False Facts

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I often wonder about some of the things people say that we all take for granted.
"Blind as a bat" for someone who can't see well, a short angry person with an
"Napoleon complex" and things like that. Well it turns out a lot of these "facts" are nothing but
falsehoods and misconceptions. For those of you who want to know the truth,
here are some 'facts' that turn out to be quite untrue.
Bats are blind.

This is simply wrong. Not a single one of the 1200 known species of bats suffer from
naturally occurring blindness. In fact, many of them can see in the dark better than
humans can. This false myth is probably connected to the fact that bats sense distance by sending
out high-frequency sounds, a sort of natural sonar. While this helps them a lot was
flying around, they are still far from being blind.

You can see the Great Wall of China from space.

Even when you're looking at it from the lowest orbit above the earth, it’s
still not possible to clearly see or photograph the Great Wall. It is still a massive
structure, but not that massive.

Birds will abandon their babies if you touch them.

Birds in general don’t have such a good sense of smell. Even if you pick up a baby bird and
put it back in the nest, regardless of whether or not it was supposed to have been out, the likelihood
of the mother bird rejecting it is very small. In fact, unless the mother sees her child being
touched, she’s unlikely to even know it happened.

Slaves built the pyramids.

Not Jewish slaves, not Egyptian slaves and not any other kind of slaves built the pyramids.
Archaeological evidence has been uncovered that prove the men working in the construction sites
were given comfortable accommodations, fed meat at least weekly, had good medical care
and were most likely well remunerated for their work.
It is likely that the majority of workers were recruited from poor farming communities on a roughly
three-monthly rotational basis. Many people came to work when their farms had been
flooded by seasonal rains.

Cracking your knuckles will lead to arthritis.

There has been no scientific link of any kind between cracking knuckles and developing arthritis.
It's just something people say when they want you to stop making that annoying sound.

Goldfish have a three second memory span.

While it's true these aren’t the smartest members of the animal kingdom, the 3 second memory
myth is just a plain exaggeration. Research has shown that they can maintain memories for
up to three months. It's not a lot, but it's better than three seconds.

A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building is lethal.

This is a common myth associated with many tall buildings around the world.
The truth is that while a small object will hurt quite a bit if it hits someone on the ground,
it would take something with a lot more mass to do real damage.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world.

This is a matter of technicality since Everest is the highest mountain on the planet, but
not the tallest. Measured from sea level to summit, Mount Everest is indeed the highest in the world.
But if you look at the size of the mountain itself measured from bottom to top,
the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii is twice as tall.

A dog year is equal to seven human years.

There’s a simplified equation for telling a dogs age: 10 Human years for the first
2 dog years of a dogs life, then 4 human years for every subsequent dog year. However, dogs
don’t only age differently than humans, they also age differently than each other. A dogs size and
breed are important factors when it comes to how old your dog really is.
For example: A 1 year-old small dog is the equivalent of 15 human years. By the time it turns
11, 56 human years, it is considered geriatric. A 1-year-old large dog is 12 human years, and
by the time it turns 11 it reaches about 82 human years. Large dogs mature much more slowly than
small dogs but are considered geriatric by the time they’re 8, equivalent to a human age of 61.

Before Columbus people thought the world was flat.

People believed the earth was spherical even before Columbus embarked on his journeys.
In fact, the idea of a round planet dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

Coffee is made from beans.

Your morning cup of energy is actually made from the seeds of a coffee tree, but
named for their resemblance to beans. The seeds are found inside of the red or purple
coffee fruit, referred to as a cherry.

There are 50 states in the USA.

This is once more a simple matter of technicality, and yet strictly speaking it's just false.
The "states" of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are all classified as
commonwealths. It makes no difference politically or bureaucratically, and it has no impact
on the lives of the people who live there, but at least it sounds cool.

Vikings had horny helmets.

Not much is really known about how the Vikings used to dress. A lot of what we know comes
from second hand stories and popular believes. As far as we know today, horned helmets came
into fashion only when European painters started to paint them on Vikings in the 1800’s.
This was many years after the famous viking raids on Europe, which happend during
the 8th to late 11th centuries.

Napoleon was a really tiny person.

The real height of Mister Bonaparte was about 5’7 (170 cm), which was the average
height for a Frenchman of the time. This false belief that he was short stems primarily from the
fact that he was listed as 5 feet 2 inches tall at the time of his death. However, this was in
French units, which are different than the ones we use today

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