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Top 10 Facts You Should Be Taught in School

Bryan Johnson . . . Comments

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide educational evaluation of 15-year-old students. PISA is a highly respected program and enables politicians and policy-makers to examine the education system in different countries. The test focuses on reading, mathematics and science. In 2010, the results from the last series of PISA tests were released. It is clear that the United States and United Kingdom need to make some changes in the educational process.

South Korea ranked #1 in math and reading, #3 in science. Finland ranked #2 in math and reading, #1 in science. Canada ranked #5 in math and science, #3 in reading. New Zealand ranked #4 in reading and science, #7 in math. The United States ranked #14 in reading, #25 in math and #17 in science. The UK ranks #20 in reading, #22 in math and #11 in science. Students in the UK and US are not being taught the basic fundamentals of space, science, computers, disease, war and the atmosphere. This article will examine ten facts that should be taught in school.


Human Senses

Laughing And Blushing

People are taught is school that humans have five senses. They are hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste. In reality, people have more than five senses. The number ranges from 9 to over 20. By definition, senses are the physiological capacities in organisms that provide inputs for perception. Senses are feelings that allow you to navigate your environment. In humans, we have a central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and retina. The nervous system has an area dedicated to each sense. Apart from the traditional abilities, humans can sense high and low temperatures (thermoception), balance (equilibrioception), acceleration (kinesthesioception), body and limb position (proprioception) and pain (nociception).

Other natural abilities include the sense of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, need to defecate and blood carbon dioxide levels. People also hold a large collection of internal senses. This includes the chemoreceptor trigger zone of the brain which receives input from the blood and communicates with the vomiting center. Cutaneous receptors in the skin not only respond to touch, pressure and temperature, but also other emotions such as embarrassment, which will make your skin blush. Pulmonary stretch receptors are found in the lungs and control respiratory rate. The senses of hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste were originally taught by Aristotle 2400 years ago. I think it might be time to expand the elementary school textbooks and discuss the entire human sensory capabilities.


Large Hadron Collider


In general education classes, students don’t get taught the basic laws of physics. For this reason, people don’t understand the fundamentals of our galaxy. A black hole is a region of space that holds a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape. Black holes exist in the center of most galaxies. In particular, there is strong evidence that a black hole with more than 4 million solar masses is located in our Milky Way.

Students should be taught about the world’s advancement in high energy technology. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is located in a tunnel at the depth of 175 meters (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. The collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics. It was constructed by over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

On March 30, 2010, the first planned collisions took place between two 3.5 TeV beams. The result was a world record for the highest-energy man-made particle collision. The Large Hadron Collider will be running at full energy (7 TeV per beam) by 2014. The hope is that the machine will replicate the energy observed in space and answer some important questions. Scientists want to learn about the existence of the elusive Higgs boson particle, extra dimensions and dark matter. Dark matter accounts for 23% of the mass of the universe. Experiments will also be conducted to research why gravity is so much weaker than the other three fundamental forces.

On May 24, 2011, it was reported that the quark–gluon plasma (the densest matter besides black holes) was created in the Large Hadron Collider. With a budget of 7.5 billion euros, the LHC is one of the most expensive scientific instruments ever built. The experiments have sparked fears among the public that the device might create a doomsday phenomena, involving the production of stable microscopic black holes. In the last couple years, the collider has become a popular device in science fiction, with people claiming the ability to time travel.


Maurice Hilleman


Maurice Hilleman is credited with saving more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century. He was an American microbiologist who developed over three dozen vaccines. In 1909, Hilleman was born near the town of Miles City, Montana. His twin sister died at birth, and his mother passed away two days later. In 1941, Hilleman received his doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Chicago. From 1948 to 1958, he began to research the influenza virus. The 1918 Spanish flu is the most serious influenza pandemic in recent history. During the 1918 flu pandemic, some 550 million, or 32% of the entire world population was infected, between 50 and 100 million died, making the pandemic one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

In the 1950s, Maurice Hilleman identified the fact that genetic changes occur when the influenza virus mutates, known as shift and drift. The discovery helped him recognize that an outbreak of flu in Hong Kong could produce a huge pandemic in the 1950s. Following a hunch, Hilleman discovered a new strain of influenza. He developed a vaccine for the virus and forty million doses were distributed all over the world. In 1957, Hilleman joined the Merck & Co. research organization in West Point, Pennsylvania. While working at Merck, Maurice developed over forty experimental and licensed animal and human vaccines. In 1963, Maurice Hilleman’s daughter Jeryl Lynn was diagnosed with the mumps. In response, he cultivated material from her, and used it as the basis for a mumps vaccine that is still used today.

Maurice Hilleman and his group of researchers invented vaccines for measles, mumps, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. He also played a role in the discovery of the cold-producing adenoviruses, the hepatitis viruses, and the cancer-causing virus SV40. Maurice considered his work on Hepatitis B to be his single greatest achievement. He ran his laboratory like a military unit and did not name any of his vaccines after himself. “If I had to name a person who has done more for the benefit of human health, with less recognition than anyone else, it would be Maurice Hilleman. Maurice should be recognized as the most successful vaccinologist in history.” He passed away on April 11, 2005, at the age of 85.


Common Misconceptions

Marie Antoinette

We need to clear up some common misconceptions. There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets. Marie Antoinette, who was the Queen of France and husband to Louis XVI during the French Revolution, never actually used the phrase “let them eat cake” when she heard that the French peasantry was starving. George Washington did not have wooden teeth. They were actually made of gold, hippopotamus ivory, lead, and animal teeth, including horse and donkey teeth. The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred on August 2, 1776, not July 4. Napoleon Bonaparte was not particularly short in comparison to other French men and did not have a Napoleon complex.

A common misconception is that you must wait at least 24 hours before filing a missing person’s report, this is not true. Entrapment laws in the United States do not require police officers to identify themselves. Sushi doesn’t mean “raw fish” and not all sushi includes raw fish. If a person swallows chewing gum, it doesn’t take seven years to digest. Chewing gum is mostly indigestible, but it still passes through the digestive system and out of your body. A person who has used LSD more than seven times is not insane. One hit of marijuana doesn’t have the carcinogen effects of an entire cigarette. The largest study of its kind by the University of California found that people who smoke marijuana are no more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers.

In fact, some studies have shown that marijuana may actually reduce the risk of some cancers by as much as 61%. It is commonly claimed that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made object visible from the Moon. This is false. City lights were the only feature reported to be visible. Seasons are not caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer. They are the result of the Earth being tilted on its axis. Meteorites are not hot, but cold when they hit the earth. The claim that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo is false. Houseflies do not have an average lifespan of 24 hours. The average lifespan of a housefly is 20 to 30 days.

Bulls are not enraged by the color red, which is used in capes by professional matadors. The movement of the fabric is what irritates the bull and causes them to charge. Shaving doesn’t cause hair to grow back thicker or darker. Hair which has never been cut has a tapered end and after cutting the hair the taper is lost making the new hair sharp. Alcohol doesn’t make a person’s body temperature warmer. Eating less than an hour before swimming doesn’t increase the risk of experiencing muscle cramps or drowning. Drowning is often thought to be a violent struggle, where the victim waves and calls for help. In truth, drowning is often inconspicuous to onlookers. The instinctive drowning response doesn’t show prior evidence of distress.


Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease

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Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a degenerative infectious brain disorder that is incurable and fatal. CJD is commonly referred to as mad cow disease, because the bovine spongiform encephalopathy virus is believed to cause the disease in humans. In a person with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, the brain tissue develops holes and forms a sponge-like texture. This is due to a type of infectious misfolded protein called a prion. In CJD, prions replicate in the brain. The first symptom of the disorder is dementia, leading to memory loss, personality changes and hallucinations, accompanied by speech impairment, jerky movements, balance dysfunction, changes in gait and seizures. Most victims die within 6 months of diagnosis.

Other prion diseases include Gerstmann–Straussler–Scheinker syndrome (GSS), fatal familial insomnia (FFI) and kuru. Humans can contract CJD by consuming material from animals infected with the bovine form of the disease, such as cows. In a more alarming statistic, a 2004 report published in the Lancet medical journal showed that CJD can be transmitted via blood transfusions. The discovery alarmed healthcare officials because a large epidemic of the disease could result in the near future. In response, the UK government banned anyone who had received a blood transfusion since January 1980 from donating blood.

On May 28, 2002, the United States Food and Drug Administration instituted a policy that excludes all blood donors who spent at least six months in certain European countries (or three months in the United Kingdom) between the years 1980 to 1996. In New Zealand, anyone who has lived in the UK, France or the Republic of Ireland for a total of six months, between 1980 and 1996, is prohibited from donating blood. The FDA has also banned the import of any donor sperm to the United States, motivated by the risk of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.

The world population is yet to experience a major outbreak of CJD in humans, but research conducted at University College in London has suggested that the symptoms of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease might take 40-50 years to become visible. It has been discovered that similar diseases that involve the spreading of prions, such as kuru, have a long incubation period. If true, humanity could experience a major outbreak of CJD in the future. This would be detrimental, as the disease would spread via blood transfusions and artificial insemination procedures. As of 2011, no generally accepted treatment for CJD exists. It is invariably fatal and research continues so we can understand the threat posed by the disorder.


Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage

Germanatomicsnorway 700 01

The history of World War II that is presented in American high schools is limited. Mandatory classes should be provided to explain the war and its impact on world affairs. We will examine one specific operation that was undertaken during World War II that helped defeat Germany and the Axis Powers. In 1938, nuclear fission was discovered by a German chemist named Otto Hahn. Nuclear fission is the reaction needed to produce nuclear power and weapons. Hahn is regarded as “the father of nuclear chemistry” and the “founder of the atomic age.” By 1939, Germany had developed an advanced nuclear weapons program. They had a nuclear reactor and facilities used for the production of uranium and heavy water. They also performed uranium isotope separation.

During World War II, it became a high priority for the Allied troops to disrupt the German nuclear program. The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions undertaken by Norwegian soldiers during World War II to prevent the Nazis from acquiring heavy water (deuterium oxide), which could have been used in the production of nuclear weapons. In 1934, the Norwegian company Norsk Hydro constructed the first commercial plant capable of making heavy water as a byproduct of fertilizer production. The plant was located at Vemork power station at the Rjukan waterfall in Telemark, Norway. Prior to the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, some of the heavy water was removed, but a large supply remained after the Nazi occupation.

A Norwegian resistance movement was developed in order to sabotage the nuclear threat. In early 1943, Operation Gunnerside was carried out by the Allied troops. During the attack, a team of SOE-trained Norwegian commandos succeeded in destroying the production facility with explosives. The ground mission was followed by a series of Allied bombing raids. In response, the Germans elected to cease operation at the facility and remove the remaining heavy water to Germany. Upon retreat, Norwegian resistance forces sank the SF Hydro on Lake Tinnsjo to prevent the heavy water from being removed. In retrospect, the operation has been labeled the most successful act of sabotage in all of World War II. It helped stop the production of Nazi nuclear material.



0103-Stuxnet-Iran-Nuclear-Program Full 600

People should learn about the history of cyber warfare. Cyber warfare is the politically motivated hacking of a network in order to conduct sabotage and espionage. Large organizations have been put together to study cyber attacks. Stuxnet is a computer virus and the most complex malware ever written. The worm targets industrial software and equipment. It spies on industrial systems and infiltrates them. Stuxnet is the first malware to include a programmable logic controller (PLC) rootkit.

Stuxnet is designed to target Siemens Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. These symptoms are configured to control and monitor specific industrial processes, such as the production of nuclear material. In 2010, different variants of Stuxnet were discovered in five Iranian organizations. The primary target of the attack was a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. After the virus was discovered, the Russian computer security firm, Kaspersky Lab, speculated that the cyber attack could have only been conducted “with nation-state support,” such as that held by Israel and the United States.

Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction said, “We’re glad they (the Iranians) are having trouble with their centrifuge machine. We, the US and its allies, are doing everything we can to make sure that we complicate matters for them.” The Stuxnet virus was initially found in Iran, Indonesia, and India, but it has since spread across the world to Azerbaijan, Pakistan and the United States. Unlike most malware, Stuxnet targets computers that hold specific configuration requirements. The virus is programmed to erase itself on June 24, 2012.

Stuxnet can be used as a weapon. It contains code for a man-in-the-middle attack that fakes industrial process sensor signals. This causes an infected system to not shut down properly when abnormal behavior is detected. It prevents operators from identifying problems, such as a nuclear core meltdown. The virus directly attacks the coolant rods of a nuclear reactor. In an interesting coincidence, the reactors located at the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan use Siemens’ controllers. During the earthquake of March 11, 2011, three of the six reactors at Fukushima did not properly shut down. The behavior is consistent with a Stuxnet infection, which damages system controllers.


Holocene Extinction


The Holocene extinction refers to the current mass extinction of species during the Holocene epoch. The Holocene is a geological epoch which began 11,700 years ago and continues to the present. It represents the expansion of the human race, including all written history. The epoch has been characterized by a large number of plant and animal extinctions, most notably mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods. Based on the species-area curve, it has been estimated that approximately 140,000 different species become extinct per year. Many of these are tiny organisms. However, the Holocene extinction includes the disappearance of large mammals, known as megafauna.

The cause of the Holocene Extinction has been attributed to global warming, pollution, and human influence. There is currently no general agreement on whether the event is part of Earth’s natural cycle of evolution. A collection of scientists have estimated that the current extinction levels may be 10,000 times higher than the normal historic rate. Research based on archaeological and paleontological digs on 70 different islands in the Pacific Ocean have found evidence that thousands of different species have become extinct due to human expansion. This includes the moa-nalo, which was a goose-like duck that lived on the larger Hawaiian Islands.

In Madagascar, eight or more species of elephant birds have become extinct, as well as the Malagasy aardvark and 17 species of lemur. In the Indian Ocean, several species of giant tortoise have become extinct on the islands of Seychelles and Mascarene. Some examples of large animals that have become extinct during the Holocene epoch include the auroch (large cattle), tarpan (wild horse), thylacine (carnivorous marsupial), quagga (species of zebra), the Steller’s sea cow, Falkland Islands wolf, Atlas bear and the Eastern cougar. Top officials are aware of the situation and currently 189 separate countries are part of The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) treaty. The treaty was developed in order to create national strategies for the conservation of biological diversity.


Near-Earth Objects

Comet Elenin

A near-Earth object (NEO) is a Solar System body that has an orbit which brings it within proximity of the Earth. NEOs include a few thousand asteroids, comets, a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft and meteoroids. Since the 1980s, near-Earth objects have become of interest to scientists because of the potential danger some of the asteroids or comets pose. As of 2008, two near-Earth objects have been visited by spacecraft. They are 433 Eros and 25143 Itokawa. 433 Eros is the second-largest near-Earth asteroid after 1036 Ganymed. Eros has a maximum diameter greater than 10 km. and has entered the orbit of Mars. In 2001, the NEAR Shoemaker probe landed on the surface of 433 Eros using maneuvering jets.

Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) is a long-period comet discovered by amateur Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on December 10, 2010. Comet Elenin will come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on September 10, 2011. On October 16, 2011, the comet will reach its closest point to the Earth. It has been showed that the comet has a heliocentric orbital period of 600,000 years, but being on a highly eccentric orbit, the comet will be frequently perturbed by the planets as it leaves the inner solar system. Using the JPL Horizons On-Line Ephemeris System, the comet shows a semi-major axis of approximately 11,700 years. This is quite alarming as the Pleistocene epoch on Earth ended 11,700 years ago.

On December 25, 2004, an asteroid named 99942 Apophis was assigned a 4 on the Torino scale, the highest rating so far. On December 27, 2004, there was a 2.7% chance that the Earth would be impacted by Apophis on April 13, 2029. Since that time, the risk of impact with the asteroid has dropped to 0% for 2029, but, a possibility remains that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis will pass through a gravitational keyhole and set up for a future impact on April 13, 2036. Currently, the only known near-Earth object with a Palermo scale value greater than zero is (29075) 1950 DA, which is predicted to pass very close to or collide with the Earth in the year 2880. Humanity has been preparing for the day an asteroid impact becomes inevitable. A gravity tractor (GT) is a spacecraft that deflects another object in space using only its gravitational field to transmit the required impulse.



Sad Man

Everyone reading this article is familiar with the fact that cancer causes human death. Cancer is a heterogeneous class of diseases. It forms the uncontrolled growth of cells in the human body. Once active, the cells can intrude upon and destroy adjacent tissues. The tumors spread to different locations in the body via the lymphatic system and the bloodstream. The rates of cancer related deaths and diagnosis are growing. In 1904, it was reported that only 1 in 24 people were diagnosed with cancer. In 2008, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women were given a diagnosis of cancer.

The statistics are impacted by the discovery of DNA analysis and improved medical technology. More than 50% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. A recent press release by the health charity Macmillan Cancer Support found that 4 in 10 people in the UK will get cancer. Currently, 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is due to cancer. In 2011, it was projected that a total of 1,596,670 new cancer cases and 571,950 deaths will occur.

In the United States, the overall cancer rates have been stable in men over the past couple years. In women, incidence rates have been declining by 0.6% annually since 1998. Cancer rates for individuals in poor neighborhoods are more than twice that of the wealthy. In the early 1900s, cancer of the lung was practically nonexistent in the world. Women who smoke are more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer as men. According to a 2008 report published by the World Health Organization, there will be approximately 20 million new cases of cancer a year by 2030, up from 12 million.

  • Moddy

    I learned all these in school.

  • Random Guy

    This was a very informative list. I’m still in school and learned 2 list items at school. I also learned about 5 others from research in books and the internet. The other 3 were new though.

  • Canuovea

    Quite interesting. Trivia stuff, but I like it.

  • Odorikakeru

    A link that goes with the list as a whole, but is especially apt for number 7 –

  • dangsthurt

    USA is better and more smarter than any other contenant in the word!




    • A part of me wants to believe that you are just trolling

    • HJRO

      Can’t tell if a troll or an idiot.

      • Ike

        Is there a difference?

    • Otter

      I sure as hell hope it’s a troll considering continent is spelled wrong. What a dumbass.

      • Christine Vrey

        More smarter????? You mean smartest!!! Fail, 1 comment and you put your whole country to shame. I dont generally like to stereotype, but come on….. They are steriotypes for a reason…… Americans = Naive idiocy!!!!!

        • forsythia

          1 Comment and he puts a whole country to shame? That’s a bit of an overraction, dear.

        • SJ

          You might want to reread your post. You’re bashing Americans, and yet you cannot even post a comment that is not riddled with spelling and grammar errors. You, ma’am, have failed.

        • Snassek

          So we should assume that you are an idiot too since you can’t even identify a troll. I guess stereotypes are created by non-American trolls.

        • John C

          First of all, I’m American and the type of person that’s like “USA! USA!” to something idiotic makes the rest of us look bad. He is a troll anyways. Also, I think you mean “there are stereotypes for a reason.” “Steriotype” is not a word.

        • moldytoast

          don’t feed the troll…

        • DGMdragunov


      • Chineapplepunk

        I thought that the USA was a country anyway, not a ‘contenant’?

        • Professor

          I thought a “contenant” was a large body of land that also wasn’t a vowel

          • Drumgild

            You mean CONSONANT, “contenant” isn’t an English word, non-vowel or otherwise

    • hammer

      Fail troll

      • heythereguy

        Troll didn’t fail. It got a lot of attention from idiots.


      (assuming that this guy is an American,because he favors USA)…I think he is trying to prove a point, which is the INTRODUCTION to this list.

    • Incitatus

      Obviously, they need to teach the concept of irony in schools as well. Don’t you guys see the post is meant to be funny through a sweet irony?
      Excellent comment sir! I found it hilarious.

    • Alecto

      Maybe you should get overseas more often…

    • Sam

      “USA is better and more smarter than any other contenant in the word!



    • Raj

      usa is not a ‘contenant’

    • Claw

      I take it you are NOT from USA?

    • Nanette

      It was a JOKE. Geez, so serious.

    • raubtier

      It’s the same guy who trolls every listverse thread.

    • anne

      usa is a country not a continent lol

      • Mark Whalburg

        This whole conversation is all kinds of stupid.

        • Name

          these comments are too american

  • Lovely list. learned about some of these during my schooling days, one thing i do wish you could have added to your list is Tolerance. Went to a christian girls school when i was young and one of our teachers was suspended for teaching us to accept people of different sexual orientation. I think it would be best if kids where taught that people are different and that all should be treated as equals . . . many parents don’t anyway

    • Armadillo

      +1. A part of me was expecting “tolerance” to be featured on the list, too.

      • Samara

        So tolerance is considered a fact now?
        Guess I should’ve gone to college…

    • Trinity enigma

      Tolerance shouldn’t need to be taught in schools. Most intolerance us taught by parents and peers and is rarely taught in schools (or at least not taught at my school).

      One of the problems is that when intolerance is taught it is difficult to ‘unteach’ especially since it has probably been around them since birth.

      • True, intolerance is difficult to “unteach” and it is sad how parents instill their values onto kids, turn them into hateful puppets. It is really terrible but i still stand by what i said. Tolerance should be taught at school.

        School life coaches/Life guidance teachers should do that as part of the curriculum

        • Trinity enigma

          I don’t disagree about that just that it shouldn’t need to be taught.

        • Mike Ockizard

          I kind of agree about teaching tolerance, but like others have said, tolerance is not a fact. What class would you teach “tolerance” in? Would we have to create separate tolerance classes for the kids?

          Also, who decides what is taught? Obviously we must be tolerant of all sexes, races, faiths, sexual orientations, handicaps, etc. What about those whose beliefs we consider vile? Do we have to tolerate and respect white supremacists? Pedophiles? Animal humpers? the Westboro Baptist Church? Islamic extremists that want to kill you? Those are their beliefs, and as long as they don’t act on them criminally, we don’t have the right to not tolerate them, right?

          How about we just say that everyone is right in what they believe, and we are not allowed to question anyone’s beliefs about anything, because it may lead to hurt feelings?

          By creating tolerance classes in schools, we are essentially super-ceding the parents own beliefs and removing them from the equation in favor of a political belief system. Granted there are some f’ed up parents who shouldn’t be breeding, but I don’t think that gives the government the right to determine what kids are allowed to believe, which is exactly what you are suggesting.

    • BryanJ

      Nice call. That would have been a good entry to include.

  • BarryHines

    Was the introduction an excuse for a random load of trivia which couldn’t be joined together in any other way? This is incredibly tenuous

    • John

      I would have to agree. The items on the list didn’t link together in any way and the whole list came off as random trivia instead.

      • Maggot

        Not to mention, they didn’t seem to be related much to the whole base-issue discussed in the opening paragraph about PISA scores. “The test focuses on reading, mathematics and science.” – while seven of the items on this list were science-related, none dealt with math or reading, and I doubt if knowing any of these would directly improve scores on the science portion of this test, let alone the math and reading portions. Not saying these things listed aren’t worth knowing, but just that it didn’t seem like a fitting response to what appeared to be the focus of the list (i.e. the poor US/UK test scores problem). Maybe they fit in response to the intro’s second-to-last sentence, but then why go on to such a degree about the PISA scores? I dunno…maybe I am splitting hairs here, and don’t get me wrong, I thought the items were interesting, just a little disjointed.

  • rickp

    It’s great for Korea to be have such high rankings on those test, but their education system is based on passing test. Western countries should take the rankings with a grain of salt, educational leaders here actually look to the West for improvements in the system.

    • Incitatus

      I partly agree with what you said, modern “western” education has moved away from academic excellence towards, leadership and character growth. That being said, there needs to be a balance between the two, the “No child lefty behind” act in the U.S is just promoting mediocrity and it will catch up to us.

    • Geliaebrina

      So Finland isn’t part of the western world?

  • canadawow

    wow i didn’t no canada was so strong academically

    • raubtier

      i dident no that eether.

      Way to make us look stupid infront of the Americans.

    • YouRang?

      Canadians do well academically, but Americans tend to take them lightly. That’s because Canadians have not done a good job of presenting their culture to the world. The way we do this is through TV. One of the best shows Canada ever created was “Corner Gas” created by and starring Brent Butt. It’s the combination of GAS and BUTT that makes people think Canadian TV must be one long string of fart jokes.

      Seriously, though, Canadians do better than Americans at many academic subjects, but don’t have the respect they should have. They need more flashy achievements, maybe. True, they built the world’s biggest mall, but that seems to be kind of going in the other direction, you know….?

      • Mike Ockizard

        C’mon, we all respect America junior down here in the USA. You guys are great at hockey and how could anyone not respect the culture that gave the world poutine! (delicious btw)

        Seriously though, most Americans do respect Canada, you just lack the big flashy achievements and industries that draw the world’s attention. Being from a state that borders Canada, your culture just kind of blends in with ours, and I think that is part of the problem. Maybe build a few giant skyscrapers or something to try to stand out. Overall though, we couldn’t ask for a better tophat for our country!

        • You say Americans respect Canada yet you call it “America junior”…

          • Ian Osborne

            Canada is paer of North America. When dealing with Canadians over the Net, I call myself a, rather than an American, since Canadians are Americans, too (as are Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, etc.

            As to the Jr. business, don’t bother with it.

          • Ian Osborne

            Sorry for the errors. I haven’t been well.

  • HJRO

    I learned most of these during 6th Form, and the rest while at Uni, Education here in the UK can be pretty good.

  • Otter

    I learned about a few of these in school but the others I learned by reading and other sources, except number 8. I never heard of him. It’s a shame that most kids today are more interested in crap like how many people the cast of The Jersey Shore slept with but heroes like Maurice Hilleman go unnoticed.

  • oakfarm

    Maurice Hilleman is an is an interesting choice, if I had chosen a scientist who during the last century made ??a great contribution to public health I would have chosen Jonas Salk (American, 1914-1995, known for vaccines against polio), Norman Borlaug (American, 19142009, known for the Green Revolution), or perhaps Selman Waksman (born in Russland naturalized American, 1889-1973, who is said to have tried the 10000 cultures before he found an antibiotic that was effective against TB).

    The difference is that my choices were more spectacular efforts. To combat terrible diseases and hunger, are simply more spectacular than fighting several minor (but sometimes deadly) diseases. Having said that I’m not saying that Maurice Hilleman was a bad choice, it’s just that I’m a person who like spectacular (the third time I use that word) efforts. Hope I make sence.

    • BryanJ

      All of those people would have been good choices for the list. Good info.

  • name

    I’m from England and I learnt pretty much all of this in school. Education here isn’t that bad, at least not as bad as this list makes out, most of this is basic or random trivia.

  • Aniceto Rui

    Number 8 is makes an incorrect claim. He did save millions of lives, no denying that but the record for saving the most number of people must surely go to Norman Borlaug, the father of the green revolution who saved at least the lives of a billion people from starvation.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    Yeah, I’d rather see my children learning relevant things, than these completely random facts.

    If you have a list of ten random interesting facts, just name it ’10 random interesting facts’.

    • Mark

      “4. Stuxnet

      People should learn about the history of cyber warfare…”


      • Arsnl

        Cuz google will stop working?

      • BryanJ

        People should learn about the history of cyber warfare because it is a growing threat to national security in every nation. Cyber warfare is a new and relevant form of attack. Kids should also learn how to prevent the spreading of Internet viruses.

        My motivation for this list is the fact that in American schools (the ones I am familiar with) teenagers are not taught the basic fundamentals of space and planets (like black holes), which is something that is very important. We are not taught current and relevant topics, such as the Large Hadron Collider, Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease, the influence of World War, human’s impact on nature and the growing trends of cancer. It is all impacting math and science intellectual ability. If you are a parent, just look at the numbers and then continue to think, I want my kid learning the basics.

        • sam

          In my country, and I guess in the rest of the world too, internet crimes are not regulated. Not just viruses, hacking groups like Anonymous steal personal data and secret government information to publish as pranks. If we start valuing the importance of things in the list, we can do something about it.

          Also, I see religion is mentioned over and over in the comments; on the contrary, school should teach about the basics of all religions, because only by knowing them can you choose to believe or not. Children that go to religious schools attend based on their parents beliefs and often don´t get any chance to question.

    • It’s not random. Five of these things will become extremely relevant and important in the near future. It’s better to become aware of them now, instead of being taken off guard by them when they need to be dealt with.

  • chrom3d

    This is what they should be teaching in school not religion. Science is my God.

  • UofPA08

    Part of the problem in the US is the students themselves and the way the educational system is set up. In the US, most students learn something long enough to pass the exam and then forget about it until they need to use it on an exam later. Having TA’d at two universities, the number of students who can’t remember how to do basic calculus as Juniors and Seniors is mindboggling.

    The reason I say this is to point out that some of the items in the list merely exacerbate that. For example, what substantive information can a 15 year old take away from learning about the LHC? They don’t know what a quark-gluon plasma is, they don’t know what an electron Volt is, nevermind understand how incredibly large TeVs are.

    The other problem with this list is that I learned most of this stuff after I turned 15. What in the world does a 15 year old need to know about the LHC or the Torino scale for?

    However, even if the premise of the article is things that should simply be taught in school (making the introduction out of place), most of this stuff is taught in schools. Including most of the “common misconception” list.

  • tj

    Pretentious introduction, but an interesting set of facts.

  • moly

    like they are actually going to listen to vvhat the gov’t does not vvant us to knovv!!!!!!!

  • magoopaintrock

    Don’t ya just hate it when you’re with a group of people and “that guy” starts saying something like, “Actually, sushi doesn’t mean raw fish…”

    No one said it did, guy. No one said it did.

    • YouRang?

      I know that guy. He’s the one who always has to tell you that a peanut isn’t really a nut. It’s a LEGUME.

  • jer-bear

    Great list. If I heard of half this list, I’d still be in school learning the other half!

  • taronzone

    I learned all of these in High School except for Hilleman (which I will admit is an indignity, but at least he’s getting some credit on this list) and I went to small town public school right in the middle of the Bible-belt. I don’t think our poorer test scores have a lot to do with teachers withholding information from their students, I think it has more to do with how the American society is different (note, I said different, neither better nor worse) in regards to how important we think test scores are. Generally in America you will find that students as well as parents DO worry about grades, but not to the same extent that someone from an Asian country. It is actually acceptable to just pass a test and get the idea than to exceed at it. That is unless the student chooses to exceed at it, study it more, and maybe make a career specializing in it. We tend to find it is more important for a student to get a general idea of a variety of things, but an A+ in Geometry, while celebrated, really only matters to most students and parents if the kid feels they would try their hand at engineering or another such career that would need a full understanding of the topic. Grades are meant to encourage students to learn the material here, but in many countries they are a basis of competition and a social symbol, and even here that is the case in many of America’s Asian communities. A grade of B- would be just fine for most American families, but in the example of a second generation Vietnamese American living in a Viet community, a B- is looked down upon and may even result in punishment thus perpetuating the stereotype that Asians are genetically better at math. It’s not that they’re better, it’s that they are liable to get their asses kicked if they don’t make the scores. Actually keeping or becoming passionate about the information learned is less important to them socially. While that may sound worse to us, our idea of education sounds worse to them and makes us appear lazy and stupid, while they seem to us to lack any passion or innovation. Different strokes for different strokes I suppose. Go Sociology powers go!

    tl;dr: UK and American schools are a reflection of the society. Different from others, no worse no better. Don’t look so deep into statistics without a greater understanding of the concepts behind them.

    Still, besides the name of the list and the intentions behind it, it was well written and had a lot of fun info, I hope to see more from you in the future. :)

    P.S. YAY, my first listverse comment (and a long one).

    • Arsnl

      YAY your first comment, and wow it’s racist. Congratz. Im sure 1-2 billion people all were trying desperatly to get A s. Im sure all those chinese that made my jeans or my watch or my nike’s are all experts in geometry.
      Also you only talk about the uk and the s but you don’t mention some of these asian countries: finland and canada.

      • CanadianNavy

        asian countries= finland and canada? huh?

        im guessing sarcasm, but im not sure what you meant by that

        • Start

          It is sarcasm. He’s saying that despite not being Asian (which this guy seems to think mean you automatically care about grades), and not being all that dissimilar from the U.S. or the UK Canada still does better than them. Basically he’s saying it has nothing to do with race and taronzone is full of shit.

    • Nomnom

      Where did you go to school? You think it’s considered acceptable to just pass a test and get the general idea rather than do well? Maybe for mediocre students. Not at all for smart kids who have the ability to do better. I was a really good student and was friends with a lot of other really good students, and I can tell you that getting a B-, while not the end of the world, would definitely have been considered a disappointment for any of us.

      I think a lot of the difference in American schools does have to do with expectations, though. I spent most of my school years in New Jersey at a very good school. The Northeast generally has the best schools in the U.S. The teachers cared and were good, and if you were a good student they expected you to do good work. We had to take tests to get into advanced classes, and when you were in them, you got summer homework to do. You would get assigned 100 math problems or a 3 page paper to do overnight, and you would get marked off if it wasn’t done. We had a statewide standardized test every year, but it was considered a very routine thing. It was not at all a big deal, and you were fully expected to pass it easily.

      I spent my last 2 and a half years of high school in Florida. Huge difference. Most of the teachers, were to put it bluntly, flat-out bad and unqualified to be teaching anything. You would get assigned a 3 page paper 2 weeks ahead of time, and if you didn’t bother to finish it, no big deal, the teacher didn’t care. You didn’t even have to come up with an excuse, just turn it in late. You won’t even get a lower grade. My math teacher assigned 100 problems of review questions before a test, but gave the class the entire class period two days in a row to finish it, and didn’t even care if you never finished. The statewide standardized test was considered some huge big deal, and we were forced to actually do practice questions every day for this one test. They spent all year trying to teach you how to pass the test, rather than actually teaching you the material that would enable you to pass the test very easily.

      Other countries have tests which are considered important to do well on for your future, to the point that you have to get a certain score on the test to go to a good university or do a certain major. We have the SAT and ACT, which are similar. I think the big difference there is just that American universities will consider other aspects of a candidate, like extracurriculars or whatever, whereas in say South Korea the huge emphasis is on your test scores. But I’m really willing to bet that in Japan or Finland they don’t waste all school year attempting to teach you how to pass a test. They teach you the actual subject instead, and they won’t accept kids being lazy and not trying. The U.S. is in general too concerned about making every kid feel special and too willing to accept mediocrity from teachers and students. If all the schools in the U.S. were run like the better Northeast schools are, the U.S. would be much better in the rankings.

      • Samara

        Jesus Christ, why don’t you just write a book?

      • rtp

        I went to very good schools in Louisiana, and I have to say, they remind me of your “better” Northeast schools. I’d be willing to bet that if you did some research in New Jersey AND in Florida, you would find that every state has “good” and “bad” schools in different areas.

      • Tommy

        Dude, don’t be a snob, you just sound like a jerk.

  • soulja4daHOLY1

    #1 fact that should be taught in schools- Creation!! seriously, do you honestly believe that life and the universe in all their complexity just “happaned”? everything has a cause and effect, and to assume that all matter came from virtually nothing contradicts the very scientific laws we are bound by. go figure… it really takes more faith to believe that than believe we were created/designed, simply by observing the universe and life. and if you claim you can’t “find God”… Deuteronomy 4:29

    • Patrick Smythe


    • youaredumb

      Don’t worry, in a few thousand years, schools will be teaching your mythology right alongside ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythology. You clearly have zero understanding of science if you think made-up fairy tales explain everything better than science does. Religion is just a crutch used by the ignorant and the gullible. 2000 years ago people thought a god pulled the sun across the sky, because they had no other explanation for it. Once you actually get to the point where you can use science to explain nature and the universe the way that it actually is, you no longer have any legitimate use for religion. People still believe in that crap purely out of habit and brainwashing.

    • fudrick

      If everything has a cause, what caused god? Or did you mean to say “everything has a cause, except god because I say so”?

    • Blah Blah


      That’s dumb. Your creation myth is not a fact.

      You say life can’t just “happen”… so how did your god get here then? What was his ’cause’?

  • a lot of these are trivial, children do not need to be taught that waiting for an hour after eating before swimming is false. When will that ever be a serious problem?

    Same with the chewing gum – 7 years.

    The waiting 24 hours to report a missing person, that is a strictly american thing, so cannot be a misconception in the UK, if you are going to try to combine the two countries and then list common misconceptions they should probably misconceptions that exsist in both cultures.

    and the misconception that shaving makes your hair grow faster helps parents convince their teenage sons to shave.

    There are much more important things that could be focused on than those. If I found out that my child was going to a school where the curriculum was just the teacher correcting misconceptions I would remove my child from the school because there are so many misconceptions that they’d never get a chance to do anything else.

  • people are dumb

    the only reason uk education is ranked low is because we have the benefit system so little scummers realise they dont have to work a day in their lives and can live off handouts, so put in 0 effort at school and disrupt classes for others

  • Christine Vrey

    Great list!! Learnt some of these at school, but there was allot that I didnt know!!! I loved the misconceptions, I believed so many untill now. GOOD JOB

  • khatzeye

    Great list. They don’t teach this in American schools. Most of this I learned on my own. Problem today is that at least my generation knew how to still pick up a book and parents today don’t force their kids to read more. A shame we are just breeding idiots here.

  • Amrendra

    Bryan you again came back with a bang. Great list. Super informative.

  • acg3

    This was a good list of random facts.

    I will say that, as an american, history class only taught us the American side of WW2 (guadal canal, Mariana turkey shoot, iwo jima, mcarthurs return, storming the beach at normandy, the a-bombs etc..)…but I guess that most countries do the same thing.

    I wonder if schools can teach common sense?

  • John

    If you are going to put Maurice Hilleman you should also put down Norman Borlaug for saving over a billion people.

  • EnEightyFive

    I’ve learned all of this from Litverse.

  • oouchan

    I fully agree with this. I learned most of it in school, but should have learned all of it. It’s amazing what people DON’T learn. Well written and informative list. I enjoyed it.

    Great list.

    • Arsnl

      Well i don’t know why a child should mearn about black holes. If he is passionate he can read about them on this site or in any vulgarisation magazine. Cuz frankly about black holes or the lhc a professor can talk only for about what 15, 20 mins? So you’ll have classes of 20 mins alm day long teaching random tid bits. Hey these things are cool. No doubt about it. But it wouldnt help children focus on only one problem. In highschool i learnt Newton’s principles, Kirchkoffs circuit laws, optics etc. Are these things so trivial? Keep it simple, create a foundation, build at it, help children focus on single problems. Information is not what kids need. It’s a routine, a way to solve things. Google can show me what a black hole is, but it sure cannot solve me a physics problem.

      • Namekim

        “Information is not what kids need”…….please don’t apply to be on your local schoolboard.

      • oouchan

        Well…in this day and age, kids NEED information to get ahead. These facts should be included with others because that\’s what learning is all about. By teaching these facts, some child might use it for further study down the line and end up being included in some class 40 years from now. We shouldn\’t limit ourselves just to basics.

        • me

          I agree that kids need information. The problem is that we can give them information on every single subject on the planet and if they have no clue how and why to ever use the information, it’s useless and they will neither care nor remember.

        • KayJay

          No, kids don’t need just raw information. It can help, sure, but kids need to be taught to THINK. I mean, sure, it’s useful to know Avagandro’s number, the golden ratio, and the plate tectonics theory. However, nothing was ever created because a person repeated the same data over and over. Sure, I know how to read music and play it, I know different techniques and styles, but if all I can do is repeat what I’m taught, I won’t ever develop my own style, right? I apologize for the music reference, but it’s what I immediately thought of. :P

          My point is, misconceptions and such trivia is great as an out-of-school pursuit. While you’re in school, you need to be given information, sure… But you also need to learn to think. That’s what many of my teaches have done, and I sincerely thank them for it. Information is no good if you can’t do anything with it.

  • omg lemonade

    University of California found that people who smoke marijuana are no more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. found that very interesting, 1 in 2 men have cancer.. that’s kinda scary

  • karl

    OMG im actually shocked. Number 5, The Heros of Telemark. Someone else actually has the brains to realise the significance of this operation. This point alone makes me love you and the list. I thought it would be good to mention however how close the Nazis actually came to developing nuclear weapons as it was due to these heros that they didnt actually develop it becomes the USA. They ha a head start and before this sabotage operations they had a leading development. (Dispite Hitler specifically not actually liking nuclear technology)

    • BryanJ

      Thanks for the compliment. I did a lot of research into the heavy water sabotage operation and am grateful to the soldiers. It was clearly an extremely important moment in history.

      • acg3

        Great research for sure! I remember seeing a story about the history channel as a kid. The show said that the commandos left a Tommy gun behind at the site just to let the Germans know who did it. It was kind of like them flashing the nazis ” the bird”…you got to love that!

    • Kjetil

      Actually, I’m very unpatriotic to say this since I’m Norwegian, but I think the significance is highly overrated. No doubt, it was a tremendously well executed operation, requiring a high level of skiing and mountaineering skills. They got in undetected, did their job and got out without any causalities on either side. That deserves a great deal of respect.

      But the factory was operational after a month. All these things were all just minor dust in the machinery. At best, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      If you study the internals of the German nuclear program, you’ll see a very disorganized effort. There were turf wars going on between competing groups, and no sense of direction. There were also severe miscalculations making the problem seem much harder That’s probably the main reasons why it failed.

      But I think you should look deeper into why some of the greatest minds that has ever lived on earth failed to make any significant progress on what in hindsight appears to be a fairly trivial engineering problem. I think that’s a much more interesting study than what happened at Rjukan.

      The key to this understanding is the meeting between Niels Bohr and his long-time friend and student Werner Heisenberg in September 1941. This meeting has been portrayed in the play “Copenhagen” by Michael Frayn, which I would suggest for the curriculum rather then the Heros of Telemark.

  • Tracypants

    I think one of the reasons America does so poorly on tests like this is because of the way we’re taught to answer certain types of questions. For instance, because of the controversy over teaching evolution in many states (including my home state of Kansas) there is a heavy emphasis put on the difference between scientific theory and scientific fact. We are taught that a fact is a verifiable truth in science and a theory, no matter how well it fits or how much other science is based on it, is still unverified.

    It probably seems like it wouldn’t make a difference, but it really would. If I were asked on a test: “The Universe was created during the big bang, True or False?” I would probably answer false because I’ve been taught that a theory is different than a fact, despite believing in the theory myself.

    • BryanJ

      Thanks for the comment. I agree this would be a difficult question to answer on a test. Evolution is an established scientific model. It is any observed change over time in one or more inherited traits found in a population of organisms. This part of the model is not contended, but the four common mechanisms of evolution are by some people. This includes natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow.

      The Evolution as theory and fact argument has been waged for decades. I will include a link to the Wikipedia page that does a good job discussing each side of the issue. I am actually surprised that any U.S. state is still not allowed to teach all aspects of evolution at this point in history.

      • Tracypants

        When i graduated 5 years ago, schools were allowed to teach it but first teachers had to review other popular “theories” such as creationism and intelligent design (and by review I mean a half hour segment covering everything, it was really brief and then we moved into evolution). They also had to state that evolution is still a theory blah blah blah… oh yeah, and we had to get a permission form signed by our parents.

        • Start

          Did they at least distinguish between what a scientific theory is and an everyday theory (ie. guess) is? Because it really pisses me off when people say evolution is just a theory without knowing the difference.

  • Tracypants

    Also, I think another good inclusion for the list would’ve been that Columbus didn’t discover America. I don’t know how it’s taught in other countries, or for that matter how much anyone else cares, but personally it drives me insane that almost no one here knows that the Vikings did it first (if you’re not in fact counting the millions of indigenous people already living here). In our own country, we should know better.

    • ColumbusHater

      Columbus discovered Hispaniola. Not America.

  • helltotheno89

    What is it with education being not worth the paper it uses to write the exams. I didn’t learn any of these at school or college I learnt them by reading for myself. My pet hate is schools where I live still teach there are 9 planets in the solar system. I always thought schools were there to dispel ignorance not breed it. Great list and I totally agree with your point of view

  • Andres

    Interesting and very complete list, though some of the “misconceptions” are disputable, at least some people will dispute them.

    Also, I believe scientist Norman Borlaug may have saved even more lives than Hinneman. He’s credited with having saved at least a billion lives. That is to say that about one in seven people alive owe their being alive to him.

  • Soukie

    Wow, without Hilleman, we all be doomed. Thanks, for the great list!

  • Ok, this is just a weird mismash.

    Interesting points cribbed mostly from wikipedia, but by and large unfocused and completely out of step with the title.



  • odin

    if Maurice Hilleman is here then Norman Borlaug should be there too

  • inconspicuousdetective

    the real problems start with the parents helping their children to learn and the lack of care to learn by both the kids and the teachers.

  • Alex

    Marie Antoinette, who was the Queen of France and husband to Louis XVI??? Did you mean wife??

    • BryanJ

      Oh ya, I did mean to say wife. Good find. My bad.

  • Concerned American

    Look at the rate of Cancer 100 years ago vs now . Compare it to how many chemicals were produce in the last 100 years . Isn’t ironic that the smartest people in school are the one ‘s responsible for some of the biggest problems in society ( CANCER ).

    • Dopamine Addicted

      i shat out that lil boy on the right after a big lunch today lol

  • TheSwamper

    An interesting list, but I think the title is misleading. For the title, I expected things like ‘how to apply for a job’, ‘responsible home financing’, ‘basic car repair’, ‘basic cooking’, etc. All these are things I think schools should make mandatory.

    I’m a fan of astronomy and in particular particle physics and I don’t think it’s important that the public at large know about the LHC or NEOs.

  • Jim C

    “The virus directly attacks the coolant rods of a nuclear reactor. In an interesting coincidence, the reactors located at the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan use Siemens’ controllers. During the earthquake of March 11, 2011, three of the six reactors at Fukushima did not properly shut down. The behavior is consistent with a Stuxnet infection, which damages system controllers.”

    This would be very interesting if it wasn’t completely, totally and entirely wrong. Fabricated. False. Incorrect. Made up. Bullshiat.

    I challenge you to find a source for your assertion.

    Stuxnet has nothing to do with nuclear reactors; it attacks centrifuge controllers.

    • Bryan J

      I agree with you that the statement “The virus directly attacks the coolant rods of a nuclear reactor” is a bit misleading. It has the ability to turn up pressure inside of a nuclear reactor. I recommend the video Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus by Patrick Clair. The virus has the ability to switch off oil pipelines and tell the operator controllers that everything was normal. Stuxnet has coding that directly attacks the centrifuges that spin nuclear material. The Washington based Institute of Science and International Security says that the virus may have shut down 1000 centrifuges at Natanz in Iran.

      Associated Press/Fox News
      In a major setback to Iran’s nuclear program, technicians will have to unload fuel from the country’s first atomic power plant because of an unspecified safety concern, a senior government official said.

      The vague explanation raised questions about whether the mysterious computer worm known as Stuxnet might have caused more damage at the Bushehr plant than previously acknowledged. Other explanations are possible for unloading the fuel rods from the reactor core of the newly completed plant, including routine technical difficulties.

      • BryanJ

        Back on October 5, 2010 the Daily Yomiuri reported 63 computers in Japan were infected with the Stuxnet Virus.

        Mr. Yomiuri provides the following details –
        Stuxnet, a computer virus designed to attack servers isolated from the Internet, such as at power plants, has been confirmed on 63 personal computers in Japan since July, according to major security firm Symantec Corp.The virus does not cause any damage online, but once it enters an industrial system, it can send a certain program out of control.

      • Jim C

        “The virus directly attacks the coolant rods of a nuclear reactor” isn’t misleading, it’s false.

        “It has the ability to turn up pressure inside of a nuclear reactor” isn’t misleading, it’s false.

        Instead of a wildly speculative and undocumented 3-minute video, try a multi-page, properly reported and documented article:

        • BryanJ

          My research still says that the Stuxnet Virus “has the potential” to directly affect a nuclear reactor by turning up pressure.

          According to experts, Stuxnet was completely unique. It had an array of capabilities including the ability to shutdown oil pipelines, cause industrial equipment to overheat, and even turn up the pressure in nuclear power plants. More insidiously, Stuxnet could tell the system operators that everything was normal.

          Ralph Langner, a German cybersecurity researcher, called Stuxnet “a precision, military-grade cyber missile.” It was a 100-percent-directed cyberattack aimed at destroying an industrial process in the physical world,” he said. “This is not about espionage, as some have said. This is a 100 percent sabotage attack.”

          By August, the details of Stuxnet were becoming clearer. Researchers learned troubling news: The virus sought to over-ride supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in Siemens installations. SCADA systems are not bits of virtual ether—they control all sorts of important industrial functions. A SCADA system could, for instance, override the maximum safety setting for RPMs on a turbine.

          Symantec Warned:

          Stuxnet can potentially control or alter how [an industrial] system operates. A previous historic example includes a reported case of stolen code that impacted a pipeline. Code was secretly “Trojanized’” to function properly and only some time after installation instruct the host system to increase the pipeline’s pressure beyond its capacity. This resulted in a three kiloton explosion, about 1/5 the size of the Hiroshima bomb.

  • Planet Earth

    They should teach the about the life of Nikola Tesla and his accomplishments & ideas . He’s the father of wireless technology , Robotics , & of nuclear science The Large Hadron Collider is partly base on Tesla work . He the most famous Physicist to ever live . A young Albert Einstein came to America to study under Tesla .Tesla was quoted as saying to Einstein “That the present belong to you (Einstein) but the future belong to me (Tesla).

    This man could speak 8 different language ,could go day’s without sleep working away . He had to over come so many things like Thomas Edison trying to discrete him . Thomas Edison is quoted as saying his biggest regret in life was trying to fight Tesla instead of trying to learn off him .He would make lecture about how everyone on planet earth could get free electricity . Those type of statements made him some power full enemies that hated him because he did not care for being rich .

    NIKOLA TESLA is the most underrated scientist of all times . Please do yourself a favor and read about this man . Because the school won’t teach you about him . He was the electric Jesus !

    • YouRang?

      Tesla was great. He did some incredible things. There is also a great deal of mystery surrounding his life and work , and that is why he’s been mentioned in Listverse before. But I don’t believe we’ve ever had a list devoted to Tesla entirely, and it’s time we did. Maybe you could write it…

  • Mantas

    People should also be taught that there is no god, that make a lot of other things clearer.

    • The Rational One

      I don’t care if you’re atheist, but lots of people aren’t. Also, you can’t prove that there isn’t a god. You may be right, their might not be a god, but saying for a FACT that their isn’t a god is ignorant bullshit. We don’t know if there is, but we can’t say for a fact that there isn’t. Don’t bring up this argument. Neither side can win.

      • Maggot

        You may be right, their might not be a god, but saying for a FACT that their isn’t a god is ignorant bull*****. We don’t know if there is, but we can’t say for a fact that there isn’t.

        Maybe not, but we can say it with about the same degree of certainty as we can in saying that there aren’t, say, invisible pink unicorns.

      • kim

        For future reference, mention pascal’s wager, smile and walk away…(not saying I believe or don’t believe), however most” typical” people don’t know of it. Always good for a laugh….*I hate typing on my nook*

  • stinkyperoo92

    ok that last one is bs, you’re telling me 50 percent of men were diagnosed with cancer? i know alot of people and none of them have cancer except for like older people.

    • BryanJ

      There are a lot of older people in the U.S. The statistic is shocking. The information was taken from the US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Database, and is based on incidence and mortality data for the United States from 2005 through 2007, the most current years for which data is available.

      American men have a 44.2% chance of developing an invasive cancer in their lifetime. The appropriate figure for this data is that 1 in 2 men. The risk of dying from cancer in men is 23.20%. Females hold a chance of 37.76% with a 19.58% rate of death. The overall cancer rates from around the world greatly increase when you start factoring in developing nations.

      • YouRang?

        Actually, Bryan, those are the figures for DIAGNOSED cancers. Most people in the field believe that we develop early cancer at a much higher rate, but the immune system destroys it.

        Years ago, the National Cancer Society used to proclaim, “We’re winning the war on cancer.” Winning was defined as the person would live five years after the first diagnosis. So if nothing else changes and you diagnose cancers earlier, of course more will survive those five years. In reality, you’re holding even or losing. Every child should learn about this little deception as it’s a valuable lesson in how an entire nation can be fooled by a flat-out lie.

  • A Person

    I do like the idea of this list, but I don’t agree with the things listed. Like someone said, this is trivia stuff. A lot of people don’t know the basics that would help them understand these things. Basics first, then the more advanced things.

    Also, I don’t understand why a thing like Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage should be taught in schools when students seem to have a very vague (usually also very biased and false) understanding of the course, reasons and consequences of World War II to begin with.

    Personally, I would’ve loved to see things like languages, independent thought, basic science and learning about other cultures (other countries and their locations, their religions etc) on this list, since those things seem to be missing from the curriculum of most American schools but really shouldn’t go unnoticed.

  • Y2

    1. you are not special. you were just the fastest sperm on a day where hundreds of thousands of other babies were born.
    2. things when heated, tend to become hot
    3. money comes and money goes. it always has and it always will.
    4. question authority
    5. the masses are asses
    6. there are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and road construction
    7. wear sunscreen, smoke only moderatly, and drink intelligently
    8. start saving now, so you can die somewhere nice and warm someday
    9. choose your own beliefs
    10. you, and everyone you know, will die someday

    • Ad_Hominid

      11. do not expect anything to be handed to you
      12. do not trust politicians
      13. do no trust religious leaders

  • Jen

    Cancer is a disease of old age. As the population is aging and living longer, the rates will go up but its not neccesarily people of a younger age are more likely to develop it

    • R

      Cancer is NOT a disease of old age. Out of the people I know that have developed Cancer, most of them were under 35. Not to mention how many children in the world that have been diagnosed with cancer.

      • Ragey

        He’s correct. Cancer is largely environmentally caused. The longer you live, the more times you’re exposed to carcinogens, and the more likely you are to develop cancer at some point. An older population that is surviving other diseases will be exposed by more carcinogens and be more likely to develop cancer at some point in their life.

        Young people can develop it if they have a genetic predisposition that makes them more vulnerable, if they’re exposed to more carcinogens due to their living conditions, or if they just get unlucky and roll snake eyes straight off. The fact that young people develop it doesn’t make the fact it increases with age incorrect. What you’re suffering is confirmation bias.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    @ oouchan have you heard from Mom, have not seen a comment from her in a while.
    I just hope she is OK

    • mom424

      I’m ok and really, really appreciate your concern. Family crap (good thing you don’t pick your family the same way you do your friends – I know quite a few who’d be orphans) and the calming effect of gardening….

      No worries, I shall return. And I have been keeping up.

  • Tom

    this is one of the best lists i’ve read on listverse in a very long while. very imformative and full of information i was not aware of previously

  • mom424

    Excellent list Bryan – I’d be surprised if good teachers aren’t already teaching this stuff. In my experience the best teachers stray far and often from the proscribed curriculum.

    You missed one though – I would have included Norman Borlaug – the man who fed the world. Nobel laureate scientist who took it upon himself to try and end starvation. He developed high yield, drought and disease resistant grains and other crops. He wanted sustainable agriculture; encouraged ‘green’ farming practices and food security for developing nations. He is credited with saving at least a billion lives globally.

    • BryanJ

      Good call,
      He is definitely worthy on inclusion. I had never read his story before.

    • YouRang?

      “In my experience the best teachers stray far and often from the proscribed curriculum.”

      I expect this has always been true, mom. The teachers from whom I learned the most were those who related school work to everyday life. But I’m told that school boards are trying to raise test scores by forcing teachers to stick to the curriculum and never go off-topic anymore.

  • Bernard Marx

    The only way to improve the american public education system is with drastic and sweeping reform. We need to raise standards desperately, both of students and teachers. The problem is nobody will bring this up because everyones afraid of being labeled a muslim, commy faggot.

  • Gabriel

    The Theory of Evolution, instead of that religion crap.

  • Sam

    I wish school would teach economic history and home management, I remember in school there was a social science class that sort of touched the subject, and I also had Home Economics, but it was more like housewife class, where you learned to bake cookies and make teddy bears…Kids should learn about credit managing, Stocks, Banks, and taxes.

  • sami71290

    another interesting fact: the body is constantly fighting cancer; in other words, cells are always mutating. the development of diagnostic cancer occurs when the body naturally stops having the ability of fighting it, causing mutated cells to have the freedom for rapid growth and reproduction. the reasons why the body stops include the body’s own immune response; in other words, the body loses the ability to produce immune cells against the cancerous tissue, due to signals put out by cancerous cells themselves that trick immune cells into thinking they are natural. cancerous cells are the body’s own cells that have lost the ability to differentiate and can only grow and multiply without control.

    also, i disagree with some of these. not all of this is quite as important as others. i do agree, however, that science must be emphasized much, much more -a country’s progression is often indicated by the strength of science&tech programs.

  • Maggot

    I’ve always taken issue with the bit about all these “other” senses beyond the common five. While these other ones listed are of course legit sensations, IMO almost all of them just seem to me to be just another type of response to the sense of touch.

    • mom424

      Agreed. Even balance is a response to feeling the pull of gravity albeit through fluid in the inner ear. Interesting point.

  • Jane Smith

    No. 7 Common Misconceptions

    ‘Drowning is often thought to be a violent struggle….’

    This is a great article about that very thing:

  • John Doe

    Pretty good list

  • RJK II

    One of the biggest reasons for the United States and the United Kingdom scoring quite low is mostly due to poverty, I say that because in a study students in private schools scored 521 in reading, 515 in science and, 508 in math scoring ahead of every other country and in public schools its lower mostly because of children in poverty don’t really have the bigger chances of scoring high and other don’t go to school at all. Of course I’m not saying that’s the only reasons I’m saying that’s one of the biggest reasons.

  • Chazbedlam
  • alright

    If you wanted to post a list of random stuff just title it “10 Random things”. Contrary to what sometimes appears to be foreign belief, American kids are taught stuff that matters (planets, periodic table, algebra)

  • sodaholicgurl

    uhm…no offence but i can honestly think of a lot more important things to teach kids in schools…really most of these things are pretty trivial

  • YouRang?

    The first and most basic skill is, of course, READING. Everything you will ever want to know is onn the Internet somewhere. But you have to be able to read the articles. Among the Top 10 things kids should be taught. First Aid and CPR, Simple Home Repair (clogged toilets, etc.), Use of Reference Materials (It’s a little more than just looking at Wikipedia), Basic Ecology (Weather vs. Climate, how elements of an ecological system can be interdependent), Viral and Bacteriological Threats (how viruses mutate, etc.), Creating Impressions (Job Interviewing, etc.), Recognizing Danger Signals (perverts, storms, etc.), Basic Problem-Solving, How to Listen, Basic (Very) Geography (Nothing detailed, just finding continents on a globe, etc.)

    There are others, but these are the ones that most people seem to be unfamiliar with and most of these can be taught in a very short time.

    The Final Thing would be what I call “The Sturgeon Principle.” The sci-fi writer Ted Sturgeon wore an icon of the letter “Q” with an arrow through it. It means, “Ask the Next Question.”

  • Real

    Most of these are actually just completely useless facts that won’t benefit anyone unless they work in a very peticular niche field in the future.. I’d rather my kids learn practical things.

  • Dan

    Every Science class should have to teach Evolution, and keep that creationist garbage as far away from the Science class as possible.

    • john x

      I’m not religious at all. Barely ever attended a church. However, I couldn’t help but notice the hypocrisy in your comment. If you take a science book from 100 years ago, I can guarantee you 90% of that information is now considered today. Point being: science is CONSTANTLY changing. What is correct today may not be correct years from now. SECOND POINT: When you only offer one perspective on an issue, that is rather biased. What is it so wrong to provide students with a choice instead of teaching them that there is only one correct method?

      • Maggot

        What is it so wrong to provide students with a choice instead of teaching them that there is only one correct method?

        Because in science, there IS only one correct method. There is no reason whatsoever to provide some alternative “choice” when the alternative you are talking about has absolutely zero scientific substantiation for it

  • John x

    The public education system in the USA just plain sucks. The “history books” provided aren’t that at all. The perspective used is almost always one of pro-American…. whatever I don’t feel like writing a whole essay on this so I’ll just leave it at that.

    • YouRang?

      You’re right about history, JohnX. There’s a lot of crap there.

      Incidentally, I’ve read some things about how these books are chosen. It has very little to do with the books themselves or what’s in them. I’ll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to post the details if they like. But the process can get very dirty.

  • Pisspott

    I’m sorry but this is dumb. Those things are nice to know but def not necessary. I think we should focus on teaching 15 year olds how to be good decent loving human beings because none of this will be of use in their brains if they can not be contributing members of society and look around, most aren’t. Even the smart ones.

  • Someone

    Article is 100% poorly researched BS on Stuxnet. It does NOT ATTACK REACTORS. It attacks centrifuges that are critical to the production of nuclear material. Where the hell did you come up with that crap? There isn’t a bloody bit on Stuxnet attacking the reactors themselves anywhere. It screws with motors in specific centrifuges, centrifuges known to be used by Iran. That’s it. Fact-check your articles before publishing these outright lies and sensationalist crapola.

    • BryanJ

      Refer to my earlier conversation in the comments on Stuxnet.

  • @maggot so… i guess since there is no God, (or a Creator for that matter) everything in this universe- with all its complexity- is simply a product of “chance” that came from nothing… i mean, that’s what “science” teaches, and that everything has a CAUSE (and effect). i thought they said matter CANNOT BE CREATED nor destroyed? at least that may be true in the natural universe. there has to be Something Supernatural, not bound by such laws, to allow this universe to exist, especially to be so complexly designed- particularly life. i mean, if we all came from the cell, where did it come from to begin with, and how did it attain the ability to evolve and reproduce?? the intra-cellular processes are WAY to complex to be a product of chance, even more so than a computer (which was designed). and while i may not have answers to everything, i know for a FACT, based on observing this universe, there HAD to be a Creator. that’s why i believe it really requires more faith NOT to believe if one observes nature. and sure, God does work mysteriously sometimes, and while some questions are a little more difficult to answer as a Creationist, i am honest enough to admit i don’t have answers to every question- but that doesn’t invlidate my convictions that there had to be a Grand Designer. God bless you, and keep in mind Deuteronomy 4.29

    • Maggot

      i mean, that’s what “science” teaches, and that everything has a CAUSE (and effect).

      What science teaches (among other things) is that scientific theories and conclusions are based upon observable evidence that can be tested and is falsifiable. “Creation theory” or “Creation science” of whatever the f.uck you want to call it is none of those things, and is therefore a pseudoscience that, as the original poster Dan stated, does not belong in a science classroom.

      i am honest enough to admit i don’t have answers to every question

      So are scientists. The difference is, they don’t make up when they don’t know the answer.

      but that doesn’t invlidate my convictions that there had to be a Grand Designer.

      Scientific substantiation does not equal “because I couldn’t think of anything else”. THAT’S what you want students in science class to be taught? Blissful complacency? I fear for our future.

      God bless you, and keep in mind Deuteronomy 4.29

      Spare me your condescending tripe.

    • YouRang?

      “… that doesn’t invlidate my convictions that there had to be a Grand Designer.” It also doesn’t invalidate my conviction that the pyramids were built by aliens. Unfortunately, our convictions are our own, and other people are free to reject them. Including the local school board which stubbornly refuses to listen to reason. So a lot of kids will grow up believeing the pyramids were built by the Egyptians. Have you ever heard anything so stupid?

  • darren

    Out of all the things in the world these are the top 10 students need to be taught? What about managing credit cards and how to purchase a house? How to drive a car and understanding marriage and life? Blackholes and Norwegian heavy water sabotage are topics that people can live without.

  • I went to college

    Number 9 has some serious issues with it.
    “A black hole is a region of space that holds a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape”
    If our sun were to turn into a black hole right now, the Earths’ orbit would not change one bit. Micro black holes possibly created by the LHC would no more destroy the Earth than anything else of a corresponding mass.
    Whoever wrote this has not taken an astrophysics course.

    • BryanJ

      I took the definition of a black hole directly from Web Definitions. Just type in “definition of a black hole” into Google and you will find the exact same words.

  • Me

    I am a teacher and I get extremely tired of people telling me what I should and shouldn’t teach students. I agree that the misconceptions shouldn’t be taught as facts but as for a lot of the other stuff, kids only go to school for 30 hours a week for approx 40 weeks a year. That’s not much time when you think about the whole curriculum. At some point people have to open a newspaper/book/etc and take responsibility for their own education!

  • LahDeeDahDee

    Though Otto Hahn was apart of the team Lise Meitner was ultimately the true finder of nuclear fission. Because of the prejudice against Jews at the time she was forced to leave the country. Ultimately Hahn was given the award even though Meitner correctly articulated the occurence. Most historians agree that Meitner should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Not to put down Otto Hahn in the least, it’s just what i’ve learned.

  • Elemarth

    These aren’t facts, these are topics. I would also add a real education about different cultures and human diversity, which I found was really lacking throughout grade school.
    I learned about some of them, mostly in high school or college. I learned about the Norwegian heavy water sabotage in middle school because I did a report about World War II. As far as the extinction goes, we only learn about one, sometimes two, of the five major extinctions, so there’s more of a problem with our education that that! I can’t figure out what you meant by putting cancer on this list. Who doesn’t learn about that?

  • ADHD

    cannabis oil CURE/KILLS cancers, we have known this for 36 YEARS

    • ADHD

      omg,. kannabis oil

  • kim

    So as I am reading the comments, I cannot help but notice, the definitive steering of “practical” knowledge. Things such as managing credit cards, how to buy a house, to cook, to unclog a toilet, the sad part is – this is serious. Quite a few have commented that they would prefer their children learning these types “skills” from the educational institution.
    These items listed above are called “life-skills,” and are almost solely the responsibilities of the parent(s). Whereas; some of these “life-skills” have a place in a school setting, most do not.
    Schools absolutely need to focus on items that most deem “unimportant.” All of these items are worth knowing. They are “our” history, “our” facts, they tell a story of how someone created something from nothing. The drive required to do so, the power one must have to think “outside the box,” and there is a reward for using your brain, beyond knowing how to properly fold a shirt.
    I could go on and on regarding the failing parents who have such low expectations on their child’s education that they see fit for an instructor to teach how to unclog a toilet properly (or are so uninvolved/too busy to teach these types of skills themselves) , but I can only assume there is a reason why you don’t see too many South Korean janitors……..
    The most important fact that I believe most are missing: it’s not important whether YOU think it’s important or not. When the world is being taught “x,” you need to know what “x” is, how it works, why it’s beneficial or not, to be on at least a par level on a global scale.
    To those arguing poverty: it has been concluded that if all disparities (mainly poverty) taken in to account the U.S. would have actually scored worse.
    Knowledge is power. Until we remember that phrase and empower it, we are doomed to a nation that finds the Springer Show funny, and have day-cares in schools……
    * I will apologize for any grammatical, and punctuational mistakes, as it is 9am and I have yet to be in bed.

    • J

      Knowledge is power, is correct. As long as we waste time calling random facts “knowledge” we move further from true power. Education as random facts has increased in the last 200 years. If the U.S. was ever great it was great during a time when practical application of skills, not time spent learning as much junk a school can cram into it’s curriculum, took precedence.

      Knowledge is power, but you will never convince me that knowing how many grains of sand are on a beach on a Tuesday afternoon in May, definitely knowledge, is in any way meaningful. So not ALL facts = powerful knowledge. You have to know what to pick and choose, so it very much matters whether WE think it is important or not.

  • J

    Can’t imagine why teaching more random facts would be considered improving education. I think of all the time I wasted in school learning about dinosaurs, only to find out along the way that nearly everything I was taught, while considered correct at the time, is now known wrong likely incorrect.

    Would love to get any of that time back. Education should be streamlined in today’s world. No sense at all teaching about black hole theory, which like dinosaurs, is best guess and, while it might help you on some random test to see how good your education was, it will only be used by a very small percentage of the population.

    Teach basics and then add logic, argumentation and research. Then let people fill their heads with the random facts that interest them. Freedom to succeed or fail is in their hands at that point. Boring people not interested in whether the daughter of Maria Theresa actually said “Let them eat cake” or how many horns a Viking had is a great way to stall out the learning process.

    Basics, then teach them to learn, then leave them to their choices. More, and specific education in a field, or a life made of game show factoids.

  • Gordon O’Connor

    He’s a troll, he posts here all the time.

    google dangsthurt, read his youtube comments, and then be glad he’s probably too hideously ugly to reproduce.

  • matt

    Cancer is a stupid disease, very good at mutating, rubbish at keeping its host alive.

    They could well have taught any of these to me in school, i still would’ve wasted the years! Really i’ve only become interested in science, maths and languages in the last 5 years (i’m now 28), but i have a ravenous thirst for knowledge, mainly in science and quantum theory/mechanics… What a cruel world that gives free education/qualifications to the idiotic youth.

  • GeniusIQ

    I couldn’t give two shits about a hadron colliderscope or whatever it is. I have no interest in physics and the information will not benefit me in any way.

    Any way. I’m sure people who choose physics as an option learn about that type of boring shits.

  • YouRang?

    Bryan, do you title your own lists? It says FACTS and instead you have topics, the facts in the topics are often highly debatable, the intro is about raising test scores and it’s hard to see how knowing any of this stuff would do that, much of this stuff is going to be abstruse and boring to a lot of students, most of it has no practical value to most students, and it’s difficult to see why ANY of this should be taught in a school.

    It’s like you thought up a good topic title and then decided to see how far you could miss it in every direction.

    You present some interesting facts, but I wish you had waited to organize things a little better and put some of these in a list with the title, “10 Stories You Should Be Following in the Media.” Now THAT would be a useful list!

    In any case, it’s good that you at least bring these subjects to our attention as they’re often fascinating and good to know.

    • BryanJ

      I have run into problems with article titles in the past. Isn’t it interesting that the entire direction of the comments would be adjusted if the list had a different title.

      • YouRang?

        You’re not the only one who runs into that obstacle, Bryan.

  • Jenna

    I haven’t learned any of these in school yet.
    Why are so many people getting cancer?

  • rmg

    Americans should also be taught their history. How they killed and forcibly relocated the natives, then brought black people from Africa bound with chains as slaves.

    I’m not anti-America or anything, history is what actually happened not what someone thinks happened.

    • Maggot

      Why are you under the impression that Americans aren’t taught those things or don’t think those things actually happened? Do you have any other useless “points” to make?

    • YouRang?

      I’m famous for saying that everything I was ever taught in shcool turned out to be wrong. Actually, that’s an exaggeration, but finding out a little truth led me to want the rest of it. I would love to know what really happened in some cases. But it was a college professor who told me that the American government never gave disease-riddled blankets to the Indians. They wouldn’t have known to do that, he said, because Pasteur hadn’t published his germ theory yet when that happened. Hehehe. So what begins in Kindergarten continues right through college.

      To know the actual truth… wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  • Erick

    As long as the world keeps dishing out people who actually want to work, then that’s fine by me.

  • la di da

    If only the education system had the money it needed to employ the teachers to teach these things. There are many wondrous things to learn in the world if the resources to teach are there.

  • Eric

    The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted July 4th. Who cares when a copy of it that happens to be sitting in the national archives was signed? This seems like you’re just splitting hairs. Also, a lot of your misconceptions are just old wives tales. No intelligent person thinks that they’ll drown if they swim immediately after eating.

  • Lizz

    This test should be administered to more 16 or 17 year olds. At the age of 15, they are smart but a lot of the different topics such as the LHC, holecene extinction and astronomy is not covered until classes in the junior year. I must say though the US education system needs to change a lot of the topics being taught. We should be learning and understanding not only the basics of humanity but the dillemas and ideas of our present and future. How else are we going to grow into a generation that changes the world for the better?

  • Liz

    Honestly, is it a little odd if a (High School) student agrees with this? My school is ridiculous.

  • MedStudent

    Interesting list. However, by copying the wikipedia article on CJD you’ve made a few key mistakes. CJD is a group of three different diseases – hereditaryCJD (hCJD – very rare), sporadicCJD (sCJD) and variant CJD (vCJD).

    vCJD is thought to be caused by eating beef contaminated by BSE infected cows (although spongiform encephalopathies were first described in sheep (scrapie), where it can also be sporadic and non-infectious and there is no reason why contaminated lamb would not also be in the food chain). vCJD kills most young people (20s-30s) over a period of 18-24 months. Symptoms are initially less severe than with sCJD (ie behavioural and personality changes instead of memory loss) and develop slower (with myoclonus and seizures typically developing after a year), which is why it took longer for the causative agent to be described.

    sCJD has been with us for over 100 years and is sporadic. No one knows why some people get it and most don’t, but the idea is that a gene mutation turns a normal protein into a misfolded one (prion). Triggers are yet to be identified. In usually occurs in older middle age (50s-60s) and is a devastating progression of dementia, myoclonus (jerks) and leads to death in 6 months. There is NO link between BSE and sCJD.

  • Laura

    If you’re trying to educate, you should try to do it accurately at least. Otto Hahn didn’t discover nuclear fission, his partner Lise Meitner. Hahn was pretty much able to steal her work, the credit, acclaim and the Nobel prize from her because she happened to be Jewish in Nazi Germany (and likely because she was a woman) and once in exile was unable to co-publish her results. Hahn continued on to be a Nazi collaborator while Meitner refused an offer to work on the Manhattan project.

  • Ragey

    7. Marijuana smoke: A 10 second google showed me that the UCLA study was in 2006 showing no cancer link, but a study in 2009 by the University of Leicester showed that it did cause DNA damage, which can lead to cancer, and may even be more toxic than cigarette smoke.

    In an article published on the net, you couldn’t be bothered to do even a little research and confirm your “facts,” but you’re suggesting that a nation-wide curriculum based off educators considered to be in the know should somehow be less trusted, or able to maintain more accuracy and be faster moving to keep up with the progress of knowledge?

    • YouRang?

      Apparently, your own research consisted of “a ten-second google” and gave two different results. It sounds like you need to do a LOT more research. The fact that you can find ONE research study that didn’t give the same answer as all the others is pretty meaningless. But this is, apparently, what passes for “research” these days.

      • Ragey

        “Two different results” is irrelevant in considering their worth. If you’d had tertiary education in a scientific field you’d understand the evaluation and balancing of studies. The UCLA study was an observation study of 660 people, a relatively small observation group for such an experiment, and considered their resulting health conditions to be completely representative of a much larger population. The Leicester study was an in-lab experiment of the effects of the smoke itself, not assumptions based on observation and questionnaires.

        In other words, one was scientifically questionable and related to correlation, and the other was scientifically sound and related to causation. It is not a different result to “all the others,” it is a more scientifically accurate and relevant study that disproves one of the few prior studies that stand out from a crowd showing that the drug IS actually harmful. Go to google scholar, read a few abstracts from peer reviewed journal articles.

        The point of my claim was not to state a fact using adequate research, but to point out the irony of saying “How hard can it be?” and then failing those same conditions yourself under much easier to avoid circumstances. Funnily enough, you seem to be using my own admission of the lack of research as some point against me. You clearly don’t understand “research” if you didn’t bother to look into the studies yourself. Keep trying to be an internet hero.

  • Good information, but:

    1. You provide no sources. Research and fact statements always require sources.

    2. You’re gramer mayks ewe less credabul: “a phenomena”? Really? “has been showed”? Those are the two that really stood out. I know you’re probably not an English major and didn’t like English in school, but it does help when communicating with others.

    3. The “common misconceptions” piece is really cool, but for the formatting. If each statement were one sentence, that would be fine. Instead, you have some that are several sentences and at least one that’s even split into two paragraphs (mixed with other misconceptions). Again, it’s a grammar thing.

  • DB

    There’s a lot of speculative stuff on this list. Not as much of it is proven fact as you would have everyone believe.

  • Morgana

    I was taught barely any of this is school. I’m from a small south Alabama town where the teachers would argue using the bible as a backing point. I do believe the average gpa of my graduating class was 2.0. I definitely think schools like my old one need a major reformation.

  • Ian

    I learnt these while surfing the interweb at school…

  • Kris

    Another entry- student loans, particularly Direct Loans. Students need to know what they’re enslaving themselves to so that they can be better prepared in the future. In other words, study harder and get grants.

  • James

    What a great list! As someone from the UK I didn’t get taught this stuff.

    Also as for item 8 that one is amazing. I’d like to add Norman Borlaug alongside number 8 (go look him up if you’re not familiar)

  • Argnom

    PLEASE change no. 3 to all known/surviving recorded history.

  • emily_weirdnez

    love #7

  • Libra

    Cancer statistics when compared to those of the early 1900’s are not worth the effort, simply because most people died of other diseases before they were old enough to contract concer. Actually, the relative newness of and various types chemotherapy, early detection, and post-operative treatment have brought cancer deaths down from only a few years ago. In spite of some deaths of cancer among the young, it is still primarily a disease of old age.

  • mike Ockizard

    Uhhh, I’m pretty sure that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women did NOT get diagnosed with cancer in 2008 (per list item #1). If one in two men were diagnosed with cancer every year, then guess what happens in two years? LOL.

    Since I know of only a few people (out of hundreds) that were diagnosed with cancer in the past few years, the percentage must be well over 100 everywhere else in the world right? Maybe before you make a list regarding facts that should be taught in schools, you should make sure they are FACT based! Still not sure what you meant to say there. Maybe 1 in 2 will be likely to develop cancer, or 1 in 2 people over a certain age maybe???

  • Dick Jerkman

    Napoleon was really an Italian. Shitty list, too.

  • Generic American

    I’m proud to say that I learned almost all of these in school, with an exception of two I learned on my own time.

  • thomas

    all those misconceptions are true, except for the sushi one. sushi DOES mean raw fish, real sushi is more like sushimi. that chicken “sushi” isnt actually sushi. apart from that though, this is a good list.

  • cancer. Smoking is bad. All those shit.

    Gotta drill them into the youth’s minds. Absolutely imperative. To hell with tobacco companies.

  • Kim
  • Emaviemisamed


    • YouRang?

      Yeah, that is a good idea. You should be taught your name in school. I’d always been called Junior at home. My first day of school the teacher called my name and when nobody responded it was very confusing.

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  • The Doctor

    140,000 extinct per year?! What BS. That means that in 62 years all life on Earth would be gone.

  • person

    Some of these stuff are taught om school you know

  • dee

    lmao troll win

  • Niamh

    “There is no proof that vikings had horns on their helmets” etc

    Yeah, except the people who were there and saw it all?

  • Sodacrates

    Ok, this is a great list; it’s one of the best, but that being said this is a wrong fact. Meteorites may be cold before the enter the atmosphere, but by the time they hit the earth, and with the velocity they are traveling, they are incredibly hot. Objects falling just 1000 Kilometers gain about 1000-5000 degree centigrade (and that’s falling without their own acceleration). Depending on the size it can be hotter than a nuclear explosion detonating. The Asteroid that is believed to wipe out the dinosaurs is thought to have produced about 100 teratons of TNT. That’s two million times more energy (or heat) than the largest nuclear weapon ever produced. Anything that makes it all the way through the atmosphere is going to be searing hot not cold.

  • John son of John

    Glad I’m homeschooled and know all of these

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