Everyone indeed knows some or facts. No, I’m not talking about the ones that are available in the books or online. These are the ones that we would’ve probably heard somewhere that we can hardly recall. These so-called “facts” are so popular in our culture that we fall into the trap of believing them to be true. Let’s take an example. You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that a “factoid” means “a fact that is a little interesting.” Only when you do a little research on the word would you find out that the word for that definition is called a “factlet” and not a “factoid.” “Factoids” are something that might sound true to the ears, but they aren’t. Here’s a list of some facts that you would’ve heard from your surroundings and believed to be true, but aren’t.
1. Snakes with slit pupils are venomous.
The shape of the snakes’ pupils tells us if they’re nocturnal or diurnal, not venomous or nonvenomous.
You might have noticed that cats have slit pupils. It is the same case with snakes. However, many people believe that snakes with slit pupils are dangerous. Well, the presence or absence of venom is not related to the shape of the pupils. If a snake is nocturnal, that means that it is active during the night; whereas, if it is diurnal, it is active during the day. In fact, venomous snakes have a wide variety of differently shaped pupils. Slit pupils in animals exclude light with better effectiveness than the circularly shaped pupils. This is the reason most of the nocturnal animals have eyes with slit pupils. They need to protect their eyes during the day from the sunlight which is why their pupils seem constricted during the day. Also, the slit pupils in the snakes help them find their prey better in the dark. (1, 2, 3, 4)
2. Sugarcane can grow fast on the sand.
Sugarcane grows near a water body in the form of blocks. It grows on the sand only in the Minecraft sandbox video game.
If you ever played Minecraft, you’d know that you could grow a sugarcane block anywhere, be it near the water, on dirt, or in the sand. This often leads to confusion among people as to where can it grow better. Well, the answer to this is sugarcane can grow anywhere near water sources. It grows in the form of blocks, be it two, three, or four. If it is a freshly planted cane or the one that has begun to grow above the previous block, each begins with an age of zero. This age keeps increasing on a random basis. Once it reaches the age of 15, it can grow more cane over the previous blocks. There is no reference in the game whatsoever that sugarcane can grow faster on the sand than the other places. (source)
3. Only identical twins can run in families.
It’s actually the opposite. Only fraternal twins can run in families. This happens when the ovaries of a woman release two eggs at a time, and they get fertilized by two different sperms, and this characteristic is determined by a gene that runs in the family.
Fraternal, or non-identical twins, tend to run in families, not identical twins. A mother can expect fraternal twins when her ovaries ovulate two different eggs, and both the eggs are fertilized by two different sperms. All this is determined by a gene which makes the ovaries of the woman release two or more eggs at once. The same is not the case with identical twins. They are born when a single sperm fertilizes a single egg, and the egg later splits into two halves. This is a totally random situation and has nothing to do with running in families. If you are a woman in a family who has a set of fraternal twins, you are more likely to have them as well. (source)
4. Iron content is high in spinach.
Spinach does not contain a high iron content.
If you are anemic, you have probably been given advice at least once which encouraged you to consume spinach. The reason given for that was that it has a high iron content. Well, this is totally not the case with spinach when it comes to leafy veggies. In fact, it contains a lesser amount of iron than many other leafy vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli. A cup of raw spinach has a 0.81-milligram iron content, whereas if you fill your cup with the same amount of Brussel sprouts, it would contain 1.2 milligrams of iron. There are some pieces of evidence which even say that spinach can inhibit the absorption of iron in your body. It is not advisable to consume spinach if you’re someone who’s suffering from an iron deficiency. (source)
5. Seasons are caused because the Earth is closer to the Sun in the summers than in the winters.
Seasons are not caused due to the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summers than in the winters but is due to the 23.4-degree axial-tilt of the Earth. Both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres are tilted towards the Sun. They have their respective summers when they face the Sun, and at that time, the other hemisphere experiences winters.
Many people believe that summers are caused when the Earth is closer to the Sun, and winters are caused when it is farther away. But, if you grab your middle-school geography books, you would find that it is the 23.4-degree axial-tilt of the Earth that causes the seasonal change. Our planet is divided into two hemispheres, the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. The Earth rotates around its own axis and simultaneously revolves around the Sun as well. However, due to the tilt in the Earth’s axis, one or the other of these hemispheres faces the sun at different times. So, when the Northern Hemisphere faces the Sun, the countries under it experience summers, and, at that same time, the countries located in the Southern Hemisphere experience winters. The same thing occurs when the Southern Hemisphere faces the Sun. (source)