Tru Fax!!!!! That Get It Wrong

Either widely accepted stories that are passed on as factual, while being nothing of the sort, or better still, stories where the facts as generally reported are true, but still are used in a misleading manner or to support false conclusions.

For the first variety there's the claim that the doctor who pioneered blood transfusions died because the closest hospital was white only and wouldn't take him. The truth is quite the contrary: Dr. Charles R. Drew, while a pioneer in the administrative work necessary for blood banking did not invent nor pioneer the transfusion process itself; and while he did die after an automobile accident in North Carolina the survivors of the wreck all claim that they got prompt and excellent care.

For the second variety a lot of people who get tired of being told to run for their health take a sardonic pleasure in pointing out, "Jim Fixx died while running!" While I don't think this is strictly true, he died a couple hours later, after suffering a massive heart attack while running, it's close enough that I don't think that the claim is false. The implication, however, for most of the smug couch potatoes who point this out, is that running killed him. Which is about as far from the truth as you could get. Fixx had been obese, a smoker, and suffered from congenital factors that left him very vulnerable to heart failure. It can be argued that his running was a very large factor in what allowed him to live as long as he did.

Sorry, fellow couch denizens, you'll need to find a better reason to stay sessile! :D

Anyways, share your own favorite Tru Fax! That aren't, really!

Comments

Well since I have seen this claimed all over the internoodles -- no, drinking ice water does not burn any calories. No, not even the tiny number you get if you divide by 1000 (to convert between regular calories and food calories, which are actually 1000 calories.) Your body doesn't control its temperature by amping up and down your metabolism, primarily. It will amp it up to warm you up -- that's called shivering. So if you drink enough ice water that you're shivering, you'll burn a very few extra calories. But for the most part the body controls temperature through means that don't consume enough calories to be useful at all to the dieter.

Wow, I have heard Loki's and one is just an old story (UL) and the other exactly what he described but Exy, what you related is just inexcusable stupidity. People actually believed this could make a difference?


Oh, I forgot to add one. My timely example, Fidel Castro is reported to have failed in a tryout with the Yankees in the 1940s. This never happened. Castro never even played baseball at a high amateur level. It has been repeated as fact (or "now you know the rest of the story") for years.

Most of the stories about what Mother Goose rhymes and fairy tales "really mean" are pure nonsense. For a good example, see Snopes demolition of the idea that "Ring around the Rosies" is about the Black Death.

Here in Florida, it is a widely circulated bit of folk wisdom that a person can escape an attacking alligator by running in a zigzag pattern. The reasoning is that alligators are supposedly too clumsy to turn on a dime and so can't easily chase a person moving like this.

I suspect that this notion originated as a particularly cruel prank played on tourists by native Floridians, and has simply been in circulation so long that even the locals have forgotten the joke.

Well, a surprising number of people still seem to think that Columbus made his famous voyage to "prove that the earth was round", not to discover a shorter route to India.

Ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth as 250,000 stadia, which is around 25,000 miles (the actual circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,902 miles, so he was amazingly close). So where does the idea of a “flat earth” come from? In the United States, it comes from Washington Irving, of all people. In 1828, Irving published A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, which is a highly romanticized and grossly inaccurate depiction of the explorer. In particular, the anti-Catholic Irving discusses a meeting between Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella, and several high-ranking members of the Catholic Church, in which the religious types insist that Columbus’ voyage will fail due to the earth being flat. The reality was much more interesting: the Church had accepted Eratosthenes’ number for centuries, and it was Columbus who was the crackpot, relying on the much smaller circumference calculated by Marinus of Tyre in AD 114. It was the Church who told Columbus that he was wrong, and he, in fact, was. Had Columbus not run into the New World he would have starved to death. Because he was wrong and the Church was right.

Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
Wow, I have heard Loki's and one is just an old story (UL) and the other exactly what he described but Exy, what you related is just inexcusable stupidity. People actually believed this could make a difference?
It's been argued rather passionately in some locales.

For a long time I thought Sarah Palin really did say that she could see Russia from her window. I was quite disappointed to find out it was only Tina Fey in an SNL sketch who said that.

On lists of "surprising facts" the tongue is often listed as the strongest or largest muscle in the human body. This isn't true by any definition, because a) the tongue is actually comprised of sixteen muscles, not one, and b) there's no measure of muscular strength in which the tongue outdoes all other muscles.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle, by the way. Which, really, should have been obvious.

Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle, by the way. Which, really, should have been obvious.
Usually very obvious.

Quote Originally posted by Glazer View post
Usually very obvious.
"I resemble that remark" is an unusually apt response in this case.