Wednesday, October 7, 2009

True or false: Internet trivia

9/23/09 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

My “inbox” of useless Internet trivia is officially full. In fact, it runneth over. Some days I think that the whole world has my email address and is compelled to share the latest scam, photo, or bizarre ‘facts’ with me. Naturally, I don’t just delete all of this stuff. No, I’m a keeper. Some of them I save “just in case.”

Why? Heaven only knows. Maybe it’s just for a day like today. On warm Indian summer days I have no desire to stay in the house parked in front of a computer. The dogs are nipping at my heels to go for a walk and a magazine is screaming to be read. I’d really like to take a nap but deadlines loom.

So this week’s column offering is a plethora of trivia from my computer to yours. But please don’t ask me to verify all of the information. Obviously the senders didn’t. Some of it, however, I checked out. Some of it I didn’t because this column is just for fun. It’s meant to pique your curiosity and give you an excuse to say, “Oh, that’s really dumb.”

We’ll start with this so-called ‘fact’: “No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.” Okay, go ahead, I’ll wait while you try this one out.

This fact will be reassuring to those of you who are afraid to fly or swim in the ocean: “Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes or shark attacks.” Now how can that be? Are there that many mean donkeys in the world? This bears looking into — someday!

This fact could save your life: “The liquid inside young coconuts can be used (in emergencies) as a substitute for blood plasma.” I had to check this one out and according to it’s true. The water in coconut is liquid endosperm. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is sterile and has an ideal ph level. Drink up!

“Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are 50 years of age or older.” No wonder they live so long. They have a lot of reproductive time to make up!

For all of you non-morning folks out there, check this out: “Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.” Can’t quite agree with that one but maybe it depends on your metabolism.

On the other hand, if you like to sleep in front of the television, check this one out: “You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.” At least this gives us a good excuse!

I had to look at a deck of cards to see if this was true: “The King of Hearts is the only king without a moustache.” Yep. That’s correct.

Those of you who are into astronomy probably already know this one: “Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise, contrary to its own orbit around the Sun.” There’s lots of speculation as to the reason but no one really knows why this is so.

And ladies, if your favorite jewelry is a ‘pearl,’ remember this: “Pearls melt in vinegar.” Well, technically, the vinegar dissolves them. They don’t melt. Same difference. They’re ruined.

Now, here are a couple of animal facts that are fallacies:
“A duck’s quack doesn’t echo.” Not true. They echo quite well.
“Ostrich eggs have no yolks.” Actually, they do have yolks and they are supposed to be very tasty.

This one makes sense to me: “It is possible to lead a cow upstairs … but not downstairs.” Makes sense to me. I mean cows are big and clumsy, right? I gave up looking for the answer when I came across multiple chat room conversations on the subject and a book “Can Cows Walk Down Stairs?” If you know the answer to this, please let me know.

Here’s a piece of financial trivia for you: “American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.” Salads? They serve salads? You can tell I’ve never flown first-class!

Here’s a sad fact: “The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first ‘Marlboro Man.’” Is there any other reason to quit smoking?

This next fact can really lead one down a rabbit trail. It claims that the three most valuable brand names on earth are Marlboro, Coca Cola and Budweiser, in that order. Of course, ‘value’ is a subjective term so I checked it out.

According to the brands must be worth more than $1 billion, marketed globally and make sufficient data publically available. As for the above list, it is constantly changing. The last survey I saw was dated 2008. It listed Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE, Nokia, Toyota, Intel, McDonalds, Disney and Google. Sorry, no Marlboro or Budweiser.

This next fact grossed me out and screamed for verification. The reported fact is this: “Most dust particles in your house are made of dead skin.”

According to, dust particles inside your house have three main components: dead skin cells, the dried feces and desiccated corpses of dust mite and tiny fibers shed by clothing. From this description my imagination conjured up dust bunnies of so- called corpses lurking under the dryer, refrigerator and furniture.

Then I checked and came up with this answer: re: dead skin dust particles: “…unless you’re a molting bird or reptile, very little of your environment is composed of dead body parts. Humans do shed dead skin but most of it is carried away by weather or when we shave or bathe.”

On that note, we’ll end this discourse with a reason to face your fears and emerge a successful entertainment mogul: “Walt Disney was afraid of MICE!”

Remember, it must be true because I learned it on the Internet.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.
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