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Updated by Stanley Prescott on Mar 16, 2013
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Common Misconceptions

Commonly known facts which are oddly enough false

Hyperactivity and Sugar

Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. Double-blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or those considered sensitive to sugar.


Cracking Your Knuckles

Cracking Your Knuckles

Frequently cracking ones knuckles or exercising while in good health does not cause osteoarthritis.


Drowning is often thought to be a violent struggle, where the victim waves and calls for help. In truth, drowning is often inconspicuous to onlookers. Raising the arms and vocalising are even usually impossible due to the instinctive drowning response. Waving and yelling (known as "aquatic distress") is a sign of trouble, but not a dependable one: most victims demonstrating the instinctive drowning response do not show prior evidence of distress.


Napoleon Bonaparte was not short; rather he was slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time. 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 6.4 inches (1.686 m).

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics in school, as is commonly believed. Upon being shown a column claiming this fact, Einstein said "I never failed in mathematics... Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus."

Issac Newton

Newton never mentioned the thing with the apple, and in fact it was another guy named John Conduitt who first told the story some 60 years after it supposedly happened. Even then, he was decisively vague about whether Newton actually saw an apple, or whether the apple is a metaphor that he used to illustrate the idea of gravity for people less intelligent than he was.


Danish Pastries come from Denmark

Danish Pastries come from Denmark

Arguably the world’s most misleadingly named food, Danish pastries actually originated in Austria, inspired by Turkish baklava. Their name comes from Danish chef L.C. Klitteng who popularized them in Western Europe and the United States in the early 20th century, including baking it for the wedding of US President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. In Denmark and much of Scandinavia, Danish pastries are called ‘Viennese Bread.’


Swallowed Chewing Gum Does Not Take 7 Years To Digest

Swallowed Chewing Gum Does Not Take 7 Years To Digest

It's not digestible, but it goes through your system at roughly the same rate as other food.


Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary my dear Watson"

Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary my dear Watson"

In any of the original books by Arthur C. Doyle