The State of Rhode Island: Not an island Yes, Rhode Island does indeed include the island of Rhode Island, the largest of 35 islands in Narragansett Bay all of which help make up the state of Rhode Island (together with Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean). But the combined area of those islands is less than one-third of the state. The remaining two-thirds sits on the mainland. Locals refer to the island of Rhode Island as “Aquidneck Island,” to avoid confusing the island with the state. Or maybe they were just trying to get me to leave.
Old Faithful: Not the tallest geyser in Yellowstone National Park As the most famous and frequent big geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes—and sprays up to 8,400 gallons of boiling water for up to five minutes to a height ranging from 90 to 184 feet. But the tallest active geyser in the park (and the world) is Steamboat Geyser, erupting to heights ranging from 195 to 380 feet, followed by hours of thundering steam. Unfortunately, Steamboat is highly unpredictable, lying dormant for months or decades between eruptions. Neither geyser compares with the world’s tallest inactive geyser, Waimangu Geyser in New Zealand, which spouted to a height of more than 1,500 feet (at least eight times the height of Old Faithful)—but not since its last eruption in 1904.
The Middle East: Not in the Middle East Look at a map of the Eastern Hemisphere and you’ll clearly see that India lies in the middle. Yet the Middle East, a geographical area with ill-defined borders, commonly includes Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. What people call the Middle East should be correctly referred to as Southwest Asia and Northeast Africa.
The giant sequoia tree: Not the oldest living thing on Earth The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park in California, estimated to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old, ranks among the largest and oldest living things on Earth. The oldest living thing in existence, however, is a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine named Methuselah in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California, dated by its tree rings to be 4,765 years old (older than the pyramids in Egypt). No matter how old you are, Methuselah makes you feel like a sapling.