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Most common myths and misconceptions infographic

  1. Nov 10, 2014 #1
    What do you think?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Great post.

    By the way, Greg, you reached a binary milestone at 11,111 posts today...
  4. Nov 10, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    This missed my "favorite" scientific misconception: raindrops are tear-shaped.
  5. Nov 10, 2014 #4


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    Gold Member

    Roughly 1/3 of them I know are untrue, 1/3 I never even heard off, and the remaining 1/3 I learned today that are myths :)

    On the subject of sleep walking, I think the most dangerous thing about waking a sleep walker is that they are typically in very deep sleep at that stage so waking them up (probably a difficult task in itself) will annoy them so much they will likely punch the first person they see in the face.
  6. Nov 10, 2014 #5
    What do you mean there's no different tongue sectors? What about all those cool empirical experiments we used to do in lab in the 3rd grade?! Was that all BS? I live by the tongue chart, I have one posted up on my wall in my study. I use it as a guide in preparing my fine Northwest cuisine. Now I'm told I've been living a lie? Curses!:mad:
  7. Nov 10, 2014 #6
    Of course they had to leave some things out, but two more common myths are that "everyone knew" the Earth was flat until Columbus proved it wasn't (by not circumnavigating it, naturally), and that a drowning person flails around wildly.

    I'm sure most people here know the first is wrong, but I just passively accepted the flailing drowner myth until last year or so.
  8. Nov 10, 2014 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    With respect to the black belt myth, getting a black belt is like getting a high school diploma in martial arts and a second degree like a BS... Basically, you have a very long way to go to become a master in the art.

    In our style, it took two years of concentrated practice two to three times per week to get it. From there the time doubled for each new belt rank so for a fifth degree you'd study for roughly thirty years.

    After that it was at the discretion of the grand master as to how well you were propagating the art. Some politics were involved too...

    One last point is that a first degree black belt from Japan was equivalent to a third or fourth degree here. I don't think it's changed that much since I had heard it decades ago.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  9. Nov 10, 2014 #8
    I thought these were true:

    tongue parts
    Body heat/head
    wake sleepwalkers
    Iron Maiden
    don't touch baby birds
    24 hr missing persons
    Yes, I'm a cop
    chastity belts
    bananas grow on trees
    caffein dehydrates
    great wall of china visible from space
    milk increases mucous
    flushed water rotation
    black belts

    Some, I'd never heard before, and some like liquid glass and 10% brain use get debunked here often.

    If a banana tree is not a tree but an herb, does that mean a banana is not a fruit, that it's a spice?
  10. Nov 10, 2014 #9
    OMG, now I feel compelled to analyze all of these, thanks. I'm not going to do it though, I'll just cherry pick a few.

    1. Martyrs and 72 virgins: IDK about you, but I'm not gonna lie and say that 72 virgins doesn't sound good right now ;). However, before I strap on a C-4 suit and continue on to my "directive", I would appreciate some compelling evidence, please, that these maidens of mercy are waiting for me (and that all 72 are of sound mind and body). And yes, that means peer reviewed reports from respected sources, thank you very much!

    2. Yes, I'm a cop: What about getting them to snort a line of coke? That's what I used to do. I never trusted that "are you a cop" stuff anyway. Now it looks like I was right.

    3. Salty water boils quicker: I definitely fell for that, in fact, I confidently sprinkled a healthy dose of sea salt into my pre-boiled pasta water yesterday with the rested assurance that the countdown to primavera ecstasy was going to be greatly attenuated by the salubrious addition. Silly me.

    4. Alcohol kills brain cells: Umm, well, I think this myth "debunk" needs a little more study especially since my disability claim rests on it's validity, wink wink ;)

    5. No sex before the game: IDK about you, but the last thing I want to do after sex is play football or participate in a 10K run. MythConception counter-debunked!
  11. Nov 10, 2014 #10
    This idea is probably an misunderstanding of one of the main causes of Korsakoff's Syndrome:

    Chronic alcoholism can lead to thiamine deficiency, which causes Korsakoff's. That got misconstrued to, "Every glass of beer kills some number, n of brain cells," where n is proportional to the amount of alarm the teller of the tale wishes to incite.

    Yeah, I'm not sure about this one, because I recall reading that sex, in the case of men, actually releases soporific hormones, explaining why men always roll over and go to sleep afterward.
  12. Nov 10, 2014 #11
    I think sex before the game is usually in relation to the night before rather than immediately before.
  13. Nov 10, 2014 #12
    Funny you should mention that, because in the mid 90's I had to take a few classes at San Diego State (SDSU) to complete a degree I was working on, and I ran onto this young professor in the biology department that told me just that. We had lunch together up at the university center one day and he was all excited about his research showing that Korsakoff's was caused by a thiamine deficiency. I forgot his name, unfortuntately. However, this guy was so smart and convincing in his arguments that, to this day, if I drink, I always take a complex B vitamin supplement. No Korsakoffs here, mon :eek:
  14. Nov 10, 2014 #13
    You may well be right.
    I have read, though, the efficacy of vitamin supplements is a myth. Some respected physicist or mathematician who practiced crackpot biology on the side started this myth, IIRC. The history is very weird.
  15. Nov 10, 2014 #14
    What myth? That Korsakoff's is caused by a thiamine deficiency, or that the efficacy of the supplements is suspect? If the latter, what is the alternative to compensate for the said deficiency? Raw Kale and spinach, etc.?
  16. Nov 10, 2014 #15
    The allegation is that the efficacy of vitamin supplements in general is myth. It is an historical fact that it was started by a man who had no biology or medical training at all, just anecdotal personal experience. Because he was respected in some other scientific field, his claims had weight with the general public.

    Personally, I know myself to be pretty ignorant about nutrition, and simply make an effort to eat a lot of different kinds of foods, hoping I'll get the variety of vitamins and minerals I need.
  17. Nov 10, 2014 #16
    Well, I'm a bit confused, just because the credentials of the pioneer vitamin supplement guy may be in question, doesn't mean that the army of qualified nutritionists and chemists, etc. that came after him were wrong too. The guy I was telling you about that I had lunch with had just completed a 2-3 year exhaustive study and was working on a major review article on the subject at the time. Our paths crossed because I was writing an article at the same time, and back in those days (before the internet), typically I sought reviews on my work by literally going door to door through the relevant department offices at the major universities. I used to shop my wares back in those days at SDSU, UCSD, UCIrvine, UCRiverside, and wherever else I could solicit a professional or semi-professional review of my work. That's how I found this guy at SDSU. Fortunately, I was enrolled in that college at the time so my access to the faculty was smooth.

    In any case, this doesn't address the supplement issue. However, If you're wanting of a vitamin supplement of whatever species, it seems to me that you can roll the dice by taking the supplement, or guarantee failure by taking nothing. That's the way I look at it. Look at scurvy, how was that problm solved? The sailors stocked up on limes before their sea voyages. Vitamin C solved the problem, and that supplement was in the form of a lime.
  18. Nov 10, 2014 #17
    It's only of vague interest to me. If you're concerned you'll need to google the issue yourself and find out what the exact claims are and what's disputed. I am pretty sure medical experts have claimed that manufactured vitamin supplements have no more than placebo efficacy.
  19. Nov 10, 2014 #18
    Lol. That's a pretty bold and reckless statement, Zooby, and especially immediate insofar as the example of scurvy I just brought up, and also people that are actually suffering from chronic and/or acute malnutrition. These people are given often times IV vitamin supplement treatments that may go some way to save their lives. The USRDA figures you see on the vitamin labels are the minimum RDA for prevention of disease, as far as I'm aware. Go below these guidelines, and you're going to be in trouble. My other guess is that, if you are below these RDA levels for certain vitamin supplements, then taking a supplement pill will bring you up to par. I'm not going to search for corroborating references right now, but my guess is that the FDA has looked into this.
  20. Nov 10, 2014 #19
    The claim is not that vitamins are a myth, but that taking artificially manufactured (i.e. not from food) vitamin supplements actually has no effect:

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