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Did you know? COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

Did You Know?

Sub Sections Of This Page:
Interesting Facts About Language
Common Misconceptions


Great Britain was the first country to issue
postage stamps, on the 1st of May 1840. Hence, UK stamps are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin.

The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, was made in 565AD.

Charles Macintosh invented the waterproof coat, the Mackintosh, in 1823.

The British royal family changed their surname (last name) from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, the name of their castle, in 1917.

Winston Churchill was a stutterer. As a child, one of his teachers warned, "Because of his stuttering he should be discouraged from following in his father's political footsteps."

It is said that if a statue of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, like the Zizkov Monument, the person died of natural causes.

The words "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" were penned in the 17th century by English philospher  John Locke.

The largest web bookshop, Amazon.com, stores almost 3 million books.
To save costs, the body of Shakespeare's friend and fellow dramatist, Ben Jonson, was buried standing up in Westminister Abbey, London in 1637.

Two billion people still cannot read.

A green diamond is the rarest diamond.

There are 1040 islands around Britain, one of which is one of the smallest island in the world: Bishop's Rock.

All the planets in the solar system rotate anticlockwise, except Venus. It is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

Earth is the densest planet in the solar system and the only one not named after a god.

A square piece of dry paper cannot be folded in half more than 7 times.

In the 6th century BC Greek mathematician Pythagoras said that earth is round - but few agreed with him. Greek astronomer Aristarchos said in the 3rd century BC that earth revolves around the sun - but the idea was not accepted.In the 2nd century BC Greek astronomer Erastosthenes accurately measured the distance around the earth at about 40,000 km (24,860 miles) - but nobody believed him.In the 2nd century AD Greek astronomer Ptolemy stated that earth was the centre of the universe - most people believed him for the next 1,400 years.

Wine is sold in tinted bottles because wine spoils when exposed to light.

Before the year 1000, the word "she" did not exist in the English language. The singular female reference was the word "heo", which also was the plural of all genders. The word "she" appeared only in the 12th century, about 400 years after English began to take form. "She" probably derived from the Old English feminine "seo", the Viking word for feminine reference.

The word malaria comes from the words mal and aria, which means bad air. This derives from the old days when it was thought that all diseases are caused by bad, or dirty air.

The first city in the world to have a population of more than one million was London.

The first product to have a bar code scanned was Wrigley's gum.   

The Earth is the only planet not named after a pagan God.  

The national orchestra of Monaco has more individuals than its army.

The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Renaissance Florence to shave them off. 

Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.
 
If you can see a rainbow you must have your back to the sun.

Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian seal for that reason.

Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica . This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, i.e.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.

The term "The Big Apple" was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930's who used the slang expression "apple" for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time - The Big Apple. 

The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4,53 sq. km.

The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.

The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters). They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.

According to tradition, the first engineer to build a bridge across the Tiber in Ancient Rome was given the name Pontifex, meaning "bridge builder." The Pontifex was seen as someone who "connects" people, and that symbolism was so powerful that Roman high priests--including Julius Caesar--later adopted the title Pontifex Maximus. During the Roman Imperial age, the emperor was always the Pontifex Maximus. The title eventually passed from Roman emperors to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, the Pope still carries the title Pontifex Maximus.

More than 100 years ago, the felt hat makers of England used mercury to stabilize wool. Most of them eventually became poisoned by the fumes, as demonstrated by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Breathing mercury's fumes over a long period of time will cause erethism, a disorder characterized by nervousness, irritability, and strange personality changes.

The Vatican's Swiss Guard still wears a uniform designed by Michelangelo in the early 16th century.

All gondolas in Venice, Italy must be painted black, unless they belong to a high official.

The world’s deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people.

The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of lobsters is blue.

In ancient Egypt, the entire family would shave their eyebrows off as a sign of mourning when the family cat died.

Almonds are members of the peach family.

Jeremy Bentham, a British philosopher who died in 1832,left his entire estate to the London Hospital provided that his body be allowed to preside over its board meetings. His skeleton was clothed and fitted with a wax mask of his face. It was present at the meeting for 92 years.
 
A young lady named Ellen Church convinced Boeing Air Transport that her nursing skills and love of flying would qualify her to assist with the passengers and emergencies. She became the first known stewardess.

The planet Venus’s day is longer than its year. It takes 225 ‘Earth’ days to rotate around the Sun (a Venusian year) and 243 ‘Earth’ days to rotate on its axis (a Venusian day). 

The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," later shortened to "Christ-Mass." The even shorter form "Xmas" - first used in Europe in the 1500s - is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ's name: Xristos, therefore "X-Mass."Today we know that Christ was not born on the 25th of December. The date was chosen to coincide with the pagan Roman celebrations honouring Saturnus (the harvest god) and Mithras (the ancient god of light), a form of sun worship. These celebrations came on or just after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, to announce that winter is not forever, that life continues, and an invitation to stay in good spirit.

The Official Olympic Flag was created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914, the Olympic flag contains five interconnected rings on a white background. The five rings symbolize the five significant continents and are interconnected to symbolize the friendship to be gained from these international competitions. The rings, from left to right, are blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The colors were chosen because at least one of them appeared on the flag of every country in the world. The Olympic flag was first flown during the 1920 Olympic Games.

The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games. In Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games. The flame first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The flame itself represents a number of things, including purity and the endeavor for perfection. In 1936, the chairman of the organizing committee for the 1936 Olympic Games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now the modern Olympic Torch relay. The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes and using a curved mirror and the sun. The Olympic Torch is then passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city. The flame is then kept alight until the Games have concluded. The Olympic Torch relay represents a continuation from the ancient Olympic Games to the modern Olympics.


Lincoln & Kennedy


Here's a little part of US history which makes you go hmmm...

Have a history teacher explain this if they can?
 
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. 
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946. 
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. 
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. 
The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters. 
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights. 
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House. 
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. 
Both Presidents were shot in the head. 
Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy. 
Both were assassinated by Southerners. 
Both were succeeded by Southerners. 
Both successors were named Johnson. 
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. 
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908. 
Both assassins were known by their three names. 
Both names are composed of fifteen letters. 
Kennedy was shot in a car called 'Lincoln.' 
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials. 
And here's the kicker... 
A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland. 
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe. 

What's in the Clolour of a Rose?

When you give someone roses, the color can have a meaning. The meaning of rose colors:

Red = Love and respect
Deep pink = Gratitude, appreciation
Light pink = Admiration, sympathy
White = Reverence, humility
Yellow = Joy, gladness
Orange = Enthusiasm, desire
Red & yellow blend = Gaiety, joviality
Pale blended tones = Sociability, friendship

Is there anything easy about Japanese?

  • No verb conjugation!
  • No gender of nouns!
  • No articles (a, the)
  • Number (singular and plural) not important and barely exists!
  • Not hard to learn to pronounce as there are only 48 sounds consisting of 5 vowels and 11 consonants!
  • Syntax or the word order of a sentence, excepting the final verb, is totally free!
Some weaknesses of the Japanese language
  • Considered a "fuzzy" language. The Japanese people don't like to be blunt or rude. Consequently, they hesitate to express opinions in a strong and clear manner. Politicians like to use this to their advantage!
  • Very few words of affection or endearment as in all European languages! Most Japanese either cannot or will not say "I love you" to their loved ones. These words do exist in Japanese, but are not part of daily vocabulary.
  • No such thing as rhyming poetry!
  • It takes about twice as long to say something as compared to English. English song lyrics have to be cut in half when translated into Japanese in order to keep the same rhythm.
Taken from http://www.kt70.com/~jamesjpn/facts_about_Japanese.shtml

Language - Interesting facts
 
The "you are here" arrow is called  an ideo locator.

The word "trivia" comes from the Latin "trivium" which is the place where three roads meet, a public square. People would gather and talk about all sorts of matters, most of which were trivial.

The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persina phrase "Shah mat", which means: "The King is dead".

The sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the English language.

Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village"

The three words in the English language with the letters "uu" are: vacuum, residuum and continuum. 

Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down--hence the expression "to get fired." 

There are only four words in the English language which end in '-dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. 

The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets. 

Some biblical scholars believe that Aramaic (the language of the ancient Bible) did not contain an easy way to say 'many things' and used a term which has come down to us as 40. This means that when the bible -in many places -refers to '40 days,' they meant many days.

Only 3 words in the English language end in
"ceed": "proceed," "exceed," and "succeed."

"Go." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

"The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in English.

There is only ONE word in the English language with THREE CONSECUTIVE SETS OF DOUBLE LETTERS.... Bookkeeper.

The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe. 

The symbol used in many URLs (Web addresses) is called a tilde. (~)

The longest place name in the UK is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, it means The name means: "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave".

The verb "to cleave" has definitions which are antonyms of each other: to adhere and to separate. The verb "sanction" also has definitions which are antonyms: to sponsor and to ban.

The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle. 

A hamlet is a village without a church and a town is not a city until it has a cathedral. 

The language most closely related to English is Flemish. 

Beware of bottles labelled "gift" in Germany. In German, gift means poison. 

Guyana is the only South American country with English as its official language.

The word boycott comes from Charles C. Boycott. He was hired by an Irish earl to collect high rents from tenant farmers who completely ignored him. 

A group of magpies is called a tiding, one of ravens an unkindness, one of turtledoves a pitying, one of starlings a murmuration, one of swans a lamentation, one of ponies a string, one of rattlesnakes a rhumba, one of crows a murder, one of cobras a quiver, one of foxes a skulk, one of emus a mob, one of elks a gang, one of cats a clowder, one of flamingoes a pat, and one of bears a sleuth. Groups of geese are named in a peculiar manner; when they are on the ground they are called a "gaggle", but in the air they are called a "skein". 

A panagram is a sentence that contains all 26 letters of the English alphabet. For example: Pack my red box with five dozen quality jugs.

Today, more than 750 million people use the English language. An average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses about 2,000 words in a week. The statistics of English are astonishing. Of all the world's languages (which now number some 2,700), it is arguably the richest in vocabulary. The compendious Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words; and a further half-million technical and scientific terms remain uncatalogued. According to traditional estimates, neighboring German has a vocabulary of about 185,000 and French fewer than 100,000, including such Franglais as le snacque-barre and le hit-parade."

A group of unicorns is called a blessing. 

Twelve or more cows are known as a "flink." 

A group of frogs is called an army. 

A group of rhinos is called a crash. 

A group of kangaroos is called a mob. 

A group of whales is called a pod. 

A group of geese is called a gaggle. 

A group of ravens is called a murder. 

A group of officers is called a mess. 

A group of larks is called an exaltation. 

A group of owls is called a parliament.


Common Misconceptions
The belief that
gunpowder, even though it was a Chinese invention, was first used for war by the Europeans is a misconception. The Chinese used flamethrowers and gunpowder arrows for military purposes from the 900s onward.

Napoleon Bonaparte was not especially short. After his death in 1821, the French emperor's height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet. This corresponds to 5 feet 6.5 inches in modern international feet, or 1.686 metres, making him slightly taller than an average Frenchman of the 19th century. The metric system was introduced during his lifetime, so it was natural that he would be measured in feet and inches for much of his life. His nickname, "le petit caporal", adds to the confusion, as non-francophones mistakenly take petit literally as meaning "small"; in fact, it is an affectionate term reflecting on his camaraderie with ordinary soldiers. He also surrounded himself with soldiers, his elite guard, who were always six feet tall or more.

People do not use only ten percent of their
brains. This myth is thought by some to have emerged after the discovery of glial cells in the brain, or it could have been the result of some other misunderstood or misinterpreted legitimate scientific findings.
Shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker or coarser. This belief is due to the fact that hair wears down over time, whereas, immediately after it has grown back, it has had no time to wear. Thus, it appears thicker, and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. 

Hair and fingernails
do not continue to grow after a person dies. Rather, the skin dries and shrinks away from the bases of hairs and nails, giving the appearance of growth. 
Eating
sucrose (a kind of sugar) raises blood sugar or glucose levels in the blood, but eating other foods, such as white bread, can raise blood sugar even more when the body is able to quickly break it down into individual glucose units (see Glycemic index). 

There is no "cure" for split ends or damaged hair. Shampoos and conditioners that advertise themselves as being able to reverse damage or reduce split ends are bogus. Scientifically, the only way to "cure" split ends is by a simple haircut. Once the cuticle of the hair shaft is split, it can often still grow split, but can never be mended. Haircare products can be used to soften the texture by using fillers that attach to the hair shaft, making the hair appear healthier. 

Mount Everest is, indisputably, the highest point of land above sea level (8850 meters / 29035 feet) which, according to traditional measurements, means that it is the tallest mountain in the world. Given certain definitions, however, this can be challenged.One alternative method of measurement is the base-summit height. When this is applied, Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano in Hawaii) turns out to be much higher at 10,314 meters (33,480 feet). This takes into account Mauna Kea's base on the ocean floor, some 6000 meters below sea level. Its height above sea level is only 4,208 meters (13,796 feet). If the base-summit height is measured from land only, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, meaning it does not belong to a mountain range or chain, measured from its base (at ground level) to the summit at 5,896 meters (19,344 feet). Another alternative method is to work out the furthest point of land as measured from the centre of the earth. Chimborazo, a volcano in Ecuador, takes this honor, because the Earth "bulges" at the equator. This peak is 2,100 meters "taller" than Everest.

The
Sahara is the world's largest hot desert, but it is not the world's largest desert (arid land). Antarctica has almost no liquid precipitation (rain) and little or no vegetation. Almost no animal life exists in its interior at all (scientists in research stations and nesting snow petrels are about the only exceptions). It is land that lacks liquid water available for plants and animals to use. This is sufficient to qualify it as a desert, and it is larger than the Sahara.

Claims that the number and intensity of
earthquakes are increasing are unfounded. The number and intensity of earthquakes varies from year to year but there is no increasing trend.

Earth's iron-rich inner core is not liquid (like the outer core) but solid, due to the temperature-pressure conditions at the center of the Earth.

Nowhere in the
Bible is the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden referred to as an apple. The fruit is called the "fruit of the tree" (that is, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), and neither the fruit nor the tree is identified as belonging to a known species. In Middle English, as late as the 17th century "apple" was a generic term for all fruit other than berries but including nuts. However, also in continental European art from that period representing the Fall of Man the fruit is often depicted as an apple.

In the book of
Genesis, the serpent in the Garden of Eden is not explicitly identified as being Satan. Additionally, Satan is never explicitly given the name "Lucifer" ("light bearer") in the Bible. That name comes from the Vulgate (Latin) translation of a prophecy in Isaiah 14:12, which some Christians interpret as referring to the fall of Satan from heaven.

Genesis does not state that there were only two of every animal aboard
Noah's Ark. In fact, it states that there were to be seven pairs of every clean animal, and two pairs of every unclean animal.

The organization of the
Ten Commandments is not consistent from one religion to another, or even among Christians (see this chart for example).

The term Immaculate Conception does not refer to
Jesus's conception by the Virgin Mary (see Virgin Birth of Jesus), but rather to the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary herself was conceived without the stain of Original Sin. (See also Blessed Virgin Mary.)

Nowhere in the Bible is
Mary Magdalene ever referred to as a prostitute. Before her seeing the risen Jesus, the only other mention besides the listing of her name is the mentioning in Luke 8:2 that she had been possessed by seven demons.

The canon of the
New Testament was not selected by Constantine at the First Council of Nicaea. Constantine did not personally have a vote on the council, and the canon had been settled to a large degree—by common consent rather than conciliar decree—from the early second century. Furthermore, the council did not consider the matter of canon in its proceedings. (See Development of the New Testament canon.)The New Testament was not routinely altered by scribes and priests through the centuries. Spelling errors and other copyist mistakes exist in all of the extant manuscripts, but there are only a few examples of what modern philologists and textual critics believe are intentional alterations (e.g., the Pericope Adulterae 

Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, and Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the internal combustion engine. In all three cases, their contributions were in the area of improving and popularizing the devices in question. For example, Ford introduced the assembly line, and used it to bring the cost of automobiles into reach of many more people, and Thomas Edison refined the internal gases and filaments, making a bulb last longer. Neither did Guglielmo Marconi invent the radio, a patent which was filed before him by Nikola Tesla, a claim that was ratified by the US Supreme Court in 1943 in Tesla's favour.
 
Children's Misconceptions about Science

A list compiled by the Operation Physics Elementary/middleschool physics education outreach project of the American Institute of Physics. Author/editor is unknown.

Astronomy 
Stars and constellations appear in the same place in the sky every night.
The sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west every day.

Meteors are falling stars.

The brightness of a star depends only on its distance from the earth.
 
Biosphere
Dinosaurs and cavemen lived at the same time.
 
Colour and Vision
The pupil of the eye is a black object or spot on the surface of the eye.
The eye receives upright images.
The eye is the only organ for sight; the brain is only for thinking.
Colour is a property of an object, and is independent of both the illuminating light and the receiver (eye).
 
Energy
The terms "energy" and "force" are interchangeable. 
Energy is truly lost in many energy transformations.
There is no relationship between matter and energy.
 
Forces and Motion
If an object is at rest, no forces are acting on the object.
Only animate objects can exert a force. Thus, if an object is at rest on a table, no forces are acting upon it.
Large objects exert a greater force than small objects.
A force is needed to keep an object moving with a constant speed.
Velocity is another word for speed. An object's speed and velocity are always the same.
Acceleration always means that an object is speeding up.
Acceleration always occurs in the same direction as an object is moving.
If an object has a speed of zero (even instantaneously), it has no acceleration.
 
Forces and Fluids
Objects float in water because they are lighter than water.
Objects sink in water because they are heavier than water.
All objects containing air float.
Liquids rise in a straw because of "suction".
 
Magnets and Magnetism
All metals are attracted to a magnet.
All magnets are made of iron.
Larger magnets are stronger than smaller magnets.

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