10 Facts that are actually fiction – Part 1

10 Facts that are actually fiction – Part 1

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Part 1 of 10 Facts that are actually fiction!

In everyday life we see things that we think, that can’t be real or that it must be fake. Social Media sites such as Facebook or Twitter are rife with unbelievable tales and stories. Some of these stories are so far-fetched and extreme that you struggle to believe that they are true, when in reality they are genuine. Some however are accepted as fact when in reality there is no truth in them at all.

In this four part blog series we will look at our top 10 facts that are fiction and our top 10 unbelievable facts.

1. If you are stung by a Jellyfish you should urinate on it.

There is a common myth that to relieve the pain from a jellyfish sting, you should urinate on it as the acidity will counteract the sting. This myth was also brought to mainstream attention in the aptly named Friends episode – “The One with the Jellyfish”
In truth, urinating on a Jellyfish sting is not advised as it will not help. In fact, if your urine is more alkaline than acidic, it could actually make the pain worse! The best course of action is to pour vinegar or seawater over the affected area! – It seems that Friends and others were taking the pee with this “fact”!

2. Santa Claus is red because of Coca-Cola

Rumour has it that before Coca-Cola got involved, Santa Claus used to wear Green threads but during an early marketing campaign from Coca-Cola, they switched the colour of his clothes to match their brand. This is why we now have a Santa who is predominantly Red and White.
After lots of research, including a statement from Coca-Cola themselves, it was found that Santa used to have a variety of looks before Coca-Cola came along. It’s very possible that the modern image of a red Santa is mainly due to the famous “Holidays are coming” campaigns but Santa also had a red wardrobe before this. There’s no accusing St Nick of being a dedicated follower of fashion, he’s much too in vogue for that!

3. The Great Wall of China is the only Man Made structure visible from space.

I’ve heard this during many a pub quiz – What is the only man-made structure visible from space? The widely accepted answer for this is the Great Wall of China. This however is false on two fronts.
There are a number of man-made structures that are visible from space, including but not limited to; The Greenhouses of Almería and Bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge. (As a cheat, cities are also visible from space at night as they are lit up like a Christmas Tree!)
The Great Wall however is not actually visible from space. The common “fact” was actually around long before manned space missions were attempted and was supposedly based on being able to see “canals on mars”! – So the next time this comes up in a quiz be sure to let the quiz master know!

4. Like a red rag to a bull

I think we’ve all heard the phrase, like a red rag to a bull. Generally this means to incite someone/something. The term is related to the sport of bullfighting, where a matador (the person who fights with the bull) waves a flag or piece of cloth at a bull in order to get the bull to run at him/her. The cloth is traditionally a red colour, leading to the popular phrase.
Bulls however can’t distinguish red from other colours, it is the movement of the cloth rather than the colour that aggravates them. Bulls do seem to get an unfair reputation, as I’ve also never seen a Bull causing havoc in a china shop!

5. Daddy Long Legs are the most venomous spider in the world

Another long-standing myth is that the Daddy Long Legs, which is also know by a few other names such as harvestmen or granddaddy long legs, are the most venomous spider in the world but they are not dangerous to humans as their fangs are too small to pierce our skin. This is another myth that has been given extra exposure, this time from Ricky Gervais in his stand-up show, Animals.
This is also another myth that is wrong on two different levels. The creatures that we commonly refer to as Daddy Long Legs are neither spiders nor venomous. There is another species referred to as Daddy Long Legs, which is an actual spider but the venom causes nothing more than a mild sensation.
Unfortunately for the Daddy Long Legs it seems that our bark is much worse than their bite!

Did these tall tales inspire you to create some fictitious writing of your own? Why not study the Creative Writing Diploma with NCC and learn some new techniques?

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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