Common Misconceptions: More Things You Thought You Knew But Didn’t Really

The more I find out the less I know, said someone once. Maybe it was you.

After all, there is a lot of stuff you thought you knew but didn’t really. If you don’t believe me then keep reading and you’ll learn something new.

People Didn’t All Die Before 30 in the Middle Ages

Common Misconceptions and the Middle Ages

Those poor sods in the middle ages didn’t even normally live long enough to grow a proper beard, to enjoy the full gray hair experience or to appreciate jazz music, did they? Didn’t they all die at 30 or before? Actually, it is thought that many people lived comfortably into their 60s back then. The figures for life expectancy in this time are distorted by much higher infant mortality rates than those seen in modern times.

Shaving Hair Doesn’t Make It Grow Back Thicker

Common Misconceptions About Shaving Hair

Have you ever held back from shaving a patch of hair because you don’t want it to grow back all horrible and thick? Hey, don’t worry so much; you probably won’t end up looking like a grizzly bear, Tom Selleck or David Hasselhoff. This is because shaving hair just makes it appear coarser and thicker when it grows back rather than actually causing it to be like this.

They Didn’t Actually Think That the Earth Was Flat In Medieval Times

Common Misconceptions about a flat world

Why do you think that Christopher Columbus set up on his voyages? Was it to find out whether or not the Earth was really flat? The truth is that our happy sailor wanted to reach Asia by an alternative route, which shows that people already accepted that the planet was just a giant freaking ball. Plato and Aristotle are among the early dudes who understood the shape of the planet long before medieval times. Conversely, some people still believe that the planet is as flat as a particularly flat pancake.

A Duck’s Quack Does Echo

Common Misconceptions and A Duck’s Quack Echo

Many people believe that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo. I believe that some ducks believe this too. The truth is that they do have an echo. The reason for the long-standing and widespread confusion is rather technical but I’ll explain it as simply as I can; it sounds like there’s no echo but there is. Does that make sense?

Goldfish Can Remember More Than You Think

Common Misconceptions and Goldfish's Memory

How long do you think a goldfish’s memory span covers? If you said just a few seconds then it is time to learn another new fact today. Goldfish can remember things for weeks and possibly months. Of course, if all of your memories involved going round in circles in a glass bowl you wouldn’t be all that bothered about how long your memories lasted for.

Napoleon Wasn’t a Midget

Napoleon Bonaparte's Size and Common MisconceptionsDinky old Napoleon Bonaparte was so small you could have picked him up and put him in your pocket, couldn’t you? It makes you wonder why a diminutive, half pint little short arse ever managed to become one of the most powerful military leaders in history. The truth of the matter is that as 5 feet 7 inches Napoleon was slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time. One theory suggests that the height of his imperial guards made him seem smaller than he was.

The Food That Is Surprisingly Banned Around the World (and Others That Should Be)

How would you react if your favorite food was banned by the government? You’d be pretty annoyed, wouldn’t you? Well, here are some of the foods that are surprisingly banned around the world, as well as some that really ought to be.

Chicken with Arsenic

Food banned around the world

Chicken with arsenic sounds like the kind of fiendish recipe that a master criminal would concoct in order to kill someone as sneakily (and tastily) as possible. It would probably go great with strychnine potatoes and a hemlock broccoli salad. Chicken laced with arsenic is banned in the sensible old European Union but not in the US. It seems as though the organic version of arsenic helps the chicks grow quicker and, hey, look fresher. That’s alright then.

Curved Bananas

Food banned around the world

One of the things I miss about living in Europe is the flood of bonkers stories about things they had banned for no apparent reason. In the cases of bananas, they needed to meet a certain type of shape in order to be legally sold there. Many people think that it is straight bananas that were banned but it is, in fact, overly curved ones that really get up the noses of EU administrators. Sadly, reports suggest that this strange law on banned bananas has been withdrawn.

Farmed Salmon

Food banned around the world

What could possibly be wrong with good old farm salmon to get the little blighters banned by Australia and New Zealand? What’s that? They get fed an unnatural diet and get given loads of drugs and antibiotics? Their diet leaves them looking horrible and grey so they get  more chemicals to make them look as though they are happy, well fed normal fish? Oh.


Food banned around the world

You would need to be a mad, raving lunatic or utter, utter spoilsport to ban our old buddy ketchup. Or French, I suppose. Our Gallic cousins haven’t banned the sticky tomatoey nonsense on health grounds. No, they have done so for cultural reasons. The ban is effective in schools across France.


Food banned around the world

If you have never come across Marmite before then I would urge you to sink to your knees and thank whatever God you believe in for this small mercy. This horrid spread is the fourth most awful thing ever invented by man (closely behind war, sports cars I can’t afford and Tom Cruise). However, banning the rotten stuff seems a touch harsh. Yet, this is exactly what the harsh but fair Danes have done. Surprisingly, our friends in Copenhagen didn’t do this because of the foul taste. It’s something to do with Marmite being fortified with vitamins.


Food banned around the world

I almost fell off my bagpipes and ruptured my sporran when I read about this. It seems as though Scotland’s national dish of haggis is banned in the USA. This is something to do with some crazy law about not using sheep lungs in food. Maybe if they made it of arsenic and fish pumped full of chemicals then it would be ok.

Pigs Blood Cake

Food banned around the world

This brilliant sounding food from Taiwan is banned in the USA because, err, it is made with pig’s blood. The method of preparation is described as unsanitary but to be honest it sounds like something I would really enjoy trying. It can’t be any worse than haggis, right?

Unpasteurized Milk

Food banned around the world

Many states across the US ban raw or unpasteurised milk because it could kill you! The microbes contained in this milk can be dangerous. It isn’t banned in Scotland and it isn’t banned in South America as far as I can tell, as I just bought a bottle of it the other day. I didn’t die.

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders

We sometimes find ourselves blaming our loved ones for being crazy at certain times in their lives. But the hardest thing is to look within ourselves objectively and find our own diagnosis. We are all a little crazy, that’s for sure. But how crazy and in what way?  Mental disorders do not discriminate by age, race or ethnicity, and they often strike when a person is in the prime of his or her life. This post is meant to walk you through 7 of the most common mental disorders, that run from mild to severe and, like in any other medical condition, many factors can trigger illness.

7. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders7

GAD is one of the most prevalent health issues in the world, yet it is still under-reported, under-treated and under-diagnosed. GAD acts as a gateway to other anxiety disorders, including phobias and panic disorders.  Most cases of GAD, though, aren’t severe enough to interfere with everyday life, but it does give its sufferers a hard time.

6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders6

This one actually hides behind the GAD disorder mentioned above, but it has very specific manifestations. So recurring thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals that are performed to try to prevent or get rid of them are called compulsions. For instance, a person obsessed with germs or dirt may wash his hands constantly. Feelings of doubt can make another person check on things repeatedly. Others may touch or count things or see repeated images that disturb them.

OCD affects about 3.3 million adult Americans, and occurs equally in men and women.

5. Bipolar Disorder

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders5

Also known as manic-depression, Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable. In addition to these mood swings, the person also has extreme changes in activity and energy levels. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. It usually starts between ages 15 and 25.

4. Schizophrenia

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders4

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, not all people with schizophrenia hear voices in their heads. Some of them can’t tell the difference between what is real and not real, think clearly, or have normal emotional responses. Auditory hallucinations are very common in schizophrenic people, but they are more likely to hear voices coming from some object outside of their body than inside their mind.

3. Autism

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders3

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. It is also called a spectrum disorder for a reason: autistics range from people who are unable to communicate in any way with others, all the way to people who live ordinary, productive lives and just seem a bit eccentric to the rest of us.

2. Eating disorders

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders2

Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions in which you’re so preoccupied with food and weight that you can often focus on little else. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (eating too little, close to nothing), bulimia nervosa (eating too much and then taking laxatives or purging) and binge-eating disorder (not being able to stop eating). While the first two usually affect women, the latter is more common in men, according to studies.

1. Depression

7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders1

Most people feel depressed at some point in their lives. Feelings of discouragement, frustration and even despair are normal reactions to loss or disappointment and may last for days before gradually disappearing. For some, however, depression is at the root of continuing lows. Depression is a serious, debilitating illness that intensely affects how an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. It can last for years and without treatment, can cause permanent disability. Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States, and should be treated accordingly.

The 8 Most Disgusting Foods in the World

It’s dinnertime! But people all around the world are serving incredibly different dishes. What bon appetit means for every one of us ranges between infinite meanings. I’m not trying to ruin your day here, it’s just that the dishes I’m going to tell you about would most probably drift Jamie Oliver himself away from the kitchen. So here are the 8 most disgusting foods in the world.

All the vital organs of just about any species have been consumed at one time or another, such as Amazonian ants, half-cooked fetal eggs, worms of all kinds and stages of life, hoofs, beaks, ears, and eyeballs have all been efficiently put to good culinary use.

# 1. Casu Marzu

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This Sicilian dish is best described as a sheep milk cheese containing live insect larvae that are actually fermenting the cheese. It’s unnecessary to clear those white worms from the cheese before consuming, but some people do it. The Casu Marzu was banned for years and only sold on the black market, but few years ago it was declared a traditional food and now it’s legal to produce and sell them.

# 2. Tuna Eyeball

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This is poor man’s food in Japan because it costs about $1. They say it tastes like squid, but they also warn you to boil it before eating. I think it goes with everything, including the Casu Maezu from above.

# 3. Balut aka soft-boiled fetal duck

the 8 most disgusting foods in the world3

This one consists of fertilized duck egg that has a partially grown duck embryo inside. The egg is boiled, which cooks both the liquid and the embryo. Puncturing the shell and sipping the broth inside is how you eat it. After that, the shell is peeled to give you access to eat the yolk and the cooked duckling. This popular dish is sold in buckets filled with sand, which keep the dish food warm.

# 4. Pacha or a sheep’s boiled head

the 8 most disgusting foods in the world4

This is a more common dish in the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Egypt. You’ll find smoked versions and recipes for sheep’s head soup, usually presented whole and intact, sometimes with brains, sometimes without… Surprise, surprise…

# 5. Bat Paste

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You basically need a bunch of flying mouse, fruit, or fox bats caught somewhere in a remote village or where ever you may consider. Drop into a pot of boiling water or milk without killing them beforehand. Roast to desired doneness. Chop and make into paste with Thai herbs and spices.

# 6. 4-inch-long raw worms

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Food is scarce in the desert, we all know that, and for thousands of years the Australian Aborigines have relied partly on protein-rich grubs, such as the larvae of moths. They don’t prepare it at all whatsoever; they just pull it out of the ground and chew on it until it stops moving.

# 7. Jellied Moose Nose

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Take one moose’s upper jawbone, cut below the eyes and boil for 45 minutes, afterwards chill it in cold water. Then pull out all the hairs that should come out easily at this point. Place the hair-free nose in a kettle and bring to a boil, then simmer. After a night of letting it cool, you’ll have two kinds of meat to choose from: the bulb of the nose and thin strips of dark meat along the bones. Poor moose!

# 8. Boodog

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This Mongolian dish is basically a marmot or goat, cooked within its own skin with hot stones in the stomach. In a nutshell, after you’ve hung it upside down, bled it and broken its legs, there comes the stuffing consisting of smooth hot stones crammed into every cavity imaginable and even up under the leg skin where you would have drowned out the broken bones.

It is said: “The Chinese eat anything with four legs, except tables. And everything that flies, except airplanes”. Well I suppose this applies to other nations, too. We all have our oddities, that’s for sure, but come on now, I think we are exaggerating a bit. These dishes are the perfect evidence of the human need to feel the most powerful creature on the planet and just set his heel upon anything that moves. What a sad pursuit this is!

Hallelujah! It’s Raining Weird Stuff

Have you ever looked up at the sky and wondered why weird things were falling out of it? This is something that people all over the world have done or are doing right now.


Weird Stuff and Raining Fish

Lluvia de peces, they said. Who the hell are you talking to? I said. The Honduran city of Yoro is famous for not many things but one of them is the fish that rain there. That’s right; every single year during the last century the start of the rainy season has seen a shower of small fish fall from the sky here. There’s even an annual festival to celebrate the fact, so it must be true.


Raining Spiders

If you hate spiders then don’t go to Salta in Argentina. Ever. A guy who was taking a trip to the mountains there got caught in a storm and was amazed to see the ground covered with Incy Wincys of different colours. How did this happen? I have no idea and don’t know why you think I would.

A Meteorite

Meteorite and Raining Weird Things

If you hate fish and spiders then I guess you might prefer a whopping great meteorite to fall from outer space and smack you about the place. The first known person to have been hit by a meteorite was Ann Elizabeth Hodges. This happened in 1954 and she was lucky to only receive a nasty bruise after a chunk of the rock when through her roof, hit a radio and rebounded onto her.


Raining Money

What would you do if a lot of cash suddenly started falling from the sky? If you aren’t sure then can I humbly suggest scooping up as much of the filthy lucre as possible while screaming in a high pitched, demented way? That’s certainly what I would do. This actually happened in Russia in 1940, although I can’t be sure about the demented screaming bit. The only catch was that the coins were from the 16th century. The most plausible explanation was that an old treasure has been uncovered by the elements and then thrown up into the air in a storm. Actually, that’s not really very plausible at all.


Raining Frogs

If there is one thing I would really hate to fall from the sky onto my head it is a bunch of slimy frogs or toads. What’s the difference between these two different types of horrible amphibians anyway? Is it that frogs have better tasting legs and are slightly less ugly? Back in 1794 a group of French soldiers were in a place called Lalain when heavy rain began. In with the conventional type of precipitation there were loads of toads. The strange thing is that this is a relatively common occurrence across the world.

Dead Birds

Raining Dead Birds

Thousands of dead birds fell from the skies above Arkansas and Louisiana a while back. Poor little things.

Red Rain

Weird Things and Red Rain

After all that weird stuff it is nice to talk about good old fashioned rain for a change. Except that it is red rain. Like blood, or the watery kind of ketchup you buy from a cheap supermarket in the week before you get paid. It fell in Kerala in India in a bizarre rainy season with other colours of rain as well. Scientists think that it might be due to the presence of red algae spores but personally I think that it might be a sign that the world is finally about to end.