What do you think is more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by the fall of an asteroid? This data may surprise you, but the probability of dying because of the second phenomenon is almost double. In his book of General Ignorance, Stephen Fry, John Lloyd, and John Mitchinson say that lightning strikes the Earth 17 million times a day, equivalent to 200 strokes per second. However, the risk of "electric" death for one year is one to 10 million, and that is as likely as being bitten by a snake!
1. Chameleons do not change color depending on their environment
It could have been useful in many cases, since the chameleons are not armed properly to defend themselves against anyone who wants to attack them, but this myth is not true. Although this belief is extremely popular, in fact, its color depends entirely on its emotional state. And if that tone is the same as the place where it is, it is nothing more than a mere coincidence.
A chameleon changes color when he is afraid, when someone picks him up or when he has just beaten another horse in a fight. Temperature, light, and the presence of a female can also alter their appearance. It is interesting to know that the skin of this reptile has several layers of special cells called chromatophores, and each of them has its own color pigments. The change in the relationship between these membranes causes the skin to reflect different types of light, making this small animal look like a disco ball in motion.
By the way, the word "chameleon" means "lion of earth" in Greek.
2. The blue whale is not the largest living creature on Earth
It's huge, do not doubt it, but it's not the biggest living thing. In fact, that title is taken by a mushroom, and his name is Armillaria ostoyae, or as he is now known, Humongous Fungus.
This record-winning honey mushroom has been growing in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, United States, for approximately 2,000 to 8,000 years (its exact age can not be estimated). It occupies 880 hectares (2 200 acres), and most of it is hidden from the human eye. It extends underground in the form of a massive white mycelium. It covers the roots of trees, feeds them and eventually kills them. From time to time, it springs from the earth and begins to grow on the surface, disguising itself as a small golden mushroom and not as the giant it really is.
3. Cockroaches would not survive a nuclear war
Many people tend to think that cockroaches are indestructible. Granted, it is true that they have existed for much longer than humans (approximately 280 million years ago) and that they are very difficult to eliminate when pests are formed in homes. In addition, they can live without heads for a long time. But a scientific experiment conducted in 1959 showed that cockroaches will be among the first insects to die in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.
Two scientists, Wharton and Wharton, conducted an experiment by placing a large variety of insects under radiation at different levels. In the end, they reached the conclusion that a lethal dose for humans is 1000 rad, while for a cockroach, this figure is 20 thousand rad, while a parasitic wasp needs 180 thousand rad to die. Although the real winner here is a tiny bacterium, Deinococcus durans, because it can withstand an incredibly high dose of radiation: 1.5 million rad, and this number doubles if it is frozen!
4. Eating lots of carrots will not improve your eyesight
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, whose deficiency leads to night blindness, a condition that causes your eyes to adapt to darkness very slowly. The easiest way to improve this condition is to increase the intake of this vitamin, which is found most often in carotene. Carrots have that element, of course, but apricots, cranberries, spinach, and other vegetables with dark leaves have even more!
However, improving your vision and correcting night blindness are two completely different things. Eating lots of carrots will only give your skin an orange hue, and it will not help you to see better in the dark. This myth appeared during World War II, when the British government created a rumor that Captain John Cunningham (better known as "Cat's Eye"), of the 604 squadron, fought alone during the night due to his impeccable night vision as a result to eat those vegetables. In fact, those comments were mere misinformation. The captain was testing a top secret radar at that time and his incredible vision had nothing to do with the carrots he consumed.
5. The recommended amount of sleep is less than 8 hours
In 2004, Professor Daniel Kripke published an article in which he stated that adults who sleep for 8 hours die younger than those who rest 6 or 7 during the night. Its study took 6 years, and included 1.1 million participants. People who slept for less than 8 hours, but not less than 4, stayed alive until the end of the investigation.
So, not getting 8 hours of sleep is not as harmful as previously thought. However, it is important to make sure that you are not depriving your body of rest either.
6. Humans have more than 5 senses
We are all familiar with our 5 senses, sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing, which were mentioned centuries ago by Aristotle. But according to a common opinion, there are at least 4 more senses that humans possess.
- Thermoception: sensation of heat (or absence) in our skin.
- Equilibrioception: feeling of balance and agility driven by the cavities in the inner ear, which are full of fluid.
- Nociception: pain sensation that our skin, joints and organs experience.
- Proprioception: the sense of the body. You can see where the parts of your body are without seeing or feeling them.
7. The water is not transparent, it has a color
People are used to thinking that the water is clear and transparent, and that the reason why the seas and oceans look blue is due to the reflection of the sky. However, this liquid is really that color. You can see that it has a very clear blue tone if you look inside a deep hole in the snow, in a thick ice, or in a frozen waterfall.
The reflected color of the sky still plays an important role here, but it is also due to the light that comes from below. Large water deposits, such as seas and oceans, reflect and disperse light. That is why we can notice a great variety of shades in this liquid.
8. Oxygen is not the most common substance in the world
If you wonder what is special about this ordinary looking rock, you are not alone. This is a calcium titanium oxide mineral, composed of calcium titanate, and is called perovskite. It comprises almost half of the total mass of our planet. Scientists think that the mantle of the Earth is composed of this element, but this hypothesis has not yet been demonstrated.
This material can conduct electricity at normal temperatures without resistance and can make the "floating" trains really work.
9. The common cold is not as usual
The statistics are alarming, but based on them we can say that depression, one of the most common diseases in the world, is much more common than colds. Ten years ago it was predicted that this condition would become very widespread by 2020, and unfortunately it spread much faster than expected.
Although people tend to turn to a doctor at the first symptoms of a cold, most of them will postpone treating the signs of a disturbing mental condition for as long as they can. Many people who suffer from depression feel that their sadness is something they should keep hidden from others. They may even feel embarrassed when they realize they are depressed while other people do not suffer from that condition.
Our common task as a society is to promote awareness and encourage people suffering from this disease to seek professional help.
Bonus: the chewing gum you swallow does not stay in the stomach for 7 years
It is almost certain that we have all heard this myth, and that we had a horrible fear of accidentally swallowing chewing gum when we were little, or that at night we would stay awake simply imagining how much of it still remained in our stomachs. The digestion of this product is not much more difficult than that of a half-cooked fillet, or a slice of cake.
Acids, enzymes, juices and gastric movements within your stomach work very well together when it comes to dissolving chewing gum. Because the chemical properties of chewing gum do not dissolve completely, the remains leave the body in the same way as all other things. And that process does not take 7 years!
Knowledge is power, and it is always interesting to discover that something was not exactly as you thought. Once we have new mysteries revealed, we will make sure to share them with you!
But for now, you are more than welcome to share other exciting truths with our audience in the comments section! What facts do you think everyone should know?