This week, we are going to start with a quiz. Let’s test your knowledge about some commonly known facts. You don’t need to look them up, we will give you the answers following the items.
Which of the following statements are true?
- Christopher Columbus wanted to prove the earth was round.
- Speaking of Columbus, his statue outside City Hall in Columbus, Ohio is based on a portrait painted before his second voyage.
- As we approach Halloween, remember that several children are seriously injured each year by fruit and candy that has been tampered with.
- Napoleon Bonaparte was known as le Petit Caporal because of his short stature.
- Einstein failed mathematics in school.
- The Great Wall of China is the only human-made object visible from the Moon.
- NASA scientists spent millions of dollars developing a pen that would write in zero-gravity, while Russian cosmonauts simply used pencils.
- Scientists and engineers do not understand how bumblebees can fly.
- Early humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.
- Swimming less than an hour after eating is likely to result in cramps or drowning.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANSWERS
How do you think you did? Were most of the statements true?
Let’s find out. Here are the answers.
- False. Medieval scholars knew the Earth was spherical since at least 500 B.C.
- False. There are no known portraits of Columbus done during his life. In fact, physical descriptions of Columbus are often contradictory. (http://www.christopher-columbus.eu/portraits.htm)
- False. Poisoned candy and fruit stories are urban legends. No cases of strangers killing or permanently injuring children this way has ever been proven, and there have been no reports of a stranger harming a child with poisoned candy or apples.
- False. At 5 feet 7 inches, Napoleon was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time His nickname was a term of endearment.
- False. Upon seeing a column making this claim, Einstein said “I never failed in mathematics… Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”
- False. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any specific human-made object from the Moon
- False. This story is used as an example of unnecessary government spending. The space pen was independently developed by Paul C. Fisher, founder of the Fisher Pen Company, with his own funds. NASA . then purchased 400 pens at $6 per pen. Pencils cannot be used in space because the graphite dust and particles they generate pose fire, puncture and inhalation hazards in a low-gravity, high-oxygen environment, something even the Soviets acknowledged.
- False. The aerodynamics of bumblebees has been well understood for at least a century.
- False. The last of the dinosaurs (other than birds) died 66 million years ago, whereas the earliest humans evolved between 2.3 and 2.4 million years ago. This leaves a 63-million-year gap between the last non-bird dinosaurs and the earliest humans.
- False. There is no evidence eating before swimming increases the risk of muscle cramps or drowning.
Were you surprised by any of these? You have probably heard all of them stated as fact and accepted many (or all) of them. You may have heard some from teachers or other respected sources. Yet, they are false.
How can this happen? It is because in the absence of facts, misinformation or the things we want to believe rush in to fill the void.
For example, take the questions about Columbus. Most of what we “know” about Columbus comes from Washington Irving’s biography, A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus published in 1828. When facts were missing or not interesting enough, Irving filled the void with embellishments.
In the same way, in the absence of other facts about Columbus, we come to accept what we are told. In the case of Columbus, this has little real impact on us. In other situations, relying on misinformation can have serious consequences.
This is the problem. When we do not have the facts in a situation or we choose not to consider them, we can make serious mistakes. Some factions rely on this, regularly presenting fallacies while blasting information they do not like as “fake news”. The lack of information and thought can help control the beliefs of supporters. As we stated before, in the absence of facts, misinformation can fill the gap.
What does this have to do with labor and management? The same problem exists: when we do not have all the facts, the things we want to believe can obstruct our judgement.
Consider one additional statement and decide if it is true or false:
“Recent strikes, such as the GM/UAW, Mack Truck, or the Chicago teachers show labor and management cannot work together.”
We believe this statement is blatantly false, and is based on the misinterpretation of events as well as overemphasis of a small sample size. If someone doesn’t like unions or believes in the paradigms of labor-management conflict, they may want to believe the statement is true.
We know from our experiences labor and management can and do work together for the benefit of both employers and workers. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.
As Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts.” Stick to the facts and look for all the relevant information you can find when making decisions.