There are so many ways the world around you is not what you think it is. After all, the world is a strange place and it’s growing more bizarre every day. Our world is made even stranger when we find out that beliefs and things we’ve held dear for ages, are not what we think they are. It’s like learning that the sky is not blue, or that pigs can actually fly (The sky is blue and pigs can’t fly so don’t worry). Whether it be a five-year-old mother (of a real boy, not a doll) or that Ellen’s Oscars selfie may have been staged and planned, this list may turn some of your thoughts about the world upside down. So if you are ready to look at the world around you in a completely new light, read on to find 25 Odd Ways The World Around You Is Not What You Think.
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Dogs are deadlier than sharks
Dogs kill 2,500 times more humans each year than sharks do. Over 25,000 humans perish annually due to rabies infections passed on from dogs. In 2010, dogs killed 33 people in attacks.
We use most of our brains
Ever heard that we only use 10% of our brains? In a way the world is different from what you think (literally), this statement is actually a myth! The low number relates to much-outdated knowledge of the brain. In fact, only a small amount of our neurons are firing at any moment; though, they activate at other times to carry out different processes, from thinking to breathing to regulating blood flow.
Ellen's Oscar selfie may have been planned and paid for
Remember Ellen Degeneres’s selfie taken at the 2013 Oscars? There’s more behind it than meets the eye. Cell phone maker Samsung paid $20 million for their products to be used throughout the show. Ellen’s selfie, they claim, was unplanned, but Ellen spoke about breaking the record during rehearsal.
There's a marathon run over an old fortress
The Great Wall Marathon in China is one of the most grueling marathons in the world, taking runners up 5,164 steps and down the infamous “Goat Track”, so named because it is so steep only goats can properly navigate it! Meant to protect the Chinese from invading hordes, nowadays the Great Wall welcomes foreign visitors, runners or otherwise.
Vaccines don't cause autism
Vaccines don’t cause autism – and this myth needs to be settled for good! As the vaccine debate has recently sprung back up, it’s important to note that only one study ever made a correlation between vaccinations and autism and the data was falsified.
The asteroid impact didn't kill all life on Earth
The well-known asteroid impact which killed off the dinosaurs was just one of a serious of mass extinctions on Earth – and it wasn’t even the most deadly. Though all non-avian dinos (and loads of other life) died during this Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, 25% of life on Earth is expected to have survived the blast, rapidly evolving into some animals we love today such as horses and primates.
We can't get a cold from the cold
Despite what our mothers would like us to think, we can’t actually get a cold from being in the cold or rain. Though most studies suggest lower body temperatures increases our susceptibility to infection, we can’t get a cold just from being outside in the cold. Some theories for why we get the common cold more often in wintertime include spending more time indoors (near an infected person) or lower humidity.
A narwhal's "horn" isn't even a horn
A narwhal’s “horn”, the protrusion which makes it look like a sea unicorn, isn’t actually bone but a tooth. Every narwhal has two teeth and one tooth in males grows right up through their upper lips. This tooth can grow up to 8.8 feet (2.7 m) long.
Drug flashbacks aren't due to lingering chemicals
A popular conception says a person who stops taking LSD or smoking pot will experience flashbacks. This is true (sort of – only a quarter of people will experience flashbacks). What isn’t what it seems is the reason for the flashback. Though commonly attributed to remaining traces of the drug in our blood or fat cells, flashbacks are a psychological event linked to sight, smell, or other senses or experiences.
Lions aren't kings of the jungle
Though the lion is often referred to as “king of the jungle”, most lions don’t even live in or anywhere near a jungle! Lions prowl wide-open plainlands except a dwindling group of lions in Indian jungles.
Van Gogh may not have cut his own ear off
Most people believe Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off his own earlobe in a fit of lunacy, but recent findings reveal that his lover, French artist Paul Gauguin, may have cut it off after a fight between the two. In a strange (and true) part of the story, Van Gogh wrapped his bleeding ear and walked into the city where he handed his severed earlobe to a prostitute. Naturally, she fainted.
Jesus's birthday wasn't Christmas Day
Jesus Christ wasn’t actually born on Christmas. Most scholars and theologians believe Jesus was more likely born in early fall (probably September). Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has even said the year for Jesus’s birth is likely incorrect due to inaccuracies in the calendar created by sixth century monk Dionysius Exiguus.
We have more than five senses
The popular notion that we only have five senses dates back to Aristotle when he defined the five as taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. Scientists today have identified anywhere up to 20 senses, including thermoception (temperature) and equilibrioception (balance), and proprioception (awareness of where our body parts are located in space).
An octopus is not an eight-legged creature
An octopus doesn’t actually have eight legs. The ink-spurting creatures only have two legs (on the back of their bodies) but six arms in the front which they use to pull food in and explore their surroundings.
Napoleon wasn't a shrimp
Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was not so short as is commonly though (and as the Napoleon complex, named after him, would lead us to believe). Napoleon was likely 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) tall, making him an average height for his time. His nickname, Le Petit Corporal, was likely a term of endearment rather than a height judgment.
Most chameleons can't camouflage themselves
Though chameleons are regularly known as masters of color-change and camouflage, this is another way the world is different from what we think. Most species of chameleon can’t actually change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. Chameleons can, however, change color based on their emotions such as anger or when attempting to court a mate.
Drinking alcohol actually makes us colder
According to the Mythbusters, drinking alcohol doesn’t make us warmer – it can actually kill us. Alcohol dilates (expands) our blood vessels, bringing warm blood nearer to our skin’s surface which then cools quicker, lowering our overall body temperature. If you’re stuck in an Alpine avalanche, don’t count on a St. Bernard dog’s barrel full of brandy to save you.
We don't have a funny bone
We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of hitting our funny bone. The tingling sensation when we hit our elbow in just such a way isn’t due to hitting a bone at all but the ulnar nerve. Originating in our spine, the ulnar nerve runs through our shoulder and down the arm into the pinky and ring fingers. The nerve passes through our elbow in an area with little padding or protection. Thus, when that area is hit, it’s actually the ulnar nerve responding (which is why the feeling shoots down to our pinkies and up to our shoulders).
We can't see the Great Wall of China from the moon
It’s a widely popular idea that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space – but this is another way in which the world isn’t what you think. Even from the International Space Station’s position in Low Earth Orbit, the wall is barely visible; astronauts rely on GPS coordinates to try locating the wall during perfectly clear weather conditions. (The wall in this picture runs from bottom left to top right; the more obvious feature running from top left to bottom right is a river.)
Marilyn Monroe isn't the queen of unbehaved ladies
Marilyn Monroe never created the popular phrase “Well behaved women rarely make history.” The quote dates back to PhD student Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s 1976 article “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735”, aimed at illuminating many women who were historically important but not featured in the history books.
Frank Sinatra had nothing to do with "My Way" except sing it
“My Way”, Frank Sinatra’s famous song, was never really Sinatra’s. The tune of “My Way” came from French singer Claude François’s “Comme d’Habitude” and its lyrics were written by singer Paul Anka.
The QWERTY keyboard's design
The QWERTY keyboard wasn’t designed randomly. Rather, the keyboard was created in the time of the typewriter where it was necessary to place letters which frequently appeared together in a word on different parts of the keyboard – otherwise, the typewriter arms would jam up with each other.
Our fingers don't wrinkle due to water
The swelling of our fingers at the pool or after long showers isn’t from absorbing water. Rather, to increase grip of objects while underwater, the blood vessels just beneath our skin level constrict, tightening their muscle walls and causing our fingers to look wrinkled.
Sugar doesn't make kids hyper
Sugar fact: Sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity in children. Despite what our mothers have told us for years, double-blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or those considered sensitive to sugar.
A five-year-old gave birth to a baby boy
The youngest person to give birth was a five-year-old Peruvian girl named Lina Medina. Originally thought to be a tumor, Lina’s baby boy was born before she turned six. Doctors examining her learned she had been experiencing regular periods since age three, had not menstruated since becoming pregnant, and had fully developed breasts.