Replace your annoying "Did you know?" factoids with even more annoying "Actually that's fake" corrections. Wikipedia features a massive list of common misconceptions about subjects such as history and science. I check it once a year to refresh my smugness.
Photo by Maria J Aleman
The best corrected facts include:
- Twinkies don't last forever; they have a shelf life of about 45 days.
- An undercover cop is allowed to lie when you ask if they're a cop.
- The Immaculate Conception is about Mary's birth, not Jesus's, and it's about original sin, not a virgin birth.
- A black belt isn't always the highest rank in a martial art.
- The abbreviation "Xmas" was coined by medieval monks.
- The Roman vomitorium wasn't a room for vomiting; it was a stadium entrance.
- Napoleon was 170cm tall, slightly above average in 1800s France.
- It's OK to swim right after eating.
- Glass doesn't actually flow. Old warped windows were made that way.
- Shaving doesn't make hair grow back thicker.
- Redheads aren't going extinct.
Of course, this is still Wikipedia, so before you rely on a fact for anything more than conversation, click through to the original source.
List of Common Misconceptions [Wikipedia]