Break the Chain Just The Facts?

Created 11/21/2003 (11/21/2003) Sharing lesser-known or lesser-thought-about facts with others can be fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, when trivia-laden chains like these arrive in our inboxes virtually indistinguishable from news and stock quotes they are often given far more consideration than they deserve.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Think you know everything...?

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

Read the rest...

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SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Can you guess which of the following are true or false?

1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

2. Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a bellybutton.

3. A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 yrs.

4. People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot more.

5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop - even your heart!

6. Only 7 per cent of the population are lefties.

Read the rest...

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SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

WEIRD FACTS

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.

The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating 1 olive from each salad served in first-class.

Read the rest...

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Lists of mindless trivia like those above abound on the 'net, come in a variety of forms and are often a mixture of truth and fiction. To individually research and validate each point in these often-lengthy compilations would be a tedious and frustrating exercise.

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These chains should be considered strictly entertainment and taken with a large grain of salt for several reasons:

  • The author and his or her qualifications and motivations for compiling the list are often unknown.

  • The source(s) of the factoids are rarely revealed. Most are based on hearsay, rumor and legend.

  • E-mail messages are editable, so there is often no way to know which facts were offered by the initial author and which have been added as it circulates. Items added as it circulates must be held as less reliable than the original.

  • Context, context, context! When you boil these bits of trivia to ten-word snippets, all context behind them is lost. Most of the items in these lists are technically correct, but require far more explanation to truly understand them. Often, when the proper context is considered, the "facts" aren't near as compelling.

Trivia is fun to share, so it's unlikely that chains like these will ever die, but I'll say "Break this chain" anyway.

What Do You Think?

Category: General Junk
References: None

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