Earth, humans are the only ones who kill their own kind. Really, Patch? Ever watch the Discovery Channel? It'd be more accurate to say that humans are the only ones who feel bad about it.
Coleman: Let me see, you would be from Austria. Am I right? Ophelia: No, I am Inga from Sweden. Coleman: Sweden? ...But you're wearing ...Lederhosen. Ophelia:Ja, from Sweden.
An actual example occurs in the climactic scene where all the commodities traders (including the main characters) meet for daily trading in New York City at the World Trade Center. The actual U.S. commodities market is located in Chicago.
In Plan 9 from Outer Space, Eros informs the heroes that "a ray of sunlight is made up of many atoms." Wow. Where to even begin on that?note For the art majors out there: light is made of photons.
The tagline of the film Biggles is "Meet Jim Ferguson. He lived a daring double-life with one foot in the 20th century and the other in World War One." Anyone who knows when World War One occurred should see the problem.
One of the more egregious, non-mutant bird-related examples in Birdemic involves Natalie's modeling career. Early in the movie, Natalie's been told she's been selected as a Victoria's Secret cover model. This is A Very Big Deal; the only comparable single modeling gig, in terms of prestige and exposure, is the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. Everybody, from Rod to Natalie's mother, urges her to look into a second career, in case modeling "doesn't work out." The RiffTrax crew were quick to pounce on that bit of ignorance.
For all the good things we can say about the Japanese cut of Godzilla, it's still got a pretty glaring one of these when Prof. Yamane says that dinosaurs lived 2 million years ago, when any child could tell you that they went extinct 65 million years ago.
The MST3K-featured film Devil Fish has a rather infuriating example when a character who is supposed to be an expert is playing a slideshow of prehistoric marine life - mostly animals contemporaneous to, or even predating, the dinosaurs. We're then told they lived in the "Cetaceous" period (pronounced like 'cetacean'), which was two-hundred years ago. Not two-hundred-million. Two hundred.
Speaking of MST fare, if you know anything at all about Aztecs or Aztec Mythology, you're doing better than the creators of Puma Man. To take but one example, Stonehenge is apparently an Aztec artifact according to this movie.
In Double Jeopardy, Ashley Judd's husband fakes his death and frames her for the murder. After being paroled, Judd sets out to find her husband and murder him for real, but now with legal impunity, since she "can't be tried for the same crime twice" according to the 5th Amendment protection against double jeopardy. The problem is that these would legally be considered as two different crimes.
In the first movie, the supercomputer Red Queen explains how zombies reanimate, saying that since hair and nails continue to grow after death, there's enough cellular activity in the body to jump-start a corpse. Problem is, hair and nails DON'T keep growing after death. This is not only part of the movie's entire rationale for having zombies at all, but is spoken by a supercomputer supposedly housing vast collections of knowledge and data.
The filmmakers completely contradict their own established rationale for zombies in the second movie, when the dead start to rise from a graveyard... presumably long after the 'cellular activity' would have stopped.
The Asylum movie Mega Fault. The premise is that a giant earthquake opens a crack in the ground that stretches from the east coast of the US to the Grand Canyon. This one has a lot of cracks following people down roads.
The kids' movie 5 Children & It features a scene in which an eccentric maths teacher is about to discover that kid-related shenanigans have been going on, while one of the kids is desperately trying to distract him by finding the answer to a complicated sum. The kid eventually announces that the answer is "3,486,522." The teacher beams "Ah! A prime number of the Siemens series!" and is successfully distracted. Admittedly, the average person might not know that there's no such thing as the "Siemens series" in mathematics, but anyone who entered high school—forget graduated—would notice that 3,486,522 is even, and 2 is the only even prime.
In the second Die Hard movie, the villains shut down air traffic control at Washington Dulles International Airport so as to prevent interference with his plot. As a result, planes don't receive landing instructions and have to circle the airport, as their fuel runs out. There's just one problem: FAA regulations state that all airline flights must carry enough fuel to divert to another major airport close by in case of an emergency like the one depicted in the film. There are two major airports in the DC Metro Area, Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and three if you count Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which, as the name implies, is about halfway between the two cities. Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base) could certainly handle a number of emergency landings in a pinch. In short, the suspense of the movie never should have happened. They attempt to Hand Wave it away in the movie by saying that the storm shut the other airports down, but other major airports like Philadelphia, Richmond, Newark, etc., aren't all that far away (Especially since the planes appeared to have roughly two hours of fuel available at the time they started circling, which is enough time to reach just about any airport from NYC to Raleigh, North Carolina), and the planes would have been rerouted long before they reached bingo fuel. So that's two CRFs for the price of one.
The made-for-tv movie Asteroid has quite a few. In particular, the asteroid is destroyed using lasers designed to take out "tactical ballistic missiles" mounted on aircraft. For one thing, the laser systems are said to be less effective being fired in space, when the opposite should be true. Another issue is that the titular asteroid is ten kilometers across, something which defense lasers lasers would barely scratch, let alone destroy in a spectacular explosion. Third, no one seems to be concerned about the debris that is still heading towards the planet until it's too late.
In Film/Unknown nurse Erfurt brings a pair of metal scissors into the room with the MRI machine - which enables the protagonist to cut himself free and flee. Maybe the writers should have read up on [http://jerlab.psych.sc.edu/kidsMRIsite/mrisafety/ mri safety].
"It's only Neutron. We call him that because he's so positive."
Examples from the Twilight series, whose author, Stephenie Meyer, has infamously bragged about doing as little research as possible. Garbled half-remembrances from high school abound:
Anyone who has ever been to an American high school in the last two or three decades would know that there is no way in HELL a teacher would be allowed to administer a blood test without sending home permission slips informing parents ahead of time, as happened in Twilight. Had Bella enrolled in school after the permission forms had been sent out and returned, chances are she would have been excluded from the experiment. And even failing that, no teacher who didn't want his pants sued off would grab a kid's finger and jab it with a needle. Just no.
In Christopher Pike's book The Secret of Ka, basic errors abound in the first thirty pages alone:
There is no desert outside of Istanbul. Indeed, the city is right on the water, lying on the rather famous Bosporus Strait, in fact.
Istanbul is likewise portrayed as an extremely violent city, similar to popular portrayals of places like the Gaza Strip, which it isn't. It's also portrayed as the capital of Turkey, which it also isn't.
The narrator is scolded for saying "Hell" and "Christ," because she's in an Arab country ... which Turkey isn't.
The novel portrays the entire NSA, the world's preeminent codebreaking organization, scrambling around trying to figure out the answer to a simple riddle that anyone who took high school chemistry could easily figure out. On top of that, the answer to said riddle printed in the book is wrong.
The novel depicts Spain (and, specifically, Seville) as something resembling a Third World hellhole with, among other things, Spaniards unable to have normal wounds treated in hospitals.
In Moby Dick, Herman Melville/Ishmael consistently asserts that whales are fish. There's a whole chapter on it. He even goes on to warn of those who might lead the reader astray through talk of mammals and the like, which he essentially counters with "Come on guys, they're totally fish." Although he does acknowledge that they breathe air and give birth to live young, he still insists that they are, somehow, fish.
Jacqueline Rayner's Doctor Who novel, The Last Dodo, features "Mervin, the missing link between fish and mammals", which is just what it sounds like it should be. The thing is, we already know the steps between fish and mammals — they're best known as amphibians and reptiles.
Holden Caulfield writes a paper about ancient Egypt, which reads thus: "The Egyptians were an ancient race of Caucasians residing in one of the northern sections of Africa. The latter as we all know is the largest continent in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Egyptians are extremely interesting to us today for various reasons. Modern science would still like to know what the secret ingredients were that the Egyptians used when they wrapped up dead people so that their faces would not rot for innumerable centuries. This interesting riddle is still quite a challenge to modern science in the twentieth century." That is the paper, in its entirety.
The title of the book comes from Holden mistaking a line from the song "Comin' Through the Rye". He thinks it's "If a body catch a body comin' through the rye", but it's really "If a body meet a body comin' through the rye."
There's a Star Trek book in which the author tried to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius merely by subtracting 32, without dividing by 1.8 afterwards. As a result, a supposedly perfect paradise planet is said to have a mean surface temperature of a "pleasant 50 degrees centigrade". The silliness here should be immediately evident to anyone who lives in a country that uses Celsius, but for the rest of you, that's 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Song of Roland is both a classic piece of literature and proof that this trope is Older Than Print. It claims within the first few pages that Muslims worship "Apollin" (who is either Apollo or Apollyon (or both)), "Mahomet" (Muhammed, a statement equivalent to claiming that Christians worship the saints or the Jews Abraham or Moses)and, perhaps most bafflingly of all, "Termagant" (a figure who seems to appear only as one of the "Moslem gods"). Early medieval troubadours didn't have access to Wikipedia, or even TV Tropes. All they had was garbled traveler's tales, accounts written by classical travelers, and the knowledge of what makes a good story. They worked with what they had, which wasn't extensive. It is also claimed that Charlemagne is 200 years old, and the The Song of Roland got major details about the story's historical battle wrong (such as who the two armies were).
In The BFG, the eponymous Big Friendly Giant goes on a rant about how Humans Are Bastards because they're the only species that kill members of the same species. In reality, intraspecies killing (and cannibalism) has been common in many animals other than humans. But it's justified because the character lives in a magical realm in a cave in the sky, so he knows little about our world. Plus he gets proven wrong when the other giants try to kill him.
Larry Niven is famous as an author of "hard" science fiction, but even he isn't immune to the occasional whopper. In Ring World, he gets the rotation of the Earth wrong in the first chapter, by having the hero teleport eastward around the Earth in order to extend his birthday. Eastward, as in toward sunrise. This is fixed in later editions.
Angels and Demons, while famed for a sister trope has an example. The book claims that the Catholic Church copied communion (eating God) from the Aztecs. Even young children know that Europeans and natives of the more southerly regions of the Americas didn't meet until Christopher Columbus' famous voyage of 1492... and that Christianity predates that voyage by about one thousand four hundred and sixty years.
As a more specific refutation, the liturgies used by Orthodox Christians include communion, and some of them were composed by St. John Chrysostom, who died in 407 AD—four centuries before the beginnings of the Toltecs, the earliest civilization with any direct ties to the people we call Aztecs.
An in-universe example from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, when the police drug 'expert' tries to explain why a marijuana cigarette is colloquially referred to as a "roach".
"What the fuck are these people talking about?" my attorney whispered. "You'd have to be crazy on acid to think a joint looked like a goddamn cockroach!"
In the '70s horror novel The Sentinel, author Jeffrey Konvitz talks about translating Paradise Lost from the "original Latin".
In-Universe example from Gordon Korman's Son of the Mob 2: Vince is heading off to film school in California with his girlfriend and best friend and decides to chronicle their road trip in script form. His girlfriend immediately points out one minor problem: he has them driving west into the rising sun.
In Night of the Wolf by Alice Borchardt (sister of Anne Rice), the claim is made that wolves do not mate for life. This has been proven repeatedly to be false - they do.
In the Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels, Free Fall depicts Japan as a Third World country that sells kids to Americans for 100 American dollars. Again, that's Japan, as in the country that was widely believed to be taking over the world only a decade or two before the novel was written.
An in-universe example in The Hunger Games delivered by none other than Effie Trinket "Well, if you put enough pressure on coal it turns to pearls."
In Ski Nurse Mystery by Helen Wells (part of the Cherry Ames series), a doctor refers to Ève Curie as if she were an expert on radiology. While Ève was a remarkable lady in her own right, whatever knowledge she had about radiology probably came from talking with her mother Marie Curie — you know, the famous woman who's probably the only radiology expert the average person could name?
In Jurassic Park, the finale of the book has the military of Costa Rica firebomb Isla Nublar to prevent the dinosaurs from escaping. The problem: Costa Rica has no military. Not even a little one. It only has a defence force, which, while equipped with some military-grade equipment, is not a standing army in the modern sence.
Hush, Hush has a particularly bad depiction of anemia, suggesting that a sudden inability to breathe is a common symptom. It isn't.
"The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries" briefly mentions Hepatitis D as a disease that affects only vampires. Not only is it a real illness, it'd been known about for 24 years before the first book came out.
Boston Legal frequently makes errors obvious to even non-lawyers. Lawyers routinely meet with judges without the presence of opposing counsel, evidence that has nothing to do with the case is introduced at the last minute, and the same firm occasionally represents both sides in a case.
Ally McBeal (Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley's earlier legal show) makes many of the same errors, but the law firm is shown to be "functionally corrupt" and ethically questionable in many ways. Why every single other person in the entire bloody legal system plays by the same rules, on the other hand, is an open question.
The Weakest Link research team has proved itself to be the weakest link on occasion:
When the question was asked to a contestant "Montreal is the capital city of which Canadian province?" They claimed the answer was Quebec, while in fact the correct answer is none: Quebec City is the capital of Quebec.
The question "In which century did the First World War take place, the 19th or the 20th?" gave the right answer as "the 19th".
Almost any time someone mentions evolution, you can bet it will be entirely wrong:
The book of a biology professor claims that the right combination of genes could do things that blatantly break the laws of physics. The son of said professor seems to believe natural selection works by destiny, randomly selecting an individual to be awesome, instead of gradually weeding out unfavorable mutations and allowing better mutations a better chance to survive.
The son also states that individuals with beneficial mutations have to fight harder than other people to survive. Which not only fails biology, but also inverts the definition of "beneficial".
Not to mention those ever-so-convenient eclipses, which somehow occur all over the planet. Even in Japan and the United States simultaneously, never mind how it'd be the middle of the night in one when it's mid-day in the other. Season 3 even has a two-parter where an eclipse lasts for several hours (which is... unlikely, to say the least).
NCIS plays it pretty loose with science and technology, but a few examples are glaring enough to qualify for this trope:
During one episode, the NCIS computer network is being hacked by someone. Abby madly taps at her keyboard to try and counter this but isn't fast enough. So McGee jumps on the other side of the keyboard and they madly tap away at the same time, on the same keyboard! Unless anti-hacking software somehow involves a mini-game with a two player mode then they aren't going to accomplish anything.
And again, on the premiere episode of the ninth season, McGee suggests a fun gaming lounge that the team can go to, saying it has "3D, PS2 and a 60" plasma." Even people with just a vague knowledge of modern video games would know that the PS3 replaced the PS2 almost half a decade earlier and rarely ran high-definition, let alone 3D.
The team routinely drives up and down Virginia multiple times an episode, which may possible for a state Virginia's size, but is a bit of a stretch.
When Rick is trying desperately to recall his history lessons, he finishes the statement "Crop rotation in the 14th century was considerably more widespread after..." with "1172". Which isn't even in the 14th century.
Neil never sleeps because he thinks sleep causes cancer.
"West Germany, famously a bunch of cheats" references East Germany's history with performance-enhancing drugs. And "Cricket? 'Ere in Yorkshire?" makes no sense as cricket is really popular in Yorkshire.
The Ashes isn't a tournament with "second rounds" and "semi-finals". It's a revered test cricket match between the national teams of England and Australia. The West Indies, the Dallas Cowboys (an American football team), West Germany (a country that ceased existing for 17 years at the time of airing and in which most people have no idea what cricket actually is) and Pisswiddle Steel Batters are ineligible. Manchester United is an association football team.
Michell and Webb have a whole series of skits based on two screenwriters who never, ever, do any research. The medical drama in particular is hilarious.
"Now he's poorly from too much electric."
There's also the archaeologist who makes the incredible find of an ancient Roman...videotape. It appears to show several people having a toga party, but he and other researchers talk about the incredible discoveries they're making, while one stares at them in disbelief, and eventually brings up the obvious. He's then guilt-tripped into going along with it.
In the "killer gamers" episode of CSI: Miami, the bad guys are basing their crimes on the plot of a video game. The only way the team can find out what happens next is to play the game. Anyone who has ever set foot in a video game store has seen shelves full of Official Strategy Guides proclaiming "All Secrets Revealed!" on their covers. And GameFAQs and other online sites, which will reveal those secrets for free! Failing that, you could probably find a playthrough on YouTube.
In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a character describes Picard as being "two meters tall". Given that he isn't even close to that height, the writer clearly didn't know the metric system. Joked about in Picard's last appearance, Star Trek Nemesis- Picard and his clone both lament not having reached two meters tall.
In the 2000 TV series The Invisible Man, Darien's surface temperature drops below freezing when he turns invisible. The reason given is that no light is hitting him, but this isn't a plausible one as his body is still generating heat.
Reviews On The Run's 2010 Blu-Ray award special gave the best voice actor to Kevin Conroy for his performance in Batman: Under the Red Hood. While Conroy voiced Batman in the DCAU and for some other projects, he wasn't in Under The Red Hood. That was Bruce Greenwood.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, in "Return of the Green Ranger," features the Rangers going back in time to the late 1700s, where Angel Grove is a colonial town filled with British soldiers. Angel Grove is in California, which was originally ruled by Spain, and wasn't inhabited by Americans until the mid-1800s.
The Taiwanese adaptation of The Million Pound Drop does this often enough to lead to suspicions that the show is rigged. Frequently, a blatantly false "correct" answer is given for an answer that happens to be one that the contestants left empty. One particularly obvious incident was when they claimed the correct answer to "Which of these animals is warm-blooded?" was salmon.
On January 18, 2012, the commercials for Entertainment Tonight previewed a story about the Concordia cruise ship capsizing disaster, which they called "The Real LifeTitanic". One would think the real-life Titanic would be, well, the Titanic.
In the 2012 episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded, Brad brings up the prophecy of the "Blue Star Kachina" and mentions how NASA has recently discovered an actual blue star. They go on as if it's possible for an actual honest-to-goodness star to hit the Earth come December 21st 2012 - and ask a NASA guy about it.
In-universe examples abound in Buffy the Vampire Slayer whenever Andrew flexes his storytellermuscles. He'll usually include events of which he has no first-hand knowledge (i.e. previous seasons) in his spiel and is thus occasionally widely off the mark. For example, when he talks about Faith he doesn't understand why she killed a Vulcan, "the most pacifist and logical of races". Flashback to Faith locked in deadly hand-to-hand combat with a Vulcan. (She killed a volcanologist.)
In "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" Amy casts a love spell by invoking Diana whom she describes as "goddess of love and the hunt". While Diana was indeed the Roman goddess of the hunt, anyone could tell you that Venus was the goddess of love. What's more is that Diana was one of three goddesses who swore never to marry. The closest she comes being associated with love is becoming a goddess of childbirth in other myths. What's more is that Amy invokes Hecate in the same episode for a separate spell when Hecate and Diana were the same goddess in Roman mythology.
An in-universe example in How I Met Your Mother: Barney's "Platinum Rule" was based off his belief that the Golden Rule was "Love your neighbor." The other characters were quick to point out that it's actually "Treat others as you yourself would want to be treated."
In Red Dwarf, the usually very well-informed Kryten thinks that Virgil's Aeneid is about the rescue of Helen of Troy. Nope: that was Homer's Iliad.
In-universe, Kryten also believes, "I think, therefore I am" was said by Popeye, not Descartes.
The O'Reilly Factor, in an example that produced no less than two memes, had O'Reilly claiming that there was no scientific explanation for tides, notoriously claiming "You can't explain that!"*
while the guest he was interviewing, Dave Silverman, stared at him with a face that just screamed "you can't be serious"*
Zero Hour, which centers around a conspiracy related to Jesus' apostles, seems to think that Luke was one of the twelve. Ten seconds on Google would have confirmed that he wasn't.
In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank is scared out of a threat to sue when it another character points out he owns a bunch of unregistered handguns and should avoid going near a court. While this would certainly be a concern in Los Angeles where the show is filmed, it wouldn't be much of an issue in Philadelphia as Pennsylvania doesn't require handguns to be registered—nor does it allow municipal gun-laws different from the state ones.
NewsRadio has an in-universe example: Bill, in one episode, trying to stage an office rebellion, shouts "Do you think the Pilgrims really cared about all the tea they dumped into Baltimore Harbor?" It may well be a shout-out to Bluto's speech in Animal House.
Crow: The Civil War was a war that took place during a certain period in our nation's history. When, exactly? No one can say.
An early episode of Grey's Anatomy manages to get Judaism wrong in a variety of ways:
Alex treats a devout Orthodox Jew in need of a valve replacement. She refuses because it'd have to be a porcine valve and pigs aren't kosher. In reality, Jews are only forbidden from eating pig, and even if they weren't, Jews are allowed to break almost any religious law if their life or the life of another person is in danger.
In the same episode, the patient prays with her rabbi before going into surgery and the rabbi is a woman. While there are female rabbis in some sects, they are completely forbidden in Orthodox sects.
An In-Universe example in Downton Abbey in which Cora (mother of three girls) grumbles about having daughters: "you think it's going to be like Little Women but instead they're at each other's throats." It must have been a while since she read the book, since at least two of the little women (Jo and Amy) were constantly at each other's throats.
Any song that uses "Romeo and Juliet" to say their love is perfect. It's not as if the source material is that hard to find (and it's required reading in a vast majority of high schools). Romeo and Juliet's love wasn't perfect, it was hasty, shallow, and blind. The whole point of the play is that kids make incredibly stupid decisions when it comes to romance. Shakespeare, you sardonic bard, you. The idea that the two teenagers were perfect and their parents were stupid probably originates from high-school readers.
Beautifully averted, however (that is, to say, researched perfectly), in Liam Kyle Sullivan's song No Booty Calls as alter-ego Kelly, in an exchange between her ex-boyfriend and herself:
Neil: Baby, all I wanna do is make you sweat. Let me be Romeo to your Juliet. Kelly: Okay, drink some poison and I'll stab myself. You'd know that story if you ever took a book off a shelf!
Also averted by Mindy McCready's "Oh Romeo" (although much Harsher in Hindsight following her suicide in 2013):
Oh Romeo/Who would lay down her life?/Swallow the poison, pick up the knife/Maybe I cried/Just a teardrop or two/I would not die for you/I would not die for you...
(Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult treats the idea of a Romeo and Juliet fantasy pretty accurately. Two people want to be together forever? It's as easy as killing yourselves. You know, all suicide pacty.
Neil Young has a song called "Cortez the Killer", in which he praises the pacifist and egalitarian... Aztecs!? Seriously, he comes right out and says "Hate was just a legend, / And war was never known" while he's talking about one of the bloodiest civilizations in human history. He also says they "lifted many stones" and "built up with their bare hands / What we still can't do today." So, which early 16th century Aztec stone buildings were unmatchable by 1970s technology exactly?
There is a Dutch DJ who, as of October 2011, claims to get phone calls from Madonna and Frank Sinatra on a regular basis. His phone bill must be through the roof, because Sinatra died in May 1998. (Maybe he's talking about Frank Sinatra, Junior?)
There was a period in the 2000s when the media believed "emo" to be a "cult" and that the "Black Parade" was a Valhalla type place where emos go after they die.  Critical Research Failure indeed.
Meg and Dia's song "Fighting for Nothing" has this line, "But I know that/I was put here/To fight Vikings in The Cold War".
The liner notes for the 2003 edition of Yes' Going For The One claimed that "Not one punk band topped the U.K. album charts during its Year Zero of 1977...". Either the writer is driving a Bias Steamroller or has probably never heard of a little punk band called The Sex Pistols, whose album, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, topped the charts in the U.K. in November of 1977 and stayed there for two weeks.
Any medium that mentions Beethoven writing all his music while being deaf. Beethoven was not born deaf, and losing his hearing was — obviously — devastating for him. He did, however, write some of his works after he lost his hearing, by attaching a stick to the piano and holding the other end in his mouth, thus letting him feel the vibrations of the notes through his jaw.
An episode of Fags, Mags and Bags centering around the local rabbi, imam and priest all sitting in the same bath of baked beans for charity includes the priest's disappointment that as the representative of the newest Abrahamic religion, he has to take the traditional youngest sibling place at the tap end. This line should really have gone to the imam.
The various armor types in Dungeons & Dragons. There has historically been exactly one type of armour made from interlocking rings, and its name is mail. Not chainmail, not ringmail, not splint mail, not banded, mascled or augmented mail but mail. Likewise, the correct term for "plate mail" is plate armor and that of "scale mail" is scale armor. The D&D armor types have, nevertheless, become Common Knowledge, as many more people have played D&D or its various derivatives than have a cursory knowledge of real-world armor.
It could also be a result of oversimplification, a contraction of 'plate-and-mail', a simple description of the fact that people in Dungeons and Dragons wear mail shirts under other armor, or any number of different things...
Another D&D example is the contrived difference between a longsword a bastard sword, and a two-handed sword. In the game, a longsword is a one-handed, straight bladed weapon, and a bastard sword is somewhere between this and a two-handed sword in size. In reality, a longsword WAS a two-handed sword, a bastard sword was smaller, and the one-handed version was called either an arming sword or... a short-sword (sorry, halflings).
The entire firearms section of Call Of Cthulhu is full of errors obvious to anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of firearms. For example, silencers are depicted as having been invented about a century before they actually were.
William Shakespeare, as the son of a glove-maker whose schooling mostly included Latin and classic literature (written in Latin), was prone to making these when discussing geography. His plays also include a healthy dose of Anachronism Stew - allusions to Christian themes are frequent even in stories that took place before Christ was born, there are references to contemporary English clothing and culture regardless of setting, etc., so how much of those errors are just stylistic choices is debatable.
In The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare committed a Critical Research Failure and was called out on it by his contemporary, Ben Jonson. Shakespeare had his characters shipwrecked on the coast of Bohemia (which is now the Czech Republic) "where there is no sea near by one hundred miles." Shakespeare's mistake was likely an artifact from his original source, which took place in Sicily, not Bohemia.
The play takes place in Athens in the time of Theseus, placing it around 1200 BC at the very latest. Yet there is a reference to a clock striking twelve. The same occurs in Julius Caesar, wherein a clock strikes three.note While there were clocks as far back as ancient Greece, they weren't the kind we usually think of when mentioning a "clock striking twelve". They were horribly expensive, complicated, prone to breaking down, and not all that accurate unless maintained very thoroughly.
Characters in the play also mention Cupid, A Roman god. The Greek name would have been Eros.
In Antony And Cleopatra, Cleopatra suggests playing a game of billiards, a game which wouldn't exist until about 1000 years later.
Two Gentlemen of Verona has a plot point often regarded as a Critical Research Failure, but it's actually an aversion. While the gentlemen and their servants take a ship to get from Verona to Padua (or Milan, the script says both at different times), and all three cities do not have access to the sea, the three cities did have access to an extensive network of canals linking Verona to Padua and Milan, as well as to various points within each city. Some of these canals are still around today, though their transportation uses have been replaced by modern transportation methods.
The Tempest has a similar aversion in Act I Scene 2, where we are told that Prospero and Miranda were taken from Milan by "bark" (i.e., "barque," a type of ship) "some leagues to the sea," where they were put aboard "a rotten carcass of a boat". Again, while Milan lacks direct access to the ocean, it did have access to an extensive network of canals, and the Grand Canal (Naviglio Grande) is still around today.
In Koudelka, the first part of the Shadow Hearts series, the action takes place in an old abbey in Wales, which the manual says is a "small country in the north of England." Not only is Wales southwest of England, but calling it a country is a stretch - it's part of the UK.
A part of the trouble is due to the translation—that Britain is the island and Wales, England, and Scotland are its political components (along with part of a neighboring island) is essentially unknown to the Japanese, who usually call both the island and the country as a whole "England". The Japanese tend to assume that calling it "the United Kingdom" is merely a different title, like calling America "the United States", when actually only part of the UK is "England" (like if, say, Alaska and Hawaii were part of the United States but not "America").
In the PSP game Def Jam: Fight for NY: Takeover, there is plenty of cringe-inducing trash-talk that gets tossed back and forth before almost every fight in the main storyline. One of the opponents you can fight for money in the Dragon House is Prodigy. All trash talk pertaining to this opponent makes reference to him claiming to be a prophet. Prodigy, prophecy, what's the difference?
Played for laughs in the "Meet the Soldier" trailer for Team Fortress 2. The Soldier starts with a (correct) quote from Sun Tzu and The Art of War, but then goes on to say that Sun Tzu invented fighting, perfected it, and used his fight money to herd two of every animal onto a boat and beat the crap out of them.
And from that day forward, anytime a bunch of animals are together in one place, it's called a ZOO! *
Unless it's a farm!
Batman Arkham City features the Penguin bragging about how the machine guns he makes available to mooks can fire over 100 rounds per minute. While this is technically true, the line probably should have been "per second" instead.
This episode of Neko the Kitty is set in a museum, near the Giant Slug exhibit. The author admits to doing no research on museums for this sequence.
This episode of Closet Gamers contains an In-Universe, and literal, example, when a Dungeons & Dragons character informs the party that a "Purple Worm" is a tiny creature eaten by harmless, flightless birds, as opposed to the giant, nasty Sand Worm monster it actually is.
Gaia Online made a terrible mistake whilst describing a new item called Lala the Koala Plushie.
"Lala the Koala Plushie pays tribute to the noble koala bear, which is now just returning from hibernation to resume it's [sic] voracious consumption of eucalyptus".
While regular bears hibernate, koalas (which are not bears, or even placentals) live in Australia, which even in its temperate zones doesn't get cold enough to necessitate hibernation.
In a satirical skit (so the character's stupidity isn't an excuse), The Nostalgia Critic once called The Little Mermaid "English". What's weird is that back in Disneycember, Doug knew all about the book and compared it to the Disney movie.
In the X-Men animated episode "Days of Future Past, Part 2", Gambit travels to Washington DC. But the monitor shows the state of Washington (with Washington, D.C. captioned right below).
In a likely nod to the Animal House example above, TJ from Recess once made a speech to convince Gretchen to not give up on the "space travel training" the gang was putting her through:
"Did Albert Edison give up when they stole his Theory of Regularity? Did Ben Franklin give up when the Germans shot down his kite?"
A terrible offender is The Mummy: The Animated Series in the episode "The Cloud People" Lake Titicaca is described as both puma-head shaped and as being found below the ruins of Macchu Picchu.
Another particularly glaring example was that Jimmy in one episode refers to the Cretaceous period as the Cretaceous era (the era was the Mesozoic), and that it it ended 200 million years ago. Any dinosaur-crazed eight-year-old could tell you that it ended 65 million years ago, never mind that 200 million years ago was when the dinosaurs were just beginning their dominion over animal life on Earth, and here he is saying it's when they became extinct.
In a later episode, Courtney - who actually corrected the intern— tried correcting Chis again when the contestants were in China, and he told them the Great Wall was built eight million years ago. The kicker? Even though Courtney realized the Great Wall couldn't have been built until much more recently, she explained there were dinosaurs in 8,000,000 B.C. Probably joking?
In the Home Movies episode "History", Brendon makes a movie with George Washington, Annie Oakley, and Pablo Picasso as the primary villains, with very obvious inaccuracies for their backstories (such as Washington freeing the slaves, Picasso cutting off his ear, etc.). It's later revealed that he's been receiving tutoring from Coach McGuirk, and he's flunking history.
Two of the Scooby-Doo movies hit this particularly hard, mainly because the two movies between them got their respective monsters BACKWARDS. Chupacabra is a reptilian hematophage that preys on goats. The Australian Yowie is supposedly a large humanoid creature, along the lines of Bigfoot and the Yeti. Monster of Mexico says that Chupie is Bigfoot, and Legend of the Vampire that the Yowie is a vampire. It's easy to think that they picked monsters that they thought nobody knew, but Chupacabra at least is rather well-known.
"Fairy Idol" shows penguins living at the North Pole. Not just a few, but a whole rookery (though a lot of American cartoons show penguins as North Pole animals rather than South Pole/Antarctic animals, so it's not that much of a surprise).