Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hitler Firing Off

I found this image all over. Anyone know who made it?

Thanks to recent politics, I've been seeing the same myth cropping up over and over. There are several different versions, but each one has the same central core: that part of Adolf Hitler's control of Nazi Germany rested on the fact that he managed to take the guns away from the German people. 

So did he?

Well. No. He didn't. In fact, he did the opposite. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Patent Malarkey

This one is usually told at tech conferences, to get chuckles from the audience. That in 1899 the Head of the American Patent Office said that the patent office should be closed because everything that could be invented had been invented.

Charles Holland Duell was the the "head" of the "American Patent Office" in 1899 --  in that he was the Commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

You know the myth is going south when they 1) can't get the title right, 2) can't name the person who supposedly did whatever the myth is about, and 3) don't even know the name of the department. 

In actuality, Commissioner Duell said no such thing. If you'd like to have an actual quote he said, a good choice may be, 

"In my opinion, all previous advances in the various lines of invention will appear totally insignificant when compared with those which the present century will witness. I almost wish that I might live my life over again to see the wonders which are at the threshold." *

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sir Beef

Wikipedia says this is a sirloin. I'll have to take their word for it.

I heard this one the other day and I had to rush home and look it up, because I'd never heard it before. To be fair, that may be because I don't really know a lot about meat or preparing it (not something I do much, being unable to digest it).

What is this myth? That the cut of beef called sirloin got its name because an English king once knighted a piece of meat and called it "Sir loin."

Sadly, as cute as the story is, it's not at all true. 

It's French. "Sir Loin" is actually "sur longe" ... Longe was French for loin, and sur simply means "above." So it is literally the cut "above the loin." *

Where is that? Well, that depends on where you live.

If you're American, it's this lime green spot:

If you're British, it's practically a quarter of the cow:

If you're Dutch, it's this long peach colored area:

And if you're Brazilian, it's a slim area between the tenderloin and it's skirt (and your cows have this funny hump too):

Friday, November 23, 2012

Doomsday 2012

It's that one that everybody knows, but nobody will quite admit to believing -- that the world is going to end on 21 December 2012. 

The usual story is that it's because of some Mayan Prophecy and an asteroid hitting the earth. Or the magnetic poles flipping. Or the sun going supernova and flame broiling all life on earth. Or something.

So what's it all about?

Usually it's seen with something that looks like this:

But that's not even Mayan -- it's the Aztec "Stone of the Sun". You've got to take anything with a grain of salt when they can't even get the culture right for their pictograph proof. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast

For those who aren't USians, this up coming Thursday is Thanksgiving. 

What this means is that USians around the country will be sitting down to eat turkey and pumpkin pie. 

Why? Because that's that traditional food that was eaten at the first Thanksgiving. And every Thanksgiving since. 


Well, no. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's all still paper in the vernacular

The United States Constitution. 

There are a lot of myths about the US Constitution says, but that's not the kind mythbelief we're dealing with today. Instead, it's what the US Constitution is physically written upon.It's a common belief that the US Constitution is written on hemp paper. 

It's written on parchment. Parchment isn't made from plants, but from cured animal skins.

Hemp paper was popular at the end of the 1700s. It's probable that drafts of the Constitution were penned on hemp paper, and that the founding fathers may have taken notes on hemp paper, but parchment lasts longer and they wanted the document to last. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I suspect that with the USian Thanksgiving right around the corner, there's going to be talk and pictures of the Pilgrims.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, here's a quick rundown of the usual story: Thanksgiving (AKA "Turkey Day") is an American holiday which is a feast of Thanksgiving, given in remembrance of the First Thanksgiving where the Pilgrims had a big feast to celebrate not starving to death though their first winter in America. It's traditionally celebrated with eating of turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (traditionally "pilgrim food") and pictures of people who look like this:

Because Black, White, and Buckles were totally the style in 1620.

I'm not tackling Thanksgiving today (maybe a little closer to the actual holiday) but let's talk about the Pilgrims! Common ideas include:

1) They dressed.. well, like Pilgrims.

2) They landed at Plymouth Rock.

3) They can also be called "Puritans."


I'm afraid, as per the usual, we're 0 for 3 for actual facts in that list.