10) The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space
To see something on Earth from space, it would have to be pretty big, which the great wall of China all 5,000 miles of it certainly is.
But, it’s only 30 feet across at its widest.
Here’s a photo taken from the International Space station, 200 miles above Earth. Can you spot the great wall amid the mountain tops?
Here, right? No, that’s a river, the wall is actually here. Even if you guessed the right lines buy pure luck, this photo was taken with a zoom lens, so from the window of the space station it looks more like this – which pretty clearly makes the Great Wall count as ‘not visible.’
As for the man-made part of this misconception our glorious man-made cities blasting light into the void certainly are visible.
9) Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
Socially obnoxious? Yes. Gives you arthritis later in life as karmic punishment? No.
8) People Only Use 10% of their Brain
If you haven’t seen a medical drama in the past oh, 30 years, you might not be aware that doctors now have machines that can see inside peoples’ brains and, contrary to popular, belief 90% of the neurons don’t sit all day around doing nothing.
While scientists don’t yet know exactly what each part does, they do know that all the bits matter.
So if you think someone could scoop out 90% of your brain and you’d still be just fine, then perhaps you really do only use 10% of it.
7) Eskimos have Hundreds of words for snow
This one is technically correct, but misleading.
Some languages, such as German, like to make compound words by running several smaller ones together which is why German words are sometimes absurdly long.
Inuit languages use compound words as well so rather than say ‘yellow snow’ as you would in English an Inuit speaker combines the two words into one, but it’s not really a new word, just a quirk of grammar.
So technically Eskimos do have 100s of ways to describe snow… but then so does every language.
6) You Need 8 Glasses of Water a Day
While doubtless some people would benefit from drinking more water and drinking less crap there is no scientific evidence that 8 glasses of water a day is the required amount and some evidence that it might be too much.
And while we’re talking about water…
5) Tap Water is Bad but Bottled Water is Good
If you live in a paradise free from Government regulations like, say, Somalia, then you might have good reason to prefer bottled water over tap. But modern, functioning countries have something called health regulations which cover both kinds of water.
Also, water is extremely dense making transporting it from those pristine mountain tops and glaciers enormously expensive which is why bottled water companies don’t bother.
‘Bottled’ water is often just local tap water with a fancy label and an enormous markup.
4) Gum takes seven years to pass through your digestive system.
This is pretty easy to disprove yourself but it’s understandable why most people don’t try the experiment.
3) Blood in Your Veins is Blue
The idea here is that the blood in veins is blue and it only turns red when exposed to the oxygen in the air.
Thinking this isn’t unreasonable, after all your veins look blue and medical diagrams show arteries as red and veins as blue, but it’s the same mistake as thinking that mountain dew is green because it’s in a green bottle.
Pour it out and you discover that Mountain Dew is really piss yellow, which is probably the reason it’s in a green bottle to begin with.
The next time you get blood withdrawn from a veins take a look. What color it is? Red. How much oxygen is inside a good syringe? None.
Unless you’re a Horseshoe crab or Plavalaguna you’re blood isn’t blue.
2) Fan Death
This misconception is a specialty of South Korea. Here the belief is that if you spend too much time with a rotating fan in a confined space, it will use up all your oxygen and you’ll asphyxiate to death.
Exactly how the fan made of lifeless, anaerobic plastic, competes for your oxygen is unclear, but hilariously South Korean fan manufacturers – who surely must know better – include timers on fans to prevent them from running too long.
1) People Swallow 8 Spiders a Year While Sleeping
Supposedly while you’re in bed, helplessly unconscious with your gob wide open, each year eight spiders find their way into your mouth and you reflexively swallow them.
This is plainly ridiculous: spiders love warm, moist places so eight is far too low an estimate.
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