Some Science “facts” You Thought Were True, But Are Actually Wrong…
It’s time to put an end to the most alluring science myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.
Here are most of the corrected shocking science “facts” that are bizarrely wrong about food, animals, biology, alcohol, and health.
MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.
HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.
It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.
Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine
MYTH: Humans evolved from chimpanzees.
Chimps and humans share uncanny similarities, not the least of which is our DNA – about 98.8% is identical.
However, evolution works by incremental genetic changes adding up through many, many generations. Chimps and humans did share a common ancestor between 6 and 8 million years ago but a lot has changed since then.
Modern chimps evolved into a separate (though close) branch of the ape family tree.
Sources: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History
MYTH: Water conducts electricity.
Pure or distilled water doesn’t conduct electricity well at all.
The reason we can get shocked when standing in electrified water is because water we come across will be contaminated by minerals, dirt, and other things that will conduct electricity.
MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women’s vagina.
Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening – if a woman is born with one at all.
Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.
Sources: Columbia University, College Humor
MYTH: People only use 10% of their brain.
This myth has been debunked over and over again, but it just won’t die.
Just because you’re not doing math equations and juggling while you write a sonnet doesn’t mean you aren’t using all the parts of your brain at once.
You can use your entire brain, and you do – the brain is 3% of the body’s mass but uses 20% of its energy.
Source: Scientific American
MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.
Microwave radiation won’t cause cancer, it just heats food up.
Only a few types of radiation cause cancer, and these depend on the dose. Radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer, for example, but just enough helps your body make Vitamin D, too.
Microwaves also won’t disrupt a pacemaker. However, things like anti-theft systems, metal detectors, powerful refrigerator magnets, mobile phones, and even headphones can mess with the heartbeat-keeping devices.
Sources: Cancer Research UK, American Heart Association
MYTH: Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.
Shaving your hair doesn’t make it thicker, it just makes it feel coarser for a time.
That’s because the ends of the hairs are sharp and stubbly instead of smooth.
Source: Mayo Clinic
MYTH: Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day.
Hydration is very important, but the idea that eight glasses of water is essential is a strange one.
In healthy people, researchers have not found any connection between fluid intake and kidney disease, heart disease, sodium levels, or skin quality.
But water is a calorie-free alternative to other beverages (especially sugary ones like soda or sports drinks), and people who drink water instead of those beverages consume fewer calories overall.
A good rule is to drink when you’re thirsty – you don’t need to count the glasses.
Source: FiveThirtyEight, Nutrition Reviews
MYTH: Eating before drinking keeps you sober.
Eating before drinking does help your body absorb alcohol, but it only delays the alcohol entering your bloodstream, it doesn’t restrict it.
Your body absorbs the alcohol more slowly after a big meal, so eating before drinking can help limit the severity of your hangover. Eating a lot after drinking, however, won’t do much to help your hangover.
MYTH: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.
Sugar that’s the color of dirt doesn’t make it more “natural” or healthier than its white counterpart. The color comes from a common residual sticky syrup, called molasses.
Brown sugar retains some of that molasses. In fact, brown sugar is mostly white sugar with some molasses – so refining it further would give you white table sugar.
While molasses contains some vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium, there is not enough in your standard brown sugar packet that should make you reach for it if you’re trying to eat healthier.
As far as your body is concerned, white and brown sugar are one-in-the-same.
MYTH: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes.
The most this will do is give you a headache from eye fatigue.
This rumor probably started with old TVs, which produced some X-rays, but newer ones don’t.
MYTH: Sugar causes diabetes.
Eating sugar in moderation won’t give you diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association, while it recommends that people avoid soda and sports drinks, is quick to point out that diabetes is a complex disease, and there’s not enough evidence to say that eating sugar is the direct cause.
However, both weight gain and consuming sugary drinks are associated with a heightened risk, and (large) portion size seems to be most crucial when it comes to sugar and diabetes.
Sources: Business Insider, Tech Insider, American Diabetes Association, PLoS ONE
MYTH: Being stressed will give you high blood pressure.
Stress doesn’t play a large role in chronic high blood pressure.
Acute stress can temporarily increase blood pressure, but overall it’s not a main cause of hypertension. Things like genetics, smoking, and a bad diet are much bigger factors.
Source: British Medical Journal