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FASCINATING FACTS: 10 COMMONLY KNOWN FACTS THAT ARE ACTUALLY MYTHS

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. (1234)

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)

6. The historical Buddha had obesity.

The historical Buddha didn’t have obesity. The “chubby Buddha,” or the “Laughing Buddha” as he is called by Westerners, has the name “Budai” and is a folk hero of China from the 10th century.

When people of the West think of Buddha, they don’t think about his history, teachings, and meditation. All they can visualize is the bald, fat, and jolly character called the “Laughing Buddha. The “true Buddha” is known as “Gautama Buddha” and even “Shakyamuni Buddha.He is depicted mostly in a posture of deep meditation. The image of him is of a thin person with a peaceful, facial expression.

Now, you might be wondering where the “Laughing Buddha” came from. He is a character that emerged in the 10th century from the folktales of China. The “Laughing Buddha”’s stories revolve around a Ch’an monk who was called “Qieci” or “Ch’i-t’zu” from a place called Fenghua which is apparently now called Zhejiang. Ch’i-t’zu possessed an eccentric character, and people loved him for the small wonders he could do like weather predictions. However, according to Chinese history, the life of Ch’i-t’zu was from 907-923 CE, which means that he lived much later than the “true Buddha.” (source)

7. Light doesn’t attract mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes aren’t actually attracted by light but are attracted to the person under the light source. This is because they are attracted by the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere.

You might have often noticed a group of bugs or flies flying around the light of a lamp, mostly around streetlamps. But, we hardly see any mosquitoes along with those other insects and believe that they are not attracted by light. The truth is that light doesn’t attract the mosquitoes, but the person who’s under that light of the lamp and for the obvious reason that they want to drink their blood!

You wouldn’t see mosquitoes much during the daylight because the light from the Sun dehydrates them, and they easily die. However, they don’t avoid other, different types of lights. Mosquitoes make use of the lighting to navigate to places and don’t see it the way we do. Light doesn’t actually attract mosquitoes. They just simply try to figure out their surroundings by using it. They get attracted more towards the carbon dioxide that we humans emit, which is why they tend to find and bite us. (source)

8. Haircare products can “repair” split ends and damaged hair. 

Haircare products do not repair your damaged hair and split ends. They just smooth them down and join the split ends together like a glue which makes them appear smooth and healthy.

Let’s not even start counting the number of haircare products available on the market that claim to “repair” your damaged hair and split ends. There are already many haircare brands out there and new launches now and then, and we get tempted to try out and see what products work the best on our hair to get rid of our split ends. The truth is that no matter how costly the haircare product, it won’t be able to repair your damaged hair, and split ends are not going to disappear suddenly.

These products work on your hair to prevent them from getting damaged further, and that’s it. They are formulated with ingredients that help in smoothing your hair. Your split ends get joined together temporarily like with a glue. Your hair, therefore, feels smooth, shiny, and healthy, but the already damaged ends aren’t actually repaired. The only way you can get rid of them is by regularly trimming them off. (12)

9. Consuming milk or other dairy products tends to increase the production of mucus.

Mucus production is not related to the consumption of milk or other dairy products. They need not be avoided when you have flu or cold.

You might have heard that you shouldn’t consume milk or any other dairy products when you’re suffering from a cold or flu since that would lead to increased mucus production. However, it isn’t scientifically proven that consuming dairy products will increase mucus production in your throat or nasal cavity and worsen the symptoms. Many people reduce the intake of milk when they have a cold, but a clinical trial proved that the intake of milk isn’t associated with the congestion in the respiratory tract.

Many doctors say that milk can thicken your saliva which coats the throat and gives a perception of more mucus production. However, your body doesn’t actually produce more mucus. In fact, consuming milk when you have a cold helps to speed up your recovery since it is essential to consume more fluids when you’re suffering from a cold or flu. (source)

10. The hole in the ozone layer causes global warming.

The ozone layer depletion is a result of the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere. Global warming and depletion of the ozone layer are two different phenomena. 

Global warming has been a concern across the globe for ages, and there are many beliefs for the reason behind it. There are some misconceptions regarding global warming, one of them being that the hole in the ozone layer of the Earth is the cause. However, the truth is the ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the harmful UV rays of the Sun. When it comes to global warming, it is caused by the ozone layer depletion when chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are released into the atmosphere. These hydrocarbons are released from several devices such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, etc. This leads to the depletion of the ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. It is not the hole in the ozone layer that causes global warming, but the release of the carbon from CFCs and HCFCs(source)

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