There are some bits of information you pick up along the way in life that are easily accepted as fact. In many cases, they’re so seemingly insignificant, it seems wild that anyone would make them up. Unfortunately, if you get enough people hearing and repeating the same piece of misinformation, it’s bound to go from idle gossip to indisputable fact in some of their minds. But it’s time to set the record straight.
Have a look at these supposed facts that actually aren’t true and find out just how far astray you’ve been led by friends, family, and teachers over the course of your life. And for some amazing—and accurate—information about the world around you, check out these 100 Awesome Facts About Everything!
Carrots Improve Your Vision
The beta-carotene in carrots can convert to vitamin A, which can improve your vision, but once your body has enough beta-carotene, it no longer makes that conversion. Carrots have, however, been linked to increased collagen consumption. That’s why they’re on the list of 50 Foods That Make You Look Younger.
Toads Give You Warts
Toads might have a bumpy, warty appearance, but they’re not the culprit behind warts. That dubious distinction goes to the human papillomavirus, of which there are more than 170 strains. You’ll have to do more than avoid amphibians if you want a nice complexion, however: here are the 30 Best Ways to Have Your Best Skin.
Going Out With Wet Hair Makes You Sick
Colds and flu are caused by a virus, not by wet hair. If you want to avoid getting sick, take up 20 Habits That Slash Your Flu Risk.
You Only Use 10% of Your Brain
You use basically all of your brain, but maybe not all at once. If you feel like you’re only using 10% of your brain, Boost Your Brain With This Science-Proven Trick.
Sugar Makes You Hyper
Children running around like lunatics at a birthday party are just excited, not high off frosting. But that doesn’t mean sugar is good for you. It’s still linked to obesity, diabetes, and cavities, for starters. Need help reducing your own intake of the sweet stuff? This Is the Safest Way to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet.
Coffee Stunts Your Growth
Swimming After Eating Will Give You Cramps
There are no known incidents of a person drowning because they went for a dip after a big lunch. Now that that excuse is gone, here are 40 Ways to Get a Great Beach Body After 40.
Napoleon Was Short
That Napoleon was only 5’2″ is both true and false. Napoleon was measured in French inches, which were longer than English inches. Napoleon was actually closer to 5’7″.
Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
Regular drinking doesn’t kill brain cells, and the damage caused by heavy drinking isn’t caused by cell death, just damage. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Here’s Why One Drink a Day Can Shorten Your Lifespan.
Goldfish Have a Short Memory
A goldfish can actually remember things for at least five months, and even their notoriously short attention spans are now better than the average humans, since the advent of smartphones. That’s just one of The 30 Best Reasons to Take a Digital Detox.
Shaved Hair Grows Back Thicker
Shaving would have to create more follicles for hair to grow back thicker. It can give hair a blunt tip, which can make it feel coarse, though.
Bats Are Blind
Bats use echolocation to find things in the dark, but that doesn’t mean they’re blind. Some bats even have excellent vision.
Bananas Are a Fruit
Bananas are technically berries, which is handy information if you want to be that guy at a cocktail party.
Einstein Failed Math
Einstein was actually (obviously) good at math. He did fail a college entrance exam, which seems to have spawned this rumor. He actually passed the math section of this test, too.
The Great Wall of China Is Visible From Space
Without a little help, the Great Wall isn’t visible to the human eye from low Earth orbit. It is definitely not visible from the moon.
Your Tongue Has Different Taste Regions
The entire tongue can taste all types of tastes pretty much equally.
Toilets Flush in Different Directions in Different Hemispheres
Toilets flush the same direction in Australia as they do in Austria. The only thing that changes the direction is the shape of the toilet and the angle the water enters it.
You Shouldn’t Touch Baby Birds
Birds have a terrible sense of smell. It’s perfectly fine to be a good Samaritan and help a baby bird.
Milk Creates Mucus
If you’re sick, milk might make your phlegm seem thicker, but it isn’t kicking your body into mucus-making overdrive.
Cracking Knuckles Causes Arthritis
Cracking your knuckles will not cause arthritis, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Everyone Died Young in the Middle Ages
The average life expectancy in the Middle Ages is skewed young because there was so much infant mortality. If a person lived to adulthood, it wasn’t uncommon to live to be anywhere from 60 to 80 years old.
Poinsettias Are Deadly
If a child ate five or so leaves, they might throw up, but they wouldn’t die. Holly berries, on the other hand, are toxic.
Alcohol Warms You Up
Alcohol might make you feel warm, but it slows down your circulation and actually makes you colder.
Sharks Don’t Get Cancer
Scientists have known for over a century that sharks get cancer. This is just a myth spread to promote sales of shark cartilage.
Germs Live on Toilet Seats
Many organisms that cause disease can only live on a toilet seat for a very short time, and unless you’re doing something pretty weird in the bathroom, odds are your bodily fluids aren’t actually coming in contact with the top of the seat. In fact, research suggests that your average cell phone has about 10 times the amount of bacteria as you’ll find on a toilet seat.
Coffee Dehydrates You
The mild dehydrating effect of caffeine is offset by the amount of water in a cup of coffee.
It Takes Seven Years to Digest Gum
Gum actually isn’t digestible at all, same as the fiber in popcorn kernels. Like that fiber, it passes through your body without being digested.
Frightened Ostriches Stick Their Heads in the Ground
Ostriches keep their eggs in holes in the sand instead of nests, and they use their beaks to move them around, but they don’t try to hide by sticking their heads in the sand.
A Duck’s Quack Doesn’t Echo
The quacking of a duck is the same as any other sound. It echoes, although it may do so quietly, since a single duck quacking isn’t particularly loud.
Mount Everest Is the Tallest Mountain
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but the tallest mountain from base to peak is actually Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which is nearly a mile taller than Everest when you factor in the 19,700 feet of it that exist in the Pacific Ocean. Have these facts got you feeling like you don’t know what’s what? Here are 40 Facts You Learned in the 20th Century That Are Totally Bogus Today.
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