Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Common Misconceptions

I found this page on Wikipedia today and it's mind-bending. The page in Wikipedia is called "List of Common Misconceptions" and it ranges in topics from history to transportation. Here are some great passages:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte was not especially short, and did not have a Napoleon complex. After his death in 1821, the French emperor’s height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet. This corresponds to 5 feet 6.5 inches in modern international feet, or 1.686 metres. There are competing explanations for why he was nicknamed le Petit Caporal (The Little Corporal), but few modern scholars believe it referred to his physical stature. Another explanation is that Napoleon was often seen with his Imperial Guard, which contributed to the perception of him being short because the Imperial Guards were above average height.
  • Elephants are not afraid of mice.
  • Humans have more than five senses. Although definitions vary, the actual number ranges from 9 to more than 20. In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which were the senses identified by Aristotle, humans can sense balance and acceleration (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), body and limb position (proprioception or kinesthetic sense), and relative temperature (thermoception).Other senses sometimes identified are the sense of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, need to defecate, and blood carbon dioxide levels.
  • Eating less than an hour before swimming doesn't increase the risk of experiencing muscle cramps or drowning. One study shows that a correlation between alcohol consumption and drowning, but there is no evidence cited regarding stomach cramps or the consumption of food.
 There are many, many more.

And now I bring you this comic from xkcd:

No comments: