I imagine everyone has seen the television commercials for Snapple beverages, proclaiming "made from the best stuff on earth". I like Snapple, I find their beverages very refreshing. But I have to admit that part of what attracts me to Snapple is their bottle caps. Yes, they do make a cute little 'pop' when you open them for the first time. And after that, they close very tight. (Yes, I'm sitting at my computer. Yes, I'm prone to spills.) And frankly, they're easier to open than the eco-conscious thin plastic caps on water bottles.
But what I really like is the "Real Fact" that appears inside each bottle cap. I often save the caps, and on more than one occasion, a Snapple Fact has led to a blog post. Sitting on my desk right now are caps informing me that the planet Saturn would float if placed in water, at one time brandy was used inside thermometers, and penguins have an extra organ above their eyes that converts saltwater to freshwater.
Today, my bottle cap said "Three out of every six Americans....." And that was as far as I got.
Three out of every six? Isn't that the same as one-half? or seven out of fourteen?
What on earth would make you say three out of every six? Previously, when I'd written a blog post on an idea that was triggered by a bottle cap, I had never come across anything contrary to what was on the cap. And while 'three out of every six' isn't wrong, per se, it's not quite right.
So I googled Snapple, and worked my way over to the Wikipedia site.Where I discovered that there's actually a list of Incorrect Facts (not to be confused with alternative facts... oh wait..maybe they ARE the same.... but that's another post for another day). The Wiki section labeled Incorrect Facts goes on to say Several of the facts on Snapple caps have been found to be outdated, incorrect or exaggerated.
Hmmm. Outdated? Well I don't really have a problem with that... the world is changing so fast, and I certainly don't expect the Snapple people to keep track of which bottles have which factoid so they can do a recall if something changes. The Wiki post lists twenty-five things that Snapple didn't get quite right. Some of these, you really can't blame Snapple for. For instance, fact #975 says that the letter J is the only letter missing from the periodic table of elements. In 2012, the only element with a Q in its name was renamed to something without a Q. So now, both J and Q are missing. So outdated, I understand.
But exaggerated facts cause me a bit of concern, and incorrect facts cause a lot of concern. After all, I've been relying on these bottle caps, I've been assuming that they're correct. Now, of course, I have never spouted cap facts willy nilly, without doing additional research, but still.....
On the other hand, when I've done additional research, I've never had an issue with any of the facts on the Snapple bottle caps. And even this time... it wasn't that I was challenging the information on my cap as being wrong... it was that I didn't know why the cap said 'three out of six', when the standard way to express this would have been 'one-half'.
By the way, in case you're curious, the rest of the factoid on the bottle cap was "...live within fifty miles of where they were born". So I decided to check this out.. to see if this was one of the accurate, outdated, exaggerated, or incorrect facts. According to a New York Times article dated December 15, 2015, the majority of Americans live within 18 miles of their mother. Hmmmm, that's not quite the same as the place they were born... and the article says 18 miles, not 50 miles.. but all in all, I'm going to let this one go. Except I still don't understand the '3 out of every 6'.
I guess all of this goes to show you that you can't really rely on anything, can you? It's up to you to check the accuracy, and consider any discrepancies. And while some 'facts' may be subject to interpretation, others are not. So if I said that there are so many facts on Snapple caps that you never see the same one twice, that's probably an exaggeration. And if I said there are only 257 different facts, that's outdated information. But if I said that in January, 2017, there are 4,159 different 'Real Facts' on the Snapple bottle caps, that is absolutely wrong. It's not an alternate fact, it's an incorrect fact -- which isn't a fact at all.
In case you wondered, the Snapple flavor that I like best, is the diet lemon tea... but you probably already guessed that. And now, I'll go make a cup of typhoo tea, as all this tea talk has me thirsty.