Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fiction and Fact

Believe it or not, the world is full of misinformation. We here at Very Little Known Facts consider it our duty--nay, our privilege--to set the record straight.

Fiction: Bats are blind.
Fact: Bats are not blind, but sharks are. The shark's sense of smell is so advanced it can detect blood and urine in the water from hundreds of miles away.

Fiction: Ulysses S. Grant had no middle name--he added the "S" to make his initials U.S. Grant.
Fact: Ulysses S. Grant actually did have a middle name. It was Todd.

Fiction: Plants grow toward the source of their light.
Fact: Plants cannot "grow" in a certain direction any more than they can stand up and walk to a new location. However, a plant or tree may appear to grow towards the direction of its light source because of the wind, which always blows towards the sun.

Fiction: The polar ice caps are melting due to "global warming."
Fact: Misconceptions abound despite the extensive media coverage of this important issue. Think about it like this: since half of the Earth is perpetually shrouded in darkness, it is impossible for any two points of its surface to have the same temperature at any given point. Therefore the "average" temperature is merely the median (not the mean!) of all the temperatures, both daytime and nighttime, including summer, winter, spring and fall. Thusly it becomes apparently that while Siberia may be quite cold, at the exact same time Miami might be hot, hot hot! And both these extremes are factored into the median temperature. So any discussion of "global warming" is, by definition, pseudo-science.

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