We’re taught loads of scientific facts formally or informally from an early age. And they’re all said to be true and reinforced by our common sharing of them. As time progresses, scientists use new methods to find some of those facts (or, in some cases, rumors that are so pervasive they enter the common psyche as perceived true facts) wrong. In this list, we break down some so-called “facts” we believed to be true and show what the science really says.
Heavy drinking kills brain cells
Over drinking is not the only way alcohol kills brain cells. It can also kill them from a deficiency of thiamine for those getting most of their calories from alcohol and, for very heavy drinkers, from excitotoxicity (nerve cells being killed from overabundant neurotransmitter presence) when dropping alcohol “cold turkey”. It’s true that everything is best in moderation, even when it comes to detox.
Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice
Lightning can and does strike the same place twice. Since lightning’s aim is to find the fastest path to the ground, tall buildings, trees, and such are at the greatest risk because the higher the object, the more likely it is to be struck.
The tongue has specific taste zones
The tongue doesn’t actually have specific receptor areas for bitter, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. In fact, there is a fifth taste (umami, for savory/meaty flavors) and all zones of the tongue can sense all flavors.
A penny dropped from the Empire State Building can kill you
A penny dropped from the Empire State Building’s height won’t kill you on street level. Terminal velocity (the maximum speed an object can reach in free fall) for a penny is, at its fastest, 50 mph (80 kmh) – not enough to give you more than a bump for a bit.
Being in a vacuum causes our eyes to pop out
A human body or any organism won’t comically explode if put into a vacuum. Rather, the lack of oxygen would cause you to lose consciousness and die after just a few minutes.