Paul Johnson
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Are these 'French children held at gun point'?
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164 votes

Are they being held? Yes. The Telegraph article you quote has the key facts. This article in Le Monde (Google Translate) has more details. Are they children? Technically yes. The Le Monde article ...

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Neil Armstrong: “One small step for man” or “one small step for a man”?
120 votes

It seems that he fluffed his line. He meant to say "a man", but inadvertently missed out the "a". It is also possible that the "a" was masked by static. What did Neil ...

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Was there no tax before 1913 in the United States?
84 votes

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 ...

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Were illegally immigrating children held in cages during the Obama administration?
74 votes

Were children separated from their parents when they were caught on the Mexican border by US officials as illegal immigrants before Trump's introduction of zero tolerance immigration policy? Yes, ...

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Was this Jet Blue airplane snowed in?
62 votes

It didn't. You are looking at a pile of snow with an airplane some distance behind it. Source: Try Modern magazine In the first photo, the photographer simply took a pic of a snow pile at an angle ...

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Are US workers legally required to pay income taxes?
61 votes

No it is not true. The Sixteenth Amendment was adopted in 1913, so taxes not apportioned to states are constitutional. US Code 26 Subtitle A is the relevant law. The quoted text seems to allude to a ...

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Can social isolation kill babies?
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60 votes

We cannot be sure exactly what happened 7 centuries ago; we only have the one account. However something akin to this experiment did occur, albeit without the controlled conditions. In Romania during ...

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Is all disease caused by the electron spin of food?
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45 votes

The quoted text seems to refer to quantum-mechanical "spin". However "left" or "right" spin are not part of that concept, and it has nothing at all to do with the food we ...

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Did thousands of women die every year due to illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade?
45 votes

This article covers the history, including representative statistics. This paper provides some more statistics. The key quotation is: In 1940 there were 1407 abortion-related deaths (excluding ...

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Do termites produce 10 times more CO2 than humans?
36 votes

Leaving aside the fact that termite CO2 production is on few, if any, secondary school syllabuses, its more complicated than that. Termites are not burning fossil fuels. The carbon they produce comes ...

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Is this popular optical illusion made of a grey-scale image with coloured lines?
35 votes

The human visual system (i.e. eye + brain) processes chroma (e.g red vs green) differently to luminance (i.e. light vs dark colours). In particular the brain derives fine detail and texture from ...

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Did a man complain that his Pontiac wouldn't start whenever the ice cream he picked up was vanilla?
33 votes

If I'd spent 30 seconds looking instead of 2 minutes posting here I'd have found the answer on Snopes. Its an old legend dating back to at least 1978. Origins: This legend surfaced in print in ...

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Does homosexuality in males steeply decline with age?
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25 votes

Properly conducted longitudinal studies have found that, if anything, the trend is in the opposite direction. Only two longitudinal and prospective studies have examined changes in sexual identity ...

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Does turning the lamp in my classroom off and on use more energy than it being turned on for 30 minutes?
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25 votes

This page at Cambridge University says its a myth. There is a burst of energy when you turn them on, but its equivalent to 2 seconds of run time. Also the light lifetime is not seriously affected by ...

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Were more Americans fatally shot by March this calendar year than died during DDay as the Washington post claimed?
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23 votes

According to the CDC (Table 18) in 2013 there were 33,636 deaths due to firearms, of which 21,175 were suicides. That leaves 12,461 (of which 281 were "undetermined", so could have been suicide). 12,...

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Did ARM sell more chips in 2015 than Intel has in its entire history?
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21 votes

It depends what you mean by "sold a chip". Intel designs, fabricates and sells a wide range of chips, so for Intel the answer is simple (they don't license out their designs). But ARM doesn't ...

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Did a hypothermic, clinically dead boy revive in response to prayer defying "every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction"?
19 votes

A quick Google search found a list of similar cases: Tipton, M. J., & Golden, F. S. C. (2011). A proposed decision-making guide for the search, rescue and resuscitation of submersion (head under) ...

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Has the speed of light significantly slowed down over the past 6,000 years?
18 votes

It turns out that SN1987A did pretty much what I suggested. It had a ring of material that had been thrown off the star some 20,000 years ago. When the star exploded the light from the explosion ...

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Are 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities put into political camps?
16 votes

This BBC report covers a Chinese official explaining that "education centres" are necessary to prevent terrorism. Another BBC report describes how new prison complexes in the area have been ...

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Is the “climate change” responsible for the 2018 European heatwave?
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16 votes

The trouble with this kind of claim is that "the range of historical statistical data" does not provide clear boundaries. A number of record high temperatures have been set this year. By ...

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Does New York City have a room for teachers suspected of sexually assaulting pupils?
15 votes

It seems it is, or at least was. Wikipedia has a summary of the practice with more references. Searching on the net I found this article in the New Yorker claiming that this was a common thing in ...

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Do Lufthansa's Compensaid schemes make flights carbon-neutral?
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14 votes

It's dubious. The claim made for carbon offset schemes is that they spend the money to avoid someone else emitting the same amount of carbon that you have emitted by e.g. flying. Typically ways of ...

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Did a 16-year-old high-school girl in Iran produce nuclear energy at her home in 2007?
14 votes

It depends on how you define "produced" and "nuclear energy". Without more details we can only speculate, but the possibilities are very limited. The link you cite appears to be by someone who has ...

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Do illegal immigrants commit more murders than mass shooters?
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13 votes

Do illegal immigrants commit more murders per year than mass shooters? Probably. Mass shootings are a very tiny proportion of overall homicides. In 2017 there were 17,284 reported homicides and non-...

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Did some people in the UK get £100k in benefits?
13 votes

If you understand the phrase "some people" to refer to households, it is true. Independent fact checking organisation FullFact got the data. The number of families receiving such a large ...

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Did Ehrlichman claim the reason for the Nixon drug war was to criminalize black people and hippies?
12 votes

The origin of the quote is this article in Harpers (there is an older version in a book, but everyone cuts-and-pastes the one in Harpers). It is used to lead in to a much longer article arguing for an ...

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Does the heart pump blood through arteries?
11 votes

Your reasoning is faulty. You assume that the capillaries are a single tube of length 60,000 miles. In fact they are many tubes running in parallel, so the flow of blood is divided between parallel ...

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Did Neem Karoli Baba read the thoughts of Ram Dass?
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10 votes

The most we can say is that this looks like classic "cold reading". The fact that Dass's mother had died was presumably a matter of public record. It is quite possible that Baba knew this, ...

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Was the Holocaust legal?
10 votes

Its complicated. As other answers have said, in Nazi Germany the Nazi party was the recognised government, and hence made the laws and administered them. The Holocaust was carried out under these ...

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Do the hemoglobin genotypes of a couple affect whether their offspring will get Sickle Cell Disease?
10 votes

Yes, this is accurate. The Wikipedia article has a good summary of the science, and you can also read this leaflet from the NHS in the UK. Your question about why this matters so much is a good one, ...

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