195 votes
Accepted

In the American west—the world of cowboys and cowhands—was ammunition traded for alcoholic “shots” of a drink?

The answer seems to be no on all accounts. In general, Snopes says: Although the meme is of recent origin, Internet mentions of this alleged historical fact date to at least 2003. Significantly, ...
Laurel's user avatar
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179 votes
Accepted

Did Euler make the elementary mistake √-2 √-3 = √6?

Euler did write this, but it was not a mistake! Euler's statement was correct under his own definition of the notation that he was using. I looked at the PDF version of Elements of Algebra linked to ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,048
158 votes
Accepted

Was Morocco the first country to recognize USA?

Wikipedia states: In December 1777, the Moroccan Sultan Muhammad III included the United States in a list of countries to which Morocco’s ports were open. Morocco thus became the first country whose ...
Avery's user avatar
  • 46.2k
156 votes
Accepted

Did Susan B. Anthony make these statements regarding suffrage for women and former slaves?

Short version: Susan B. Anthony had a long history of working as an abolitionist, but wasn't willing to settle for gradual victories on the way to women's suffrage. Combine that with a notorious ...
LazyGadfly's user avatar
152 votes
Accepted

Was the Roman knowledge of how to build aqueducts lost?

The Romans built the aqueducts -- as well as bridges, piers, and colossal buildings -- out of concrete. Stone and brick were usually just exterior casings for the concrete structural core. And the ...
telms's user avatar
  • 996
135 votes
Accepted

Did Donald Trump exclude Muslim countries in which he does business from the recent entry ban?

Yes the facts are accurate, but the implication of causation is questionable. President Trump did sign an executive order banning the citizens of Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia from ...
ventsyv's user avatar
  • 7,124
130 votes

Was the wheel invented before the wall?

No, walls predate wheels by several millenia. The invention of the wheel is generally placed at around 3500-4500 BCE. However walls were famously built around the town of Jericho in 8000-9000BCE, so ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
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120 votes

Did Rudolf Steiner prove the contagiousness of varicella in 1875?

No, but Johann Steiner did. As identified in the blog referenced in the question, Rudolf Steiner, the well-known polymath would only have been 14 in 1875, so is an unlikely author of the paper. Does ...
114 votes
Accepted

Did al-Ghazali lead to decline of science in Islam as Neil Tyson claims?

This is an old myth from the days of Orientalism. Unfortunately Wikipedia is often edited precisely by people who have simply seen popular accounts by people like Tyson (or Skeptoid podcast, or The ...
Avery's user avatar
  • 46.2k
114 votes
Accepted

Are the claims made by Indian Ministers / personalities regarding ancient Indian inventions true?

Genetic science in Mahabharata Prime Minister Modi claimed that genetic science and plastic surgery existed in Ancient India. source: “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little ...
Avery's user avatar
  • 46.2k
109 votes

Was Stonehenge built in the 1950s?

The photograph in the OP is by R. J. C. Atkinson, January 1958 and its caption is: STONEHENGE, Wiltshire. Re-erection of Trilithon lintel 158 by the 60 ton 'Brabazon Crane', the larger of two cranes ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
109 votes
Accepted

Was it ever illegal to name a pig "Napoleon" in France?

According to this article (French), there has never been such a law in French codes, but the rumor is persistent over time. It seems that it all come from the censorship of George Orwell's Animal ...
Gwen's user avatar
  • 1,701
106 votes
Accepted

Did the British navy fail to take into account the ballistics correction due to Coriolis force during WW1 Falkland Islands battle?

No. It is a complete invention of an urban myth. Unless anybody produces a Royal Navy document that even does any mention of this influence of Coriolis effect, this seems to be just untrue. A ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
103 votes
Accepted

Was adding milk to tea started to reduce employee tea break time?

The factory owners certainly did not start the habits of English workers to drink their tea with milk to speed up the breaks. That is a bogus claim incompatible with recorded history. Perhaps there ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
101 votes

Did Hitler say this quote about education?

It is entirely possible that Hitler said something of the sort, although it is rather a stretch to say it is about homeschooling. The law making school attendance compulsory was actually passed in ...
PhillS's user avatar
  • 3,043
100 votes
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Did Roman jurists rule that "to learn the art of geometry and to take part in public exercises, an art as damnable as mathematics, are forbidden"?

No. They used a sentence that includes "mathematica" and condemns and forbids it, but they were not using a modern definition of "mathematician", which gives the sentence a very ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
99 votes
Accepted

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle prank 12 men into fleeing their countries?

TL;DR: Rated (old) urban legend Based on this website, this story dates from as far back as 1897, from a magazine called "The Strand". This appears in a section which looks like a ...
Entropy's user avatar
  • 2,344
98 votes
Accepted

Were World War II scrap drives in the United States truly necessary for the procurement of raw materials?

No. For the "procurement of raw materials" the United States could have continued just like before and still win. Effectively it might have been useful still –– for quite some other reasons. ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
93 votes

Was anyone murdered, disappeared, or died suspiciously to cover up the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

Overall, this is a mixture of true, false, and unverifiable claims. First things first: I'm going into this highly skeptical, because part of the claim being made is extreme to me. The OP writes, ...
Avery's user avatar
  • 46.2k
90 votes

Has a virus ever escaped a high-level virus lab "such as the one in Wuhan"?

Q Has a virus ever escaped a high-level virus lab? Yes, depending on definitions. How deadly pathogens have escaped the lab — over and over again Most appropriate candidates for an inappropriately ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
89 votes
Accepted

Was the Berlin Wall Breached Based upon an Erroneous Declaration?

Practically, this is exactly what happened. Günter Schabowski gets a little folded text note that he knew nothing about informing him about new planned travel regulations. Schabowski went on to ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
88 votes
Accepted

Is this colour footage of Breslau in 1939 authentic?

Yes. It is real, and filmed originally in colour, as is, not colourised later. General Edwin Graf von Rothkirch und Trach, the author of this clip, (alternative version to the one in question) was an ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
87 votes
Accepted

Did college students clamor for cyanide pills in student health clinics in the 1980's in America?

According to the 1991 book Horrendous Death and Health: Toward Action : Brown University students took significant action in 1984, before the Cold War thawing. The students voted to have the campus ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
85 votes

Was there no tax before 1913 in the United States?

The plain meaning is false: there was taxation before 1913. However if you want to play games with words then you can define "earnings" as "income after all expenses and taxes other ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
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85 votes
Accepted

Was the 45.9°C temperature in France in June 2019 the highest ever recorded in France?

The 1930 measurement was taken incorrectly. The claim was also made in domestic newspapers at the time, including L'Express du Midi: 50° AU SOLEIL A SAINT-ETIENNE Saint-Etienne, 27 août. Le ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 11.1k
85 votes
Accepted

Does archaeological evidence show that Nazareth wasn't inhabited during Jesus's lifetime?

There's a 2020 article "The Settlement History of Nazareth in the Iron Age and Early Roman Period" that reviews the results from a small-scale excavation (120 square meters) in a location of ...
Schmuddi's user avatar
  • 9,508
84 votes
Accepted

Did Neil Armstrong write such a letter to a skeptic?

The Twitter thread gives an explicit source for this letter, 'A Reluctant Icon: Letters to Neil Armstrong'. by James R. Hansen. This book exists, from Purdue University Press, ISBN 9781557539694 The ...
IMSoP's user avatar
  • 9,007
84 votes

Did Wild West outlaws regularly wear face masks?

Yes, of course. This was quite common. — The Evening News, Detroit MI Michigan, July 4, 1901 'Last train robbery of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid' 'Original reporting' Sundance supposedly ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
81 votes
Accepted

Did the U.S. Army treat a President's cold using chlorine gas?

Yes, President Coolidge was treated in a sealed room with chlorine gas on 3 consecutive days (May 20-22, 1924). On the second day he brought his wife into the room even though she wasn't sick. He ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
79 votes
Accepted

Was the Ford Model T black because of the speed black paint dries?

This is something of an urban myth - the drying time gains were made by using oven-dried enamel coatings on the parts that could withstand the required curing temperatures. The so-called "baked ...
motosubatsu's user avatar
  • 1,634

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