Here's a fact: The facts you've always thought were facts may not be facts at all. So yes, this list is pretty much a correction of all the "alternative facts" we've believed since we were young.
Take this "fact" for instance: Swimming right after you eat is a big no-no.
But guess what? There is absolutely no correlation between eating, swimming, cramps and drowning. If you think about it, the logistics don't even make sense. Eating cannot cause muscle cramps which might inhibit a limb and prevent you from swimming around but even still, you could just float until they pass. If you somehow got a stomach cramp from eating too fast, that would not keep your limbs from working, so why would you drown?
2. Orange the Fruit Was Not Named After Orange the Color
Since you were little, you probably just assumed that oranges were named as such because of their color. But it's actually the other way around.
The word "orange" itself has its etymological origins in languages as varied as Sanskrit and Tamil. This eventually got passed down into Middle English as "orenge" and referred to the fruit. The earliest recorded usage in English dates back to the 13th century. It would not be used to refer to the color until the 16th century. Prior to that, the color was referred to as "geoluread" (or yellow-red) due to it falling between yellow and red on the color spectrum.
We've all heard the myth that Albert Einstein, the genius of all geniuses, had failed math at one point. This all gave us home in high school when our Pre-Calc tests came back with very, very low scores.
Here's the facts: Einstein did actually fail his college entrance exam, but he actually aced the mathematics and physics portions of the exam. It was the other general education subjects which caused his failure. We should also add that he took the college entrance exam when he was only 16. He went back to school for another year and later passed the exam and gained entrance to the university at age 17.
Records indicate that Napoleon was roughly 5 feet and 6 or 7 inches tall, which would put him right in line with the average height for men in his era. The popular image of him as short is said to stem from a mix-up between French and English measurements which differ and propaganda meant to slander him.
All 1,100 species of bat can actually see. Their vision is not great but some do use it for travel and hunting. When they cannot rely on their vision, bats use echolocation to give themselves a "map" of sorts in their heads.
6. Water Does Not Drain the Opposite Direction in Other Hemispheres
The Coriolis Effect is a real force that affects many things on Earth. Your sink and toilet are not on that list of things. The effect is only measurable with very large masses like air, so I guess if you built a toilet the size of a continent, you might be able to observe it in action. Water can drain in the opposite direction if the water jets are on the other side of a fixture, but it seems to be mostly random, due to gravity. It can drain in any direction in any hemisphere.
7. Mother Birds Do Not Abandon Their Babies If You Touch Them
The myth is that mother birds can smell "human" on their babies if you touch them and thus will reject them. Most birds have a very limited sense of smell and cannot "smell" human scent. This is not an excuse to harass baby birds, though. Fledglings, which are baby birds with feathers, should be left on the ground because spending time there is part of their developmental process. Nestlings, who don't have feathers, can be placed back into their nests for their parents to take care of.
8. 'Hamlet' Was Not A Completely Original Work Written by Shakespeare
Bill Shakespeare was a well read guy and as such he took a lot of influence from a lot of the works he had perused. In the case of Hamlet, the play was inspired by a Scandinavian legend recorded by Saxo Grammaticus, an extremely awesomely named Danish historian.
Yeah, you're looking at your veins right now and telling me I'm wrong. Your blood only appears that way because of of the reflection of light from your body. I'm too stupid to explain it to you, so click this.
Okay, don't panic. Technically it does orbit the sun, just not in the super accurate sense. Because all of the planets in our solar system are large masses which exert gravitational forces, they all pull on each other. This means that they all actually orbit the Solar System's center of mass which technically is not the Sun. This center of mass is referred to as the barycenter.
11. Goldfish Do Not Have a Three Second Memory Span
Studies on this have proven it to be completely false. In fact, goldfish can actually be trained to perform tricks as well as differentiate between sounds and colors. So stop swallowing them at your hazings.
12. Different Parts Of Your Tongue Do Not Taste Different Things
The misconception that specific parts of the tongue can only taste specific things stems from a misunderstanding based on a scientific paper written in 1901. You can taste everything on every part of your tongue. So continue licking your Oreos with abandon.
Along with the standard five, your known other senses include balance, pain and temperature. Unfortunately, Spidey Sense is not on the list but we're holding out hope that it will be added to the list soon enough.
Seven years is a long time to digest anything. Fortunately, gum does not take seven years to digest if you accidentally swallow it. It actually can't be digested at all and will simply pass through you.
15. George Washington's Teeth Were Not Made of Wood
What you see here are actually a set of George Washington's legitimate dentures. Yeah. Okay, now that you've changed your pants, we'll have you know that they were made of animal teeth, bone, ivory, and other human teeth. How he was ever elected President with a mouth full of nightmare, we'll never know.
16. The Great Wall of China Cannot Be Seen From Space
The picture above shows the Great Wall of China as it appears from space. Without me telling you that, you probably would have had no idea it was there. This picture was taken with a magnified lens, so yes, technically, the Great Wall can be seen, just not with the naked eye. However, the Pyramids of Giza can be seen by the naked eye.
Many cultures have sported helmets with horns, but during the Viking age this was not the case. The popular association of horned helmets with Vikings seems to come from a production of a Wagner opera staged in the late 1800s.
18. Cracking Your Knuckles Does Not Cause Arthritis
The sound you hear from cracking your knuckles is simply gas bubbles bursting. A scientist conducted an experiment in which he only cracked the knuckles on one hand for 60 years while not ever cracking the ones on the other hand and showed no signs of arthritis or any other ailments.
19. Your Fingers Do Not Wrinkle From Absorbing Water
Your fingers and skin become wrinkly when exposed to water, but it's not because they've become water-logged. Scientists aren't quite sure why water has this effect upon your skin, but it is speculated that the wrinkling is an evolutionary trait designed to help you have a better grip underwater. However, even this explanation is a matter of debate.