Useless Facts: Let slip the dogs of war!

2900 at last count: http://www.angelfire.com/ca6/uselessfacts/

I figgure I’ll unleash them on the SDMB to check the veracity of these ‘facts’.

It took me about eight seconds to find this:

That’s stupid. Mafia is derived from a Sicilian word, “mafiuso,” which means… er, it’s kind of hard to translate, but “admirable” in a masculine, tough sense would be closest, I think.

As a general rule, all stories you hear about words originating in acronyms, prior to the 20th century, are bullshit.

Also:

No, you wouldn’t. Your body is not a frigging firecracker. The Master himself speaks:

Also:

Nonsense. A stupid old urban myth.

No, that’s not really true. The Magellanic clouds are separate galaxies, and are much closer. The Milky Way actually has a number of satellite galaxies that are, obviously, closer than Andromeda.

Brainiac tested the well idea. Their guy stood at the bottom of a giant industrial smokestack. The sky was blue, which is only logical. The diffraction of the blue light makes it look like it’s coming from all directions of the sky. What would make the sky look black would be not having much atmosphere above you.

What about Azerbaijan? (And that sentence should probably have “in English” as a disclaimer at some point…)

sigh And of course there’s this one, which still seems to pop up every now and then despite all efforts to the contrary:

No, they were not. In the late 70’s, some cities in Finland were faced with having to cut down on public expenses. Some of these expenses included magazine subscriptions in libraries and public offices, and one of these magazines under consideration was Donald Duck magazine. This led to some foreign news agencies reporting that the reason these cities would no longer carry the magazine in libraries etc. was because the duck did not wear pants. (I guess because it made for a funnier news story than “They don’t have money”.) Strangely enough, this piece of news then found its way back to Finland, where some Finnish news agencies reported it as the gospel truth.

Donald Duck magazine is the most popular weekly periodical in Finland with 300 000 subscribers and over 1 million readers weekly. I find it very difficult to believe anyone would try to ban these comics. The public outrage would be beyond compare. :smiley:

Pretty sure that one has to be false; birds have been taken to microgravity environments and kept there for long enough to determine whether they could adapt to flying in low-g (generally, they couldn’t) - given that most birds starve to death really quickly, I think the above factoid must be false. (Colibri might be able to confirm)

Which birds? All of them? Bullshit. Inasfar as birds ‘sleep’ at all, they sometimes do it in their nests; I have photographic evidence of this from my bird box webcam.

Only 10 thousand years? Sounds like this was penned by a creationist.

Useless. Which mucus membrane? What size of postage stamps.

Too general; some sharks are able to stop moving.

WTF? What? do they upgrade to club class or something. Sheesh.

“Yea, and the Lord saith; thou shalt also not eat of the hamster, the chinchilla, the chicken, the ferret and the budgerigar.” Bullshit.

Several others, including “fast,” “moot,” and the vert “to table.” (US vs. UK usage).

Certainly not in that order. It depends on how and wha tyou count, but E T A O I N are usually cited as the most common.

Whoever said it was?

On your birth certificate, your birthplace is the town, city, or village where you were born, so you would have to be born in a hospital in Los Alamos for your birthplace to be listed there. The form for requesting a New Mexico birth certificate does not require a spot for any street or post office box; only the location. I have no idea how built-up Los Alamos was during the Manhattan Project, and what sort of hospital facilities it had, but it seems likely that any pregnant woman at the time would make the 20-25 mile drive to an Albuquerque hospital in order to give birth in a better facility.

Ignorance fights back. Frustrating.

Yes, nothing quite like publishing then running away while the published innacuracies stay that way.

I was all ready to debunk this one, but I flushed the toilet in the bathroom across the hall from me and it is, in fact, an E flat. (I don’t have perfect pitch, but I can come up with a note if I have time to think about a song that I know has that note in it. E flat is “Fun Zone” by “Weird Al” Yankovic.) I can’t speak for every other toilet in the world, of course. And the phrasing of the “fact” makes it seem like it’s talking about a key rather than a pitch, which of course makes no sense.

This one is true.

It was commissioned by the Khedive of Egypt, but not to commemorate the opening of the Suez canal, although this is a popular misconception (in fact, I’m finding a lot more cites on Google for it being true than not. Maybe I’m making shit up.)

The Wikipedia page for Beethoven’s 5th has this page in its references list, which tells about a symphony by Joachim Nikolas Eggert, who wrote a symphony with a trombone section in it around 1807. Of course, a lot more people have heard of Beethoven’s 5th.

:dubious: Right, because they spoke modern English and all.

…except that “bête” isn’t pronounced like that (it’s more like “bet.”) And Webster’s says “Middle English bete, from Old English bEte, from Latin beta.”

False. The Coca-Cola Company took their time finding a phrase which would both make sense and sound like “co-ca-co-la.” It was Chinese businessmen advertising Coke before they made their final decision that came up with bizarre phrases such as “bite the wax tadpole,” as the Chinese character for “wax” is pronounced “la.” Coke ended up going with a “ler” sound instead.

Pac-Man was released in 1980.

Princess Peach (formerly Princess Toadstool, the name was changed to coincide with her Japanese name) is a different character from the Daisy character which appeared in Super Mario Land. The Mario movie played very strangely on the Mario mythology.

The line has been sometimes interpreted as “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.” Disney stated the line was “Scat, kitty, take off and go.” To me, it sounds like Aladdin is saying, “Good tee-ger (comedic mispronunciation of “tiger”), take off and go.”

Santa’s last name is spelled “Claus,” not “Clause.”

This is never mentioned in the film nor in the L. Frank Baum book on which it is based. The Gale surname was first mentioned in one of Baum’s later books, Ozma of Oz.

Actually 1963 for the Ford Falcon.

Although there is a “Skull Mountain,” the name of King Kong’s island is never mentioned in the 1933 film. The “Skull Island” name wasn’t officially used until the 2005 remake.

Actually Alan Smithee, a name which was retired by the Director’s Guild of America after it became common knowledge.

Alaska’s state motto, “North to the future,” was adopted in 1967.

So does Zimbabwe.

There is no mention of why: they renamed the town in 1950 from Hot Springs so the radio show of the same name would come there.

Mickey Rooney claims that Walt invited him into his studio to tell him he was planing to name the character after him, but that’s probably false. Where the dating-his-mother thing came from, I don’t know. The story commonly told is that Mickey was named by Walt’s wife Lillian, who preferred it over her husband’s suggestion Mortimer.

W.C. Fields isn’t buried- he’s cremated. Although he wanted this as his epitaph, he didn’t get it- all his mausoleam reads is “W.C. Fields, 1880-1946.”

Of course he did, it was a psudomym. His real name was H. Vernon Johnson.

There were three dogs who played the role of the Taco Bell dog- Gidget, Dinky, and Taco.

[quote]
Michael Jackson was black. :)*

Of course, this is a joke, but it’s technically still true- Michael Jackson’s skin lightened due to vitiligo.

One must be an actual person to win an Academy Award. Although Walt Disney holds a record for the most Academy Awards won by a producer, and some were won for Mickey Mouse cartoons, Mickey himself never won an award.

I find it hard to believe that the silhouette on the MLB logo is a real person. For one thing, the nose is too pointy. Indeed, Major League Baseball themselves state that there was never a model for the MLB logo.

Well, duh: “Deca” is the Latin word for “ten.”

It’s the same on the old one, too: it’s the same picture.

The old Dodge logo doesn’t have a Star of David in it- it’s a pentagon with a five-pointed star in it.

Some people believe so, but it isn’t intentional. Besides, the point is moot- the bushes in question no longer appear in the picture on the new $5 biil.

According to the television series and some DC Comics, Smallville is in Kansas. However, the Man of Steel may live in Illinois today- although the fictional town of Metropolis is presumably the DC Universe’s equivalent of New York City, the real-life town of Metropolis, Illinois was declared “Superman’s hometown” by the state of Illinois and DC Comics in 1972. Its newspaper was once even called The Daily Planet.

It’s in the film, or at least in the DVD version. When Glinda the Good Witch shows up and asks Dorothy if she’s a good witch or a bad witch, Dorothy replies “I’m not a witch at all. I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas.” It’s on the imdb quotes page, but I’m also going from recent memory - my 3 year old watches Wizard of Oz at least once a week.