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Thread: Popular Myths some true some false

  1. #1
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Popular Myths some true some false

    From Live Science

    http://www.livescience.com/bestimg/?....jpg&cat=myths

    The Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure visible from space

    There are several variations on this folkloric statement, and they're all quantifiably false. Astronauts can spot the Great Wall from low-Earth orbit, along with plenty of other things like the Giza pyramids and even airport runways. But they can't see the Wall from the Moon.

    Humans use only 10 percent of their brains

    This media darling has been around for at least a century. Fortunately, it's just not true. MRI imaging clearly demonstrates—with fancy colors no less—that humans put most of their cerebral cortex to good use, even while dozing.


    Adults don't grow new brain cells

    Much of a human's crucial brain development happens during childhood, but it isn't all downhill from there. Studies have shown that neurons continue to grow and change well into the adult years.

    Water drains backwards in the Southern Hemisphere due to the Earth's rotation

    Not only is the Earth's rotation too weak to affect the direction of water flowing in a drain, tests you can easily perform in a few washrooms will show that water whirlpools both ways depending on the sink's structure, not the hemisphere.

    Animals can predict natural disasters

    There is no evidence that animals possess a mysterious sixth-sense allowing them to predict natural disasters. Their keen senses of smell, hearing, and sharp instincts alone are enough to send them scattering for the hillsides during a hurricane or tsunami. And even so, animals often die during natural disasters, so if they do have some sort of sixth sense, it's not worth much.



    A penny dropped from the top of a tall building could kill a pedestrian

    A penny isn't the most aerodynamic of weapons. A combination of its shape and wind friction means that, tossed even from the 1,250-foot Empire State Building, it would travel fast enough merely to sting an unlucky pedestrian.

    A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's

    Despite a habit of licking things no human would dare, Fido's mouth is often touted as scientifically more sterile. Truth is, oral bacteria are so species-specific that one can't be considered cleaner than the other, just different.
    IMAGE CREDIT: Morguefile.com / Mary (sorry not clickable but I had to post this! )

    Men think about sex every seven seconds

    Males are driven to reproduce, evolutionarily speaking, but there is no scientific way of measuring to what extent that desire consumes their everyday lives. Thankfully, for world productivity as a whole, seven seconds seems a gross overstatement, as best researchers can tell.

    Lightning never strikes the same place twice

    In fact lightning favors certain spots, particularly high locations. The Empire State Building is struck about 25 times every year. Ben Franklin grasped the concept long ago and mounted a metal rod atop the roof of his home, then ran a wire to the ground, thereby inventing the lightning rod.

    A falling cat will always land on its feet

    Studies have demonstrated that, when dropped from most heights, cats will land gracefully on their feet. Results change only with cats dropped upside-down from a height of one foot or less. We're not suggesting you try this at home.

    Yawning is "contagious"

    Empirically, this is tough to deny; perhaps you'll yawn while reading this. The real question is whether there's actually something physiological at work here, and the answer is likely yes: even chimpanzees mimic each other's yawns

    Eating a poppy seed bagel mimics opium use

    Purveyors of this urban legend call on a popular Seinfeld episode for support. It turns out there's truth behind the comedy: tests suggest ingesting just two poppy seed bagels may produce a positive result for opiates on a drug screen.


    There is no gravity in space

    Blame the term "zero-gravity" for this common misconception. Gravity is everywhere, even in space. Astronauts look weightless because they are in continuous freefall towards the Earth, staying aloft because of their horizontal motion. The effect of gravity diminishes with distance, but it never truly goes away. Oh, and while we're at it, it's also untrue that space is a vacuum. There are all kinds of atoms out there, albeit sometimes far apart (and this thin gas adds to the collective gravity budget, too!)


    Chicken soup can cure the common cold

    Cure is a strong word, but science suggests Moms around the world are still right in forcing spoonfuls of chicken soup down their kids' throats. Studies have found that the broth actually contains anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce congestion

    Chickens can live without a head

    True, and not just for a few minutes. A chicken can stagger around without its noggin because the brain stem, often left partially intact after a beheading, controls most of its reflexes. One robust fellow lived a full eighteen months. Likely he was a real birdbrain, however.


    You get less wet by running in the rain

    Actual mathematical equations devoted to this popular question have suggested it is true, though not for the simple reasons you might think. Complexities include factoring in the number of rain drops hitting the walker's head versus smacking the runner's chest.

    It takes seven years to digest gum

    While it may prove a bit more difficult to break down than organic foodstuffs, chewing gum gets no special treatment from the digestive system. Doctors figure this old wives' tale was invented to prevent kids from swallowing the rubbery substance.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Tenaj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Adults don't grow new brain cells

    Much of a human's crucial brain development happens during childhood, but it isn't all downhill from there. Studies have shown that neurons continue to grow and change well into the adult years.
    I'm so thankful, I was worried I'd have few left before I'm 40

    A falling cat will always land on its feet

    Studies have demonstrated that, when dropped from most heights, cats will land gracefully on their feet. Results change only with cats dropped upside-down from a height of one foot or less. We're not suggesting you try this at home.
    So someone's actually studied this?

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! ourmaninBusan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Men think about sex every seven seconds

    Males are driven to reproduce, evolutionarily speaking, but there is no scientific way of measuring to what extent that desire consumes their everyday lives. Thankfully, for world productivity as a whole, seven seconds seems a gross overstatement, as best researchers can tell.
    No, the correct statement is, "seventeen-year-old males
    think about sex every seven seconds." And what's worse,
    once we think about it, it's like a gong going off that lingers for
    at least 11 seconds, so the effect is cumulative and by the end
    of the day...well, you know.

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    Elite Member Tiara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Good point Tenaj! Who the hell was evil enough to stand their in a white coat holding a clip board shouting NEXT! As their unlucky colleague hauled cats in various positions of a roof!
    No man is worth your tears, but once you find one that is, he won't make you cry
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    Gold Member Aurora's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Quote Originally Posted by moomies
    Yawning is "contagious"

    Empirically, this is tough to deny; perhaps you'll yawn while reading this. The real question is whether there's actually something physiological at work here, and the answer is likely yes: even chimpanzees mimic each other's yawns
    Just reading this made me yawn!
    "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood". --Oscar Wilde

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Quote Originally Posted by moomies
    From Live Science

    http://www.livescience.com/bestimg/?....jpg&cat=myths

    It takes seven years to digest gum

    While it may prove a bit more difficult to break down than organic foodstuffs, chewing gum gets no special treatment from the digestive system. Doctors figure this old wives' tale was invented to prevent kids from swallowing the rubbery substance.
    My children can attest that this is false. Many a day I have found lovely pink poo after one has devoured a whole pack of Bubble Yum.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Actual mathematical equations devoted to this popular question have suggested it is true, though not for the simple reasons you might think. Complexities include factoring in the number of rain drops hitting the walker's head versus smacking the runner's chest.
    This myth was busted on "mythbusters".. apparently you get more wet running.
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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Quote Originally Posted by moomies
    A falling cat will always land on its feet

    Studies have demonstrated that, when dropped from most heights, cats will land gracefully on their feet. Results change only with cats dropped upside-down from a height of one foot or less. We're not suggesting you try this at home.
    "If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happen if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?" Stephen Wright

    Edited to add: Cat dropping experiments link!
    http://www.verrueckte-experimente.de/leseproben_e.html
    Last edited by twitchy; May 24th, 2006 at 01:14 PM.

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  9. #9
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok
    This myth was busted on "mythbusters".. apparently you get more wet running.
    I haven't seen that episode of mythbusters but they aren't really all that scientific methodology-wise...so I think I'll go with the mathmatical equation here. Scientific research is more reliable and verifiable than a TV show experiment IMO.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Oh they had the sholw shmear.. slow mo cameras, a whole sprinkler system set up, died water on white hooded outfits, they actually counted the drops, weighed the outfits, did a bunch of stuff
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Gold Member haggard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Chickens can live without a head

    True, and not just for a few minutes. A chicken can stagger around without its noggin because the brain stem, often left partially intact after a beheading, controls most of its reflexes. One robust fellow lived a full eighteen months. Likely he was a real birdbrain, however.
    I have a hard time believing that, just because I'd think the chicken would starve to death well before 18 months....

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Popular Myths some true some false

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok
    Oh they had the sholw shmear.. slow mo cameras, a whole sprinkler system set up, died water on white hooded outfits, they actually counted the drops, weighed the outfits, did a bunch of stuff
    They tested it in a perfect enviroment though, and none of the tests were the empirical.

    I remember them setting up the fans, but not actually use them? I think I fell asleep

    Anyways on that same show they mentioned the weather network or whatever did a test as well and their results were the opposite of the mythbusters

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