10 Things You Think You Know That Aren’t Actually True

Man Surprised Mind Blown

Nobody has the time to look into everything, so people often have to take some things which we know are common knowledge for granted. Unfortunately, not every bit of information you pick up along the way is factual. Read on to have 10 of your beliefs disproved.

Chimpanzee in Nature

Myth #1 – Chimps have more hair than humans

If you put a picture of a chimp next to one of a human, you would be forgiven for thinking that the chimp is much hairier. However, that’s not the case. Humans have between two and five million hair follicles spread around their bodies, which is about the same number as other primates. Our hair is just much less coarse and less visible. While primates are furred, humans have two types of hair: terminal and vellus hair. Terminal hair makes up the hair on our heads and in our armpits and pubic area, and vellus hair is found everywhere else. Vellus hair is much finer, shorter, and lighter than terminal hair, and is not connected to any glands below the skin. No one knows for sure why we have evolved this way, but it’s likely[1] that, when our ancestors moved out of the shady forests and onto the hot savannah, they grew this type of hair as a way to protect their brains while keeping their bodies cool — through sweating — as they hunted and foraged in the sun.

Earth Sun Moon

Myth #2 – The Earth revolves around the Sun

Strictly speaking, the Earth is revolving around the solar system’s center of mass, also known as its barycenter[2]. This is the balancing point around which the combined mass of every object in the solar system is evenly distributed. Due to the planets’ constant motion, this point is always shifting. Because the Sun has over 99% of the solar system’s total mass, the barycenter of the solar system is located near its surface, and sometimes within the Sun itself. But when the barycenter is outside the Sun, our planet is just orbiting an empty spot in space.

Smartphone Rice

Myth #3 – A wet phone should be put in rice

Believing that rice will dry a wet phone is perfectly reasonable — after all, rice is known to absorb moisture. However, despite what you may have heard, experiments[3] have shown that not only will rice not help, it probably will work more slowly than fresh air. In fact, rice may even do more harm than good; grains can get stuck in headphone jacks or charging ports, and the starch in the rice may even speed up the corrosion process. Instead, just leave the phone out to dry in an area with some airflow, or, if you don’t want to wait a week or two, you can try using things[4] like silica gel packets or vacuum bags.

Busy Highway Traffic

Myth #4 – Widening highways helps traffic

When you’re stuck in traffic, it’s easy to imagine how much faster you might be able to go if only someone had had the foresight to add more lanes to the highway you’re on. But research[5] shows that widening a highway often just leads to worse traffic problems, thanks to a phenomenon known as “induced demand,” which describes how an increase in supply results in a decline in price and, therefore, an increase in consumption. In the case of roadways, adding capacity decreases travel time, which lowers the “price” of driving and results in more miles being traveled because people who currently aren’t using a car decide to drive. So the new lanes fill up very quickly and traffic chokes up, again.

A great example of this effect is the Katy Freeway in Houston. In 2011, this highway was widened to a massive 23 lanes, making it the widest in the world, but travel times have actually increased during the morning and evening commutes by 30 percent and 55 percent, respectively.[6]

Mount Everest in Nepal

Myth #5 – Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain

At 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) from its base to its peak (plus or minus 6.5 feet/2 meters), Mount Everest is generally considered to be the world’s highest mountain. But that depends on your definition of “highest.”[7]

If you define highest as “closest to the moon,” the honor must go to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. The thing is, the Earth is not a round sphere, it bulges in the middle, much like one of those ergonomic ball chairs when someone is sitting on it. From base to peak, Chimborazo is 20,548 feet (6,263 meters). But it also sits on a bump on a bigger part of the Earth’s bulge than Everest, meaning that it’s actually 35,826 feet (10,920 meters) from the center of the Earth.

And if you define “highest” as the tallest mountain from base to peak, then the award for “highest mountain” must go to Hawaii’s Mauna Kea: it measures over 32,808 feet (10,000 meters) from its base in the Pacific Ocean to its peak, which is almost a mile taller than Everest.

NASA Astronaut Drew Feustel ISS Crop

Myth #6 – There is zero gravity in space

We’re all familiar with footage of astronauts floating around the space station, so it’s easy to believe that there is no gravity up there. But gravity exists everywhere in the universe — without it, everything would simply fly apart and cease to exist. The reason astronauts on the space station look weightless is because both the space station and the astronauts are in a continuous state of free fall toward the earth. Because objects of any mass fall at the same speed, the space station, and the astronauts fall together, creating the illusion of zero gravity. Luckily, though they keep falling, they never actually fall to the Earth because the space station is traveling at around 17,150 miles (27,600 km) per hour, keeping it and the astronauts in orbit.

Electricity Sparks Conduction Concept

Myth #7 – Water conducts electricity

While it may be true that dropping a toaster in your bath will not end well for you, the fact is that pure, distilled water is a bad conductor[9] of electricity because its molecules do not have free electrons to transfer electrical current. Pure water consists of an oxygen molecule that is chemically bonded to two hydrogen molecules. Oxygen has six electrons in its outer reactive shell and room for two more, and hydrogen atoms have one electron each, meaning that a perfect chemical bond forms.

Water is, however, a superlative solvent; the free ions from impurities like salts and minerals dissolved in the water enable it to conduct electricity. Interestingly, when water contains a large amount of these ions, it conducts electricity so well that the electricity will ignore less efficient conductors — like human bodies — and stick to the better pathway; the multitude of ions in the water.

Double Rainbow in Nature

Myth #8 – There are seven colors in the rainbow

ROY G BIV is a lie that goes back to Sir Isaac Newton and his superstitious beliefs. Unlike his contemporaries, Newton believed that clear, white sunlight was made up of all the colors of the spectrum. He proved this in the 1660s in a series of experiments that refracted sunlight through a prism, breaking it into smaller wavelengths. Initially, Newton saw only five colors. But he believed in the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras’ vision of a harmonious universe in which the number 7 was a magical number that connected all kinds of natural phenomena, from the heavenly bodies (seven of which were known at the time) to the musical scale. Therefore, when Newton published his original color wheel in 1704, he added orange and indigo to the colors he had already identified.

That said, what we call color is perceived by our minds. The light spectrum contains a continuous distribution — and therefore an infinite number — of colors, and the colors we see depend on how much each of the cone-shaped photoreceptors in our eyes, which see red, green, and blue, is stimulated. So the colors of the rainbow may be different for everyone.

Qwerty Keyboard Typewriter

Myth #9 – The QWERTY keyboard was designed to keep keys from jamming

Unlike what you might have heard, the QWERTY keyboard probably did not end up with its current layout because the inventor was trying to make sure the mechanical keys on his typewriter wouldn’t jam, by placing the most frequently used letters as far apart as possible. Instead, according to Kyoto University historians Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka, it owes its current layout to 19th-century American Morse Code.[11] This is because, when the layout of the keyboard was being designed, the primary users of typewriters were telegraph operators who needed to transcribe messages written in Morse code as quickly as possible, so the letters they used the most were put where they could get at them most easily.

Palying Bagpipes

Myth #10 – Bagpipes are Scottish

No, they’re not. Although the bagpipes may now be synonymous with the Scottish Highlands, they probably originated much farther East.[12] Ancient references to bagpipes have been found in both Turkey and Egypt. A possible sculpture of bagpipes, dated to 1000 BC, was found on a Hittite slab at Euyuk in Anatolia. A more substantial link pointing to early Egyptian bagpipes made of dog skin and bone has been documented by the fifth century BCE Greek playwright Aristophanes in his work “The Acharnians,” in which he writes, “You pipers who are here from Thebes, with bone pipes blow the posterior of a dog.”

However, the first notable enthusiast was the Roman Emperor Nero, who even had a coin minted showing himself playing the bagpipes. He used to play them to inspire his troops before battle. Several theories exist as to how the bagpipe reached Scotland from its original birthplace, but one of the most popular (and plausible) ones is that the Romans brought it with them when they conquered Britain.

Mind blown!


  1. discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-humans-lost-their-hair-and-became-naked-and-sweaty
  2. businessinsider.nl/animation-reveals-invisible-center-of-solar-system-not-sun-2020-7/
  3. protectyourgadget.com/blog/myths-debunked-using-rice-to-dry-a-wet-phone/
  4. bestlifeonline.com/wet-phone/
  5. gizmodo.com/why-expanding-highways-makes-traffic-worse-1842220595
  6. cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/
  7. npr.org/2007/04/07/9428163/the-highest-spot-on-earth
  8. sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/free-falling-the-science-of-weightlessness/
  9. usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/conductivity-electrical-conductance-and-water
  10. en.99designs.nl/blog/tips/why-are-there-7-colors-rainbow/
  11. hackaday.com/2016/03/15/the-origin-of-qwerty/
  12. hendersongroupltd.com/resources/history-of-bagpipes/

25 Comments on "10 Things You Think You Know That Aren’t Actually True"

  1. Years before actually learning to play this instrument, I was aware that those Romans were thought to have introduced bagpipes into Britain (under the name _tibia utricularis_). Different versions seem to have been popular throughout Europe centuries ago, but their use waned in most places for some reason. The familiar _piobh mor_ (‘great” Highland pipe) may be the loudest version, as befits a military tool.

  2. Dr. Paul J. Werbos | August 30, 2022 at 4:24 pm | Reply

    I wondered about where bagpipes came from since 2010, when I saw them in an ancient Tibetan performance. https://photos.app.goo.gl/a7exSNMyibiMXcNP7 . Yes, those “Bon people” may have been the original highlanders.

  3. While this was interesting enough, as usual with these things, most of these are wishy washy redefinitions based on your subjective perspective. Matters of perspective don’t magically make facts untrue. The only difference is in how you define your meanings (i.e. the “more” hair one).
    Only #10 surprised me.

    • Very well said, agreed, the fact that so many people have difficulty in separating objective from subjective shows that a lot of people are just dumb.

  4. This periodical is increasingly resembling tabloid journalism a la Facebook and the many other “news” consolidators on social media. Why not split the periodical into one that focuses strictly on new developments in science and one that delights in “Gee Whiz isn’t that amazing pseudoinformation.” It’s Genius.

  5. Vernon Gravdal | August 31, 2022 at 8:16 am | Reply

    Regarding rescuing a phone or other electronic item dropped into water. I have in the past with good results used an ordinary vacuum cleaner to suck any water out again. Keep in mind only do this when the amount of water is minimal so as not to upset your vacuum cleaner and make certain no small parts can be sucked into the vacuum cleaner turning what you are trying to save

  6. Chimborazo:
    But it also sits on a bump on a bigger part of the Earth’s bulge than Everest, meaning that it’s actually 35,826 feet (10,920 meters) from the center of the Earth.

    It’s way, way farther than that.

  7. The first one only bothers me because we didn’t grow hair to protect ourselves, that’s not how evolution works. Some humans randomly grew that type of hair, and when it benefited their survival those humans bred and that’s why the traits carried on.

  8. Plutarch Heavensbee | August 31, 2022 at 2:24 pm | Reply

    I have done controlled studies on the rice and phone thing. Pretty sure youre wrong about that one

  9. Chimps do have more hair. They just don’t have more hairs. There is a difference.

  10. Objects in geosynchronous orbit are not in “a continuous state of free fall toward the earth”. Then they would simply hit the earth. It’s more like they are falling along the side of the earth. Their speed is such that the curve / trajectory of their fall is an exact match to the curvature of the earth, which means it just keep falling around the planet.

  11. The Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter. There’s no way the top of the mountain is 35,000 feet (less than 7 miles) from the center of the Earth.

  12. Regarding the Bagpipes myth, referring to the Roman’s conquering Great Britain. The Roman’s conquered England and Wales, but they never conquered Scotland and if you include Northern Ireland as in the United Kingdom they never conquered Northern Ireland and by association Eire Ireland as well.

  13. What a bunch of garbage!!! The only two that could possibly be true, are, the bag pipes, well that is only one. You people are idiots!! You must be wokes people. Why would anyone listen you?? I imagine you think the earth is flat, and that there is no GOD.

    • Let me guess, the only god that you think is real is the one you are deluded enough to believe in. LOLOLOL. OK human, who lives on one little planet, in a galaxy of billions of stars, in a universe where we cannot see everything. Yes, you little human, are so worthy that some magical sky fairy has deemed you capable of knowing how everything works, because you have a bronze age goat herder mythology book that says so. Right? No arrogance here right? That is why there is only one religion in the world, because there is only one god right? No dunning kruger effect going on here right??? No confirmation bias at play right? LOLOLOL As usual, whenever you find ignorance and arrogance together, a religious human will be opening their mouth.

      • That huge long turd of an answer you gave about God not existing makes you no different and proves that you are no more intelligent than the person who follows the goat herder manual blindly . Simply because neither of you have any proof to back up your statement . I can’t believe you just illustrated the PERFECT example of the Dunning-Kruger effect yourself by missing something that simple while while simultaneously having the audacity to try to insult somebody by invoking the Dunning-Kruger effect . That just proves you’re not anywhere near as intelligent as you like to believe . After puking out your hack pseudo-intelligent response YOU shouldn’t be condescending to anybody who’s made it past 5th grade .

  14. If I had a set of pipes I would be found one fine day because of the foul smell.

    And I’d have deserved it.

  15. Some of these are inaccurate or at best disingenuous. Chimps do have more hair, they just don’t have more follicles. This is just incorrect, you’d at very least need to change your phrasing to talk about follicles.
    And the earth does revolve around the sun (simply look at the flight path and definition of the word revolve), but you’d be accurate to state that the gravitational pull exerted on the earth isn’t completely from the Sun, just the vast majority. In fact even the moon exerts a gravitation pull on us (hence ocean waves). But once again, you are actually incorrect about both of these, you’re just twisting the definition of comparison to something different that your original statement and then saying it’s wrong based off your new definition.
    The other myths I don’t have enough background or knowledge to accept to disprove, but sadly, it makes me put less faith in the other statements even if they are true.

  16. Antonio Bragança Martins | September 4, 2022 at 7:43 am | Reply

    The most are true, but some of them are a bulls***! You really won’t die in a bath, even if dove in salted water because the electric current will prefer the path by salt than by you! The standard method to define the highest mountain is the local sea level, and it’s just a convention! The orbit from planets on baricenter that stays on Sun surface is a preciousness to astronomers! Due the huge distances, it doesn’t matter to us, common people! The Sun’s surface is like there own Sun!

  17. The use of the Valley-Girl slang ‘actually’ instantly disqualifies you from participating in any adult conversation.

  18. Just wanted to add that there is a freeway in China with many more lanes than that. 50 + something like that lol. Wasted my time on this short article

  19. Click bait BS. The 1st 2 aren’t true, so why bother reading the rest. Website blocked.

  20. This is mostly shock factor myth monkeys have more hair follicles would be correct hair volume not correct myth the earth orbits around the sun yes it does an orbit is a curved path it orbits the Sun mars anything in between two sides of its orbit . I’ll skip those I’m not sure of too. Then Mount Everest is not the tallest (in this specific sense). And then water is not a conductor what do you mean if you are talking about physics then water is a conductor it conducts electricity heat and sound. But in electrical science you would not call it a conductor even though it is even pure water a electrical conductor is any thing that transmits it even if it is not a good one rubber conducts electricity just it is a much better resistor MUCH BETTER. It’s all ludicrous

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