There are certain common and very well-known facts that are so straight forward that it’s hard to believe that they might not be true. For example, toilet seats are considered very dirty and filled with germs. But did you know that your cellphones are way dirtier than toilet seats? Research has found cellphones to contain 10 times more germs than toilet seats! Hard to believe, but true. We bring you 10 such easy-to-believe facts that are actually fake.
1. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy with arms elegantly coiling out from its center.
Actually, we have conclusive proof that it’s more like a barred, spiral galaxy with a bar across the middle and arms sprouting out of it.
If you ask anybody to draw the Milky Way, they would draw a perfect spiral. The reason being, that’s how we perceive the Milky Way Galaxy to be, and that’s what we have been taught in schools. The real picture is a bit different.
A perfect spiral galaxy would be a galaxy where the center would be a perfect circle from which spiral hands would sprout. In the case of Milky Way, the center is not a perfect circle. It is, in fact, bar-shaped. The galactic center of the Milky Way is a bar-shaped structure from which two arms proliferate, completing the spiral shape. Images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have provided astronomers with a better view of the bar of stars at the center of the galaxy and the spiral structure. (1, 2)
2. Toilet seats are covered with germs than cellphones.
In research, it was found that cellphones have 10 times more germs than toilet seats.
We carry our cell phones everywhere – to the office, office parties, dinner tables, and even to our occasional bathroom breaks. We may not realize it, but this puts a lot of filth on our cellphones. In a study supported by the Estonian Research Council, scientists were able to recover 17,000 different bacterial genes from the cellphone of a high school student.
We consider toilet seats to be crawling with germs., but actually, they are less dirty than a cellphone. Toilet seats, on average, have around 1,700 germs on their surface. Cellphones, on the other hand, have been proven to contain 17,000 different germs! This is 10 times more than the germs you might find on a dirty toilet seat! (source)
3. Ninjas wore black.
Real ninjas actually wore clothes that helped them to blend in with normal people. The idea of wearing black originated from fiction.
The common belief that ninjas wear black clothes is actually a myth – a myth that originated from movies and story series. In the 16th century, Japan was on the brink of warlord-ism. To protect their people, two areas by the name of Iga and Koka developed their own self-defense mechanism. These new self-defense techniques gave rise to the amazing fighters that we know as “ninjas” today. The people who became ninjas were earlier either farmers or were involved in other peaceful occupations. By the end of the 16th century, most of Japan was unified under the warlord Oda Nobunaga. The new warlord attacked Iga and Koka and put an end to the ninjas.
Black was not the preferred clothing of the ninjas. They preferred dark navy blue at night. It was smarter and blended in better with the night light. Mostly, they just wore attire to fit in rather than stand out from the crowd, as they worked on spy missions as well. (1, 2)
4. Frozen vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones.
Research shows that frozen vegetables as equally as nutritious as fresh ones.
Many people do not choose to buy frozen vegetables as they believe frozen vegetables to have lost most of their nutrition value. There are numerous myths flying around that frozen vegetables are not good for your health. It’s easier for people to believe these myths, as it seems logical.
Nutritionists, however, believe it to be the other way around. Fiona B. Lewis, an expert nutritionist, food scientist, and chef says that frozen vegetables are harvested when they are at the peak of their nutritional value. Just after harvest, these vegetables are blanched and are frozen. This, in turn, preserves the nutritional value while killing the bacteria residing within them. At the same time, freezing stops the vegetables from spoiling.
Certain vitamins, such as Vitamin B and C, might be lost during the blanching process, but the majority of the nutrients are left intact. At the same time, fresh vegetables are shipped from farms far from the cities. Fresh vegetables tend to lose some of their nutritional value during transport. This makes frozen vegetables every bit as healthy as the fresh ones. (source)
5. Twinkies last forever.
This is just an urban legend. Twinkies, like any other food containing moisture, has a shelf life. The maximum shelf life for Twinkies is 45 days.
The ability of Twinkies to last forever is one of the most believed urban legends. There is a scene in the movie WALL-E where the robot’s pet cockroach eats his way through a Twinkie and emerges victorious at the other end without any digestive problems! But the reality is different.
Twinkies have a shelf life like any other product in the supermarket. They do not last for 10, 50, or 100 years because of the chemicals used in their production. In 2000, a company executive stated in The New York Times that Twinkies normally stay on the shelf for no more than 10 days. The maximum shelf life is 26 days. In 2012, they started adding stronger preservatives increasing the shelf life to 45 days. In short, Twinkies expire, and it’s better not to stock them for an alien invasion! (source)
6. The Earth and the other planets orbit around the Sun.
Technically, they are orbiting around the center of mass of the Solar System which happens to be near the center, but not exactly at the center, of the Sun.
We have been learning this since school. It’s a fact that the Earth and the other planets are orbiting around the Sun which is situated at the center of the Solar System. But, this fact is misleading. Yes, the planets seem to be revolving around the Sun, but they are actually not.
In reality, all the planets are revolving around the center of mass of the Solar System. All objects within the Solar System, from the humongous Sun to a speck of dust, apply a gravitational force on every other object around them. Basically, this force between all the objects in the Solar System is what holds the Solar System together. Otherwise, there would be chaos, and the objects would be flying around crashing into each other. There would be no life, only destruction. So, this gravitational pull is of utmost importance. Now, all this yanking gets balanced out at a specific point, precisely the center of mass of the Solar System. And this center happens to be close to the Sun. This is where the saying that the planets revolve around the Sun originated. (source)
7. All wolf packs have an alpha.
In reality, this was only observed in a case where unrelated adult wolves were kept in captivity. In the jungle, wolf packs behave just like humans, without any defined sense of rank.
A very commonly believed fact is that wolf packs always have an alpha who is predominantly a male. The alpha exerts his dominance over the pack and is the leader of the pack. The dominance mostly comes in the form of aggression, to which the other wolves yield.
This behavior was first noticed by a scientist, David Mech, who was observing wolves kept in captivity. He also wrote a book on the same subject in 1970, titled The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species. But in 1999, he rejected his own theory saying that the things about alpha male were true only in wolves kept in captivity.
The behavior of the wolves varies when they are in the wild. In the wild, wolves behave like humans. They split up from their packs once they mature and go around searching for compatible female partners. Once they team up and give birth to pups, both the male and female take care of their new pack. The reason being simple – they are the parents of the pups in the pack. (source)
8. There are adults with a photographic memory.
There has been no proof as to the existence of photographic or eidetic memory in adults. But, these have been found in children.
When people talk about eidetic memory, Leonardo da Vinci is one of the few people that comes to mind. There are rumors of him possessing a photographic memory. Then there’s John von Neumann, a mathematician, who was known to memorize a column from the phone book with just a single glance. It is said that he could remember the names and the respective phone numbers of the people in a column of the phone book by just a glance. We also have Swami Vivekanand who could remember every detail in a book by just going through it once.
These people claimed to have a photographic or eidetic memory. Basically, it refers to a memory in which people can retrieve any information at will from memory and also remember each and every detail associated with it. Science, on the other hand, disproves the existence of photographic memory and provides an alternate explanation.
According to science, people’s ability to remember something visually is much higher than other memory abilities. For example, we find it easier to remember people’s faces than their names. Similarly, we find it easier to remember the details of a movie than the details in a novel. And sometimes, this ability approaches the photographic level. This might happen due to reasons such as practice, intensive study, or familiarity with an object or activity. And people, in whom the visual memory ability reaches photographic levels, claim to have photographic memories. (1, 2, 3)
9. Acne is caused by lack of hygiene, eating oily food, or other personal habits.
Actually, it’s mainly genetic.
One of the first things that people say to acne-prone adults is to keep clean. Almost all of us believe in the notion that acne is caused by unhygienic surroundings, unhealthy personal habits, and also eating more fried and oily food. Although these factors offer a role in the cause of acne, their contribution is quite minimal. The major cause of acne is actually genetic.
Numerically speaking, less than 20% of adults have clear and flawless skin. Finding clear skin is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Moreover, a 2018 study revealed that genetics play a major role in the appearance of acne. The research involved studying the DNA of 27,000 people, out of which 5,000 had severe acne problems. The DNA study revealed genetic differences that were common in people with acne.
The genetic variations observed in the acne-prone group are responsible for the development of hair follicles. Basically, the genetic variants influenced the formation of hair follicles on the face and somehow, this was responsible for the acne. This was earlier not known. This new information might pave the way for better and efficient acne treatments. (1, 2, 3)
10. Sydney is the capital of Australia.
Actually, the capital of Australia is Canberra.
It’s a very common assumption for people to assume Sydney is the capital of Australia. When asked, most people would choose between either Melbourne or Sydney. Both of these are incorrect! Canberra is the capital of Australia.
The main reason why Melbourne and Sydney are chosen by people is these are the top-two most-populated cities in Australia. So, automatically people outside of Australia think them to probably be the capital cities. Canberra is a less-populated, small city located between the massive cities of Sydney and Melbourne. (source)