Plausible - but, being that the Bible is also one of the largest selling and longest running books in history, this claim doesn’t seem all that odd. We couldn’t find any statistics on book theft, but we did come across the opinion of one book store owner in an article in the New York Times. When asked what the most frequently stolen title was:
“The Bible,” he said, without pausing.
Admittedly, this quote is not very concrete evidence; but given the bible got almost a 2000 year head start on other books (and is still widely published and in circulation today), we’ll say plausible.
True - gold can be rolled thin enough to be translucent, so thin that it is used as a filter on the helmets of astronauts. According to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), a little gold goes a long way:
Gold is malleable, so it can be flattened into extremely thin sheets. […] Gold leafing—also known as gilding—is an ancient technique. Traditional artisans beat raw gold between pieces of leather until it was almost too thin to be seen. One ounce of gold may be hammered thin enough to cover more than 9 square meters (96.9 square feet) of a surface. The gold leaf may be only 0.18 microns (seven millionths of an inch) thick; a stack of 7,055 sheets would be no thicker than a dime.
So let’s go with the what the AMNH says: 1 troy ounce of gold can be hammered to cover 96.9 square feet. A regulation tennis court, from baseline to baseline including the alleys is 78 feet x 36 feet or 2808 square feet. This would require roughly 28.9 troy ounces of gold, which is 898.89 grams of gold. A 1000 gram ingot of gold from Harrods measures in at: 115.0 millimeters x 52.0 millimeters x 9.0 millimeters (4.5 inches x 2.04 inches x 0.35 inches) well within the dimensions of the only matchbox I could find (a 250 count of large kitchen matches at roughly: 5.5 inches x 3 inches x 1.5 inches). Interestingly enough, this is one of the Top 10 myths that the Mythbusters won’t tackle citing the cost of gold; which, as of this writing, the needed amount of gold would cost around $30,769.00 USD. We have seen this myth written as “matchbook” and not “matchbox” that would have to be a pretty wide matchbook, and certainly it would be plausible to find a matchbook to fit the aforementioned necessary dimensions.
Unverifiable - now, one would expect this data would be relatively easy to come by, statistics are collected on all sorts of accidents [pdf]. A quick (by quick we mean: more time than we intended to spend) internet search reveals a lot of results from fact-aggregating web sites that list this claim as fact almost verbatim. Unfortunately none of these sites provide any statistics, sources of statistics, or even sources that actually have data of what they are attributed to having (some sites claim one organization or another has the data, upon investigation, they don’t) to back up these claims. Part of what makes this so hard to quantify or verify is that until relatively recently left-handedness had been widely (and sometimes forcefully) discouraged, there are still many people today that were painstakingly “retrained” into right-handed dominance. We’re certainly not saying left-handed fatalities due to right-handed instruments don’t occur, but there doesn’t seem to be enough data to back this claim up; so we’ll put this one in the unsubstantiated rumor category, for now.
original claim: @OMGFacts; sources: can’t find any.
Needs further verification - amazingly, there are two credible sources citing two different numbers. Starting with what is universally agreed: the Apollo 14 mission (the 8th manned Apollo mission, and the 3rd to land on the moon) did bring Alan Shepard, Stewart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell to the moon (Shepard and Mitchell would walk on the surface, Roosa remained aboard the command module) along with a golf club and golf balls. Now here’s where the details diverge, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) consistentlystates that there are three (3) golf balls on the moon. Yet in interviews with Alan Shepard (the only astronaut to take a swing on the lunar surface) claims to have hit two. Reviewing video of the event, it looks to us like only two (2) were dropped, shot, and subsequently left on the moon. Both sources are credible on the matter, I guess the only real way to figure this one out, is to send me; I’ll check on those footprints too!
True - this is known as a hemipenes (plural for the pair, singular: hemipenis), and is a trait of of male squamates (scaled reptiles e.g. snakes, lizards), and some species have hemipenes that are forked at each tip. The hemipenes are typically held inverted in the abdomen of the squamata, and due to this inversion hemipenes do not contain a fully sealed sperm channel like in a mammal, but rather an open groove that seals itself when the hemipenis is erect.
Update: in our haste, we managed to miss that the original claim sandwiched a marsupial in between two squamates. This is also true, koalas (along with opossums, Tasmanian devils, wombats, wallabies, and others) have what is called a bifurcated penis this differs from the squamata’s hemipenis as bifurcated penis is not inverted; female marsupials also have two vaginas and two uteri.
Plausible - the actual estimate from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is between 100 million and 1 billion annually, and accounts for up to 5% of the fall bird population. With urban sprawl and development, this is becoming an increasing issue. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also offers some tips to help prevent these collisions.
True - and it even comes with a citation! An article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature, in 2001 states:
The human brain has evolved specialized neural mechanisms for visual recognition of faces, which afford us a remarkable ability to discriminate between, remember and think about many hundreds of different individuals. Sheep also recognize and are attracted to individual sheep and humans by their faces, as they possess similar specialized neural systems in the temporal and frontal lobes for assisting in this important social task.
The ability for animals to recognize other animals is a measure of self-awareness often used as a measure of intelligence. The mirror test is one test of self-awareness developed in the 1970s by developed by Gordon Gallup Jr. based in part on observations made by Charles Darwin. In order to pass this test, the subject has to be able to recognize that the reflection seen in the mirror is themselves, rather than another being. Interestingly, children younger than 18 months fail the test. Other animals that do pass the mirror test include many (if not all) the great apes, bottle nose dolphins, elephants, pigs, and European Magpies. Animals such as dogs and cats, do not. Studies like these also help us better understand ourselves, and our ability (or often inability) to recognize individuals across races.
False - Poison Dart Frog (formerly Poison Arrow Frog) is a name that refers to over 175 species of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae (some of which are critically endangered). Of these, only three are known to be lethally poisonous to humans, and of those, each frog on average produces enough poison to kill 10 grown men.
Plausible - Wikipedia has a reference to this claim (ahem, citation needed), but it is not out side the realm of possibility. Salt is toxic in large quantities, roughly 1g/kg of body weight. A pound of salt would be lethal for up to 1000lbs of body weight.
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