Common misconceptions: 10 of the best

by Toby Manhire / 14 February, 2013
Highlights from one of the greatest Wikipedia pages.
A cake-sloganeering Viking.

It’s not perfect, but Wikipedia is still one of the best things on the internet.

And one of its best pages is the “List of Common Misconceptions”judged by numerous Wikiwatchers to be the greatest entry anywhere on the online encyclopedia.

One even reckons it’s the best thing on the internet.

Almost 200 common misconceptions are noted, complete with source information (none of which I’ve doubled checked, so cover your eyes if you demand scrupulous fact-checking).

Here are 10 of my favourites:


1. There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets.


2. Marie Antoinette did not say "let them eat cake".


3. Searing meat does not "seal in" moisture.


4. Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand.


5. Mussolini did not improve the performance or time-keeping of Italian trains.


6. Bats are not blind.


7. Lemmings do not engage in mass suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating.


8. Mozart and Salieri were reasonably friendly.


9. Napoleon Bonaparte was slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time.


10. Goldfish memories aren’t too bad – they can be counted in months.

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