Stock up on your useless trivia and impress your friends/coworkers/fellow public transportation riders. Or just waste your own time and read through Wikipedia's List of Common Misconceptions.
A few favorites:
- Some believe that the sky looks blue because it reflects the color of the ocean.The sky actually looks blue because the color of air varies with the viewing angle to the illumination source. Sunlight reflected (scattered) from the air is of shorter wavelengths toward the violet end of the visible spectrum, while the remaining transmitted sunlight has longer wavelengths of the red end of the spectrum. In fact, the sun appears reddish in the evening because the transmitted sunlight has lost much of its blue wavelengths because of scattering, leaving only the long wavelength red light to reach the observer. This phenomenon is referred to as Rayleigh Scattering.
- The notion that goldfish have a memory of only three seconds is completely false. They have been trained to navigate mazes and can recognize their owners after an exposure of a few months.
- The Pilgrims did not dress only in black, nor did they have buckles on their hats or shoes.
- Entrapment law in the United States does not forbid police officers from going undercover, or from denying that they are police. It is a common misconception among persons engaged in low-level crime that if an undercover police officer is asked, "Are you a cop?" that they must reveal themselves to avoid entrapment.
Also see: List of Misquotations.