Chances are, you have heard several misconceptions that your parents or grandparents have told you, or you have even seen circulating on the Internet. Such misconceptions include: peanuts are nuts, fortune cookies are part of Chinese cuisine, Vikings wore helmets, or Frédéric Chopin is the composer of “Spring Waltz.” These misconceptions are embraced by many people, believing them with full conviction that they are infallible “facts.”
Check out some of the most common notions and see how many of these things you accept are true – which turn out to be wrong all along.
1. Alcohol keeps you warm
While alcohol does make your skin feel warm, this apparent rise in temperature is deceptive. A swig or two actually causes your blood vessels to dilate, which moves the blood closer under the surface of your skin, making you feel warm – but only temporarily. Those same veins pumping blood closer to your skin will make you lose core body heat.
2. Tomatoes are vegetables
Tomatoes are technically fruits. The same goes with the other crops: cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins, and okra.
3. Going for a swim right away after eating causes stomach cramps or drowning
This is nonsense. While there is a correlation between drinking alcohol or drowning, there is no such evidence between the consumption of food and stomach cramps. So there’s no need to wait for an hour after eating before going for a dip.
4. Waking sleepwalkers harm them
There is no evidence that waking sleepwalkers can cause them severe distress. While the person may be startled or disoriented for a while after awakening, it does not cause them any further harm. In contrast, they may trip or lose balance because of bumping on or tripping over objects while sleepwalking.
5. Humans have five senses
While it is true that humans have five senses, the fact is that there is at least nine senses. Other categorizations list up to 20 senses in addition to the five most common: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. These are the senses referred by Aristotle. The other lesser-known senses of the human body include pain (nociception), acceleration (equilibrioception), body and limb position (proprioception), and relative temperature (thermoception).
6. Fortune cookies are a Chinese tradition
These crispy and sugary cookies, with a piece of paper inside containing an aphorism or prophecy, are usually served at several Chinese restaurants in the US, were invented in Japan and introduced to the US.
7. Caffeine dehydrates the body
While it is true that caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are diuretics (properties that may cause one to unrinate), their effect is only mild. Some experts tend to agree that they don’t seem to cause an increased rate of dehydration, so continue to enjoy your cup of brewed coffee!
8. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world
Mount Everest in the Himalayas is considered, officially, as the tallest mountain in the world, but its summit pales in comparison to Mauna Kea in the US state of Hawaii. Measuring from the base to the summit, Mount Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level while Mauna Kea rises 33,000 feet. However, half of the Mauna Kea is submerged in the Pacific Ocean, so it stands at only 13,796 feet above sea level.
9. “Spring Waltz” was composed by Chopin
One of the popular YouTube uploads is “Spring Waltz,” which is attributed to the 19th-century Polish pianist and composer. But this attribution is wrong. Chopin never composed anything such as “Spring Waltz,” which isn’t a waltz, anyway. This popular solo piano piece is actually titled “Mariage d’Amour” (Marriage of Love), composed by French composer Paul de Senneville in 1979.
Only true Chopin fans would know right away, from the few bars of this piece, that it doesn’t sound exactly “Chopinesque.” Chopin did compose and arrange music for a song that celebrates spring – “Wiosna” (Polish for “spring”).
10. Vikings wore helmets
While these horned helmets are popularly associated with the Vikings, there is no historical evidence that they ever wore this type of headgear. In fact, the image of Vikings wearing horned helmets is originated from a scenography in Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86.
11. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the Americas
Every October 12, Americans celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. However – sorry to disappoint them – Columbus was not the first European to visit it.
There were other Europeans who set foot in the New World way long even before Columbus did. Leif Erikson, and possibly other Norse or Viking explorers before him, explored a coastal area named Vinland. It was either the present-day island Newfoundland or a part of today’s Canada. Another fact that debunks this myth is that Columbus never reached any land or region that formed the present-day United States. Most of Columbus’ landings made on his four voyages – including his initial arrival on October 12, 1492 – were on the islands of the Caribbean, which are now independent countries.
12. Bulls get enraged by the color red
This popular misconception that a bull gets mad whenever they see the matador’s red muleta waving at it remains just that – a misconception. The fact is that bulls only see blues and yellows. They only get mad because of the fluttering of the matador’s red cloth, combined with his taunting.
13. Peanuts are nuts
While peanuts do look and taste “nutty” like true nuts, they are not really nuts at all. Hard to believe it, but peanuts are actually legumes. Peanuts are closer relatives to peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans. They are also called groundnuts.
14. Rust causes tetanus
While people associate rust with tetanus (also popularly known as “lockjaw”), there is no evidence that rust is the cause of tetanus infection. The bacterium that causes tetanus, Clostridium tetani, is found in dirty environments such as soil, lava, dust, saliva, and manure.
15. Vitamin C prevents cold
People who suffer colds are encouraged to take doses of vitamin C. If taken daily, vitamin C may reduce the symptoms, but it won’t help treat the illness. Instead, vitamin C is thought to help build up the immune system to ward off potential cases of flus and viruses.
16. The Buddha was fat
It is untrue to say that the Buddha is a chubby, joking figure with a huge, welcoming belly. This has been mistaken for Budai, a Chinese folk hero from the 10th century, over the years. In reality, Buddha was a strict ascetic who sought enlightenment by fasting and praying beneath a lotus tree.
17. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was composed by Austrian musician
It has been generally believed that the Austrian artist wrote the well-known children’s song when he was only five years old. Actually, Mozart wrote variants of a French folk song when he was 25 and 26 years old, and that is where the song’s inspiration came from.
18. “Golf” stand for its slogan
The term “golf” is sometimes misunderstood to mean Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. There is no proof for this, though, since the term “golf” was already a separate word in Middle Scots.
19. John F Kennedy – as a doughnut
According to legend, the US President truly declared that he was a doughnut since he used the indefinite article “ein” in his famous declaration to Germany, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” That is untrue. His statement was supposed to be the typical manner a German would identify oneself as someone from Berlin.
20. Three kings visited the baby Jesus
This tale, which is among the most popular ones ever recounted, is not exactly mentioned in the Bible. Instead, it suggests that monarchs would visit the infant, and three gifts are recounted elsewhere, inspiring artists to depict three kings bearing gifts.
21. Seeds and eggs are living things
We consider seeds and eggs to be immobile and incapable of supporting themselves, even if they are capable of doing so. Students may conclude as a result of this that seeds and eggs are not living until a stem or a chick hatches from an egg. You may instruct kids on the effective germination of seeds and seed dispersal by employing a seed-to-flower exercise.
22. Baldness does not affect genetics
Male pattern baldness is an X chromosomal characteristic, which means it originates on your mother’s side and skips a generation. So, sure, there is a potential that you may get bald if your dad is bald. There are other reasons for baldness, thus it is simply a possibility. To learn more about the possibility of their own genetic inheritance, have your students design DNA family trees.
23. Giving children sugar makes them hyper
While some specialists do adhere to this widely held notion, other academics contend that the majority of scientific study has shown no evidence linking sugar to childhood hyperactivity.
24. One human year is equivalent to seven dog years
While occasionally accurate, it does not always hold true because the size and breed of the dog have a significant role.
25. The Earth revolves around the Sun
Technically, rather than the sun, the solar system’s center of mass is where the Earth, sun, and all other planets orbit.
26. Sushi means ‘raw fish’
Sushi actually translates as sour-tasting.
27. The forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is an apple
The apple was not the forbidden fruit, according to the Bible.
28. There is a dark side of the moon
There is never a place on the Moon that is completely dark since the planetoid is always revolving on its own axis.
29. A toilet’s flush will change direction depending on which hemisphere it is in
The fact that the water jets are facing the wrong way is what really causes toilets to flush reverse.
30. Mars is red
Images of Mars appear red, but this is only the consequence of rusting iron.
31. Sunflowers track the sun across the sky
It is a frequent myth that when in full bloom, sunflower heads follow the sun across the sky. In fact, the flowers follow the sun before they bloom, not after, since heliotropism occurs during an earlier stage of growth, the bud stage, before the emergence of flower heads.
32. People use just 10 percent of their brain
The notion is untrue since we utilize nearly every area of the brain and the majority of it is active practically constantly.
33. Your fingernails continue to grow after you die
The skin around hair and nails may retract after death due to the body’s dryness, giving the appearance that they have grown. However, if the system that supports normal development shuts down at death, no such thing is feasible because all tissues need the energy to maintain their activities.
34. Bats are blind
None of the over 1,100 species of bats are blind, despite their small eyes and nocturnal habits.
35. Dropping a penny from the Empire State Building would kill someone
A penny weighs only a few grams and rolls when it falls. The penny never truly gains that much speed until it reaches its terminal velocity because of the tumbling and the low weight’s high air resistance. If a gram of weight struck you on the head at a pretty modest pace, it could hurt a little, but it will not kill you.
36. You need to wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person to the police
There is no rule requiring you to hold off on filing a missing person report for 24 hours. Within 48 hours, the person will be listed as missing and their information will be made accessible to other UK police departments.
37. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds
This is untrue since goldfish have superior memory compared to other fish. They may be taught to react in a variety of ways to certain light colors, specific musical genres, and other sensory signals.
38. Shaving your leg hair will make it grow back quicker
Many people think that shaving their bodies causes their hair to regrow more quickly, however, shaving does not affect the thickness, color, or pace of hair growth. Shaving body or facial hair only results in a blunt tip that may feel rough or “stubbly” for a while it grows out.