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ThatTechyChick says...

You heard this... But the Truth is...Whaaat?

A fun hobby that I have is debunking myths and miseducation. That means spotting and correcting the many myths emanating from the internet, folk wisdom, and word of mouth. We have all been taken in, at some point or another, by a modern myth.

This article aims to clear up some commonly held misconceptions in the field of science.

The truth, as we say, shall set you free.

1. A penny dropped from the empire state building can kill a person on the sidewalk

This myth says that if you were to drop a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, it would accelerate to the point that it could kill a person on the sidewalk below. This is just bad physics. In reality, the penny will reach terminal velocity of about 30-100 miles per hour depending on the wind. It's still a jerk move to drop a penny from up there. It might hurt, but it wouldn't kill anyone. Either way, you would fare better to just keep the change.

2. We have five senses

Besides the five empirical senses (sight/visual, sound/auditory, touch/tactile,

taste/gustatory, and smell/olfactory), there are at least four other senses that are rarely

cited: proprioception—sensing one's orientation in space; thermoception—sense of temperature; equilibrioception—sense of balance; and interoception—sense of one's physiological condition. The next time someone talks about their "5 senses," you can say that you have "9 senses" and then sit back and let them think you have superpowers

3. Humans use only 10% of their brains

The human brain is quite busy all day and night using about 20% of the body's resources and never really “turning off” until death. Meanwhile, almost every part of the brain is busy doing all sorts of things even when you aren't paying attention. In fact, various parts of your brain are active all the time, far more than the

mythical 10%. Depending on how you use your brain, and how you care for it, there's always the possibility of tapping into unrealized potential but it's not because your gray matter was sitting idle before. Learning a new skill, gaining a new memory, or thinking about a person's face can all stimulate your brain in different ways but they aren't activating an unused part. Instead, they are utilizing an active part for a new purpose.

4. Elephants are afraid of mice

This myth seems to have originated from children's stories. It would look funny for such a

big creature to be scared of such a little one. Regardless, elephants have no particular fear of mice. They do however have poor vision and are fairly slow-moving. That means elephants might be big and strong, and even brave, but they can still be startled when a small animal, like a mouse or bird, darts past and surprises the lumbering pachyderm.

5. Bulls become angry at the color red

Bulls and other cattle are partially color-blind and cannot see the color red. They are,

however, testy and defensive creatures that will charge when threatened, frightened, angry, or just annoyed. Their fight or flight instinct is simply biased toward "fight." In bull fights, the matador may wield a red cape (the muleta), but it is the matador's taunting, threats, and overall behavior that make the bull charge. Bulls don't mind the sight of red, but they do however get angry at the sight of jerks. But who can blame them for that?

6. Dog mouths are cleaner than our mouths

Dog mouths are no cleaner, and are in fact, much dirtier than human mouths. Dogs are known to transmit rabies, tetanus, Pasteurella, and most other contagious diseases. Dog mouths are teeming with bacteria because they eat and lick all sorts of gross things like garbage, carcasses, and of course, poop. Since dogs don't have hands with opposable

thumbs and they walk on all fours, they use their face and mouth to do a lot of things we would use our hands to do. A dog's mouth functions as its hands, its washcloth, its toilet paper, and so on. Next time you want to let your dog lick your face, remember where that mouth has been. Dog mouths are very dirty.

7. There are only three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas

Don't forget plasma. That makes four states. Plasma isn't some gel or goo, it's more like superheated ions and electrons. It's sometimes called “ionized gas.” When cooled, it becomes gas, but then it takes on different properties, too. So it's not quite right to think

of it as a kind of “gas.” Plasma is more like a flame. Lightning, fire, the sun, and the tail of comets are all plasmas. Most elements or chemical compounds can become plasma if heated high enough, but since plasma is just ions and electrons, the molecules have broken down. Water, for example, can be reduced to plasma, but it's no longer H2O; it's not even hydrogen or oxygen. And You definitely wouldn't want to drink it.

8. Bananas grow on Trees

Bananas grow on something the size of trees, but the Banana "tree" is not actually a tree. The banana plant, which can grow up to 25 feet, is actually the world's largest

perennial herb. When you carefully inspect a banana plant, you'll notice that it doesn't have woody fibers. It has strong stalks and leaves, yet it lacks the trunk and branches that would qualify it as a tree. Another related fact is that bananas are berries since they don't produce mature seeds. So does that mean a banana split is a “herb berry” Sundae?

9. Highlighting and rereading information won’t get you far.

Ditch the highlighter. Rereading is passive. You need to apply what you’ve learned, make sense of it, paraphrase it in your own words, put it in context, relate it to what you already know, and recall it later. Quizzing yourself, not rereading, is a more effective way to learn.

Heed the research: “Most students report rereading and highlighting, yet these techniques do not consistently boost students' performance, so other techniques should be used in their place (e.g., practice testing instead of rereading).”

10. You need to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

If you're struggling to get to your eighth glass of water every day, don't feel bad—the quota isn't really a hard and fast rule for healthy living. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water you need daily depends on several different factors, like your overall health, your activity levels, and where you live. No single number applies to humans across the board—some people may be perfectly hydrated with fewer than eight glasses and others might need more. And for more things you might be getting wrong about your body's needs, check out these 25 Health Myths You Need To Stop Believing

There you have it, 10 Science Myths Debunked. We welcome your comments below.




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