12 Facts That Should Be Common Knowledge But Aren’t

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Sometimes, it’s hard to judge what should be considered “common knowledge”. But, at the same time, the more knowledge we have, the better we can ensure our survival. You never know when a piece of advice or something you read a long time ago, can come to your aid. No matter how much knowledge we acquire, there’s always more to know and more we don’t know. Inspired by “The More You Know”, we have gathered some common things that should be known but aren’t.

1. Goldfish shouldn’t really be kept in goldfish bowls.

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Image: Ahmed zayan

The easy to care fish is a fairly popular pet with families. Apart from their long lifespan and the ability to change colors throughout their lifetime, there is more to these little fish. While goldfish bowls are a great addition to your home decor, they make life miserable for the goldfish. It’s a common misconception that goldfish bowls provide an adequate home for a goldfish. According to The Goldfish Tank, “goldfish bowls are the equivalent of putting your goldfish in the toilet and expecting him to show you his best colors, grow to the size of a softball, and never get sick – it just isn’t going to happen.”

First of all, the small tank does not provide enough room for filtration. They require a lot of oxygen to survive, and since bowls don’t have the surface area to properly aerate it, most goldfish don’t even make it past three months. The bowls can’t handle waste properly and this can cause the fish to live in an unsanitary environment. (source)

2. For an aspirin to save your life during a heart attack, you need to chew it.

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Image: Roger Mulligan/Flickr

Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States. While aspirin is commonly known as a first aid for heart attacks, most people are unaware that chewing it is more effective than swallowing it. When a heart attack occurs, time is of the essence and you need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. A heart attack is a dynamic event, and early intervention can limit the damage. This is why if you feel like you are having a heart attack, you should dial 911.

According to WebMD, “Chewable aspirin is absorbed faster and is more effective than regular aspirin that is either swallowed whole or chewed and then swallowed”. Sean Nordt, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues, conducted the study on 14 people between ages of 20 and 61. One group was given regular solid aspirin tablets and told to swallow the pills as whole while another was given regular aspirin tablets and told to chew the pills before swallowing.

The third group was given chewable aspirin tablets, and swallowing occurred during chewing. Researchers then measured levels of aspirin in the blood and found that chewable aspirin consistently showed the greatest and fastest absorption rates. (source)

3. Water towers are not only used to store water in case of an emergency. The massive structures are also used to maintain pressure and flow of clean drinking water.

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Image: Bob Armstrong

Water towers come in all sizes and shapes. We see them almost every day, but have you ever wondered why these massive structures are erected at different parts of your city? Many water towers function simply as open flowing holding tanks to pressurized water systems. Clean, treated water is pumped up into the tower, where it’s stored in a large tank that might hold millions of gallons, hundreds of feet above the ground.

When a city requires water, water pumps utilize the pull of gravity to provide high water pressure. Because these massive structures work with gravity, they have to be taller than the buildings they are providing water to, in order to reach the highest floors. Here’s a basic diagram of what a water tower system looks like:

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Image: Jonathan Cretton/Wikimedia

Keeping water high off the ground also allows cities to use smaller cost-effective pumps to circulate water throughout the region. Without water towers, cities have to maintain expensive pumps to keep up with peak demand in the mornings. (source)

4. You shouldn’t actually shake a Polaroid picture.

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Image: Megan te Boekhorst

For decades, polaroid pictures have been shaken to “supposedly” help them develop faster. OutKast’s number one hit “Hey Ya” includes the “shake it” line as a reference to the motion. After the song was released, many started shaking the pictures violently, thinking that it would develop faster.

However, in the “answers” section on the Polaroid Web site, the company explains: “Shaking photos, which once helped them dry, is not necessary, since the modern version of Polaroid film dries behind a clear plastic window. The image “never touches air, so shaking or waving has no effect. In fact, shaking or waving can actually damage the image. Rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely, or can cause ‘blobs’ in the picture.” (source)

5. It is rarely necessary to wait 24 hours before filing a missing person’s report.

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Image: Pixabay

Unlike in movies, a missing person situation is more dramatic in real-life. Every second counts, and the first 24-48 hours are the most crucial when it comes to finding a person who has disappeared. Movies have the habit of misrepresenting and exaggerating facts, in order to make their story more dramatic and keep the viewers’ interest. Knowing the facts before a crisis can be critical when things go wrong and when movies don’t tell the whole story about how to file missing persons reports, people are left with useless information.

In a missing person case, there’s no waiting period. Many movies and crime shows publicized the 24 or 48 hour waiting period to report missing people but that doesn’t exist in real police offices. As soon as you discover that your loved one is missing, contact the police immediately. (source)

6. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses. When not used correctly, they can be harmful to your health.

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Image: rawpixel

It is a common misconception that antibiotics can cure viral infections. Most of us often have the habit of asking our doctors to prescribe us with an antibiotic, since taking it usually makes us feel better. They are important medications with benefits but taking them for no reason can have the adverse effect. Antibiotics kill bacteria only and are useless against the cold and flu; which are both caused by viruses. When taking antibiotics for small symptoms such as a cold, you are only increasing antibiotic resistance. (source)

7. Eating black licorice can cause serious health problems.

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Image: USDA/Flickr

Eating more than 57g (2 ounces) of black licorice a day for at least 2 weeks could lead to potentially serious health problems, such as an increase in blood pressure and an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). The candy, made from a shrub usually found in Greece, Turkey and Asia, contains a compound (glycyrrhizin) that can lower a person’s potassium levels, FDA experts say. According to the FDA report, eating too much could cause heart problems, high blood pressure, swelling and sluggishness. Especially for those 40-years-old and older, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could throw off heart rhythms. (source)

8. It is dangerous to barbecue in enclosed areas. Even when you put the fire out, the grill can produce carbon monoxide, which can be harmful.

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Image: Pavan Trikutam

Grilling is famous all around the world. In the United States, it is enjoyed by as much as 75% of the population. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 75% of Americans own an outdoor grill or smoker. The No. 1 grilling holiday is Fourth of July, when 87% plan to fire up the grill. However, there are millions who use it in an unsafe manner; especially using barbecue pits in an enclosed area.

Carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas, is produced when you barbecue. Even when the grill is completely turned off, carbon monoxide can be produced for hours. When coal, wood or any type of material is burned, it produces CO. In a poorly ventilated space, this can be hazardous. When fuels are burning, the carbon monoxide being emitted is converted into relatively harmless carbon dioxide. But once the flame has gone out, carbon monoxide continues to be produced and is no longer burnt off.

At extremely high levels, carbon monoxide can quickly replace nearly all of the oxygen in the human body; draining vital organs from the required amount of oxygen. The brain is particularly vulnerable and can be suffocated in as little as four minutes. So, never place your grill – even when it is turned off – inside your home or in a tent. (source)

9. Drowning often doesn’t look like drowning.

drowning, people, facts, life, knowledge, science
Image: Darran Shen

Like we explained before, movies have the habit of misleading people. Most movies show a person that is drowning to be gasping for air, splashing their arms and legs, as well as calling for help. Drowning does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. It is crucial to recognize drowning by visual cues. According to maritime risk consultant Mario Vittone, the signs of drowning are as follows:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level.
  • Head tilted back with mouth open.
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus.
  • Eyes closed.
  • Hair over forehead or eyes.
  • Not using legs – Vertical.
  • Hyperventilating or gasping.
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway.
  • Trying to roll over on the back.
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

If you see one of the signs, make sure you help them or call for help immediately. (source)

10. Doing crunches won’t give you six-pack abs. Abs are already present in your body. You only need to workout to remove the layer of fat it is hidden from.

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Image: Public Domain

It’s a common misconception that in order to get six-pack abs, crunches are the best exercise. Despite all our hard work, we don’t see any changes to our stomach. According to Don Saladino, a celebrity fitness trainer, doing crunches doesn’t result in more prominent abs. Instead, sit ups can actually cause us harm. In order to reveal our abs, proper diet and exercise is what’s necessary. (source)

11. Stroke symptoms are different for men and women.

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Image: Pixabay

Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke and it is also the leading cause of disability in the US. It is important to recognize the signs to prevent stroke from causing long term damages. According to the National Stroke Association, each year, 55,000 more women have a stroke than men. In general, women live longer than men, so a stroke will have a more negative impact on their lives. The unique symptoms of strokes in women include:

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • General weakness
  • Difficulty or shortness of breath
  • Confusion, unresponsiveness or disorientation
  • Sudden behavioral change
  • Agitation
  • Hallucination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Hiccups

The common symptoms of stroke in both men and women include:

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause

The key to identifying these symptoms is that they come on very suddenly. (source)

12. Greenland has more ice than Iceland. Iceland has more greenery than Greenland.

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Image: Alex Lopez/Filip Gielda

At a first glance you might wonder why Iceland is green and Greenland is icy. The names don’t make any sense. It might come as a surprise, but 80% of Greenland is covered in ice and Iceland actually has milder winters than Greenland. The name swap comes from the Vikings. According to the Norse custom, the names were given by what they initially see. Researchers who study fossils suggest that between A.D. 800 to 1300, Greenland was much warmer than it is today. So, when the Vikings first arrived, they could have seen the lush green land.

According to legends, when the first Norse explorer reached Iceland, it was snowing. The Viking named Flóki Vilgerðarson was on his way to Iceland when he lost his family and livestock. The depressed and frustrated Flóki, upon arrival, climbed a mountain only to see a fjord full of icebergs; which according to many sagas, is where the land got its name from. (source)

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