The best quality a fact has is that by definition it’s something that has been proven. Humans need to breathe, that’s a fact. Interestingly, “facts” circulate around the world that aren’t factual at all. Chain emails are sent, drunken facts are spewed and something once believed by science but now known to be false will never be corrected.
The only way to stop the spread of misinformation is to start informing, here we go lads and ladies, here are five “facts” that you won’t believe are myths.
5. A penny dropped from the Empire State building can kill someone
For people that have a basic understanding of what terminal velocity is, this myth a no brainer. I have yet to meet any layman that has an understanding of terminal velocity.
So let’s explain it basically. A penny is flat, when you throw it the air around it provides drag and slows the penny down. The weight and shape of the penny along with the drag in the air means that there is a limit to how fast it can go.
This limit is the terminal velocity and not fast enough to cause any damage to anyone or anything. A more in-depth explanation can be found here.
4. Frankenstein is a horrible green monster pieced together by a crazy doctor
What isn’t widely known is that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor in the novel, not the monster. Actually, the monster doesn’t have a name at all.
There is speculation that the intentional namelessness of the monster is done in order to highlight how awful Dr. Frankenstein is. The doctor creates this monster from pieces of humans, it obtains a level of humanity and is denied the basic right of a name.
Humans name pets, animals and even plants are classified with a name yet the monster is never acknowledged as a living entity.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte was short coming in at a mere 5 feet 2 inches
Napoleon was certainly a great tactician and to some, terrifying. So what do you do when someone is scary? You make them seem not so scary by making them into a joke.
By no means was he a particularly large man, however he wasn’t short either. In fact the average height for males across the world is 5 feet 7 inches. How could this “fact” have gone on so long? Well French death records had him at a recorded 5 feet 2 inches at his time of death and that measurement was accurate.
The French were using different terms of measure at the time of his death, their 5 feet 2 inches is actually our 5 feet 7 inches. His height never changed, only our interpretation of it did.
2. Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
Moms around the world have been telling their children for years that they better stop cracking or popping their knuckles because it’s going to cause them a lot of pain down the line. However that has been proven time and time again to be untrue.
Donald Unger was willing to take the risk and cracked the knuckles on his left hand only for 60 years to see if there was any difference between the left and right hands. There was no difference between both of his hands, and he actually was awarded the Nobel Prize for his lifetime of work.
So the next time your mom gets on your case, let her know the last person that did it got a Nobel Prize.
1. Your tongue tastes different tastes based on what zone you are using
We’ve all seen the tongue maps that look like this. These tell us about how there are different zones on our tongue that have an abundant amount of certain taste receptors. We were told the theory that food placed on certain areas of your tongue would activate those receptors in the corresponding areas.
Well this is untrue. While it is true that we have different cells that receive specific taste information, they are spread out all over our tongue and not just in one distinct area.
In fact, a new receptor has been discovered called umamai which in Japanese means “savory”.
Now go forth and dispel these common myths. Spread the real information, win a few beer bets, educate old ladies on the subway and read Snapple caps smugly.