25 Popular Myths Debunked

Posted by , Updated on December 5, 2014

Many times the things we think of as common knowledge are little more than myths and urban legends. So, while there may be some experienced myth busters among you, we know that others of you will probably have to face some hard facts by the time you reach the bottom. At any rate, this list is by no means exhaustive so if you have any other popular myths or urban legends on your mind go ahead and leave a comment.

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5

Dropping a penny from the Empire State Building would kill someone

Empire State Building

Pennies only weigh about a gram and they tumble as they fall so the air resistance is significant. If it reaches its terminal velocity it would be falling at about 100 miles/hour. So when it finally hit you on the head with about 1 foot-pound of energy it would hurt a little but you would quickly forget about it.

4

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

The Great Wall of China

First of all we have to define where “space” starts. Is it 50 miles, 100 miles, the moon? For our purposes we will use the International Space Station, and guess what? Thats right, you can’t see the Great Wall of China from there. By the way, the ISS is about 173 miles above sea level which is considered low Earth orbit. That’s barely even space. There are man made structures visible from that height, however, one being the Pyramids.

3

Fingernails and hair keep growing after death

Hair

Once you die, everything in your body will start to decay, even your hair and fingernails. Although the origin of this myth is disputable it probably stems from the fact that when the skin starts to recede from a dead body it makes the hair and nails appear longer.

2

The 5 Second Rule

Five Second Rule

The belief that it takes 5 seconds for bacteria on the floor to hop on a piece of dropped food is misplaced. The truth is, it only takes a second if that.

1

A toilet’s flush will change direction depending upon which hemisphere it is in

Toilet Flush

This is one of the most ridiculous yet staunchly defended myths to date. Proponents will attribute this to the Coriolis Effect which is derived from the rotation of the Earth. While this effect does influence air masses or other large environmental structures it has absolutely no effect on the direction your toilet drains.

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