Keeping You Less Stupid Than Yesterday

So I’ve been gone a while but I’m back now.

Well, I say that but we both know that after this blog I won’t be heard from again for a month or two… but anyhow.

If you know me you know that I like to know something about everything, you know? Some might think that “knowledge is power” is my motto but I tend to believe more in the fact that knowledge is knowledge and power is power. After all, knowing that every US president apart from Barack Obama has worn glasses, or that chewing gum was the first product to have a bar code, or that an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain are all examples of knowledge but aren’t really going to boil my kettle and make me my tea.

But if you knew me way back when I first joined Facebook, back when I was an annoying little scratty kid who used to rant all the time about grammar, and who hadn’t the vaguest clue about real life or what I actually wanted out of it, you’ll also remember that I used to blog about interesting facts. And today I thought it high time I returned to form and kept you in the loop with things you’ll never need to know but you might just feel better about knowing. Plus, I was bored. So sue me, or whatever.

1. Myth: There is more caffeine in tea than in coffee
Well actually I’m off to a bad start here because there is more caffeine in tea than in coffee. But what people mean when they spout this spurious factoid is that there is more caffeine in their cup of tea than in your fancy smancy designer coffee. They are wrong.
Pound for pound, there is more caffeine in tea. But cup by cup, coffee wins hands down. This is because much more coffee goes into making a cup of coffee than tea goes into your cup of tea. Therefore, coffee is the better bet when you’re feeling down and need a pick me up.
To be fair, we all knew this was true from day one but we just didn’t know how. Any moron knows that coffee will wake you up more than tea, it’s just when pedantic people shove a graph under your face with sciency numbers it’s a little hard to refute. It all depends on context really. The people who insist that there’s more caffeine in tea are also more likely to insist that it’s “soandso and I were just thinking” instead of the obviously correct “soandso and me were just thinking”. Yes, person x and I is often more right but not all the time. After all, if you came up to me and said “i were just thinking”, I’d expect you to be five.

2 Myth: Your hair and fingernails continue to grow after you’re dead
This is quite simply untrue. Mainly because it’s complete and utter nonsense. Now while it may be true that if you measure a person’s fingernail and hair length at the time of death and then a month later it will appear that they grew, this isn’t actually true, and here’s why.
Think about it, out bodies are some stupid percentage of water (is it 70%? I’m not sure) but as soon as we kick the bucket and decay begins, the water begins to go as well. Losing 70% of the makeup of your body is bound to have a crazy effect on how you look no? One of the main things is that your skin (which holds loads of water) is going to contract and shrink and shrivel and this means that (cue the gross part) your skin will pull back from your nails and also your hair so that while there is a greater distance in relation to where the skin ends and your hair/nails begin, there hasn’t actually been any growth.
This is also something you always kinda knew but never had the science to back it up in the face of those annoying factoid pushers who could really do with spending a week or two on Wikipedia. Since both nails and hair are made of a protein called kretatin, it’s impossible for them to grow after death as your body has better things to do than produce kreatin, namely decomposing.

3. Myth: Spinach has more iron than any other vegetable
Sadly this is also untrue, and that sucks because we’ve been choking down the stuff in the hope that we’ll become Popeye ever since we were little. This little deception is down to a mistake made by a German scientist ages and ages ago when he was recording the nutritional values of different foods. When it came to how much iron was in this particularly green and leafy plant, he slipped with the decimal point and so ended up telling the world that spinach had ten times as much iron in it as it in fact did have. In reality, spinach has about as much iron as a watermelon, and watermelons are far nicer, even if they do have 8 billion seeds.
It’s interesting to note that the entire cartoon character of Popeye is built around this particular fallacy and while I’m happy to leave spinach in the bin with the rest of the rabbit food, I’d quite like to keep Popeye and his ridiculously crazy arms because he is hilarious.

So… I’m going to go now before I bore you any more. But just before I go, I give you a video of the amazing physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson recounting his views on UFOs and what’s actually going on.


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