10) The Great Wall of China is the only man-made
object visible from space.
To see something on Earth from space, it would
have to be pretty big, which the great wall
of China all 5,000 miles of it certainly is.
But, it’s only 30 feet across at its widest.
Here’s a photo taken from the International
Space station, 200 miles above Earth. Can
you spot the great wall amid the mountain
Here, right? No, that’s a river, the wall
is actually here. Even if you guessed the
right lines buy pure luck, this photo was
taken with a zoom lens, so from the window
of the space station it looks more like this
– which pretty clearly makes the Great Wall
count as ‘not visible.’
As for the man-made part of this misconception
our glorious man-made cities blasting light
into the void certainly are visible.
9) Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.
Socially obnoxious? Yes. Gives you arthritis
later in life as karmic punishment? No.
8) People Only Use 10% of their Brain
If you haven’t seen a medical drama in the
past oh, 30 years, you might not be aware
that doctors now have machines that can see
inside peoples’ brains and, contrary to
popular, belief 90% of the neurons don’t
sit all day around doing nothing.
While scientists don’t yet know exactly
what each part does, they do know that all
the bits matter.
So if you think someone could scoop out 90%
of your brain and you’d still be just fine,
then perhaps you really do only use 10% of
7) Eskimos have Hundreds of words for snow
This one is technically correct, but misleading.
Some languages, such as German, like to make
compound words by running several smaller
ones together which is why German words are
sometimes absurdly long.
Inuit languages use compound words as well
so rather than say ‘yellow snow’ as you
would in English an Inuit speaker combines
the two words into one, but it’s not really
a new word, just a quirk of grammar.
So technically Eskimos do have 100s of ways
to describe snow… but then so does every
6) You Need 8 Glasses of Water a Day
While doubtless some people would benefit
from drinking more water and drinking less
crap there is no scientific evidence that
8 glasses of water a day is the required amount
and some evidence that it might be too much.
And while we’re talking about water…
5) Tap Water is Bad but Bottled Water is Good
If you live in a paradise free from Government
regulations like, say, Somalia, then you might
have good reason to prefer bottled water over
tap. But modern, functioning countries have
something called health regulations which
cover both kinds of water.
Also, water is extremely dense making transporting
it from those pristine mountain tops and glaciers
enormously expensive which is why bottled
water companies don’t bother.
‘Bottled’ water is often just local tap
water with a fancy label and an enormous markup.
4) Gum takes seven years to pass through your
This is pretty easy to disprove yourself but
it’s understandable why most people don’t
try the experiment.
3) Blood in Your Veins is Blue
The idea here is that the blood in veins is
blue and it only turns red when exposed to
the oxygen in the air.
Thinking this isn’t unreasonable, after
all your veins look blue and medical diagrams
show arteries as red and veins as blue, but
it’s the same mistake as thinking that mountain
dew is green because it’s in a green bottle.
Pour it out and you discover that Mountain
Dew is really piss yellow, which is probably
the reason it’s in a green bottle to begin
The next time you get blood withdrawn from
a veins take a look. What color it is? Red.
How much oxygen is inside a good syringe?
Unless you’re a Horseshoe crab or Plavalaguna
you’re blood isn’t blue.
2) Fan Death
This misconception is a specialty of South
Korea. Here the belief is that if you spend
too much time with a rotating fan in a confined
space, it will use up all your oxygen and
you’ll asphyxiate to death.
Exactly how the fan made of lifeless, anaerobic
plastic, competes for your oxygen is unclear,
but hilariously South Korean fan manufacturers
– who surely must know better – include
timers on fans to prevent them from running
1) People Swallow 8 Spiders a Year While Sleeping
Supposedly while you’re in bed, helplessly
unconscious with your gob wide open, each
year eight spiders find their way into your
mouth and you reflexively swallow them.
This is plainly ridiculous: spiders love warm,
moist places so eight is far too low an estimate.