Common misconceptions about science
It’s natural to make some mistakes before you find the correct answer; it wasn’t too long ago that we thought the earth was flat.
We eventually sorted that one out but there are some misconceptions that no matter how hard we try, and how ridiculous they are, that refuse to go away.
So here are the top ten myths and misconceptions that are still believed by millions of people.
Lightning never strikes the same place twice
Actually it can strike anywhere and anytime depending on the conditions including the amount of salt water and metal present in the area. Height is another huge factor and when you couple this with metal, say like the 443 metre tall Empire State Building, lightning wont only strike twice but more like 25 times every year.
Touching a baby bird will lead to it being abandoned by its mother
The myth that a mother bird will abandon her chicks if she can smell the scent of a human handler is strange considering most birds do not have a strong sense of smell. Relying far more on their sight and hearing, there is no evidence that any species of bird can even recognise a human scent let alone abandon their children because of it.
Goldfish have three second memories
Numerous tests, including playing a sound at feeding time which the goldfish began to associate with and move closer to as their food arrived, has proven that the length of a goldfish’s memories doesn’t last seconds but many months.
We only use 10% of our brains
While only a small amount of the neurons in our brain are firing at any one time, they all have an important part to play, even when they’re dormant. There are many unsolved mysteries when it comes to how our brains work, but it’s safe to say if we lost 90% of it, we would notice.
The colour red drives bulls crazy
Bulls are colour-blind which makes it quite difficult for them to have a problem with the colour red. The red cape, known as the muleta is only used for a short period in a bullfight as the matador will use his capote which is yellow and purple for the majority of the time, which does nothing to stop the bull from charging.
Being cold gives you the cold
Being cold and wet can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to contracting a virus but the only thing that can give you the cold is the cold virus and that’s passed on by people, not the temperature.
You lose most heat from your head
Beginning in a US army training manual in the 1970s, the myth that we can save our bodies purging up to 80% of our entire body heat by wearing a hat has been proven false many times over but people still believe it.
You can see the Great Wall of China from space
A myth that dates back to the first moon landing in 1969, the Great Wall of China, because of its huge length, can be seen from outer space. The problem isn’t its length but that it is only 30 feet wide, not exactly the easiest thing to spot from 250 miles above the earth.
The five second rule
Everyone denies doing it but chances are it’s happened to you at some point. You drop some food on the floor and scoop it up in less than five seconds and convince yourself any germs and bacteria didn’t have a chance to grab on. In realty however the food is highly contaminated the second it touched the floor, and with over one million people treated for food poisoning each year, it’s probably not worth the risk.
Too much sugar creates hyperactive kids
The unbearable sugar rush followed by the customary crash is a common experience for any parent with a child with a sweet tooth. The truth however is there is no scientific evidence to support the claims that it’s sugar to blame for hyperactive children. Numerous studies involving placebo tablets and blind testing found no meaningful connection; it may be that kids are more commonly exposed to sugary snacks and drinks at events like birthday parties, Christmas and Halloween, when they are already excited.
Do you have any myths to add to the list?
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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