The more I learn, the more “common knowledge” I discover to be false. Yesterday I learned diamonds don’t come from coal. What?!
- Galileo never dropped cannonballs of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Wikipedia is wrong.)
- I always thought I was stupid for not understanding the Ben Franklin quote “A penny saved is a penny earned.” What could that mean? Didn’t you already earn it in the first place, before you saved it? Well maybe I’m not that stupid because he didn’t say it. What he said was, “A penny saved is twopence dear.” That makes more sense. I think what he’s saying is that it’s twice as good to have $100 in your savings account than it is to have blown $100 on smokes and pepperoni.
- Another quote I thought I was stupid for not understanding is, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I remember a teacher asking us to think, “What does that mean? One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?” and I remember getting so mad. I thought man and mankind were the same exact thing. Well, turns out the recording was just messed up, according to NASA. He said “One small step for a man.”
- Napoleon wasn’t short. He was about 5’6″. He did have one weird short arm but he was average height for the time and place.
- I once time in college I took a science class and, on the first day of class, the teacher told us to get out a piece of paper and write down the year we though most educated people knew the earth was round. I wrote down sometime in the 1800s but I was wrong. I don’t remember exactly what the teacher said but it was something like 500 B.C.
I’d be really interested to hear if anybody has any others to add to this.