4 June 2019

Take a guess…

How many of these statements are true?

1. You can see the Great Wall of China from the moon on clear days (my sixth grade teacher had taught us this)
2. Bulls get excited by red color (which explains why they charge the matador waving the red flag)
3. Napolean was rather diminutive (by French standards those days anyways)
4. Only the royals among the Vikings wore the horned helmets
5. Einstein was weak in math (and failed once) as a school kid.
6. We have 5 senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell). (I was taught this pretty early in life).
7. Speaking of senses, the tongue has different parts where we taste different tastes (sweet, salt etc etc)
8. Continuing with our body, artistic folks are more active on the right side of the brain and vice versa for the science and math oriented ones.
9. There is no such thing as a “scientific proof”
10. A steep learning curve implies you will have great difficulty learning it.

If you have Googled, which ones surprised you?

Posted June 4, 2019 by Rajib Roy in category "Puzzles

1. By rajibroy (Post author) on

Here are the answers. Irene, Pratik, Joy, Ranajoy, Shelly and Somshekhar, not sure if you got a chance to Google but if you did, I suspect you too had some surprises like me.

Only #9 is true.

1. In spite of what I was taught in school, the Great Wall of China is NOT visible from the moon. If any of you have visited the wall, you probably know that the wall is at best 25 feet wide at its widest portions. But very long. But so are all highways of all countries – and they are far wider. If the Great Wall was visible from the Moon, so would be all highways of all countries.

2. Bulls, like most animals are color blind. They see the world in shades of grey. It is the waving of the flag that enrages them.

3. Napoleon was around 5’7”. Not diminutive at all. Certainly not by French standards. The misunderstanding comes from the fact that he was recorded as 5’2” – but by the French measurement systems. That translates to about 5’7” in the current inch-foot system. Somebody somewhere was not paying attention and started the misconception

4. Forget the royals, no Vikings ever wore a helmet with horns on it. The stereotype started as a result of Carl Doepler – the designer in opera shows by Wagner – putting horns on the helmets of the Viking actors!

5. Einstein was very strong in math. Although he did flunk an entrance exam once. He always scored high marks in school – but he hated the discipline of school.

6. Regardless of what we were taught in school, we have many more senses. While the ones we were taught in school are still considered the “traditional” senses, we have more. I believe the number runs into 20+. Balance for example is a sense. If you start tilting yourself while keeping your feet in one spot, the body will sense that and send signals to the brain which will instruct the muscles to take corrective action. Temperature is a sense. Hunger is an internal sense. So is pain. and so on.

7. Remember those school charts showing different parts of the tongue having different taste buds? Well, that was all wrong. Our taste buds for different tastes are distributed all over our tongues.

8. That right brain left brain thing is also a complete myth. It is true that the left half and the right half process different things differently. But when you are doing anything, you are receiving signals from both sides of the brain and your actual characteristics or prowess in anything is not governed by strength of any particular half of the brain.

9. This was the only truthful statement. Although we talk about “scientific proofs”, there is a definitional issue. Proofs are incontrovertible. They are for ever. Math can have proofs. It does not change with time. Science, by definition, can change its opinions if it finds more data. That is the charm of science. It does not claim to know everything. Just what we can conclude from known data. Math would never let you call Pluto a planet and then change your mind. Or say eggs are bad for you and then change your mind. Science will.

10. This is the one that floored me. A steep learning curve means something very easy to pick up. Although I could not find how the modern usage in English came about. Think about it for a moment. A steep learning curve in a graph would look like a steep curve going up on the right. Which would mean that as time progresses, your learning is getting faster and faster, right? A flat learning curve would imply a very slow process.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

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