25 Things You Thought Were True But Really Aren’t

We all have misconceptions. It’s part of the human condition…rumors and myths propagate rapidly. But, hopefully in the next few minutes we’ll dispel some of them. No, the Great Wall of China can’t be seen from space. No, goldfish don’t have a 1 second memory, and yes, a duck’s quack does in fact echo. These are 25 things you thought were true but really aren’t.

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You lose most of your body heat through your head


Actually, if you were completely naked you would lose the same amount of body heat everywhere. It’s just that your head is less likely to be covered.


The Great Wall Of China is the only man made object you can see from space


Even from low Earth orbit the wall is extremely hard to spot and there are other monuments that are much easier to see. This myth is hundreds of years old, however, so it’s not hard to understand why people would have thought something like this.


Glass is a slow moving liquid


Although it may seem this way especially when you see those old windows that seem to be really wavy, glass doesn’t “flow”. Its an amorphous solid.


Different parts of your tongue detect different tastes


The truth is that we detect all the tastes on every part of our tongue to roughly the same extent.


People thought the Earth was flat before Columbus discovered it wasn’t


Wrong again. People have known since Greek times that we live on a large spherical ball.


Deoxygenated blood is blue


Although it can appear blue with the right lighting it is actually dark red.


Chameleons change color to match their surroundings

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43301211@N03/8082495739/http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8082495739/

While they do change color, its actually due to physiological and emotional changes.


Humans have five senses

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The total number of senses varies depending upon the scientist you’re asking. Nociception and proprioception are two examples of “extra” senses, but one things is for sure…we have more than five.


Mother birds will abandon baby birds if you touch them


Most people think it’s because of your smell but this is wrong. Baby birds don’t get abandoned just because a human touches them.


Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth


Ok, so if you measure height above sea level, Mt. Everest really is the highest. If you measure from base to summit though, it would be Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It’s just that most of it is under water.


You’re never far from a rat in London


Scientists say there are probably 3 million rats in London. That’s about 1 rat every 150 feet…still pretty far.


Cracking knuckles cause arthritis


No, it won’t cause arthritis but after a long time studies show it may lower grip strength.


Toilet doors are dangerously bacteria infested


According to studies at the University of Arizona door handles have the least bacteria in the room. They are too dry and hard for bacteria to survive.


Fish have short memories


Your fish is actually pretty smart and researchers at the Institute of Technology in Israel have trained them to do some crazy things.


Gum stays in your body

http://www.flickr.com/photos/32480523@N02/3469922003/http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3469922003/

Pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of Nemours Children’s Clinic in Florida debunked this myth in Scientific American. No colonoscopy has ever revealed abnormally old pieces of gum in the gastric system.


A duck’s quack doesn’t echo


Actually, it does. You’ll need a duck and a tunnel if you don’t believe us.


Nails and hair continue to grow after you die

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This myth comes from the fact that after death skin recedes from the body making fingernails and hair appear longer.


A penny thrown off the Empire State Building would kill someone

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It only weighs a gram and would meet air resistance so it may hurt a bit but it certainly wouldn’t kill you.


The 5 second rule

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Even if you picked it up in a fraction of a second, that bit of food would already be infested with bacteria.


Coffee is made from beans


Although it’s a technicality, those little things you see aren’t beans…they’re seeds.


Bats are blind


While most species do use echolocation to navigate, they aren’t blind at all.


Water is a good conductor of electricity


Actually pure water is quite bad at conducting electricity. The water we are familiar with is just contaminated with minerals and other things that really do conduct electricity.


Ostriches stick their heads in the ground when threatened


Ostriches never stick their heads in the ground at all. When they feel threatened they flop over and play dead.


Dogs can’t see color


While common knowledge says they can only see gray, scientists recently proved that they can actually see shades of blue, yellow, and green as well.


Lemmings commit mass suicide

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50961633@N03/5401558772/http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5401558772/

No they don’t. Although they may fall off cliffs during migrations to areas they are unfamiliar with, the suicides are just a myth.

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