The Fifty-Eight Myths that you still believe

in #life3 years ago

It is true that the urban legends reach more diffusion thanks to the internet, but thanks to the internet it is also easier to deny them

On the internet rumors, myths and urban legends are broadcast at full speed. But it is also an ideal means to deny them. Snopes has been doing this since 1995. They are not alone: ​​Last year Information is Beautiful developed an infographic with 52 of the most widespread myths and Mental Floss usually publishes videos denying myths and popular beliefs, such as this one dedicated to science . We collect another 58 examples in this article, with links that extend (and even qualify) the information in many of the media and websites that are dedicated to remind us that, often, we are wrong.


1. We only use 10% of our brain.

A myth that refuses to die and that is even the starting point for recent films like Lucy . The Guardian calls it "the greatest myth about the brain of history" : 48% of British teachers believe it. According to Snopes, its origin is not even clear . The truth is that we use all areas of our brain, even when we are resting. It is true that the brain is very plastic ( we can live with medium ) and that we do not use everything at the same time, since some areas are specialized: when we walk, for example, the parts centered on motor activity are more active than others . But there is not a part of the brain that does not do anything and that is waiting for us to activate it to have superpowers.

2. Neurons can not regenerate.

Since the 90s there is evidence that the brain has regeneration capacity, at least in some cases and even after a cerebral infarction , thanks to neurogenesis .

3. One of the hemispheres of the brain is dominant and that determines whether we are more artistic or more rational.

Yes it is true that there are areas of the brain that are specialized: the language is processed in the left hemisphere , for example. But it is not true that one of the hemispheres dominates over the other , regardless of how good one is with words. In this video there are five other myths about the brain:

4. The parts of the language are specialized in different flavors.

Although it is something that many of us learned as children, taste receptors are distributed throughout the language. As the New York Times notes , there could be differences in how men and women detect bitter, salty and acid flavors. In addition to that, there is a fifth flavor, umami, which means "tasty" and which is present in proteins .

5. Alcohol keeps you warm.

The liquors give a sensation of heat, but alcohol lowers the temperature of the body, so it is really dangerous to drink alcohol when it is very cold. The same goes for coffee, according to Mental Floss .

6. And it kills neurons.

Although some mornings it seems that the gintonics of the previous night have destroyed our brain, alcohol does not get to kill neurons . Of course, excessive consumption for a long time can damage the connections between these cells and cause atrophy and degeneration (reversible) .

7. Cold causes colds.

Colds are caused by a virus that travels by air "through the droplets caused by talking, coughing or sneezing," not by the cold itself. As the OCU adds , when it's cold, we spend more time in closed spaces and in common areas (schools and offices). In addition, in regions with low humidity, the nostrils dry more easily. All this contributes to make it easier to get infected. (In addition and as we are notified on Twitter , the cold can weaken the immune system, which would facilitate colds ).

8. And vitamin C prevents them.

There is no proof that confirms this relationship , although it is true that a healthy diet helps us stay healthy and a healthy diet includes fruit and vitamin C. If it is true that this vitamin could help reduce the time the disease lasts, according to some studies .

9. Nails and hair keep growing after dead.

A corpse can not produce new cells. BBC explains that the skin around the nails becomes dehydrated and that's why they look longer. The same goes for the skin on the chin, which makes it look like the beard grows. It gives fear the same.

10. Cracking fingers causes arthritis.

That knuckle noise is formed by gas bubbles that accumulate in the joints of the fingers and has no harmful effects .

11. If you swallow a chewing gum, it takes seven years to digest it.

This warning that we all hear as children is false: chewing gum is not stuck to the stomach or intestines, nor take longer to be eliminated, although, as Snopes recalls , "arrive on the other side without substantial changes."

12. We have five senses.

Apart from the five traditional senses that Aristotle already cataloged, we have a few more: between 9 and 20, depending on the definition we use . These include proprioception, which allows us to know where the different parts of our body are, the sensors of temperature (thermoception), pain (nociception) and even the sense of balance . Some point out that the easiest thing is to divide them into three groups: mechanical (touch, hearing and proprioception), chemical (taste, smell and the internal senses) and light.

13. Cutting your hair (and shaving it) makes it stronger.

Although it seems for a while , since each hair ends in a point and when we cut or shave, we do it by the stem.

14. "Quick, urinate on that jellyfish sting."

Vinegar and urine are not good ideas to calm the pain of one of these bites.

15. Stress makes your hair turn white.

Not exactly : stress causes your hair to fall out and hair with pigment is weaker, so they fall out and gray hair stays. That is, if you already have gray hair, the stress will leave you alone with them. If you do not have gray hair, you run the risk of staying bald.


16. The ostriches hide their heads underground.

They lower their heads at ground level to go unnoticed and look like a bush, although it is more normal for them to run.

17. The lemmings commit suicide en masse.

As Io9 explains , these arctic rodents go through population cycles in which they multiply by 100 or even 1,000, and then descend to almost extinction, since they depend on very cold climates to reproduce. In the peaks of population, many groups of lemmings are forced to emigrate and, occasionally, they fall by cliffs. But by accident. They do not throw themselves into a vacuum. These abrupt population cycles led to several legends, including that they were thrown into the sea. A Disney documentary (yes, Disney) of 1958 gave this legend for certain and the authors decided to buy a truck full of lemmings and push them down a ravine to simulate what in their opinion nature would have done anyway. This video collects the terrifying fragment.

18. According to physics, the bumblebee could not fly.

The bee was the insect of the original story, which would have originated in the Germany of the 30s (trust you). As Javier Armentia , director of the Planetarium of Pamplona, pointed out in his blog , "in motion, the bee creates a series of turbulences that explain its sustainability". Although it is not a simple process , no scientist - or any other sober person, add - has never doubted that a bumblebee can fly, since everyone has seen one flying.

19. Sharks do not get cancer.

Yes, and of all kinds . So you should not rely on products made with shark cartilage that ensure to prevent this disease.

20. The memory of the golden fish lasts only a few seconds.

These fish can learn, retain information and use it later, as an experiment shows in which after a few weeks leaving food in the same place, the fish came to that place before seeing the food and when it touched. They can also learn to distinguish and remember music. It is explained by Mental Floss .

21. Dogs sweat salivating.

They regulate the temperature especially with breathing, panting with an open mouth. Most of your sweat glands are in the soles of your legs .

22. The bulls do not see the color red.

It is true that the bull attacks by the brightness and movement of the cape. But these animals do distinguish the color red , although it is true that it does not annoy them. In the television program Mythbusters put this myth to the test .

23. The ducks do not echo.

Their squawks echo, although the spectrum of this sound is difficult to perceive by the human ear, as Quo explains .

24. Bats are blind.

They come almost as well as humans . They are guided by their eyes, sonar ultrasound, which helps them hunt insects in the dark, and an internal compass .

25. Flies live 24 hours.

Common flies live between 15 and 25 days .

26. A year of dog is seven years of human.

Dogs age at another pace, but this famous equivalence is not exact. Dogs grow much faster during the first two years and, in fact, reach sexual maturity already in the first, which would amount to about fifteen human years. Priceonomics publishes a table that gives the equivalence, which also depends on the size of the dog .

27. We swallow eight spiders a year while we sleep.

As Snopes says , the myth was already denied in a 1954 book, although it refuses to die. Snopes cites Scientific American, which claims that spiders probably find a human asleep terrifying. Goodness. Mental Floss crumbles the urban legend in this article , which makes reference to Snopes explains that its recent dissemination is due to an article of PC Professional magazine of 1993, which wanted to show that we believe anything that they send us by mail. The author, Lisa Holst, proposed her own list of invented and ridiculous facts. But on the internet nobody has managed to find Lisa Holst . Is there an article? Is it another myth? This is one of the great mysteries of the internet.

28. Dolphins are the smartest animals after humans.

It does not seem. As Jessa Gamble relates , they understand signs, like primates and parrots, but they remember less than many dogs. They are recognized in mirrors, but so are many animals. In the Spiegel magazine they explain the origin of the myth and the current controversy .

Science and everyday life

29. Sink water turns in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere.

As stated by Xataka , the Coriolis effect exists and affects atmospheric depressions and hurricanes, but it is very weak and only produces significant long-term consequences. Therefore, it does not affect the drainage, which is more influenced by other factors, such as the inclination of the bathtub, for example.

30. Listening to Mozart makes us smarter.

The famous experiment of 1993 that gave a Mozart effect in babies under three years has been repeated several times without success . Which does not mean that listening to Mozart is fine, just missing.

31. Vaccines cause autism.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study of the combination of the MMR vaccine with autism falsified data , was withdrawn by the journal that published it, The Lancet, and was dismantled after a study with 1.3 million children .

32. If all the Chinese jumped at the same time, they would alter the axis of rotation of the Earth.

As they collect in Engadget , citing 100 myths of science , by Daniel Closa i Autet, "the Earth weighs ten billion more than all its human inhabitants together", so "it would be as if a fly jumped on the surface of a ship" .

33. Never wake up a sleepwalker.

It is possible that the sleepwalker is annoyed and disoriented .
More or less like when they take us out of a deep sleep. It is unpleasant, but there is no danger of heart attack or coma, and in case of risk it can even be recommended (do not trip and fall). Of course, the BBC recommend trying to take the sleepwalker carefully to bed without waking him up.

34. If some food falls to the ground, it takes 5 seconds to become contaminated.

The less time that piece of chocolate spends on the ground, the less chance it will have to contain bacteria, Scientific American says . There are other variables that influence, such as the type of soil (wood would be the worst) or if the food is wet. But most studies agree that if the surface is contaminated, there is no substantial difference between three or fifteen seconds: better not risk .

35. If you urinate in the pool, a chemical component will cause the water to turn red in contact with the urine.

According to Snopes, this myth goes back at least to 1958, but there is no compound that acts only against urine and not against other similar organic components. Snopes also remembers that many children would even urinate voluntarily only to see the dye. In this blog of the Gunitec pool shop, Marcos Gisbert explains that he has even asked suppliers for this dye to finish confirming if it is an urban legend: nobody had it . So you can do it without risk to be in evidence. But do not do it. Please.

36. Truth serum works.

At the BBC they tested sodium thiopentate to put the myth to the test. It is true that it disinhibits, like alcohol, and makes it more suggestible, but it is not reliable. In fact and during the mock interrogation, the journalist began by explaining (laughing) that he was "a world-famous cardiac surgeon". When the dose was increased, he admitted his true profession. But these serums have little effect on those who do not want to tell anything .

37. When someone fires a gun with a silencer, hardly a whistle sounds.

It depends on the weapon, but the shot would continue to be heard and would not become the best friend of a discreet murderer, as explained in this Quora thread . They are used mostly for hunting or for domestic defense. In Quora include this video of a Russian shooting a shotgun with a silencer. Here is another more discrete example, which allows comparison .

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