You’ve probably heard some of the most popular myths around and may even believe some of them. For example, did you know that fortune cookies are not a Chinese tradition, rather they are a Japanese-American tradition that was adopted by the Chinese. Or how about the popular myth that cell phones cause cancer (they don’t). From sugar causing hyperactivity to dogs sweating through their saliva, these are the 25 Popular Myths That Might Have You Fooled!
Whisper featured image by Jamin Gray via Flickr CC2.0
Caffeine dehydrates you
No, it doesn’t. Although it has a slight diuretic effect, this is not significant enough to dehydrate.
Cell phones cause cancer
There is no evidence that radiofrequency exposure is capable of causing DNA damage the way ionizing radiation does.
The moon has a dark side
It has a far side, but not a dark side. This means that although the far side remains positioned away from Earth, it is still exposed to the sun all the same.
Vitamin C cures colds
Vitamin C certainly helps you stay healthy but it won’t cure your cold any more than brushing your teeth will fix your cavities.
Sushi means "raw fish"
It actually translates as “sour tasting”.
Fortune cookies are a Chinese tradition
They are actually a Japanese-American tradition that was adopted by the Chinese.
Shaving hair makes it grow back quicker and thicker
When you shave your hair it will have a blunt tip. This makes it feel more stubby and coarse which likely led to the myth that it grows back faster as well. If you could measure its growth rate, however, you would see that it doesn’t. Furthermore, it lost its tapered end so now it appears to be thicker.
Frankenstein was the name of the monster in the book "Frankenstein"
Frankestein was actually the name of the monster’s creator.
Not wearing a jacket when it is cold outside will make you sick
First of all, colds and flus are caused by viruses. The thing about viruses is that temperature does not affect their likelihood of circulation or your body’s ability to resist them. The fact is that you are more likely to catch a bug indoors if only because of more proximity to others.
Cold weather still makes you sick
No. Once again the cold has nothing to do with it. The only reason that flus may circulate more during winter is because of less humidity in the air. This dries out your nasal passages which makes it easier for viruses to affect you. But once again, you are more likely to catch a cold indoors than outside.
Wet hair definitely makes you more likely to be sick
Wrong again. As we said, the external temperature has no effect on your body’s ability to resist viruses. Even though it may be cold outside, your body still maintains an internal temperature of 37 degrees celsius. If your body temperature drops even a couple degrees you will become hypothermic. At this point a flu is the least of your worries.
Most body heat is lost through the head
This is only true in infants. The myth has been traced back to the US Army Survival Manual in the 1970s that said more than 40% of body heat is lost through the head. The truth is that you lose just as much heat through your arms as you do through your head. Your head is just easier to expose and so it may give the illusion that it allows for more heat loss.
Undercover police in the United States have to identify themselves as such
No they don’t. This is a popular myth that was propagated by Hollywood.
Sugar causes hyperactivity in children
Numerous studies have shown that it doesn’t. To give you an example, when parents are led to believe that their children are consuming sugar during studies (even though it is only a placebo) they consistently report higher levels of activity in the child.
Alcohol keeps you warm
It is actually more likely to drop your core temperature. The reason for this myth is because it causes vessels near the surface of your skin to dilate, which gives the impression of warmth.
The iron maiden was a medieval torture device
They were actually invented during the 18th century to create sensationalism in circuses.
Dogs sweat by salivating
While they do regulate their temperature by panting, they sweat through their paws.
Each side of your brain does something different
False, their is no clear division of talents. Each side can potentially be responsible for anything.
Glass is a liquid
It is an amorphous solid. The reason those old windows are thicker at the bottom is not because the glass flowed down and collected at the base. The windows were just poorly designed.
MSG causes headaches
There is no scientific proof of this, only anecdotal evidence.
Vaccines cause autism
This is a widespread myth that originated due to fraudulent research that has been shown to have been manipulated.
You sense different tastes on different parts of your tongue
You actually sense all the tastes on all parts of your tongue.
You have to wait 24 hours to report a missing person
This is dangerously false. You can report a missing person at any point.
Salt makes water boil faster
Although chefs everywhere seem to swear by it, this is scientifically impossible. Salt raises the boiling point of water, which means that it actually takes longer to boil!
Pilgrims wore all black and had buckle hats
Nope, they wore late Elizabethan in-colors, which would have been red, yellow, purple, and green. And no buckle hats.