Do you remember when you were a child and your mum would tell you old wives’ tales? Or those things you heard in the schoolyard about space or science? It turns out that while they are fun to think about, a lot of common myths were actually debunked many years ago, but still many stand by what they were told.
Today we look at the top 14 myths that have been disproven, so we can all relax, and share some new facts!
1. We have only 5 senses
This is common knowledge right? Well actually while sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing are our primary senses, we also sense pressure, itch, temperature, tension, pain, thirst, hunger, and time.
2. You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day
While this is probably good advice for older people, especially if you live in a really dry area, it should not be followed as a rule. If you’re thirsty, drink!
3. Toilet water swirls a different way in different hemispheres
This is one of the most ridiculous yet popular myths. While the rotation of the earth does influence how weather patterns react, it has absolutely no effect on the direction of your toilet’s flush!
4. You can see the Great Wall of China from the moon
Some people believe the only visible thing on Earth is the Great Wall of China but actually, even from the relatively low orbit of the International Space Station, the Great Wall is impossible to make out.
5. Never stand in front of a microwave
You may have found yourself doing or saying this since microwaves came into houses, however there’s no need to worry: the amount of radiation you are exposed to standing in front of a microwave is far below any level that is harmful to humans.
6. If you drop a piece of food on the floor, you should apply the 5 second rule
If you’re willing to eat food that’s been on the floor, it really doesn’t make a difference if it was there for 5 seconds or five minutes – it will have the same amount of germs.
7. Shaving thickens hair
Actually, shaving doesn’t change the structure of the hair whatsoever. Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip which might feel coarse or “stubbly” as it grows out.
8. We only use 10% of our brains
This has been widely debunked and wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein – in fact humans use more like 90% of their brains.
9. Reading in low light will make you go blind
This is completely false. Research shows that reading in low light can strain your eyes, but they go back to normal as soon as you turn a brighter light on.
10. Feed a cold but starve a fever
This is an old wives’ tale that is not true. Anyone who has a cold and or fever needs a certain amount of nutrients and fluids to get better. Without them, the body has a more difficult time fighting off the cold and or fever!
11. You have to wait a half hour after you eat to go swimming
Going swimming after eating a big meal might make you uncomfortable, but you won’t drown or cause any damage.
12. Dropping a coin off the side of the Empire State Building could kill someone
No, it couldn’t. A penny or similar coin is not big enough or heavy enough to do this, even with the distance it would fall. The team from the show MythBusters even fired a penny out of a rifle and it still made barely a dent.
13. Using your mobile phone while filling up with petrol could trigger an explosion
An explosion could occur while “pumping gas” due to the gas vapour in the air combusting with an electrostatic charge…but it wouldn’t be your phone’s fault.
14. Quicksand sucks you underground until you die
This is an invention of the movies and our imaginations, fortunately. Real quicksand is actually more buoyant than sand, and if you were ever caught in it, you’d float!