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People Share The Most Widely Accepted Facts They Know To Be Wrong

Common knowledge isn't that common - and isn't even really knowledge.

One Reddit user asked:

What widely accepted fact do you know is wrong?

Raise your hand if you believed that you couldn't touch a baby bird that fell out of the nest or its mom would reject it. Not true.

Oh and that "frivolous" McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit? Not frivolous at all and the details are cringe-worthy. We're going to go into detail about that one shortly.

So kick back, relax, and let Reddit ruin everything you thought you knew about everything.

Mr. Fishy

goldfish GIFGiphy

Goldfishes really do not have a memory span of 5 seconds. They actually remember things for months, recognize their owners, and are able to distinguish them from other people.

- type3civilization

I had two goldfish when I was younger. Their names were Paula and Mr Fishy. When Mr. Fishy died, Paula spent the next couple of days frantically swimming around the tank trying to find him. It was heartbreaking to watch

- bl0bbyfish

Space Pens

'NASA spent $$ inventing a pen that worked in space and the Russians used pencils.'

Total bollocks.

The Fisher Pen Company was independent and developed its 'space pen' with zero investment from NASA.

American astronauts began using mechanical pencils in space. Tiny fragments of graphite, and graphite dust floating around the spacecraft was not ideal because graphite is conductive. It's also combustible, so everyone was keen to find an alternative.

Fisher patented its first 'zero gravity' pen in 1965, and in 1967 NASA began using it. By 1969 Russia were also buying them for their space missions.

Reportedly both NASA and The Soviet Space Company received the same discount for their bulk purchases.

- JessieOwl

Cracking Your Knuckles

That cracking your knuckles too often will cause arthritis.

- quietmouthloudmind54

Healthy joints actually are more prone to cracking/popping than arthritic joints, this is because the smooth surfaces in healthy joints combined with the synovial fluid can sometimes make a sort of vacuum that makes the popping noise when it's released (basically like releasing a suction cup). (I'm a PT student, please correct me if I'm wrong).

- parkinsonspenis

24 hours

That you have to wait 24 hours to report someone missing in the USA. There is no law about waiting, you don't have to. Push to make the police cooperate and list the person missing immediately when you suspect something isn't right. Don't lose precious time; it's extremely important if the person truly is missing.

- taako-tuesday

Ye Olde Old People

That medieval/ancient people only lived to be ~32 years old, and at that age, they were considered ancient.

That estimate is an average, which means it accounts for high infant/child mortality. Lots of ancient people lived to their 80s and older. If you made it to 30, chances are good you're making it another 30+ years.

- Hadrian_x_Antinous


wondering homer simpson GIFGiphy

That chloroform quickly knocks you out. It takes minutes to knock you out, not the seconds you see in TV and movies.

- socksinsandalsinsnow

The bigger myth is that any idiot can safely render someone unconscious with minimal effort.

No, there's actually a fine art to that process and we pay people a ton of money to do it, they're called "anesthesiologists".

The problem is that the difference between "enough to reliably knock this specific person out for an hour" and "so much it kills them" is vanishingly small. It's terrifyingly easy to kill someone with the kind of meds that knock people out.

Hell, even the old blackjack-to-the-base-of-the-skull approach is fraught. If the person is out for more than 30 seconds, there's a good chance you've given them brain damage.

Movies use human unconsciousness capriciously, whenever they need to advance the plot and stick a character in a tough spot. Reality is different ball game, and playing it like it's the movies is a great way to catch a manslaughter charge.

- Daddict

McDonald's Coffee

That the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit was absurd and unjustified. That coffee wasn't just hot, it was HOT -- spilling it in her lap, which should've just ruined Stella Liebeck's pants and maybe given her first-degree burns, caused THIRD-degree burns and fused her genitals shut. She needed not only skin grafts but horrifyingly painful, expensive reconstructive surgery.

When Liebeck initially contacted McDonald's, all she asked was that they cover her $20,000 hospital bills. They counter-offered for $800, so she took them to court. Even then, she didn't ask for punitive damages. The jury heard about McD's insulting counter-offer, and the fact that their coffee had seriously burned seven hundred people already (they damn well knew about the danger, they just didn't care), and were so incensed that they added the extra millions on their own.

The only reason people think of that case as an example of sue-happy American culture gone wrong is that McDonald's poured millions into a smear campaign after the fact. If you ask me, it was actually our justice system working exactly as it should.

For those of you who still think that Liebeck's injuries were entirely her own fault, regardless of the coffee temperature, imagine yourself handling a cup of your favorite hot drink. You take reasonable precautions to keep from spilling it on yourself -- things like resting your mug on a solid flat surface, trying to keep from elbowing it, etc. These aren't foolproof: you either have spilled hot liquid on yourself or you almost certainly will someday. You're okay with taking only these limited precautions because the consequences of that spill are a minor household ouchie and damage to your clothes.

Now imagine yourself handling a cup of, say, lava. If you spill that on yourself, it'll burn straight through your body and quite possibly kill you. Are you willing to handle it with the same precautions as you do for a cup of tea? Of course not! But on the other hand, are you willing to go through life treating every cup of tea as though it were potentially lava? Of course not! Nobody handles coffee with asbestos gloves and hazmat protocol -- that'd be absurd.

Liebeck was handed a cup of lava disguised as coffee. Do you see how the ones performing that particular switcheroo might, just might, be partly responsible for the consequences?

- Photosynthetic

Not to mention McDonalds had many prior, written, warnings that their coffee was too hot. In the end, they literally only had to pay 1 or 2 days worth of their coffee sales in damages.

- deliverz

Ironic that they spent millions more to smear her rather than give her the original $20,000. The corporate thought process will never cease to astound me.

- allformygain

The coffee was so hot that her freakin' labia fused together. She was hospitalized for 8 days because of it.

It being labeled as a frivolous lawsuit over something "that isn't a big deal" was just propaganda fueled by political and corporate interests. If the news had actually reported the truth, instead of reporting what McDonald's and politicians wanted, the lawsuit wouldn't have such a stigma around it.

The lady got third degree burns and had to get various medical treatments over the course of TWO YEARS to help her recovery from it.

- MyCatGreg

Vitamin C

"If you have a cold, you should get lots of Vitamin C."

This is completely down to one scientist called Linus Pauling who had a theory that massive doses of Vitamin C would cure colds, subsequent studies have shown he was wrong and any benefits are minimal at best. Yet I still get everyone telling me to drink orange juice whenever I get a sniffle.

- robsonbobson

My dad has smoked for 45 years and still thinks he's fine because he drinks a glass of orange juice every day.

- kingofchilladelphia

Pauling won two Nobel Prizes. He's the only person in history who's ever won two un-shared Prizes. But neither of those Prizes had anything to do with medicine.

He had a severe case of "Engineer's Disease", where you're very competent in one field of study, so you think you're competent in other fields that you actually know nothing about.

Pauling was convinced that huge doses of vitamin C were useful, perhaps miraculously so, in the treatment of cancer.

He died of cancer.

The only thing huge doses of vitamin C actually cause is diarrhea.

- dansdata

It's The Same Brain

"Left and right brained" people who are either more artistic or more numbers base. Just as inaccurate as the "parts of your tongue that taste different things" yet people still say it.

- neighboractually

I really wish people wouldn't limit their own potential like that. "Sorry, I just don't do math. I'm more of a creative type." or "Oh, I think too logically for art." Like, what??

Look at Leonardo da Vinci! The dude invented a flying machine and painted the Mona Lisa at the same time! Creativity and logic are NOT mutually exclusive

- ebuthead

Baby Bird

"If you touch a baby bird the parents will abondon/kill it"

Most birds don't do that. If you help a baby bird back into its nest as long as you try not to touch the nest a lot then everything should be fine. If its an adult bird you rescued then not touching it for a day does help with it getting your scent off but not 100% needed. I know this because my mom and I rescue wild animals when they are hurt or still babies and release them when we are able to.

- anythingbuttstuff

Not Dinosaurs


Crude oil comes from dinosaur remains is totally false, but commonly believed. Oil comes from the remains of dead animals, but not dinosaurs. It primarily comes from algae and zooplankton from marine environments millions of years ago, long before dinosaurs existed.

- Plmerideth

Heightened Senses

I've been teaching blind children for 15 years- people think when you're blind that your other senses are "heightened" and this is totally untrue. Some people who are blind or visually impaired develop compensatory skills like echolocation but that's pretty rare! They do have to pay closer attention to auditory information and use different compensatory skills to develop spatial awareness, mental mapping, etc. Being blind doesn't give you better hearing or improve your other senses, in fact, the majority of my students are blind due to significantly premature birth. Because of this, they also have hearing impairments or central auditory processing disorder, or some other kind of neurological dysfunction that impairs their hearing, spatial awareness and motor responses.

People who are blind in the absence of other disabilities CAN develop very impressive compensatory skills with practice, and there is some evidence which is pretty new thanks to new neuroimaging techniques, that shows the occipital lobe in the brain is the "seat" of compensatory behavior. In people who have ocular blindness, this area of the brain can get "recruited" to work on non-visual tasks, such as echolocation. Now that we have functional MRI machines we're finally able to see what's happening in there!

The occipital lobe was thought to be the "visual cortex" of the brain and it does play a very important role in vision but we now know that vision happens in 40-90% of your brain. There's something called Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment, in which your vision is affected not by your eyes but in your brain's ability to interpret what you're seeing. It's now the most common form of visual impairment in developed countries. It affects everyone differently and to different degrees but it definitely does not improve their other senses! Especially when it happened as a result of brain injury or stroke or a hypoxic event, it actually makes it extremely difficult to integrate use of multiple senses at the same time.

- princesscrowbar


Growing up in Texas, there were two big ones:

  1. It's illegal to pick bluebonnets because it's the state flower (it's not illegal at all).
  2. Texas is the only state allowed to fly its flag at the same height as the American flag because it once was its own country. (According to the US flag code, any state can do this as long as the flags are on separate poles. Texas is just one of the few that actually does.)

Sweet Silence

Silencers don't work as well as movies would have you believe. Silenced gun shots can still impair your hearing if you shoot without ear protection. You will still hear the silenced gun shot over a very long distance. You can not murder someone sneakily with a silenced gun, no matter what action movies would have you believe. Also, pillows don't work as a silencer. Not even a little bit.

- birb_and_rebbit


That cows will attack you if you get close to them, like bears.

I grew up on a cattle farm, and that couldn't be any further from the truth. You could go out into a field full of cattle and just walk around and do whatever, and usually they'll do the exact opposite, they'll move away and keep their distance from you. They are far more scared of you than they are you.

Sometimes the braver and more curious cows will come up closer to you and investigate (usually they think that you have food or something), but all they'll do is stand there. If you try to touch one or like lunge at it or something, it'll only run away. Cows are some of the chilliest and most peaceful creatures out there.

So yeah, they're not like bears at all.

- 419_gaze_it

Alpha Wolves

You have to be the "alpha" of your "pack" or your dog won't respect you and will misbehave.

Dogs aren't wolves. Wolves don't even behave like that. The scientist who did that study has explained over and over that the "alpha" theory was totally wrong.

Stop being mean to your dog for no reason.

- boomicecream

Recycling Plastic

Plastic recycling is the answer to our waste situation. But it's actually more complicated.

Plastic can't have residue when you recycle, it needs to be at least rinsed (though probably washed with soap). Any food residue (like ketchup or chocolate pudding you couldn't get out) could ruin a whole batch of recycled plastic, but it'll probably just be sorted into trash when they first receive the waste.

Recycling plastic also degrades the quality over time, you're lucky to get more than 2 uses out of recycled plastic before it's not up to standard and is downcycled into something of lesser value. Then that goes straight into the dump since it can't be recycled further.

- iceyskiez

NASA Photoshopping

That NASA photoshops all images taken in space. No, they COMPOSITE images from multiple cameras to give us an intelligible perspective. A lot of these pictures are taken from extreme wide-angle lenses, telescopic lenses, or fisheye lenses and don't make a ton of optical sense without putting them together or correcting the perspective.

There are going to be image artifacts on almost any digital photograph at some resolution because of compression, not modification. EVERY digital image format is largely defined by the compression algorithm and color channels.

- VulpusNyx

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People Who Quit Their Job In The Middle Of A Shift Explain Why They Did It

Reddit user thann3 asked: 'Have you ever gotten up and quit your job in the middle of a work shift? If so, why?'

man in business suit standing near the stairs
Hunters Race on Unsplash

A job search is not fun, so most people will tolerate a lot to keep a job.

But everyone has their limit.

Sometimes that limit is reached right in the middle of a work day and people are forced to walk off the job with no prior notice.

Keep reading...Show less
groom in gray suit kissing bride in white dress

Many weddings involve months of planning and thousands of dollars.

But the one guarantee in life is that poo happens and weddings are not immune to sh*t storms.

Natural disasters, unexpected illnesses, accidents or animosity can derail even the best laid wedding plans.

Keep reading...Show less

When I was in seventh grade, I had aspirations to be a poet. I made a Mother's Day card for my mom with a cute (but now, cringe-worthy) poem inside, and a hand-drawn picture of a rose that took me hours to perfect.

A friend saw the card and said they wished they could do the same. Then suddenly, she asked if she could buy the card from me. I said no, since I needed to give it to my own mother, but I said I could make her a copy. From there, my friend got the idea for me to make copies of the card to sell. I went along with it, mostly because I didn't think it would actually work.

Turns out, it did. After making sure people would actually be interested, we went to the library after school and made several color copies of my card for 10 cents each. The next day, we sold each card for $1. Not only did we make enough money so that my friend and I could both afford to get our moms an actual present in addition to the card, but we had enough leftover to put us over the top for the money we needed to buy the matching faux leather jackets we'd been wanting all year.

The next year, many people who bought cards asked me to do it again, so I did. Once again, we made a killing. We didn't try to do it again once we got to high school, but it was definitely fun while it lasted.

When we tell people this story, they think it's a pretty crazy money-making scheme. Maybe it is, but we're not the only ones who ever did anything like this. Redditors know all about crazy money-making schemes, and are eager to share their own stories.

It all started when Redditor primeiro23 asked:

"What are the craziest ways you’ve heard of people making money?"

Tumble Into Business

"In college, I take a class on how to start & run a small business. Prof tells us to think of ridiculous business models for our fictitious businesses as we will get more out of the class that way. Stupid ideas ensue. Selling paperclips door to door, refilling car gasoline tanks in people's driveways, service to read & summarize the newspaper to executives etc."

"One classmate decides he is going to sell tumbleweed."

"Guess who quits college and started a successful business? Tumbleweed guy. Takes a van to the desert, collects tumbleweed and sells them to Hollywood movie & TV studios who need them. Keeps the tumbleweed in a warehouse and since they never spoil, his only costs are gasoline, storage & a website. He eventually becomes the number one tumbleweed provider to studios around the world, shipping tumbleweed globally."

"Made a heap of money selling what millions of people drive by and ignore every year."

– Accomplished-Fig745


"I did have a job reading and summarizing newspaper articles to the boss. Literally only task I was hired for."

– Draigdwi

"An actual union job in the film industry is reading scripts and summarizing them in short mean book reports."

– Trixiebees


"Heard of crazier, but a guy I know, friend of my mother's, went to Texas 30+ years ago. (we are from Norway), and he noticed every single garden had a trampoline. And it was almost always "jump king" - the circular with blue mat ones."

"So he went to the HQ, bought 10 and took back to Norway. Within days they were sold, and he ordered 50 more, same thing. So he became the only importer and has God knows how many millions to his name today."

– alexdaland

"This IS wild. I went to Norway recently and one of the first things I noticed was that almost EVERY yard had a trampoline in it."

– TrulyMadlyCheaply

Working For A Home

"Back when Dogecoin took off I wrote a guide on recovering old lost wallets and it got so popular I was flooded with requests for further help. Some corrupted wallet files, some lost passwords, etc."

"I have a background in computer science and experience in data retrieval and password cracking, so I started helping people in exchange for a percentage cut (industry standard for wallet recovery). All above board with a contract and everything."

"For a while I was getting new clients every week and making hundreds up to thousands of dollars on every successful recovery (with a fairly good rate of success). The biggest one I ever recovered was a 19 letter long password someone had lost. The work dried up when the price of doge dropped but it got me the down-payment on a house."

– internetpillows

Horsing Around

"A cabbie in Dublin once told me a story about one of his fares who had a brilliant hustle."

"The guy was a sculptor. He would watch horse races, then when a horse won, he'd use social media to contact the owner directly with a digital mockup of a life-sized sculpture of the winning horse. Now, the people who own winning racehorses tend to be very rich - we're talking sheikhs, oligarchs, billionaires. Every now and again, one of these owners would bite, and spend €100,000 euros or so on a statue commemorating their animal's win."

"Dude only did a couple a year, and spent the rest of the time living the good life."

– escoterica


"Richest guy in a rich town near us makes enormous amounts of money buying Hershey bars and rewrapping them with customised retirement celebration designs or corporate logos to be given away at events. Literally just rewraps them in pieces of paper and doubles or triples his money."

"Every time I try to start a company or invent a better product or something, I ask myself why I’m not just rewrapping candy bars."

– perchance2cream

"F**k man, I think I found my new niche."

– LibertyPrimeIsASage

Slightly Used

"I went to college in a capitol C college town. A friend of mine bought an old school bus, fixed it up and took out all the seats."

"At the end of every semester she would drive around the neighborhood that was the fancier side of off campus living and collect whatever the rich kids were throwing out before they moved / went home for the summer. Flat screen TVs, couches, computers, tables, it was wild to see what people would chuck out and replace the next semester rather than having to deal with getting a storage unit or moving themselves."

"Sold it all on Craigslist over the summer or the beginning of the next semester and made a killing."

– sam_neil

Credit Where Credit Is Undue

"When I worked in a really busy, upscale restaurant my coworker would put all of his cash-paying customer’s bills on his credit card and keep the cash which he used to promptly pay off his credit card."

"He did this all day, every day for quite a while and the points started to add up and he was getting free airfare, etc."

"Worked great for a while until management notice a rise in credit card processing fees with an emphasis on one employee and they shut him down real quick."

– blinkysmurf

We Found Gold!

"My buddy worked his way through college by panning for gold. This was in 2009 in California. Most days he made nothing, occasionally he would come home with a couple hundred bucks worth and I think once he found a night worth over $1k."

– discostud1515

"My cousin had a metal detector when he was in HS. He would go every weekend down to the lake and take it with him on vacation. He found all kinds of things. He did find gold jewelry and would sell it online. He made so much money he bought his own car."

– Content_Pool_1391

Sleeping For The Job

"I knew a woman whose job was literally to sleep."

"A local office building owner wanted somebody on-site 24/7 to be the point of contact with first responders if they ever needed to be called. So they hired her to come in to the building in the evening when the maintenance crew was finishing their work. And she would settle up to sleep for the night in a bedroom they'd set aside for her. In the morning she'd hand the building back over to the office employees and go on about her day."

"No first responders were ever called. It's about the least stressful legitimate job I could ever imagine."

– CaptainTime5556

The Secret

"Back in the 90s, I knew a guy who put an ad in the classified section of the newspaper which read something along the lines of, “For $10, I’ll tell you my secret to making easy money. Send $10 cash to (address) to find out how.” People would send him $10 & he would then instruct them to put a classified ad in the newspaper telling people to send $10 & how to make money."

– freudianfalls

Accident Payment

"I was pushed down the stairs by a teen girl who told me to "pay attention and get out of her way" i ripped my dress during the fall and was getting back up when some guy rushed up to me, apologized for his daughter and handed me $500 as compensation."

– thebrilliantcounc

"LOL - years back, I was in a parking lot during a snowstorm. A guy was trying to pull around me, slid on the snow/ice and hit into my passenger side door. It really and truly was an accident. He was all apologies. We exchanged info - he said to get a quote and he would pay for the damage."

"Well, the car I was driving at the time was a crappy old Ford worth maybe $500. But, I went to a body shop, got a quote on the repair and it was $900. I faxed it to him (this was back in the 90's, LOL) thinking he'd tell me to go through the insurance company and just have the car totaled out."

"To my surprise, I had a bank check for $900 from him in my mailbox three days later. Now, I already owned another car, so I pocketed the $900, sold the smashed car for parts for $300 and ended up with $1200 on a car that was worth only $500 before the accident. I was very glad that he ran into me!"

– Deleted User

Only Feet

"I have a friend who sells pictures of her feet. In heels. Barefoot squishing cake. In mud. She charges extra for special requests. Has strict ‘no go’ rules. Never shows anything above the calf so she can’t be identified (no tats). All proceeds go to her kid’s college fund. Has made enough to fund a PhD."

– NotACrazyCatLadyx2

The things people do for money! But, I guess it works for her!

hospital waiting area
Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

When we're in pain or scared, we're not on our best behavior.

We've got more important things on our minds than proper etiquette.

Couple our lowered inhibitions with the bizarre amalgam that is the human body and weirdness is bound to happen in hospital waiting rooms.

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