Monday, March 31, 2008

And now the other side of the coin! Fact busters!

These are the “Facts” that have been argued to be incorrect!

#1 A goldfish's attention span is three seconds.

• This theory was tested by the Discovery Channel “MythBusters” ( The experiment consisted of training several goldfish to complete a maze. They concluded that the Goldfish attention span and memory retention lasts well over 3 seconds.

#5 Camels have three eyelids.

• In fact they have six (three per eye).

#18 Jellyfish are 95% water.

• This fact is slightly wrong, Jellyfish are actually about 99% water. (Encyclopedia Britannica

#31 “The average human will eat an average of eight spiders while sleeping.

• This statistic was made up in 1993 as an example of the absurd things people will believe simply because they come across them on the internet, as uncovered by Snopes.(

#36 A duck's quack doesn't echo.

• Tested by Snopes ( and Mythbusters. Both tests concluded that a duck's quack does echo.

#40 It is possible to lead a cow up stairs but not down

• This is not true. Cows can walk up and down stairs. proof here

#69 Caller ID is illegal in California.

• There is no law against Caller ID in the state, though there were lengthy debates about legalizing it in the early 90's.

#70 (first draft of “real fact” #70) Caller ID is illegal in California.

• There is no law against Caller ID in the state, though there were lengthy debates about legalizing it in the early 90's. a">(

#77 No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.

• This myth was also put to the test by the MythBusters, who folded a piece of paper 11 times. The piece of paper used was an oversized piece of paper and thinner than a standard 8.5"x11" inch piece of paper.

#89 The average American walks 18,000 steps a day.

• There are many 10,000 steps a day health programs which consider 10,000 a stretch goal. Such programs state that a "sedentary person" only walks 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day.

#114 The oldest known animal was a tortoise which lived to be 152 years old.

• Currently the oldest living animal, a tortoise named Tu'i Malila, lived to be 188 years old (

#121 The only bird that can swim and not fly is a penguin.

• The Flightless Cormorant can also swim.

#122 A duck can't walk without bobbing its head.

• According to several videos that show ducks out on strolls, it is clear that a duck does not need to bob its head while it walks. proof here

#145 Lake Superior is the world's largest lake.

• The Caspian Sea is considered the largest lake; Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake by surface area. The largest freshwater lake by volume is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

#146 The smallest county in America is New York County, better known as Manhattan.

• Falls Church, Virginia, is the smallest functional county at 2.0 square miles. (Kalawao County, Hawaii is also smaller but is technically part of Oceania and not either of the American continents).

#153 The speed limit in NYC was 8 mph. in 1895

It was in fact 9 miles per hour prior to 1898.

#162 "The temperature of the sun can reach 15 million degrees Fahrenheit.

• The core reaches temperatures of 25 million degrees F and the surface reaches only 10,000 degrees F, either way it's wrong.

#163 The first penny had the motto “Mind your own business”.

• This is not accurate; the first penny has the motto “Mind your business”

#171 The most sensitive parts of the body are the mouth and fingertips.

• The eyeballs have more nerve endings than all of these.

#176 The First bike was called a hobbyhorse.

• it was in fact called a draisine or DANDY-HORSE English.

#180 The first VCR was made in 1956 and was the size of a piano.

• The first '''VTR''' (Video Tape Recorder) was made in 1956; VCR's (video cassette recorders) came along in the 1970's.

#266 Manhattan is the only borough in New York City that doesn't have a Main Street.

• This is actually false, Roosevelt Island is part of the borough of Manhattan and its only significant street is Main Street.

#334 Thomas Edison coined the word "hello" and introduced it as a way to answer the phone.

• The word "hello" was used in print in the book “Roughing It” by 1872, while the telephone was invented in 1876

#362 Arachibutlphobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

• The correct spelling is arachibutyrophobia.

#383 Mount Katahdin in Maine is the first place in the U.S. to get sunlight each morning.

• The town of Lubec, Maine (the easternmost town in the U.S.) is the first place in the U.S. to get sunlight each morning, although some believe Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island (near Bar Harbor, Maine) sees the first sunlight

#399 Manhattan was the first capital of the United States.

• False. Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States, as said in fact #662 saying that "Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States."

#726 A polar bear cannot be seen by an infrared camera, due to its transparent fur.

• Polar Bear International uses infrared cameras for polar bear research, particularly to track female bears who are in dens with cubs.

#794 Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States, and Zabriskien [sic] Point, the lowest point in the United States, are less than eighty miles apart.

• It is true that Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the Continental United States, but Badwater in Death Valley, not Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, is the lowest point in the United States.

#889 The original Cinderella was Egyptian and wore fur slippers.

• It is true that Rhodopis is considered the oldest telling of the Cinderella story, but her slippers are consistently described as rose-gold. Some claim that Charles Perrault's classic French telling featured fur slippers, and that vair (fur) was mistranslated as verre (glass,) but this is believed to be an urban legend.

#904 If done perfectly, any Rubik's Cube combination can be solved in 17 turns.

• There is a known configuration whose optimal solution is 20 turns. It has been proved that any combination can be solved in at most 21 turns.

#907 Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

• Killing people in any way or by any reason is illegal by law in Paraguay.

# 921 if you had 1 billion dollars and spent 1 thousand dollars a day, it would take you 2,749 years to spend it all.

• It would actually take 2737 years and 311 days (including leap years) or 2739 years and 265 days without including leap years.


Jonathan said...

In Fact #794 (the one about the highest and lowest spots) is wrong, both the original and the side note beneath it. Mt. McKinley is the highest point on the continental United States. Mt. Whitney is the highest spot in the CONTIGUOUS (not CONTINENTAL) United States. Because Alaska is on the continent.


Anonymous said...

Fact #726- "A polar bear cannot be seen by an infrared camera, dut to its transparent fur."
If in fact a polar bear connot be seen by an infrared camera, its would not be because the fur is transparent. Infrared cameras detect heat. A piece of glass is transparent but if it is heated, it will be able to be seen on an infrared camera.
The polar bear may not be able to be seen because its fat layer is so thick that the external temperature of its skin and hair is the same as its surroundings and therfore undetectable by an infrared camera.

Steve said...

Fact #915 the which states that air molecules travel at the speed of a rifle bullet is incorrect because the speed of a rifle bullet varies greatly from under 1000 fps for some .22 ammunition and subsonic rounds to over 4000 fps for high velocity varmint rounds such as the .22-250.

Anonymous said...

Your written language skills need some help but thanks for putting the time into this blog regardless.

harry-er than them all said...

Barbie's full nmae is Barbara Millicent Roberts

Anonymous said...

Pennies that were minted from 1909 to 1958 were called wheat pennies

Anonymous said...

The highest valued wheat penny is the 1909 San Fransisco penny signed by Vincent David Brenner (VDB) at $550.

Anonymous said...

"Plato" was just a nickname because of his build; his real name was Aristocle

Anonymous said...

It took 12 years for Da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa's lips

Anonymous said...

Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting entitled "The Red Vineyard"

Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable said...

"Fact" #796 states that India has more English speakers than the US. According to the US Census, more that 267,000,000 Americans speak English "Well" or "Very Well" (

According to the Indian Census, there are about 110,000,000 English speakers in that country. (

"Fact" busted.

Anonymous said...

Fact Number #812 appears to be wrong

According to Excel

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 =

12,345,678,987,654,300 (not ...321)

But i'm not going to waste time double checking by hand ;)

Anonymous said...

We have never been to the moon

Anonymous said...

they said mosquitos have 47 teeth twice.

Anonymous said...

Fact Number #812 is correct. Excel simply rounded. You know that the last digits are correct without doing much math since everything is '1's.

Cujo600 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cujo600 said...

Although Fact #921 is wrong, your calculation is also a bit off.

1 billion dollars spent 1000 a day = 1 million days. This is 2737 years and 311 days according to the Julian calendar, but 2737 years and 305 (or 304) days according to the Gregorian (and more correct) one. This is because years ending in 00 that are not divisible by 400 (e.g. 1700, 1800, 1900) are not leap years. Depending on what year you start you have either 2737 years and 305 or 304 days. The other leap years are not affected by that.

Cujo600 said...

Pardon my first calculation, it should actually be an addition of 6 or 7 days, not a subtraction, thus 2737 years and 317 or 318 days.

Ole said...

#11 Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp.

No it's because they eat blue/green algae.

Anonymous said...

New York was the first capitol of the United States under the Constitution. G Washington took the oath as the first president from the steps of city hall.

Sally Comes Unraveled said...

I'm enjoying your facts, but I think you're being too picky with #5. I think everyone knows that they meant three eyelids per eye, not the total number of eyelids. If it was really an odd number of eyelids total, I think they would have said how many per eye.

myhumbleopinion said...

You’re probably right! It’s a technicality!

Anonymous said...

You are getting a little too specific on these facts. Where they use the averages and the word "can," using figures outside that range does not prove them wrong.

Anonymous said...

Real Fact #975 Says "The letter J is the only letter in the alphabet that does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements." But what about the letter Q? That also does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.

Anonymous said...

facts that are false: duck quacks don't echo, you eat 8 spiders while sleeping

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