Newsflash: Everything you've ever known is a total lie.
OK, maybe not everything.
But there are a number of "facts" that you've probably repeated to other people that are actually incorrect. And because everyone loves a pedant, I've decided to share them with you here.
Lie No. 1: Twinkies never expire.In fact, they do. They have a shelf life of about 45 days but are typically only on store shelves for 7–10 days. Here's hoping you weren't storing up a bunch of them to chow down on during the apocalypse!
Lie No. 2: A shot of espresso has more caffeine than a cup coffee.Ounce for ounce, espresso does have more caffeine than coffee — but a cup of coffee is much than an ounce. Even though the concentration of caffeine is higher in espresso, the higher volume of a standard cup of coffee results in its having more of that sweet, sweet drug.
Lie No. 3: Fortune cookies are from China.Actually, the fortune cookie that you encounter at most Chinese restaurants in the U.S. was invented in Japan and brought to the U.S. by the Japanese. They're quite uncommon in China and are considered a symbol of American cuisine. Go figure, right?
Lie No. 4: The people accused of being witches during the Salem witch trials were burned at the stake.We all seem to have this collective assumption that the "witches" in Salem were burned at the stake. In reality, that's not what happened. About 15 of the accused died in prison, 19 were hanged, and one was pressed to death with heavy rocks.
Lie No. 5: Napoleon Bonaparte was short.
via: ShutterstockNot so! Napoleon was 5'7" — actually above average compared to his fellow Frenchmen!
Lie No. 6: Cops have to tell you that they're cops if you ask.That's not how entrapment works. Police officers do not have to disclose that they're cops during sting operations or when they're undercover.
Lie No. 7: The word "the" used to pronounced "ye."
via: TwitterSome people like to get fancy and say things like "ye olde tavern" and pronounce that first word with a Y sound. But that's simply not correct. The confusion comes from the Middle English character þ (called a thorn). It makes the "th" sound and was often used as an abbreviation for the word "the." When written out, it kind of resembles the word "ye." But rest assured. The word "the" has always been "the."
Lie No. 8: Buddha was fat.
via: GettyThe "chubby Buddha" or "laughing Buddha" statues don't depict the Buddha at all. Rather, they're statues of a 10th-century folk hero named Budai. He's considered by some to be an incarnation of the Bodhisattva who will become a Buddha after the teachings of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) are forgotten.
Lie No. 9: The word "Xmas" is a secular plan to take "Christ" out of Christmas.Put the pitchforks down, people. There is no war on Christmas. The letter X stands for the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in "Christ." X has long been used as an abbreviation for "Christ."
Lie No. 10: Christopher Columbus stepped foot on land that would later become the United States of America.Setting aside the many truly awful things that the guy did, Christopher Columbus didn't even ever step foot on what would eventually become American soil — just in case you were looking for yet another reason we probably shouldn't be celebrating him. Most of his landings were on Caribbean islands which are independent countries today. Nice try, Columbus.
Lie No. 11: Vikings wore horned helmets.
via: ShutterstockNo, they didn't. The image of Vikings in horned helmets is actually based on an 1876 production of Der Ring des Nibelungen opera cycle by Richard Wagner.