Saturday, October 18, 2014

50 Special...Misconceptions Revealed

I cannot believe I've written fifty articles so far. It's a great goal for me, and I have to thank all my Snoopers, who come to visit me every time. So, also to thank you, today I'm going to write a special article. Imagine all the things you've learnt in your life. Well, not all of them are true, we all know that! But there are some of those which are so eradicated in our mind we couldn't believe are not true. Well, today we'll try to do this. In the sixteenth century, British cardinal Thomas Wolsey said: "Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you'll never, ever get it out". Prepare to empty your brain of this 50 common misconceptions, miths, rumors about everything.

1. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space. WRONG! To see something on Earth from space, it would have to be pretty big, which the Great Wall certainly is. But it's only 30 feet across at its widest. Photos taken from the International Space Station can prove you cannot spot a single piece of it, but even if you guessed the actual line by pure luck, the photos were taken with zoom lens. This makes it not visible.
2. Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. WRONG! That is socially obnoxious for sure, but it does not causes that kind of issues as some kind of karmic punishment.
3. People only use 10% of their brain. WRONG! If you haven't seen a neurologist in the past 30 years, you might not be aware doctors now have machines that can see inside peoples' brains and, contrary to popular belief, 90% of the neurons don't sit all day around doing absolutely nothing.While scientist don't yet know exactly what each part does, they do know that all the bits matter. So if you think someone could scoop out more than a half of the brain and still be fine, that person probably uses only 10% of it.
4. Brontosaurus were fantastic dinosaurs. WRONG! I'm afraid to announce, all Dino-fans, that this kind of dinosaur never even existed. Some paleontologists mistakenly attached two species body parts, claimed then for the new specie. The mistake was discovered in 1903, but the last museum corrected the skeletons only in 1979.
5. Speaking about dinosaurs, Pterodactyls and other Pterousaurs were flying dinosaurs. WRONG! Actually, they were not dinosaurs. Also birds did not evolve from this specie, are in fact a subgroup of dinosaurs.
6. The Far Side of the Moon is the Dark Side. WRONG! Actually it's not. We are not able to see it because the moon is tightly locked with the Earth, but the far side receives just as much sunlight as the face that faces us.
7. The moon is the solely responsible for the tides. WRONG! The sun's gravity plays a role as well, albeit a smaller one.
8. By the way, looking at the Sun means like looking at a burning star. WRONG! The sun is actually not on fire, but what you're seeing is an enormous nuclear reaction, as the sun fuses Hydrogen atoms into Helium.
9. Fortune cookies are one of the most known Chinese sweet. WRONG! Fortune cookies, despite being associated with Chinese cuisine in the United States, were in fact invented and brought to the U.S. by the Japanese.The cookies are extremely rare in China, where they are actually seen as symbols of American cuisine.
10. As you probably remember, in my article about Autumn I said equinox is the only day when you can balance an egg. WRONG! I should say my bad but, what I've said is just partially wrong. Egg balancing is possible on every day of the year, not just the vernal equinox. The tradition of balancing eggs on a particular date originates in China, when it was reported on by Life magazine in 1945. However, it was reported in 1987 that Frank Ghigo was able to balance some eggs on every day from February 27 to April 3, in 1984. At the same time, he also found that "...some eggs would simply never balance, on the equinox or otherwise."

11. Eskimos have hundreds of words to say "Snow". TECHNICALLY CORRECT! yes is technically correct, but misleading. Some languages, such as German, like to make compound words by running several small ones together (which is why German words are sometimes absurdly long). Inuit language (the Eskimos language to be clear) uses compound words as well. So, rather than say something like "Icy Snow" in English, they combines the two words into one, with the final result written "Icysnow". But it's not a "real word", just a quirk of grammar. So technically they do have hundreds of ways to describe snow, because there are hundreds of adjectives related to snow that can be combined. But, in a certain way, so does every other language.
12. Meteorites raise to high temperature when they collide with the ground. WRONG! Meteorites are not necessarily hot when they reach the Earth. In fact, many meteorites are found with frost on them. As they enter the atmosphere, having been warmed only by the sun, meteors have a temperature below freezing. The intense heat produced during passage through the upper atmosphere at very high speed then melts a meteor's outside layer, but molten material is blown off and the interior does not have time to warm appreciably. Most meteorites fall through the relatively cool lower atmosphere for as long as several minutes at subsonic velocity before reaching the ground, giving plenty of time for their exterior to cool off again.
13. Twinkle twinkle little star. WRONG! Stars don't twinkle, despite what you may have heard from the popular rhyme. The light of the stars is refracted through our atmosphere, distorting the image that reaches our eyes.
14. Space is devoid of gravity. WRONG! There's enough of it out there to keep the stars orbiting the center of the galaxy.
15. The Brazilian Wandering Spider is the most poisonous spider in the world. WRONG! Well, this needs an explanation. There's another spider which is more poisonous than the Wandering. You won't believe it, but according to urban legends, the daddy longlegs spider (Pholcidae) is the most venomous spider in the world, but the shape of their mandibles leaves them unable to bite humans, rendering them harmless to our species. In reality, they can indeed pierce human skin, though the tiny amount of venom they carry causes only a mild burning sensation for a few seconds.
16. Harvestmen and Crane Flies can be considered longlegs spiders. WRONG! There is confusion regarding the use of the name daddy longlegs, because harvestmen (order Opiliones, which are arachnids, but not spiders) and crane flies (which are insects) are also known as daddy longlegs, and share the misconception of being venomous.
17. Sunflowers track Sun across the sky. WRONG! The heads point in a fixed direction (East) all day long. However, in an earlier development stage, before the appearance of flower heads, the buds do track the sun and the fixed alignment of the mature flowers is a result of this heliotropism.
18. Killer Whales are whales. WRONG! They' re actually the largest members of the Dolphin family.
19. You need 8 glasses of water a day. WRONG, BUT A GREAT ADVICE! While I'm doubtless some people would benefit from drinking a little more water instead of "awful drinks full of sugar", there is no scientific evidence that 8 glasses of water a day is the required amount, and some evidence that it might be too much.
20. Goldfish have a 3 seconds memory. WRONG! In average the memories can last in their tiny heads for more than a month, so don't torture your pet.

21. This is more for scientists: speed=velocity & mass=weight. WRONG! Speed and Velocity are not interchangeable, and neither are Mass and Weight. Weight is in fact a measurement of the strength of acting on a specified mass.
22. The QUACK doesn't echo. WRONG! Believe me, a duck's quack actually does echo, just like any other sound.
23. Bats are blind. WRONG! While about 70% of bat species, mainly in the microbat family, use echolocation to navigate, all bat species have eyes and are capable of sight. In addition, almost all bats in the megabat or fruit bat family cannot echolocate and have excellent night vision.
24. Well, that pesky fly will surely die before tomorrow. WRONG! Houseflies do not have an average lifespan of 24 hours (though the adults of some species of mayflies do). The average lifespan of a housefly is 20 to 30 days. However, a housefly maggot will hatch within 24 hours of being laid.
25. A dog year is equivalent to seven human years. NOT REALLY! Generally speaking, a one year old dog is between 10 and 15 human years, the second years is equal about 3 to 8 years, and every year after that is 4/5 human years. But of course this actually depends on the size and breed of the dog.
26. The Equator is the point of change of the Coriolis effect. WRONG! If you haven't heard of it, this effect should change the direction of water flowing down the bathtub. Well, The Coriolis effect does not determine the direction that water rotates in a bathtub drain or a flushing toilet, so this direction is not influenced by location, no matter in what hemisphere you are. The Coriolis effect is induced by the Earth's rotation and is far too weak to affect the direction of water in a typical bathtub drain. The effect becomes significant and noticeable only at much larger scales, such as in weather systems or oceanic currents
27. Tap Water is bad, but Bottled Water is good. WRONG! If you live in a paradise free from Government Regulations, I would recommend you to drink bottled water, But modern and functioning countries have something called Health Regulations, which cover both kinds of water. In addition, water is extremely dense, making transporting it from mountain tops and glaciers enormously expensive. And, just between us, sometimes bottles water is just local tap water with a fancy label and an enormous markup. Well, only some of them, not all of them...
28. Gum takes 7 years to pass through your digestive system. WRONG! Are you kidding me? This is pretty easy to disprove yourself, but it's understandable why most people don't try the experiment.
29. Glass is a super cooled liquid. WRONG! Well, it's also though not a solid. It's called an amorphous solid, some state between solid and liquid.
30. You're tongue has separate sections for every taste. WRONG! Every area of the tongue can taste Sweet, Sour, Savory, Salty an Bitter foods that you put into your mouth.

31. Another mistake of mine. The equinox means that day and night have the same length everywhere in the world. WRONG! This is just a particular moment of astronomical alignment that happens twice a year when the Earth's axis is perfectly perpendicular to the Sun.
32. Mental abilities are separated into the left and right cerebral hemispheres of the brain. WRONG! Some mental functions such as speech and language (Broca's area, Wernicke's area) tend to activate one hemisphere of the brain more than the other, in some kinds of tasks. If one hemisphere is damaged at an early age, these functions can often be recovered in part or even in full by the other hemisphere (a process called Neuroplasticity). Other abilities such as motor control, memory, and general reasoning are served equally by the two hemispheres.
33. You cannot have sex freely before a sporting event. WRONG! In fact, There is no physiological basis for the belief that having sex in the days leading up to a sporting event or contest is detrimental to performance.In fact it has been suggested that sex prior to sports activity can elevate the levels of testosterone in males, which could potentially enhance their performance.
34. If you're on a plane, your toilet waste is flushed in the sky. WRONG! Can you imagine?! That would be hilarious, especially for the poor one who will be struck by that thing. In reality, toilet waste is never intentionally jettisoned from an aircraft. All waste is collected in tanks which are emptied on the ground by toilet waste vehicles. Blue ice is caused by accidental leakage from the waste tank. Passenger trains, on the other hand, have indeed historically flushed onto the tracks; modern trains usually have retention tanks on board and therefore do not dispose of waste in such a manner.
35. Blood in your veins is blue. WRONG! The idea here is that the blood in veins is blue and it only turns red when exposed to the Oxygen in the air. Thinking such an idea is unreasonable, after all your veins look blue and anatomic diagrams classify veins with the color blue.
36. People swallow 8 spiders a year while sleeping. WRONG! Thank God, I Add. Supposedly, while you're in bed, helplessly unconscious with your mouth wide open, each year 8 spiders find their way into your mouth and then reflexively swallow them. Well, let me say. Spiders love warm, moist places, so 8 is far too low. NO, SERIOUSLY, JUST KIDDING...
37. Don't shave or it will grow thicker and darker. WRONG! The hair only becomes wider and feels coarser. This belief is due to hair which has never been cut having a tapered end, whereas after cutting the edge is blunt and therefore wider than the tapered ends; the cut hair appears to be thicker and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. The shorter hairs being "harder" (less flexible) than longer hairs also contributes to this effect.
38. Hair and fingernails continue growing after death, WRONG!  Rather, the skin dries and shrinks away from the bases of hairs and nails, giving the appearance of growth.
39. Alcohol makes me feel warm. WRONG! The reason that alcoholic drinks create the sensation of warmth is that they cause blood vessels to dilate and stimulate nerve endings near the surface of the skin with an influx of warm blood. This can actually result in making the core body temperature lower, as it allows for easier heat exchange with a cold external environment.
40. The molten core of the Earth. WRONG! The core of our planet, which has a radius of 700 miles is essentially a solid ball of Nickel and Iron.

41. Galileo invented the telescope. WRONG! Though he improved it a lot.
42. Charles Darwin and the "Survival of The Fittest". WRONG! This phrase was not his, in fact he borrowed it from an English philosopher, Herbert Spencer, and used it in Chapter 4 of "The Origins Of Species" 
43. Alcohol kills brain cells. WRONG! Alcohol can, however, lead indirectly to the death of brain cells in two ways: (1) In chronic, heavy alcohol users whose brains have adapted to the effects of alcohol, abrupt cessation following heavy use can cause excitotoxicity leading to cellular death in multiple areas of the brain. (2) In alcoholics who get most of their daily calories from alcohol, a deficiency of thiamine can produce Korsakoff's syndrome, which is associated with serious brain damage.
44. Diamonds and Coal. WRONG! Most diamonds are not formed from highly compressed coal. More than 99 percent of diamonds ever mined have formed in the conditions of extreme heat and pressure about 90 miles (140 km) below the earth's surface. Coal is formed from prehistoric plants close to earth surface, and is unlikely to migrate below 2 miles (3.2 km) through common geological processes. Most diamonds that have been dated are older than the first land plants, and are therefore older than coal. It is possible that diamonds can form from coal in subduction zones and in meteoroid impacts, but diamonds formed this way are rare and the carbon source is more likely carbonate rocks rather than coal.
45. Salem's Fires. WRONG, BUT CLOSE! The accused at the Salem witch trials were not burned at the stake; they either died in prison (about 15) or were hanged (19) or pressed to death (only 1).
46. George Washington and his wooden teeth. WRONG! In fact the first President of the U.S.A. had a denture made of  gold, hippopotamus ivory, lead, animal teeth (including horse and donkey teeth), and probably human teeth from slaves.
47. The Bull and the Red Cape. WRONG! Bulls are not enraged by the color red, used in capes by professional matadors. Cattle are dichromats, so red does not stand out as a bright color. It is not the color of the cape, but the perceived threat by the matador that incites it to charge.
48. Fan Death. QUIET INTERESTING! This misconception comes from South Korea. Here the belief is that if you spend too much time with a rotating fan in a confined space, it will use up all of you Oxygen and you'll asphyxiate to death. Well, according with the lifeless, anaerobic and plastic material of the fan, this has actually no sense. But Korean manufacturers are so sure of your imminent death that they always put timers to prevent them from running too long.
49. 4th July 1776. WRONG! The American Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2nd 1776. The 4th of July was the date when the declaration was ratified.
50. Albert Einstein and his issue with math when he was a child. WRONG! Einstein never failed math at school, and when he was showed a newspaper claiming he had, Einstein replied: "Before I was fifteen I mastered differential and integral calculus".

And that's it ! 50 misconceptions, 50 times I've written "WRONG!" (and probably this have bothered some of you). But now I just wanna say THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY. Without all the people that visit my blog everyday I wouldn't be able to make it through the Internet. So, you made my dream come true and I couldn't be more happy and thankful. And, thanks to your support, I will continue writing articles, over and over again. WE WILL NEVER STOP SNOOPING AROUND...

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