The world around us is amazing and diverse. Sure, it’s impossible to know everything about it, but some things are so obvious that we should feel slightly ashamed of not knowing them.
Bright Side has gathered some elementary facts that can come in useful in life. They absolutely deserve to be more widely known.
16. Frankenstein is the scientist’s name, not the monster’s.
- What we think: Frankenstein — a character of novels, films, and stage productions — is a monster risen from the dead.
- Reality: In the novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein is a student who created a living being out of nonliving matter. The creature turns out to be a monster. However, he didn’t have any name in the original book, and so "Frankenstein’s monster" would be his correct appellation.
15. Hypothermia isn’t what causes colds.
- What we think: You catch a cold if you’ve been exposed to low temperatures for too long.
- Reality: What we call the "common cold" is a viral infection. That means it’s caused by a virus — not the weather — transmitted from a sick person to a healthy one. Cold weather, however, can be favorable for the virus: according to research, low temperatures lead to a sharp decrease of antiviral signals produced by the immune system. But if the virus doesn’t enter your body, cold weather definitely won’t give you a cold.
14. The expression "Third World countries" doesn’t have anything to do with poverty and underdevelopment.
- What we think: The term “Third World“ refers to poor developing countries.
- Reality: After World War II, the world split into 3 large geopolitical blocs. The bloc of democratic countries within the American sphere of influence became known as the ”First World“; the Eastern bloc of socialist states was the “Second World.” The remaining countries not aligned with either of the 2 were regarded as the ”Third World."
13. Chameleons don’t change color to blend into their surroundings.
- What we think: Chameleons change their color when in danger to blend in with surrounding objects, becoming invisible.
- Reality: This animal’s skin color change is caused by its emotional and physiological state. It is also an original way of communicating with their kind. Light and temperature also play a part in how chameleons look.
12. Deodorant and antiperspirant aren’t the same thing.
- What we think: “Deodorant“ and ”antiperspirant" are synonyms. They act in the same way and have the same purpose.
- Reality: Our sweat doesn’t have a scent of its own. It only smells because of the bacteria that live on our skin. Antiperspirants are made to deal with the sweat, while deodorants only fight the smell. Deodorant is classified as a cosmetic product, whereas antiperspirant is considered a drug since it alters the function of the skin for a while, suppressing the flow of sweat.
11. Ducks mustn’t be fed with bread.
- What we think: It’s so nice to sit on the riverbank on a fine, sunny day and feed the ducks with bread crumbs.
- Reality: This food is unhealthy and even dangerous for ducks. Birds like the taste of bread, but it doesn’t have any nutritional value for them. They stuff their stomachs full of crumbs, leaving no room for something actually beneficial. This diet causes a wing deformity known as “angel wing“ or ”airplane wing."
10. Each of us has perfect 6-pack abs.
- What we think: By doing ab exercises, I can get a perfect 6-pack stomach.
- Reality: Each of us has abs. The problem is that they are hidden under a layer of fat. And you won’t get rid of that fat by doing sit-ups — you need a diet and cardio.
9. The small bumps on the F and J buttons are there to help you find the optimum typing position.
- What we think: What are these ridges on the F and J keys for? Perhaps to help blind people type?
- Reality: When we type, our fingers cover the buttons A, S, D, and F (left hand) and J, K, and L (right hand). The ridges serve to help you place your hands correctly without looking at the keyboard: the F and J are the keys where your index fingers should sit.
8. Fish shouldn’t be kept in round tanks.
- What we think: A round aquarium with a goldfish is an excellent decoration for a house, and they can often be seen in movies and cartoons.
- Reality: Bowls are extremely harmful. For one, they don’t have enough room for a filter, and the water in an aquarium quickly gets dirty. In addition, changing the water daily is very stressful for the fish. There’s no room for a heater either, hence large temperature fluctuations. The area of the water surface is small, which means a shortage of oxygen for anything inside. And this is not even the full list of arguments against this type of aquarium.
7. A car’s rearview mirror can be switched to nighttime mode.
- What we think: It’s terribly uncomfortable when the light of another car’s headlights reflecting in your rearview mirror is glaring right in your eyes. But there is no getting around it.
- Reality: Most cars have manual rearview mirrors. If you have one, just flip the tab at the bottom of the mirror. The angle of the reflection will change, enabling you to see everything behind without being blinded.
6. Adult cats shouldn’t be given milk.
- What we think: Milk is the perfect food for cats. It’s for a good reason that all cartoons and ads show us this image.
- Reality: Adult cats are intolerant to lactose, a milk sugar. To digest it, the feline digestive system must contain the enzyme lactase. Young kittens produce plenty of lactase, so they are pretty milk tolerant. But as they grow up, lactase production rates decrease. For mature cats, drinking milk can lead to a stomach disorder — most often diarrhea.
5. Antibiotics are useless against flu, colds, and other viruses.
- What we think: A doctor can prescribe antibiotics to fight colds and flu.
- Reality: Antibiotics do not work on viruses because they are made to treat bacterial infections. Viruses are structurally different from bacteria and have a different genesis. Therefore, antibiotics are powerless against flu, acute respiratory infections, and signs of the common cold such as coughing, sore throat, runny nose, etc.
4. Headphones can serve as a microphone.
- What we think: To make a sound record on an ordinary computer, you absolutely need special equipment.
- Reality: If the quality doesn’t matter too much, you can use any pair of headphones. Just plug them into your computer’s or laptop’s input, hit record, and start talking into the earpiece.
3. Most cars have an indicator showing which side the gas tank is on.
- What we think: When driving a borrowed car, you always have to get out at a gas station to see which side the fuel cap is on.
- Reality: The majority of new cars have a little gas pump symbol on the instrument panel. Next to the symbol, there is an arrow pointing to the side where the fuel cap is.
2. The Powerball tablet is not a ball.
- What we think: Powerball is a dishwasher detergent tablet with a shiny red ball in the middle.
- Reality: This is just an advertising ploy. If you remove the red object from the tablet, you’ll see that it is a sort of round tablet with a domed top. It’s probably a lot cheaper and easier to manufacture than an actual ball.
1. Bees can sting other bees.
- What we think: Bees can only sting hapless humans and other big animals.
- Reality: Bees from one colony can sting bees from another colony if they attack. The queen bee can sting her rivals and other queens to death, even if they’re just developing.