36 False Facts You Probably Thought Were True

Debunking 36 of the world’s most contagious myths and misconceptions.

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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