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20 "Facts" Everyone Believes, But Are Completely False

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As the old saying goes, half of what we learn in school isn't true at all, and it's up to us to learn which half.

Well, prepare to shatter a few illusions today. We've listed 20 facts that everyone accepts as common knowledge. The only problem? None of them are true.

1. There's a "Five Second Rule" for dropped food

Maybe you don't really believe this rule, which claims that food dropped on the floor is safe to eat if it's picked up within 5 seconds. For most of us that's just a good excuse to eat any Skittles that we drop.

In fact, 5 seconds is more than enough time for lots of dangerous bacteria, including salmonella, to get on your food. The food's moisture content and the floor's condition have more to say about whether you'll get sick than the length of time it stays there.

2. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

People often claim that this giant wall or other man-made landmarks can be "seen from space," but it's just not true. Even huge buildings are too small to be spotted on the ground by the naked eye.

What astronauts see when they look at the Great Wall.

As Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said, the Great Wall "is too narrow, and it follows the natural contours and colors [of the landscape]," so it's even harder to see than most buildings.

3. Goldfish have a 3-second memory

Poor goldfish, these pets never get the credit or respect that other domestic animals do. In fact goldfish can remember cues, sounds and symbols for months. Dedicated owners have even trained them to do tricks.

4. Alcohol warms you up

Sure, we could use an excuse to dip into the brandy on a nippy winter day, but this old wives' tale isn't true. Alcohol does make you skin feel warm, because it dilates blood vessels, bringing blood near the surface of your skin.

Meanwhile, your body's core temperature actually drops. So reach for the hot cocoa this winter instead.

5. If you touch a baby bird, it's mother will smell you and abandon it

First and foremost, most birds do not have a very strong sense of smell. Even if a mama bird could tell that you touched her chick, she wouldn't care.

Usually if you see a young bird out of the nest, its mother is actually watching nearby. If you return it to the nest and it dies anyway, it was simply sick or injured, not ignored.

Let's get biblical for the next phony fact.

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