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PURETICS...

PURETICS...


Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Common misconceptions

Geography

Mount EverestMount Everest (pictured) is, indisputably, the highest point of land above sea level (8850 meters / 29035 feet) which, according to traditional measurements, means that it is the tallest mountain in the world. Given certain definitions, however, this can be challenged.[1] One alternative method of measurement is the base-summit height. When this is applied, Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano in Hawaii) turns out to be much higher at 10,314 meters (33,480 feet). This takes into account Mauna Kea's base on the ocean floor, some 6000 meters below sea level. Its height above sea level is only 4,208 meters (13,796 feet). If the base-summit height is measured from land only, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, meaning it does not belong to a mountain range or chain, measured from its base (at ground level) to the summit at 5,896 meters (19,344 feet). Another alternative method is to work out the furthest point of land as measured from the centre of the earth. Chimborazo, a volcano in Ecuador, takes this honor, because the Earth "bulges" at the equator.[2] This peak is 2,100 meters "taller" than Everest.
The Sahara is the world's largest hot desert, but it is not the world's largest desert (arid land). Antarctica has almost no liquid precipitation (rain) and little or no vegetation. Almost no animal life exists in its interior at all (scientific research stations and nesting snow petrels are about the only exceptions). It is land that lacks liquid water available for plants and animals to use. This is sufficient to qualify it as a desert, and it is larger than the Sahara.
Claims that the number and intensity of earthquakes are increasing[3][4][5] are unfounded. The number and intensity of earthquakes varies from year to year but there is no increasing trend.[6][7]

History

The belief that gunpowder, even though it was a Chinese invention, was first used for war by the Europeans is a misconception. The Chinese used flame throwers and gunpowder arrows for military purposes from the 900s onward.
Paul Revere was not the only American colonist who rode to warn the Minute Men of the British before the battle of Lexington and Concord of the American Revolutionary War. The story of Paul Revere is largely based on the poem "Paul Revere's Ride", written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860 (see Paul Revere's Ride).
Christopher Columbus's efforts to obtain support for his voyages were not hampered by a European belief in a flat Earth. In fact, sailors and navigators of the time knew that the Earth was spherical, but (correctly) disagreed with Columbus' estimates of the distance to the Indies (see Flat Earth). If the Americas did not exist, and Columbus had continued to the Indies (even putting aside the threat of mutiny he was under) he would not have survived long enough to reach them at the rate he was going.
Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free all American slaves, just the ones in the area under revolt (i.e. the South). Since that area did not recognize his authority, only some slaves were immediately freed by the Emancipation Proclamation; with most slaves freed as Confederate territory came under Union control. It took the thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to free slaves in the few Union slave states.

Painting of Napoleon BonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte (pictured) was not especially short. After his death in 1821, the French emperor's height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet. This corresponds to 5 feet 6.5 inches in Imperial (British) feet, or 1.686 metres, making him slightly taller than an average Frenchman of the 19th century.[8] The metric system was introduced during his lifetime, so it was natural that he would be measured in feet and inches for much of his life. A French inch was 2.71 centimetres,[9] an Imperial inch is 2.54 centimetres. In addition to this miscalculation, his nickname, "le petit caporal", adds to the confusion, as non-francophones mistakenly take petit literally as meaning "small"; in fact, it is an affectionate term reflecting on his camaraderie with ordinary soldiers. He also surrounded himself with soldiers, his elite guard, who were always six feet tall or more.
During World War II, King Christian X of Denmark did not thwart Nazi attempts to identify Jews by wearing a yellow star himself. Jews in Denmark were never forced to wear the Star of David. The Danish government did help most Jews flee the country before the end of the war.[10]
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini did not make the trains run on time. Much of the repair work had been performed before Mussolini and the Fascists came to power in 1922. Accounts from the era also suggest that the Italian railways' legendary adherence to timetables was more myth than reality.[11]

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