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20 Popular Misconceptions

Swallow all the chewing gum you want, and feel free to swim immediately afterwards. But for all our sake, please stop spreading nonsense.

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  • 1. People are NOT limited to using only 10% of their brains.

    You use your whole brain, but not all neurons are actively firing at all times. You also dont press every key on the keyboard all at once when typing. Sorry for ruining the entire basis for both Limitless and Inception.

  • 2. You're NOT born with all of the brain cells you'll have for life.

    "Conventional wisdom" states that you're born with all of your brain cells and that once they're killed they'll never grow back. But scientists have witnessed neurogenesis many times in lab animals and humans alike.

  • 3. Gold fish memory is NOT limited to 3 seconds.

    In many tests, gold fish have been trained to memorize paths through mazes.

  • 4. Men do NOT think about sex every seven seconds.

    There's no way to scientific way to measure this. On average, researchers have found men to fantasize about once a day. (image via Cheezburger)

  • 5. Your tongue is NOT split in different taste zones.

    Your whole tongue can taste all flavors equally. Our grade school teachers lied to us all because of a mistranslated 100-year-old German text.

  • 6. Swimming after eating does not cause stomach cramps

    This Old Wive's Tale has been circulating since at least the 1960's but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any correlation between muscle cramping and swimming after eating.

  • 7. Shaving does NOT cause hair to grow back thicker or darker.

    Long hair gets thinner and lighter over time. After shaving the hair the hair is at its thickest, but does not become thicker because of shaving. It just hasn't worn down yet. (image via

  • 8. Hair and nails do NOT keep growing after a person dies.

    The reason mummies have long nails and hair is because the skin has receded, revealing more of what was below the surface.

  • 9. Swallowed chewing gum does NOT stay in your system for years.

    It cannot be digested, but it still passes through the digestive tract the same as all other matter.

  • 10. The color red does NOT anger bulls.

    It's the motion of the cape and the taunting of the matadors that gets them riled up. Bulls can't even detect the color red.

  • 11. Mother birds do NOT abandon baby chicks that have been returned to the nest by humans.

    If a baby bird falls from its nest, many people are reluctant to return it for fear that the mother will abandon it for smelling like the human that picked it up. This is false. Mother birds will still care for their own young, despite having been handled by humans.

  • 12. Sharks DO get cancer.

    There's a popular myth out there that sharks are immune to cancer, and that taking shark cartilage is an effective method of cancer prevention. Both are false. Sharks do get cancer, and taking shark cartilage is not an effective method of cancer prevention.

  • 13. Bats are NOT blind.

    Yes, bats use echolocation, but this hasn't made their eyes obsolete. They use their eyes to look around all the time. (image via wildlifeonline)

  • 14. Duck quacks DO echo.

    You might not know what the echo sounds like without first hearing a duck quack in an anechoic chamber. But there is an echo there.

  • 15. Police are NOT required by law to tell you that they're police.

    Forget how entrapment is portrayed in popular movies. Picture this: an undercover cop walks into a dealer's house hoping to score some contraband. The wise dealer asks, "are you a cop?" to which his prospective buyer says, "Aw shucks! You got me! I'm a cop. What gave me away?" The two have a good laugh, wishing each other luck as they part. This is simply not how entrapment works.

  • 16. The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from the Moon.

    The Great Wall of China disappears after about 180 miles up. It can be seen "from space" using satellites, but so can your tool shed.

  • 17. Marie Antoinette NEVER said "Let them eat cake."

    French revolutionary writer Rousseau actually wrote the satirical phrase, "Let them eat brioche" when Marie Antoinette was only 10 years old.

  • 18. Lightning OFTEN strikes the same place twice.

    Ever seen a lightning rod? They're designed specifically to attract and absorb lightning strikes.

  • 19. Most people in the Middle Ages did NOT believe that the Earth was flat.

    The ancient Greeks knew the earth was spherical, and this knowledge was never lost. Many doubted that Christopher Columbus would find a shorter passage to India by sailing West, and they were correct. But they didn't think there was any danger of falling of the "edge" of the Earth.

  • 20. Vikings did NOT wear horns.

    Horns look pretty bad-ass. But no genuine Viking helmets discovered have ever had horns. They actually looked more like this.