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32 Things You Always Believed That Simply Aren't True

This changes everything! Well, some things.

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2. The Great Wall of China is not the only manmade object you can see from space.

Flickr: egatphotos

You can see loads of manmade objects from space. In fact, the Great Wall of China is actually NOT easily visible from space.

3. It's not actually harmful to pick up baby birds and return them to their nests, and it will not cause their mother to reject them.

Flickr: contrary

Birds don't really have a very powerful sense of smell, and they probably wouldn't be able to tell if a human handled their babies.

5. There are not different areas of the tongue dedicated to different tastes. Every taste can be detected on every part of the tongue.

ciudaddecordoba3scienceblog.blogspot.com

Also, there aren't just four primary tastes, there are five. In addition to bitter, sour, salty, and sweet, humans can taste umami, which is a savory or meaty taste.

6. Chameleons don't actually change their color to blend in with their surroundings.

lezumbalaberenjena / Flickr: 14020964@N02

They change color to communicate. A chameleon's color is used to signal mood, aggression, territory, and mating behavior.

10. It's never actually stated that the forbidden fruit mentioned in the Bible is an apple. Some claim that it was more likely a fig or pomegranate.

Flickr: paullew

The apple was thought to be the forbidden fruit because of an early pun between the Latin words for "evil" and "apple."

12. Napoleon Bonaparte was not short.

Flickr: renaud-camus

At a towering 5'7", he was actually taller than the average man of his time. His nickname, "le Petit Caporal," (which translates to "The Little Corporal") was probably a term of affection.

13. The Earth doesn't revolve around the Sun. It's actually revolving around the solar system's center of mass.

en.wikipedia.org

The center of mass in the solar system is called the Barycenter. Usually it's contained within the mass of the sun, but not always. When it's outside the mass of the sun, the Earth is just orbiting around empty space.

14. Not everyone in Columbus' time thought the world was flat.

Fraser Mummery / Flickr: 73014677@N05

Scholars and educated people knew the world was round. In fact, Columbus underestimated the size of the world. If he hadn't come across the "West Indies," he and his shipmates would have starved to death.

19. "420" is not the LAPD code for marijuana use.

Flickr: miggslives

Los Angeles Police Code 420 is code for "juvenile disturbance." Its also not the penal code. California Penal Code section 420 "prohibits the obstruction of access to public land."

22. Mussolini didn't actually make the trains run on time.

guity-novin.blogspot.com

The trains in Italy were in really rough shape after WWI, and the government before Mussolini made a ton of improvements. After Mussolini rose to power, the trains went back to being a disaster.

27. Life expectancy wasn't actually in the thirties during the MiddIe Ages.

trayner.org

Life expectancy in the Middle Ages was lower, but that's because the average age was pulled down by a high infant mortality rate. If you survived to adulthood in medieval England, you could expect to live into your sixties.

30. Your fingers don't wrinkle in water because the skin is absorbing water.

Flickr: nhanusek

It happens because of the "autonomic nervous system," and is thought to have evolved because it gave our ancestors better grip in wet environments.

32. The Coriolis effect does not actually make water rotate in different directions while flushing toilets and draining bathtubs.

Flickr: mobilestreetlife

It is a thing, but it's too weak to affect draining water. Despite popular belief, hemisphere you're in doesn't actually change the direction water drains in.

This post has been updated to meet our attribution standards.

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