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12 Half-Truths We Live With

Koalas aren't really bears but we don't seem to mind.

Koalas aren't really bears, but we don't seem to mind.

Say it isn't so. Various newsorganizations have recently reported that on occasion the Subway sandwich chain's $5 footlong measures 11 inches instead of 12. Sure enough, the bacon, lettuce and tomato jewel we bought Friday was at least a half-inch shy of a foot.

But it was delicious. And Subway did explain in a CNN report that methods of baking the bread can cause a slight size differential.

Perhaps the point is, things are not always exactly what they seem and -- perhaps more precisely -- we already know that.

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 deceptions are more serious than others, of course. Ask all of those affected by the strange and strained stories of Lance Armstrong or Manti Te'o.

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

Here is a list of 12 more 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 magnetic coupling.

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) Vitamin D is not a vitamin; it's a hormone.

11) Pink is not a color.

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

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