NPR : News

Filed Under:

12 Half-Truths We Live With

Say it isn't so. Various news organizations have recently reported that on occasion the Subway sandwich chain's $5 footlong measures 11 inches instead of 12 — as advertised. Sure enough, the bacon, lettuce and tomato jewel we bought Friday fell a little short.

But it was delicious. And Subway did explain to CNN and the world that methods of baking the bread can cause a slight size differential. Makes sense.

Perhaps the point is, things may not always be exactly what they seem and — perhaps more precisely — we already know that. We go on.

Our Facebook friends are not necessarily our friends. Catfish are not just for outdoor types anymore. A barista may not really care whether we have a nice day or not.

Some things we accept have more serious consequences than others, of course. Ask those involved in the strange and strained stories of Lance Armstrong or Manti Te'o.

This much is true: We live with half-truths — of varying kinds and sizes. A year is not always 365 days. A billable hour is not necessarily 60 minutes. Pluto isn't precisely a planet.

Having finished our sandwich, we offer a list of 12 misleading notions we accept in everyday life:

1) A two-by-four at a retail lumberyard is not 2 inches by 4 inches.

2) Peanuts are not really nuts, but legumes.

3) A hydrogen bond is not a true bond, but a type of electromagnetic attraction.

4) The American buffalo is not a buffalo, but a bison.

5) A koala bear is not a bear; it's a marsupial.

6) A starfish isn't a fish; it's an echinoderm.

7) A palm tree is not a tree, but a form of grass.

8) A penny is worth more than a penny, costing more than two cents to make.

9) "Swollen glands" are not actually glands; they are a series of lymph nodes.

10) A mountain goat is not really a goat.

11) Pink is not exactly a color.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Sharon Jones Gets Quizzed On Handshakes

We've invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called "Let's shake on it."
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

5 Takeaways From The Democratic National Convention

As conventioneers head home after a dramatic DNC, here are 5 takeaways from Philadelphia.
NPR

How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Online

Apps can make managing health care a lot easier, but most don't have the privacy protections required of doctors and hospitals. And a simple Web search can clue in advertisers to health concerns.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.