When it comes to common knowledge, there are certain facts that we hold as the truth. For example, even if we personally have never been to outer space, we still know that the Earth is round because others have provided significant evidence to prove that it’s not flat.
Other times, however, some “facts” can be based purely on hearsay and myths, and they’re 100% wrong. These misconceptions go so far that even some textbooks state them as truth. As you’re about to find out, they’re anything but true.
1. Fortune cookies originated in Japan, not China.
They are seen as a symbol of American cuisine, and are actually rare in China.
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did not compose “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” at five years old.
The melody was based on a French folk song, and Mozart did not even begin these variations until he was 25 or 26.
3. A black belt does not necessarily represent the highest possible rank of a martial art.
It was introduced for Judo in the 1880s, but promotion beyond the black belt is possible in different forms of martial arts.
4. It has been said that the “rule of thumb” is named for a law that a man was allowed to beat his wife so long as the stick that he beat her with was no thicker than his thumb. There is no evidence that such a law ever existed.
The true origin of the phrase remains unknown.
5. George Washington did not have wooden teeth.
Washington’s teeth were made from gold, hippopotamus ivory, lead, animal teeth (particularly from donkeys and horses) and, likely, human teeth from slaves.
6. The Great Wall of China is not visible from the moon.
Astronauts from the Apollo missions have claimed that they could not see any specific human structure at all from that far in space.
7. Bulls do not get enraged by the sight of the color red.
Bulls cannot even perceive the color red! They simply charge during bullfights because they see matadors as a threat.
8. Sugar does not cause children to become hyperactive. WikipediaThis was proven by double-blind studies, in which some kids were given diets rich with sugar, and others were given no sugar. There was no perceivable difference, even among children that are considered sensitive to sugar or those who have ADHD.
9. George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter.Wikipedia
He did discover numerous other uses for peanuts, not to mention several other inventions, but peanut butter actually dates as far back as the Incas and Aztecs.
10. There is no scientific evidence of photographic memory.
Some people may have exceptional memories, but not to the point where they could replicate the exact details of an actual photograph.
11. Lightning can and does strike the same place twice.
The Empire State Building gets struck by lightning roughly 100 times per year.
12. You are not at greater risk of drowning or cramps if you eat less than an hour before swimming.
There is, however, a correlation between alcohol consumption and drowning, so be careful at your next pool party!
13. Houseflies can live for 20 to 30 days, far longer than the 24-hour lifespan that people often claim.
It takes 24 hours after being laid just for the housefly maggot to hatch.
14. Albert Einstein himself directly debunked the myth that he failed mathematics in school.wikipedia
Although he did exceptionally well in the math and science sections, Einstein failed the entrance exam into the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School on his first attempt. It should be noted that he was two years younger than the other applicants at the time.
15. Nobody was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials.wikipediaThat’s not to say the accused weren’t killed; 19 people were hanged, 15 died in prison, and one was pressed to death.
16. Voltaire never said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”Wikipedia
This was actually written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who wrote under the pseudonym Steven G. Tallentyre.
17. Foods cooked in alcohol do remain alcoholic.WikipediaStill, the chances of getting even slightly intoxicated from foods cooked in alcohol are extremely low.
18. “Edelweiss,” as performed in The Sound of Music, was an original composition for the musical and is not the national anthem of Austria.
“Land der Berge, Land am Strome” is the actual Austrian national anthem.
These common misconceptions prove that we should always remain skeptical of things that “everybody knows.” Just because many people believe something doesn’t mean it’s true!
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