Please help me debunk this list of factoids.
June 18, 2006 1:48 AM   Subscribe

How many of these "useless facts" can you debunk?

I honestly don't mean for this to be chatfilter, but I know that at least a couple of these are just wrong - but others that I'm not sure about I accept as given. (Full list will be posted inside.)

Please cite references or sources, or succintly explain any debunkings.
posted by loquacious to Science & Nature (26 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: metafilter is not snopes. please take this to metachat or elsewhere.

Response by poster: Full list in case the link goes down (long!):
  1. For every human being on earth, there are about 200 million insects.
  2. The harmonica is the world's most popular instrument.
  3. By the time they are 65 years old, most Americans have watched more than nine years worth of television.
  4. The puck in ice hockey can travel at up to 118 mph (190 km/h).
  5. If you stretched all the nerves in the body from end to end, they would be about 47 miles long.
  6. Humans have more than 600 muscles in their bodies.
  7. Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
  8. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
  9. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
  10. The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
  11. A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
  12. There are more chickens than people in the world.
  13. Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
  14. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."
  15. All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.
  16. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
  17. "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt."
  18. All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
  19. Almonds are a member of the peach family.
  20. Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
  21. Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
  22. The largest cabbage weighed 144 lbs.
  23. There are only four words in the English language which end in "-dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
  24. Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula" - and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: "L.A."
  25. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
  26. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
  27. Tigers have striped skin, not just stripped fur.
  28. In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.
  29. Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
  30. The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "Its A Wonderful Life."
  31. A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
  32. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
  33. It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. (DON'T try this at home!)
  34. The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
  35. In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.
  36. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
  37. Mr. Rogers is an ordained minister.
  38. There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
  39. "Stewardesses" is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.
  40. Many hamsters blink one eye at a time.
  41. The inventor of the flushing toilet was Thomas Crapper.
  42. The average bed is home to over 6 billion dust mites.
  43. Plastic lawn flamingos outnumber real flamingos in the U.S.A.
  44. Whitby, Ontario has more donut stores per capita than any other place in the world.
  45. Starfish have no brain.
  46. Dolphins sleep with one eye open.
  47. Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a novel with over 50,000 words, none of which contained the letter "E".
  48. Bulls are color blind.
  49. A can of SPAM is opened every 4 seconds.
  50. "Babe" was played by over 48 pigs.
  51. Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.
  52. Lip stick contains fish scales.
  53. The Poison Arrow frog has enough poison to kill 2200 people.
  54. The largest known kidney stone weighed 1.36 kilograms.
  55. Kidney stones come in any color from yellow to brown.
  56. Women blink twice as many times as men do.
  57. A bowling pin only has to tilt 7.5 degrees in order to fall down.
  58. The first episode of Leave It To Beaver aired on October 4, 1957.
  59. Beaver Cleaver's locker number is 9.
  60. The first flushing toilet seen on TV was on Leave It To Beaver.
  61. Jerry Seinfeld's apartment number (on the show) is 5A. In the old episodes it was 3A.
  62. The life span of a taste bud is ten days.
  63. Pi has been calculated to 2,260,321,363 digits.
  64. The billionth digit in Pi is 9.
  65. The first 100 numbers of Pi are: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 58209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679.
  66. Click HERE for 99,999 digits of pi!
  67. A stretched out Slinky is 87 feet long.
  68. An iguana can stay under water for 28 minutes.
  69. Emus can't walk backwards.
  70. A group of unicorns is called a blessing.
  71. A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
  72. A group of whales is called a pod.
  73. A group of geese is called a gaggle.
  74. A group of owls is called a parliament.
  75. A group of ravens is called a murder.
  76. A group of bears is called a sleuth.
  77. 12 or more cows is called a flink.
  78. A baby oyster is called a spat.
  79. Chickens can't swallow while they are upside down.
  80. In the October 22, 1945 edition of Life magazine there was a picture of a chicken with its head cut off. It was alive too!
  81. The average garden variety caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head.
  82. Pinocchio was made of pine.
  83. The largest pumpkin weighed 1262 lbs.
  84. A mule won't sink in quicksand but a donkey will.
  85. More people are killed annually by donkeys than in airplane crashes.
  86. Alfred Hitchcock had no belly button for it was eliminated during surgery.
  87. There are 22 stars in the Paramount logo.
  88. The average human produces 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime.
  89. A quarter has 119 grooves around the edge.
  90. A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
  91. Cranberry Jell-0 is the only kind that contains real fruit.
  92. The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
  93. Every time you lick a stamp you consume 1/10 of a calorie.
  94. The pound sign # is called anoctothorpe.
  95. Maine is the toothpick capital of the world.
  96. New Jersey has a spoon museum with over 5,400 spoons from almost all the states.
  97. There was once a town in West Virginia called "6".
  98. Singapore only has one train station.
  99. The parking meter was invented in North Dakota.
  100. Napolean made his battle plans in a sandbox.
  101. Roman Emperor Caligula made his horse a senator.
  102. The green stuff on the occasional freak potato chip is chlorophyll.
  103. If you ate too many carrots you would turn orange.
  104. Pluto's orbit crosses Neptune's making Pluto the eighth planet from the sun. It has been that way since 1979 and will remain that way until 1999.
  105. The earth is approx. 6,588,000,000,000,000,000 tons.
  106. The force of 1 billion people jumping at the same time is equal to 500 tons of TNT.
  107. Popeye was 5'6".
  108. Howdy Doody had 48 freckles.
  109. The first word spoken on the moon was "Okay".
  110. Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon with his left foot first.
  111. The average speed of Heinz ketchup leaving the bottle is 25 miles per year.
  112. Hilary Clinton once said We are the President.
  113. The percent of women who wash their hands after leaving a restroom is 80%.
  114. The percent of men who wash their hands after using a restroom is 55%.
  115. There are 333 toilet paper squares on a toilet paper roll.
  116. The Eifel Tower has 2,500,000 rivets in it.
  117. "Jaws" is the most common name for a goldfish.
  118. On an average work day, a typist's fingers travel 12.6 miles.
  119. The average American eats 2 donuts a day.
  120. The longest word in the Old Testament is Malhershalahashbaz.
  121. The longest time a person has been in a coma is 37 years.
  122. Every minute in the U.S 6 people turn 17.
  123. It takes the Where's Waldo artist one month to complete a drawing.
  124. 2500 lefties die each year using products designed for righties.
  125. A baby is born every 7 seconds.
  126. 10 tons of space dust fall on the Earth everyday.
  127. On average, a 4 year old child asks 437 questions a day.
  128. Blue and white are the most common school colors.
  129. Swimming pools in Phoenix, Arizona, pick up 20 pounds of dust a year.
  130. The first message tapped by Samuel Morse over his invention the telegraph was: What hath God wrought?.
  131. The first words spoken by over Alexander Bell over the telephone were: Watson, please come here. I want you.
  132. The first words spoken by Thomas Edison over the phonograph were: Mary had a little lamb
  133. The three words in the English language with the letters uu are: vacuum, residuum and continuum.
  134. A baby in Florida was named: Truewilllaughinglifebuckyboomermanifestdestiny. His middle name is George James.
  135. It is illegal to ride a street car on Sunday if you have been eating garlic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  136. In a normal life time an American will eat 200 pounds of peanuts and 10,000 pounds of meat.
  137. A new book is published every 13 minutes in America.
  138. America's best selling ice-cream flavour is vanilla.
  139. Americans eat 18 billion hot dogs a year.
  140. Americans eat 134 pounds of sugar a year.
  141. Every year the sun loses 360 million tons.
  142. Because of Animal Crackers, many kids until they reach the age of ten, believe a bear is as tall as a giraffe.
  143. You can tell if a skunk is about if you smell only .000 000 000 000 071 ounce of its spray.
  144. Animal breeders in Russia once claimed to have bred sheep with blue wool.
  145. Penguins are the only bird that can leap into the air like porpoises.
  146. India has 50 million monkeys.
  147. By some unknown means, an iguana can end its own life.
  148. Americans spend around $3 billion for cat and dog food a year.
  149. Pigs can cover a mile in 7.5 minutes when running at top speed.
  150. You breathe about 10 million times a year.
  151. The colder the room you sleep in, the better the chances are that you'll have a bad dream.
  152. The first non-human to win an Oscar was Mickey Mouse.
  153. Lee Harvey Oswald was booked with mugshot number 54018.
  154. The Gulf Stream could carry a message in a bottle at an average of 4 miles per hour.
  155. The bullseye on a dartboard must be 5 feet 8 inches off the ground.
  156. The foot is the most common body part bitten by insects.
  157. The most common time for a wake up call is 7am.
  158. The doorbell was invented in 1831.
  159. The are 255 squares on a Scrabble board.
  160. The electric shaver was patented on November 6, 1928.
  161. There are 500 sheets of paper in a ream.
  162. The monkey wrench was invented by Charles Moncke.
  163. Japan is the largest exporter of frog's legs.
  164. There are seven points on the Statue of Liberty's crown.
  165. There are approx. 550 hairs in the eyebrow.
  166. The most common non-contagious disease in the world is tooth decay.
  167. The shell constitutes 12 percent of an egg's weight.
  168. A squid has 10 tentacles.
  169. A snail's reproductive organs are in its head.
  170. A cow's only sweat glands are in its nose.
  171. The word "AND" appears 46,277 times in the Bible.
  172. The first word played in the Scrabble rules demonstration game is "horn".
  173. The telephone's U.S. patent number is 174,465.
  174. The typical person goes to the bathroom 6 times a day.
  175. There are 17 steps leading up to Sherlock Holme's apartment.
  176. When a horned toad is angry, it squirts blood from it's eyes.
  177. Napoleon was terrified of cats.
  178. The first Lifesaver flavor was peppermint.
  179. The typical American eats 263 eggs a year.
  180. The ballpoint pen was invented in 1938 by Laszlo and Georg Biro.
  181. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger.
  182. The parking meter was invented by C.C. Magee in 1935.
  183. In 1961, an IBM 7090 computer calculated Pi to 100 265 digits.
  184. The human body weighs forty times more than the brain.
  185. After eating too much, your hearing is less sharp.
  186. A person swallows approximately 295 times while eating dinner.
  187. The oldest known vegetable is the pea.
  188. Jack is the most common name in nursery rhymes.
  189. The avocado has the most calories of any fruit.
  190. The first zoo in the USA was in Philadelphia.
  191. The letter N ends all Japanese words not ending in a vowel.
  192. France has the highest per capita consumption of cheese.
  193. The hardest bone in the human body is the jawbone.
  194. 4000 people are injured by teapots each year.
  195. The typical American consumes 27 pounds of cheese each year.
  196. The shortest English word that contains the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F is feedback.
  197. The ostrich has a 46 foot long small intestine.
  198. The state of California raises the most turkeys out of all of the states.
  199. The most sensitive finger on the human hand is the index finger.
  200. George Washington Carver invented peanut butter.
  201. The typical hen lays 19 dozen eggs a year.
  202. Stainless stell was invented by Harry Brearley in 1913.
  203. A scallop has 35 blue eyes.
  204. The left leg of a chicken in more tender than the right one.
  205. The only dog that doesn't have a pink tongue is the chow.
  206. Iceland was the first country to legalize abortion in 1935.
  207. The giraffe has the highest blood pressure of any animal.
  208. The dumbest domesticated animal is the turkey.
  209. Russia has the most movie theaters in the world.
  210. Albert Blake Dick invented the mimeograph machine.
  211. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue.
  212. The most fatal car accidents occur on Saturday.
  213. An Oscar weighs seven pounds.
  214. It takes the typical person seven minutes to fall asleep.
  215. Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the mercury thermometer.
  216. The Eiffel Tower has 1792 steps.
  217. The mongoose was barred live entry into the U.S. in 1902.
  218. Ants stretch when they wake up in the morning.
  219. Thomas Edison, lightbulb inventor, was afraid of the dark.
  220. About 3000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were 30.
  221. A sneeze travels out your mouth at over 600 m.p.h.
  222. The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year.
  223. Lightning strikes about 6,000 times per minute on this planet.
  224. Owls are the only birds who can see the color blue.
  225. A jellyfish is 95 percent water.
  226. The elephant is the only mammal that can't jump.
  227. The penguin is the only bird who can swim, but not fly.
  228. America once issued a 5-cent bill.
  229. Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.
  230. Fortune cookies were actually invented in America, in 1918, by Charles Jung.
  231. A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.
  232. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
  233. Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
  234. Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.
  235. You blink about 84,000,000 times a year.
  236. In England, in the 1880's, "Pants" was considered a dirty word.
  237. A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.
  238. Every 45 seconds, a house catches on fire in the United States.
  239. The sun is 330,330 times larger than the earth.
  240. A hummingbird weighs less than a penny.
  241. A cockroach will live nine days without it's head, before it starves to death.
  242. The most used letter in the English alphabet is 'E', and 'Q' is the least used.
  243. Dogs and cats, like humans, are either right of left handed... or is that pawed?
  244. The opposite sides of a dice cube always add up to seven.
  245. Men are 6 times more likely to be struck by lighting than women.
  246. Of all the words in the English language, the word set has the most definitions.
  247. Bulls are colorblind, therefore will usually charge at a matador's waving cape no matter what color it is -- be it red or neon yellow.
  248. Apples are more efficient than caffeine in keeping people awake in the mornings.
  249. Smelling bananas and/or green apples (smelling, not eating) can help you lose weight.
  250. After eating, a housefly regurgitates its food and then eats it again!
  251. When someone annoys you, it takes 42 muscles to frown, but it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm and whack them in the head.
  252. Coca-Cola was originally green.
  253. Hong Kong has the most Rolls Royce's per capita.
  254. Alaska is the state with highest percent of people who walk to work.
  255. 28 percent of Africa is wilderness.
  256. 38 percent of America is wilderness.
  257. A duck's quack does not echo and no one knows why.
  258. It costs $6400 to raise a medium size dog to age of 11.
  259. Average number of people airborne over the U.S. during any given hour: 61,000.
  260. 70 percent of Americans have visited Disneyland/World.
  261. Intelligent people have more copper and zinc in their hair.
  262. The youngest pope was 11 years old.
  263. Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other country.
  264. The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." uses every letter in the alphabet and was developed by Western Union to test telex/twx communications.
  265. Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.
  266. The San Francisco Cable cars are the only "mobile" National Monuments.
  267. The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter "uncopyrightable."
  268. Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?
  269. The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and learned how to walk up standard staircases.
  270. When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing." They actually pass out from sheer terror.
  271. The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because, when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
  272. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  273. Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of unwanted people (without killing them) used to burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired."
  274. Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
  275. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.
  276. David Prowse was the guy in the Darth Vader suit in Star Wars. He spoke all of Vader's lines, and didn't know his voice was going to be dubbed over by James Earl Jones until he saw the screening of the movie.
  277. The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as is necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia still had segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.
  278. The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.
  279. The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.
  280. Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
  281. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
  282. The only two days of the year in which there are no professional sports games (MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL) are the day before and the day after the Major League All-star Game.
  283. Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
  284. Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than new cars.
  285. The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
  286. It's possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs.
  287. Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.
  288. In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the world's nuclear weapons combined.
  289. Reno, Nevada is west of Los Angeles, California.
  290. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
  291. If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
  292. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
  293. Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
  294. On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
  295. You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.
  296. You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.
  297. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do.
  298. In ancient Egypt, Priests plucked every hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
  299. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  300. Butterflies taste with their feet.
  301. A cat's urine glows under a blacklight.
  302. The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
  303. The Ten Commandments contain 297 words.
  304. The Bill of Rights is stated in 463 words.
  305. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address contains 266 words.
  306. A recent federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.
  307. There are more collect calls made on Father's Day than on any other day.
  308. Every day more money is printed for monopoly than the US Treasury.
  309. Men can read smaller print than women, women can hear better than men.
  310. The world's youngest parents were 8 & 9 and lived in China in 1910.
  311. Honey is the only food that doesn't spoil
  312. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.
  313. The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosey is a rhyme about the bubonic plague. Infected people with the plague would get red circular sores (Ring around the Rosey...). These sores would smell very bad so people would hide flowers on their bodies in an attempt to mask the smell ("pocket full of posies..."). People who died from the plague would be burned to reduce the spread of the disease ("ashes, ashes, we all fall down").
  314. The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; "7" was selected because the original containers were 7 ounces. "UP" indicated the direction of the bubbles.
  315. Mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito's sensors so they don't know you're there.
  316. Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
  317. The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.
  318. American car horns beep in the tone of F.
  319. No piece of paper can be folded more than 7 times.
  320. 1 in every 4 Americans has appeared on television.
  321. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
  322. Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.
  323. The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
  324. The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
  325. A Boeing 747s wingspan is longer than the Wright brother's first flight.
  326. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating 1 olive from each salad served in first-class.
  327. Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
  328. The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA."
  329. The 57 on the Heinz ketchup bottle represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had.
  330. Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
  331. Timekeepers have clocked the action in a 60 minute football game to actually be around 14 minutes.
  332. The word "funky" appears in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers.
  333. A domestic cat has eighteen claws: five on each of its front paws and four on each of its back paws.
  334. The tip of a whip makes a cracking sound because it is moving faster than the speed of sound.
  335. An ear of corn almost always has an even number of rows (twelve, fourteen, or sixteen).
  336. Earthworms have five hearts.
  337. Whale vomit is used in perfume and the flavoring of dried fruit and tobacco.
  338. All Polar bears are left handed.
  339. Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
  340. China has more English speakers than the United States.
  341. If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
  342. If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will eventually turn white.
  343. Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
  344. If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
  345. The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
  346. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
  347. A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  348. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
  349. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
  350. Between 1937 and 1945 Heinz produced a version of Alphabetic Spaghetti specially for the German market that consisted solely of little pasta swastikas.
  351. More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.
  352. Rats and horses can't vomit.
  353. The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
  354. If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.
  355. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
  356. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
  357. Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
  358. 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their buttocks.
  359. In the course of an average lifetime you will, while sleeping, eat 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders.
  360. On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
  361. A snail can sleep for three years.
  362. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
  363. The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
  364. "Typewriter" is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
  365. "Go." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  366. If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall.
  367. The average fart travels over 16 feet when released.
  368. An ant can live underwater for over 14 days.
  369. Camels have a straight spine despite their hump.
  370. In some places in Egypt it is free to use the restroom but you must bring/buy your own toilet pater.
  371. The pickle while only containing 7 calories has no nutritional value. Dill pickles have more calories than sweet ones, which only have 6.

posted by loquacious at 1:49 AM on June 18, 2006

#31 - A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

How long do Dragonflies live? Is it true that they only live for one day?

At the shortest, a dragonfly's life-cycle from egg to death of adult is about 6 months. Some of the larger dragonflies take 6 or 7 years!

#32 - A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

Debunked on the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, goldfish progressively learned and improved the
[click to make your text selection bold (or type control-shift-b)] ir time in a maze over a longer time period.

#33 - It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

No matter what your sneezing style, however, Strauss said it is indeed possible to sneeze with your eyes open.

"You can definitely override it if you want to," he said.

I'll possibly do more later.
posted by empyrean at 2:07 AM on June 18, 2006

20False -
posted by b33j at 2:15 AM on June 18, 2006

23: The Official Word List from Scrabble has some more words ending in -dous: apodous, decapodous, iodous, nodous, palladous, vanadous, and amadous, which may be unfair because it's the plural of amadou.

41: Wikipedia says that Crapper popularized the flush toilet, but did not invent it.

63. Pi has been calculated to way more than 2 billion digits. A trillion, at least.

Is this list somehow related to the obviously invented facts that Letterman was reciting last night? I definitely heard him say #42, at least...
posted by equalpants at 2:25 AM on June 18, 2006

16. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.


Snopes thread about this very list.

334. The tip of a whip makes a cracking sound because it is moving faster than the speed of sound.

Wow, turns out that's true, and a really neat fact for me to learn today.
posted by knave at 2:29 AM on June 18, 2006

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

Wikipedia says: Early in the 1900's it was generally held that employment at large companies was a life long endeavor and that embodied trust not just on the part of the employer but the employee. When the chairman of the National Cash Register (NCR) company decided that someone needed terminating from the company, then a loathsome task, the employee was so distrusted that nothing they were working on held any value. Consequently they took the entire contents of the employee's office down to the front lawn and set them ablaze while the employee was at lunch. The employee would return and realize they had been "fired". NCR had the misfortune of "firing" their accountant, in whose office were the 'books' for the corporation. The practice ceased with that event.
posted by knave at 2:33 AM on June 18, 2006

A quick program shows that #9 is correct. (The half dollar and dollar coins are both included in that number.)
posted by equalpants at 2:42 AM on June 18, 2006

278. The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

Some web site says: One gallon of fuel moves QE2 49.5 feet; with the previous steam turbine engines, one gallon of fuel moved the ship 36 feet.
posted by knave at 3:01 AM on June 18, 2006

Well, #65 is correct, according to The Digits of Pi.
posted by mcguirk at 3:08 AM on June 18, 2006

313 is most probably false.
posted by martinrebas at 3:12 AM on June 18, 2006

319 is also false:
posted by martinrebas at 3:19 AM on June 18, 2006

#289 might be right. Reno is supposedly 119.8 degrees West and Los Angeles is 118 deg 22' West, according to those two sites.
posted by mcguirk at 3:22 AM on June 18, 2006

35. In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.

Untrue. Whilst the Speaker isn't allowed to take part in debates or ask questions, they do speak all the time: to restore order to the chamber, to annonce which members will speak next and to discipline those who break the rules.
posted by blag at 3:26 AM on June 18, 2006

#239: "times larger" would seem to refer to volume, which would be wrong: the Sun is 1,300,000 times larger than the Earth in volume, according to Wikipedia:Sun. But in terms of mass, the Sun is 332,950 times larger, so maybe that's what they meant.
posted by mcguirk at 3:34 AM on June 18, 2006

71 A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
Wikipedia also suggests "troop" but "court" is spurious.

72 A group of whales is called a pod.
Pod, yes, and school, herd or gam.
(same wikipedia link)

73 A group of owls is called a parliament
Wikipedia says yes.
posted by b33j at 3:45 AM on June 18, 2006

#276 is true and is my favourite Hollywood story. The cast & crew nicknamed Dave Prowse "Darth Farmer" because of his West-Country accent. He's still pissed of about it today.
posted by blag at 3:46 AM on June 18, 2006

75. A group of ravens is called a murder.
False: Wikipedia says false! It's an unkindness or a conspiracy. I believe that a bunch of crows is known as a murder.

76. A group of bears is called a sleuth.
False (but close). It's a sloth.

77. 12 or more cows is called a flink.
Wikipedia does list it as a collective nound for cows but doesn't specify how many. Merriam Webster has not heard of it. This site agrees with the twelve or more, but I don't know how reliable that is. Don't know.
posted by b33j at 3:50 AM on June 18, 2006

350. Between 1937 and 1945 Heinz produced a version of Alphabetic Spaghetti specially for the German market that consisted solely of little pasta swastikas.

posted by snownoid at 3:57 AM on June 18, 2006

284. Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than new cars.

Maybe, maybe not.
2006 Civic: somewhere from $5.06 to $7.70 a pound.
2006 Kia Sportage: $3.43 to $4.58.
2006 BMW Z4: $11.54 to $16.62.
Two Double-Doubles will cost you around $5. McDonald's is probably more like $4/pound.
posted by equalpants at 4:17 AM on June 18, 2006

If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.


"Is fallacious. At what rate? OK, maybe I'm being pedantic here, 'cause it's still a lot of people and, yes, their population is still growing.

Population growth rate:
0.6% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
12.96 births/1,000
Death rate:
6.74 deaths/1,000
Immigration rate:
-0.23 migrant(s)/1,000


Also, at what rate does the line move?
posted by philsi at 4:17 AM on June 18, 2006

348 (pigs can't look at the sky) can't be true - the animal can lie on its side.

I don't buy 342 (goldfish in the dark turn white) as colour seems genetically determined (depth of colour can be altered by diet) and there are lots of white goldfish already, but I can't prove it.

337 is true - precious ambergris!

344 (eternal Chinese line): CIA world fact book says the population growth rate of China is 0.59%, and the population is 1,313,973,713. I make that an increase of 7752444 per year. Assuming 3 per second, that many people would take only 29 days to walk past you in single file, leaving 11 months to watch the rest of the population. False.

366 is just stupid, as the scaling between a doll and a human is arbitary. However, Barbie is offically play-scale, approximately 1:6. Barbies are 11.5 inches, mapping her to a 5'9" human. False.

363 (Dentist invented Electric Chair). Everything I can find says it was invented by Harold P Brown, no mention of him being a dentist. They might mean Dr. Albert Southwick, who described a man being killed by electricity, apparently painlessly, and suggested it as a means of execution. False.

Hasn't 313 (Ring-around-the-roses) been debunked over and over again?

(I don't buy either of those explanations for being fired, BTW)
posted by Leon at 4:18 AM on June 18, 2006

This would be a lot easier with a wiki:

Password is 'mefi'
posted by blag at 4:26 AM on June 18, 2006

As to the goldfish turning white in the dark (342), I don't know about goldfish, but Neon Tetras do lose their color in the dark. It comes back gradually in the light. I have seen this many times. If they are talking about fish permanently losing their pigmentation, that does happen, but rarely, and only after many generations of darkness. See blind cave fish.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:49 AM on June 18, 2006

14. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."

I might be wrong on this, but from my syllable knowledge, it would be two: screech-ed (vowel following consonant)
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 5:52 AM on June 18, 2006

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

Wikipedia says...

Arf. That article is even more obviously questionable than the "fact". The fabulous and well-sourced Etymonline says its a reference to firing a gun.

98 Singapore only has one train station.

Possibly. It only has one intercity station, but it also has an extensive metro/suburban rail system.

106. The force of 1 billion people jumping at the same time is equal to 500 tons of TNT

More like 50 tons, though the statement is pretty vague.

Actually, a huge number of them are too vague or unverifiable to call facts.
posted by cillit bang at 5:55 AM on June 18, 2006

96: Lambert Castle, Paterson, NJ - "The Bertha Schaefer Koempel Spoon Collection, consisting of over 5,400 individual pieces, is considered the largest grouping of its kind in the world"
posted by Orb2069 at 6:07 AM on June 18, 2006

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