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17 Facts That'll Make You Say, "I Know Nothing"

Dogs do NOT see in black and white, people!

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1. Dogs do not see in black and white.

Dogs only see a limited spectrum of colors compared to humans, but that old "fact" you've heard about dogs seeing in only shades of grey isn't true. To a dog, the world is mostly shades of blue, yellow, and grey.
psychologytoday.com

Dogs only see a limited spectrum of colors compared to humans, but that old "fact" you've heard about dogs seeing in only shades of grey isn't true. To a dog, the world is mostly shades of blue, yellow, and grey.

2. Sitting too close to the TV won't harm your eyes more.

While watching a lot of TV can cause eye fatigue and potentially harm your vision, sitting too close doesn't make much of a difference, if any. However, this myth was true back before the 1950s, when companies made televisions that emitted dangerous levels of radiation...up to 100,000 times more than what federal officials deemed safe.
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While watching a lot of TV can cause eye fatigue and potentially harm your vision, sitting too close doesn't make much of a difference, if any. However, this myth was true back before the 1950s, when companies made televisions that emitted dangerous levels of radiation...up to 100,000 times more than what federal officials deemed safe.

3. Lemmings don't run off cliffs.

The myth about lemmings committing suicide by running off cliffs came about from the 1950s nature documentary White Wilderness, produced by Disney. The filmmakers faked the scene in question (and allegedly actually threw lemmings off a cliff) in order to make it seem like they were willfully committing suicide.
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The myth about lemmings committing suicide by running off cliffs came about from the 1950s nature documentary White Wilderness, produced by Disney. The filmmakers faked the scene in question (and allegedly actually threw lemmings off a cliff) in order to make it seem like they were willfully committing suicide.

4. The forbidden fruit in the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible is never mentioned to be an apple.

The book of Genesis mentions that the fruit came from a tree, but it doesn't say what kind of fruit, or what kind of tree. Apples started being associated with the story around the 12th century, possibly because of a Latin pun wherein the word "malus" means both "apple" and "evil."
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The book of Genesis mentions that the fruit came from a tree, but it doesn't say what kind of fruit, or what kind of tree. Apples started being associated with the story around the 12th century, possibly because of a Latin pun wherein the word "malus" means both "apple" and "evil."

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5. Stopping the microwave early won't cause radiation to "leak out."

The FDA and other organizations have placed standards on microwave manufacturers to ensure that the appliance stops emitting microwave energy as soon as the button to open the door is pressed, so you don't have to worry about microwave energy escaping that way. However, it's important to make sure your microwave is properly maintained, as leaks in the appliance's seals could cause some microwave energy to escape. Still, your chances of being injured by escaping microwaves would be very slim. By law, the type of radiation emitted by these appliances has to be at a level far below that which would harm people (and also keep in mind that we're exposed to radiation in the environment all the time).
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The FDA and other organizations have placed standards on microwave manufacturers to ensure that the appliance stops emitting microwave energy as soon as the button to open the door is pressed, so you don't have to worry about microwave energy escaping that way. However, it's important to make sure your microwave is properly maintained, as leaks in the appliance's seals could cause some microwave energy to escape.

Still, your chances of being injured by escaping microwaves would be very slim. By law, the type of radiation emitted by these appliances has to be at a level far below that which would harm people (and also keep in mind that we're exposed to radiation in the environment all the time).

6. Carrots aren't better for your eyesight than any other vegetable with beta carotene.

If you listened to your mom, you would think that carrots give you superpowered vision or something. The truth is that carrots contain beta carotene, which helps your body produce vitamin A, which does nourish your eyes. But there are plenty of other foods (such as sweet potatoes or goat liver) that also contain beta carotene, and vitamin A only helps keep your eyes healthy, not make them super-human.
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If you listened to your mom, you would think that carrots give you superpowered vision or something. The truth is that carrots contain beta carotene, which helps your body produce vitamin A, which does nourish your eyes. But there are plenty of other foods (such as sweet potatoes or goat liver) that also contain beta carotene, and vitamin A only helps keep your eyes healthy, not make them super-human.

7. Albert Einstein didn't flunk math.

Quite the opposite, in fact: Einstein himself claimed that he had mastered differential calculus by age 15, and he placed top of his class in primary school. Nonetheless, the rumor that he failed math somehow found its way into a Ripley's Believe It Or Not column back in the 1930s.
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Quite the opposite, in fact: Einstein himself claimed that he had mastered differential calculus by age 15, and he placed top of his class in primary school. Nonetheless, the rumor that he failed math somehow found its way into a Ripley's Believe It Or Not column back in the 1930s.

8. You don't have to wait 24 hours to report a missing person.

As long has you have reason to believe that the person in question may be in danger, you can contact the police. Context is just as important as the time frame: If a person is a little late coming home, that's one thing, but if they're late coming home and they have an abusive ex who's been harassing them, that's another issue entirely.
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As long has you have reason to believe that the person in question may be in danger, you can contact the police. Context is just as important as the time frame: If a person is a little late coming home, that's one thing, but if they're late coming home and they have an abusive ex who's been harassing them, that's another issue entirely.

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9. The Great Wall of China is not the only man-made object visible from space; in fact, it's barely visible at all.

If you're in a very low orbit and you use some kind of scope or zoom in with a camera, then sure, you can probably just barely make out the Great Wall from space. But you could also see the Great Pyramid or a bunch of other large structures, too...and seeing any of them from a higher orbit with the naked eye is probably impossible.
nasa.gov

If you're in a very low orbit and you use some kind of scope or zoom in with a camera, then sure, you can probably just barely make out the Great Wall from space. But you could also see the Great Pyramid or a bunch of other large structures, too...and seeing any of them from a higher orbit with the naked eye is probably impossible.

10. We don't use just 10 percent of our brains, we use 100 percent.

Not every neuron in your brain is always firing at all times, which is probably why people believe this myth...if you're sleeping or otherwise resting your brain, you might only be using a small percentage of its capacity at that time. According to Scientific American, who spoke with a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, we use 100 percent of our brains over the course of a day...despite what Morgan Freeman said in the movie Lucy.
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Not every neuron in your brain is always firing at all times, which is probably why people believe this myth...if you're sleeping or otherwise resting your brain, you might only be using a small percentage of its capacity at that time. According to Scientific American, who spoke with a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, we use 100 percent of our brains over the course of a day...despite what Morgan Freeman said in the movie Lucy.

11. Letting your phone battery run all the way out before charging it won't prolong its life.

In fact, running your battery all the way out — or keeping it 100 percent charged — will cause stress to the battery and probably shorten its lifespan if you do it often. For best results, charge when you hit around 20 percent, and only charge it up to about 80 percent. On rare occasions, let it run to zero and charge it back up to full to keep your phones battery gauges reading properly.
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In fact, running your battery all the way out — or keeping it 100 percent charged — will cause stress to the battery and probably shorten its lifespan if you do it often. For best results, charge when you hit around 20 percent, and only charge it up to about 80 percent. On rare occasions, let it run to zero and charge it back up to full to keep your phones battery gauges reading properly.

12. There's no such thing as an alpha wolf.

A wildlife biologist by the name of L. David Mech published a book based on his observations of wolves in the wild. In it, he mentioned that he noticed "alpha wolves" leading small packs, and the popularity of the book made that term a common one. However, what Mech observed was actually just wolf parents and their grown cubs, so the concept of an "alpha wolf" as we know it is almost entirely wrong. Mech has tried to take his book out of print, and even wrote a paper correcting it.
Kjekol / Getty Images

A wildlife biologist by the name of L. David Mech published a book based on his observations of wolves in the wild. In it, he mentioned that he noticed "alpha wolves" leading small packs, and the popularity of the book made that term a common one. However, what Mech observed was actually just wolf parents and their grown cubs, so the concept of an "alpha wolf" as we know it is almost entirely wrong. Mech has tried to take his book out of print, and even wrote a paper correcting it.

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13. It's OK to wake sleep-walkers, as long as you do it safely.

Many people think that you're not supposed to wake sleep-walkers under any circumstances. However, the sleep-walker will probably be fine if you do; the problem is that sleep-walkers can sometimes attack the person trying to wake them if they're disoriented. The National Sleep Foundation recommends trying to coax a sleep-walker back to their bed first, but if you must wake them up for their own safety, try to do it from a distance with loud noises.
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Many people think that you're not supposed to wake sleep-walkers under any circumstances. However, the sleep-walker will probably be fine if you do; the problem is that sleep-walkers can sometimes attack the person trying to wake them if they're disoriented. The National Sleep Foundation recommends trying to coax a sleep-walker back to their bed first, but if you must wake them up for their own safety, try to do it from a distance with loud noises.

14. Doing sit-ups doesn't burn stomach fat.

Many people think that stomach exercises will help burn off stomach fat, but all it does is strengthen your ab muscles. In order to burn off fat, you have to do some form of exercise and healthy eating. And no, there's no way to specifically target belly fat before other areas of your body.
Ibrakovic / Getty Images

Many people think that stomach exercises will help burn off stomach fat, but all it does is strengthen your ab muscles. In order to burn off fat, you have to do some form of exercise and healthy eating. And no, there's no way to specifically target belly fat before other areas of your body.

15. There's no definitive proof that menstrual cycles "sync up" when people hang out together a lot.

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Following the initial study that claimed menstrual synchrony was a thing, a more comprehensive follow-up study turned up no evidence of the phenomenon. Most likely it's just confirmation bias.

Think of it this way: You know how when you're waiting in a left turn lane, and your blinker is out of sync with the car in front of you, but then it gradually syncs up and then desynchronizes again? The same thing is probably happening with menstrual cycles. Nobody's period is exactly the same as another person's, so slight variances in timing could lead to coincidental synchronization.

16. Goldfish don't have 15-second memories.

A researcher at Plymouth University, Dr. Phil Gee, performed an experiment where goldfish were given a little lever they could nudge to get food. Not only did the goldfish remember the lever, but they adapted to different challenges in the experiment, such as knowing which specific time of day the lever would work. The experiment lasted three months, so goldfish likely have memories of at least that length.As a side note, this myth probably came about because goldfish would swim repeatedly to the same object in their tiny bowl. It's probably because they feel trapped and bored! Your goldfish should be in at least a 20-gallon tank for a long and healthy life.
Satit_srihin / Getty Images

A researcher at Plymouth University, Dr. Phil Gee, performed an experiment where goldfish were given a little lever they could nudge to get food. Not only did the goldfish remember the lever, but they adapted to different challenges in the experiment, such as knowing which specific time of day the lever would work. The experiment lasted three months, so goldfish likely have memories of at least that length.

As a side note, this myth probably came about because goldfish would swim repeatedly to the same object in their tiny bowl. It's probably because they feel trapped and bored! Your goldfish should be in at least a 20-gallon tank for a long and healthy life.

17. You don't inherit all of your baldness genes from your maternal grandfather.

Your mother's side of the family will definitely influence your genetic likeliness to go bald, but with at least 250 different genetic markers that contribute to hereditary baldness, your father's side likely factors in as well. It's ultimately a combination of the two, and possibly various nutritional deficiencies, that contribute to hair loss.
Becon / Getty Images

Your mother's side of the family will definitely influence your genetic likeliness to go bald, but with at least 250 different genetic markers that contribute to hereditary baldness, your father's side likely factors in as well. It's ultimately a combination of the two, and possibly various nutritional deficiencies, that contribute to hair loss.