36 False Facts You Probably Thought Were True

p>1. Napoléon Was Short

A tall tale. At 1.68m, he was slightly above average height for a Frenchman of the time.


2. Don’t Eat and Swim

This doesn’t increase the risk of cramps; alcohol is the biggest risk increaser.

3. Salted Water Boils Quicker

Adding a sprinkle of salt to fresh water makes no noticeable difference.

4. Oil Stops Stuck Pasta

It doesn’t prevent sticking. But it can stop the water boiling over.

5. Left and Right Brain

There’s no solid division between hemispheres; the left brain can learn “right- brain skills” and vice versa.

6. Dropped Coins from a Tall Building Kill

The terminal velocity of a penny is 48-80km/h. Not fast enough to kill – but it sure would sting.

7. Three Wise Men

Nowhere in the Bible does it specify that there were three.

8. MSG = Headaches

There’s no scientific proof – just anecdotal evidence implicating monosodium glutamate.

9. Dogs Sweat by Salivating

No – they regulate temperature through panting. They actually sweat through their footpads.

10. Great Wall of China

It’s not visible from space. No single human structure is visible from orbit, but you can see cities at night.

11. Flush Rotation

A flushed toilet doesn’t drain the other way in the opposite hemisphere. The Coriolis effect doesn’t apply to water in toilets.

12. Einstein Failed Maths

No. He failed an entrance exam for a school, two years early, but still excelled in maths.

13. Humans and Dinosaurs

Despite 41% of US adults thinking we coexisted, we actually missed each other by 64 million years.

14. Black Holes Absorb Everything

Not really “holes”, but rather hugely dense objects with massive gravitational pull.

15. We Have Only 5 Senses

Many scientists insist on 21, including balance, pain, movement, hunger, thirst, etc.

16. Vaccines Cause Autism

Groundless fears based on fraudulent research that’s been shown to have been manipulated.

17. Don’t Touch Baby Birds

Most birds have a limited sense of smell, so they won’t abandon babies who “smell” of humans.

18. Alcohol Kills Brain Cells

While rampant alcohol use can damage the brain, it’s not due to cell death.

19. Missing-Persons Reports

You don’t have to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing to the police if you have serious concerns about their safety.

20. Different Tongue Parts

There are not different sections of the tongue for each taste: bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and umami (savoury/meaty).

21. Only 10% of the Brain is Used

Metaphor that’s been misunderstood; not all neurons are always firing, but inactive cells are still important.

22. Iron Maidens

These were never medieval torture devices, but 18th-century fakes were created for sensational circuses.

23. Body Heat and the Head

Only in infants is most heat lost through the head (unless the head is the only uncovered part of the body).

24. Wake Sleepwalkers?

They’ll be really confused, but it’s OK. They’re more likely to hurt themselves if they’re not awoken.

25. Bananas Grow on Trees

Actually, they grow on massive herbs that just resemble trees.

26. Milk Increases Mucus

Nope; it doesn’t. There’s no need to avoid dairy if you have a cold.

27. Bats Are Blind

Not only can bats see, but they also use echolocation. That’s why they’re so awesome!

28. Caffeine Dehydrates You

Not really. The diuretic effect of caffeine is offset by the amount of water in a caffeinated drink.

29. Goldfish’s 3-Second Memory

While not the smartest in the animal kingdom, goldfish do boast a better memory than most politicians.

30. Shaving Thickens Hair

Regrown hair isn’t thicker, coarser, or darker; it just appears so because it grows back with a blunt tip.

31. Seven Years to Digest Gum

The chewy base of gum is indigestible and passes straight through. The remainder is absorbed.

32. Vikings’ Horns

The helmets were created by a costume designer for a 19th- century Wagner opera.

33. Alcohol Keeps You Warm

It merely dilates warm blood vessels near the skin, creating the impression of warmth. It can actually drop core body temperature.

34. The Vomitorium

Not a room Romans used for Bacchanalian binges, but the name for the entrance to a stadium.

35. Sugar = Hyperactivity

Studies have disproved this. Poor or rowdy behaviours still occur in children with sugar-free diets.

36. Bulls Hate Red

Bulls are colour-blind. They actually perceive the motions of the bullfighter’s cloth as a threat.

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