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The American Series:
The Asian series:
The European Series:
True or false? How well do you think you know the world around you?
1. Carrots help you see in the dark.
False: Carrots do contain carotene, a natural compound that is needed to construct the light-receiving apparatus in the retina, but they won’t help you see in the dark. The story that consuming large quantities of carrots could enable improved night vision arose from the rumour mills of the Second World War. The story – actually propaganda – that British pilots were acquiring night vision capabilities thanks to their diet never really went away.
2. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.
False: The sound of knuckles cracking is caused by a small bubble building up in the fluid of the fingers then ‘popping ‘, scientists believe, and it could actually be beneficial to health.
3. It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
True: Diamonds big enough to be worn by Hollywood film stars could be raining down on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated. New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form. Lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond. These diamond “hail stones” eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planets’ hot cores.
4. Pirates wore eye patches so they could see better in the dark.
True: Pirates didn’t wear patches to cover a missing eye; they actually wore one to keep one eye adjusted to darkness when going below deck.
5. Mammoths still walked the earth when the Great Pyramid was being built.
True: A tiny population survived on the isolated Wrangel Island until 1650 BCE. Woolly mammoths survived there until 2500–2000 BC, the most recent survival of all known mammoth populations. Isolated from the mainland for 6000 years, about 500 to 1000 mammoths lived on the island at a time.
6. Eating chocolate gives you acne.
False: Eating chocolate does not, on its own, cause acne, although other research suggests that diet can determine how bad your acne will be. In clinical trials the consumption of large quantities of dairy-free chocolate made no difference to the number of ‘lesions’ on the faces of participants. The main culprit, according to three large studies, may be milk and other dairy products.
7. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and it can kill them.
True: And cats too! A few ounces are enough to kill a small dog. A chemical in chocolate called theobromine is the source of the problem. Theobromine is toxic to a dog when it ingests between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Eating chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.
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