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A weekly show hosted by John Green, where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John debunks 50 common misconceptions that most people have about topics such as vikings, exploding birds and peanut butter.

Mental Floss Video on Twitter:

Artist acknowledgements for this episode:

Green Portraiture, Brie Lee,
Cindy The Octopus, Angela Rossi,
Coop and the Llama, Jess Purser,
Additional artwork by Danica Johnson,

Hank & John, Sherlock & Watson wooden dolls, Kimmy Fiorentino,
Circus Sideshow Nesting Dolls, Gravlax,
8 bit perler bouquets, Geekapalooza,

Hi, I'm John Green; welcome to my salon! This is mental_floss, and:

1. Vikings never wore horns on their helmets - at least, not until an 1876 staging of Wagner's opera the Ring of the Nibelung. the first of 50 myths that I am about to bust for you.

[intro music]

2. You know iron maidens, those medieval torture devices that inspired the name of the fourth-best heavy metal band of all time? Yeah, they were fictional.

3. Marie-Antoinette never actually said, "Let them eat cake" when told that peasants were starving due to lack of bread.

4. And while we're on the topic of French royal women who were forcibly separated from their heads, Anne Boleyn did not have eleven fingers, or at least most historians don't think she did.

5. The American Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4th, 1776; it was signed on August 2nd, 1776.

6. Also, not to harsh on your buzz, but the U.S. Constitution was not written on hemp paper; it was written on parchment.

7. Napoleon did not have a Napoleon Complex, because he was 5'7", which was actually slightly above average height for people of his time.

8. Albert Einstein did not fail math at school; in fact, when he was shown a newspaper column claiming he had, Einstein responded, "Before I was 15, I had mastered differential and integral calculus." Einstein did marry his first cousin, though, so that's something. We'll talk about that in a future episode.

9. John F. Kennedy did not say, "I am a jelly doughnut" when he said, "Ich bin ein Berliner" - no one in Berlin was confused on that day about what Kennedy was saying.

10. Sushi does not mean raw fish; it means sour rice.

11. Placing metal in a microwave doesn't ruin the microwave; I mean, it's a bad idea; you shouldn't do it, but look, we just microwaved this in tinfoil, and now, in the smoldering remains, I am microwaving a Hot Pocket.

12. The word "crap" is not derived from the great Thomas Crapper, who helped give us indoor plumbing; unfortunately, crap just comes from Latin, like every other word.

13. 420 is not the Los Angeles police code for marijuana possession; police code 420 just means "juvenile disturbance", which only sometimes involves marijuana possession.

14. The Great Wall of China is not the only man-made object visible from space; for one thing, many man-made objects are visible from space; for another thing, the Great Wall of China is not one of them.

15. There is no such thing as an "elephant graveyard". When elephants want to die, they just lie down and do it, like the rest of us. Even puppy-sized elephants.

16. The 1992 book Sharks Don't Get Cancer led to a huge increase in people using ground-up shark cartilage to treat cancer, but one, that doesn't work, and two, sharks do get cancer.

17. Chameleons don't primarily change color to camouflage; it helps them regulate their temperature, and also it's a way of communicating. They're like, "Hey there, you're pretty attractive, but I don't know how to talk, so I'm just going to turn red."

18. Throwing rice at weddings does not lead to bird eating that rice, and then the rice expanding in their stomachs, and then the birds exploding; that has never happened in all of human history! Or bird history!

19. An earthworm does not become two earthworms when you cut it in half; if it's lucky, the part with the mouth survives, and you're left with one smaller earthworm; but in all likelihood, you're left with one dead earthworm in two pieces.

20. Humans have more than five senses, including a sense of time, acceleration, limb position... The five senses were made up by Aristotle, with whom I have a long-standing and very public feud, and as usual, he was wrong, and I am right, and shut up about how he isn't here to defend himself.

21. Shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker or coarser, no matter what part of your body you're shaving.

22. Also your fingernails don't keep growing after you die; they appear to keep growing because your skin recedes.

23. If you swallow your gum, it will not stick in your stomach for seven years; it goes through your body just the same as anything else that you eat, except batteries. If you take one thing away from this video, DON'T EAT BATTERIES.

24. People do not just use 10% of their brains. William James seems to have coined this one, but he was speaking figuratively.

25. You can't catch warts from toads, but you can catch warts from other people. And that's why I always say, only socialize with toads.

26. A penny dropped from the Empire State Building will not kill someone if it lands on their head, because the terminal velocity of a penny is between 30 and 50 miles per hour, not fast enough to kill anyone; also, if you drop a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, it will land like three stories below you, because the building is shaped like this.

27. Not only did Abner Doubleday not invent baseball, he never claimed to have invented baseball.

28. And speaking of people who didn't invent things, the Caesar salad is not named for Julius Caesar, but rather for Caesar Cardini, who supposedly invented the salad in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1924.

29. Puff the Magic Dragon? Not about marijuana. As Mary, of Peter, Paul, and Mary put it, "Believe me, if he wanted to write a song about marijuana, he would have written a song about marijuana."

30. Sherlock Holmes never said, "Elementary, my dear Watson."

31. Nor did anyone ever say, "Play it again, Sam," in Casablanca.

32. Also, Sarah Palin never said, "I can see Russia from my house."

33. Al Gore never said, "I invented the Internet."

34. Oh, and for the love of God, Ron Burgundy never said, "Well, that escalated quickly"! He said, "boy, that escalated quickly."

All right, we've got to speed up.

35. Danishes are from Austria, not from Denmark.

36. Humans didn't evolve from chimps; we share an ancestor, but we did evolve!

37. It's a chest OF drawers, not a Chester drawers, as I learned when I was twenty-eight years old.

38. Furthermore, if you can replace "you're" with "you are," then contract; otherwise, don't.

39. The Italian libertine is Don Juan, but in Byron's epic poem, "Don Juan" [jew-an] rhymes with ruin.

40. You would not explode in the vacuum of space, but you would die.

41. No one was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials; people were hanged, and one was crushed with stones, but no burning!

42. Chinese fortune cookies are not Chinese; they're Californian.

43. Neither blondes nor redheads are about to go extinct.

44. No one died during the chariot race sequence of Ben Hur.

45. Mussolini did not make the trains run on time.

46. And storing batteries in the freezer does not improve their performance.

47. And speaking of unnecessary cooling, there is never a need to refrigerate peanut butter, unless it's like all-natural, organic stuff, and that isn't even really peanut butter.

48. Walt Disney is not cryogenically frozen.

49. Fidel Castro was never given a trial by the Washington Senators, or any other American baseball team.

50. And lastly, I return to the portrait gallery to tell you that famed sexologist Dr. Ruth was not a sniper in the Israeli army. What? She was? Really? All right, fine.

50. Julia Child was not a spy for the United States during World War II. She was? This is ridiculous; I give up.

Thanks for watching mental_floss on YouTube, which is made with the help of all of these nice people.

If you have a mind-blowing question you've always wanted an answer to, submit it in comments, and we'll try to answer them at the end of each video, starting in April.