The California Public Utilities Commission, who is pretty much the authority on such matters, disagrees. Caller ID is perfectly legal in the Golden State.
This "fact" is less genuinely incorrect than it is misleading. To start with, 95 percent isn’t even really that surprising, given that a human baby is actually about 78 percent water. Next up, this statistic suggests that all jellyfish have the same properties. In reality, however, there are actually about 4,000 species of jellyfish, and each of them may be made up of a different percentage of water. While some jellyfish are merely 95 percent water, the water content for some jellyfish can run up to 99.87 percent.
Chalk this erroneous fact up to one up to too many doodles drawn in math class: it would actually take you a mere 2,738 years to spend a billion dollars at $1,000 a day, not 2,749.
“Of course, if you take inflation into account, you’ll have to keep spending more and more in order to get what used to be $1,000 worth of stuff,” Dr. Harshad Vishwasrao of Columbia University notes. “So if you take even a 1 percent inflation rate, you’ll blow through your $1 billion in just 336 years.”
Handy intel to have on hand for the next time you find yourself in this particular predicament, of course.
Thanks to all that could be deemed right and good in the world, this “statistic” is not even remotely true. As Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids at Seattle’s Burke Museum has previously noted in an article published by MentalFloss, spiders don’t take too kindly to people’s movements (including breathing) and tend to run from them. Spiders aren’t going to gain much by being swallowed, and they are sensitive enough to avoid such an obvious blunder. Most people are not especially likely to swallow even one spider in their lifetime, much less eight, fortunately.
Thomas Jefferson can be rightfully credited with so many amazing inventions that it seems pretty unnecessary to credit him with any he didn’t actually earn. A visit to Monticello, his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, will prove the man’s ingenuity: he developed a portable copying press, revolving bookstands, and a spherical sundial, among numerous other clever devices — including a pretty unusual clothes rack, which may be the source of this untrue rumor, denied by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
We spoke with Dr. Robert Stickgold, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an expert in sleep cognition, to understand more about this idea.
“It’s hard to know how to measure [the real time of dream length],” Dr. Stickgold told us. “If you mean, ‘How long did the dreams we remember last?’ the answer is probably between a few seconds and 15 minutes. [If you mean] subjective time, this is truly all over the place. We've looked at this and some subjects reported, on average, a subjective length of five to 10 seconds, others of two to four hours, with still others reporting everything in between.”
So there you have it: while we can measure how long rapid eye movement (REM) states last — during which time dreams are prevalent — determining the length of particular, individual dreams is much trickier and more subjective. So we can’t be entirely sure how long individual dreams last, but there’s no evidence to suggest that they are “on average” only 2 to 3 seconds long.
Vinegar and table salt are both fine examples of common foods that are also indefinitely stable, as we’ve previously reported. It’s untrue that Twinkies don’t expire, however. They may seem fine past their expiration dates, but they will mold in their packaging.
While it’s true that in some species of fireflies, the females are flightless, in other species of the same insect, female fireflies can flit around your yard just as well as the gents of their species do.
"The Venus flytrap can eat a whole cheeseburger."
Venus flytraps are actually really not supposed to eat anything remotely as fatty — or dead — as a cheeseburger. These plants get all the energy they need through photosynthesis; they only catch live flies to produce a little extra nitrogen and phosphorous to make up for poor soil conditions. The fat levels in even a bite of a cheeseburger could damage and potentially kill the average Venus flytrap — much less an entire one.
"A duck's quack does not echo."
Mythbusters tackled this one for us: while the echo of a quack may be difficult to distinguish from the quack itself, a duck does not actually generate special un-echo-able sound waves.