13 Common “Facts” you may have believed, that actually aren’t True
There are so many common misconceptions that we’ve all fallen for. You should always check the facts instead of just believing what you’re told!
Let’s get straight to it. Here’s some common “facts” that you may have heard, that actually aren’t true – with a bit of explanation just to keep you in the loop.
Chinese cuisine is great. Chow meins, salt and pepper chicken, tofu, soy sauce. The lot – it’s great! A fortune cookie on the side never hurts either. Except… fortune cookies don’t belong with Chinese cuisine. That’s right, your whole life has been a lie.
Fortune cookies originate from Japan, who then introduced them to America. In fact, in China, fortune cookies are seen as an American cuisine!
There’s a common misconception that you should wait 24 hours before reporting someone that is missing. It’s very important to know that this isn’t at all the case.
The UK government site says in large type “You don’t have to wait 24 hours before contacting the police.” so if you’re ever concerned for someone, don’t wait it out. Report it!
In western tradition, we’re led to believe that Jesus was born on 25th December, which is when we celebrate Christmas. However, Jesus and his followers followed a Hebrew calendar, so it’s more likely that he was born around September time in the year 4 B.C.
How did we manage to get it wrong then? Well, the blame goes to Pope Julius the First, as he coined this day as the day of celebration back in 350 A.D. It’s just stuck ever since, and has been assumed this was Jesus’s actual day of birth.
Discovery of The New World
History classes may have taught you that Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the Americas in 1492. In actual fact, this simply isn’t thought to be true anymore. He never actually landed on mainland America, just the Caribbean islands and central America, that are now all their own countries.
It’s now believed that the Viking explorer, Leif Erikson (and possibly other vikings before him) was the first known European to have set foot on the North American continent. Archaeologists have found evidence of at least one Norse settlement being established in Newfoundland, Canada, which back then was known as Vimland.
The First President’s Dentures
There’s this on-going myth in popular culture that America’s first president, George Washington, had a full set of wooden teeth. This isn’t really the case though.
His dentures in reality sound a lot less appealing than wood. They were made of gold, hippo ivory, lead, horse and donkey teeth (amongst a few other animals) and human teeth which were likely purchased from slaves. Gross.
Napolean Bonaparte has always been represented as a short man, but that’s quite far from the truth. After his death in 1821, his height was recorded as 5 feet and 2 inches, but this was in french feet. His actual height was 5 feet and 7 inches, making him taller than the average french man at the time.
The mistranslated french feet probably has a lot to do with why people think Napolean was short, but it could also have been perceived wrongly when he was alive due to his imperial guards – whom were selected especially for their height. This would have made Napolean look short in comparison.
We’ve seen our fair share of Western films in the Man Wants office. Everyone runs around in cowboy hats, and they look pretty cool while doing so. I guess that was the norm back then? Well… not at first.
They never became popular until right at the end of the 19th century. Before that, it was a lot more common to see derby or bowler hats. Can’t say Clint would have looked anywhere near as awesome in one of those though.
The Great Wall
I’m not sure who it was that said you could see China’s great wall from space, but it’s quite clear they’ve never been there, because you most certainly can’t.
Astronauts on the ISS will tell you that the only man-made thing they can easily see whilst in orbit is city lights, and that’s only when it’s dark. The great wall may be long, but you still need a lot of magnification to see it from that far away!
I was always told not to go through a Bull’s field if I’m wearing red, or it might enrage it. You don’t need to worry though as cattle are dichromats, meaning that the colour red doesn’t really stand out to them. The only thing that enrages a bull is an idiotic matador asking to be trampled.
“Blind” as a Bat
To use the term “blind as a bat” doesn’t make sense, considering some bats have amazing vision. It’s true that most bats use echolocation, but it’s not because they’re blind. They’re fairly capable of sight, it’s just usually pretty dark when they’re out feeding.
Even though they look like they really want to hurt you, sharks don’t have much interest in eating humans (apart from Tiger sharks, they will eat anything they can find). The only time a Great White will attack a human is when they mistake them for a seal, right? Well, actually, no. Great White’s do know the difference.
Attacks on seals are swift and violent so they can make a meal out of it. Attacks on humans however, while being rather deadly still, they’re a lot slower and more relaxed (for a shark). A Great White will swim up to a person at a regular pace and take a bite before retreating, purely to identify an unfamiliar object. It’s quite innocent, in a brutal way.
If you’re a smart-arse, you’ll already know this, but it’s a common misconception to think humans evolved from Chimps. Humans AND Chimps actually evolved from a common ancestor, and that’s why we exist at the same time, as well as show many similarities.
It’s estimated the most recent common ancestor between us and living chimpanzees was between 5 and 8 million years ago.
65 million years ago saw one of the largest extinction events of all time, the end of the dinosaurs. Or… was it? While a lot of our favourites such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex saw its end here, smaller dinosaurs and birds managed to survive and carried on their lineage.
In fact, Dinosaurs are still very much alive today technically. You may have eaten their eggs with your bacon. It’s weird to think that chickens are one of the T.rex’s closest living ancestors.
How many of these did you believe until now? Let us know any of your favourite common misconceptions that you like to go on about when people bring them up, just so you can pretend you’re smart for a few minutes.