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Mythbusters – Common Conceptions Disproved by Science (Part One)

Feb 06,2015 by Edulab

There are a lot of science-based myths flying around that have stemmed from old wives’ tales and cases of Chinese whispers. But if you’ve ever watched an episode of Mythbusters or QI, you may have seen a few of these myths being disproved. Today, we’ll take you through some of the most common myths and see why they are completely untrue.

The Brightest Star

It is often believed that the North Star, or Polaris, is the brightest in the sky, but this is fiction. In fact, it is nowhere near number one on the list. It is ranked as the 50th brightest star seen from Earth; much duller than Sirius, the ‘Dog Star’ of the Canis Major constellation. It’s worth noting that there is a difference between brightness as seen from earth and luminosity – the amount of energy a star emits.

Death by Penny

If you’ve ever visited the Eiffel Tower, or maybe even Blackpool Tower (!), you may have thought about the myth that if you drop a penny from the top, it can kill anyone walking underneath if they get hit. Thankfully, this is not true! The terminal velocity of a penny is simply not enough to kill someone. If you get hit on the head by a penny dropped from the Eiffel Tower, it may sting a bit, but there’s no need to fear for your life!

Just the 10%

This seems to be a particularly persistent myth that refuses to disappear no matter how many times scientists refute it. The myth that has been perpetuated by movies such as Lucy and Limitless states that we only use 10% of our brains, leaving a whole 90% completely unknown and unlocked. This is simply not true, and stems back to the early scientists as they discovered that different areas of the brain did different things. For example, stimulating one spot in a dog’s brain would cause a twitch in its paw. However, they were only able to do this with around 10% of the brain, with the remaining 90% remaining a mystery. We now know that this remaining 90% controls areas of the body and functions that we don’t see, such as language and abstract thinking.

Brain Cells Gone Forever

This one is something that, as recently as 20 years ago, scientists believed to be true. The misconception was that brain cells don’t regenerate, so if you kill a cell, it’s gone forever. However, in 1998 scientists at the Sweden and Salk institute in California discovered that this was untrue, and in mature adults brain cells do regenerate.

Dinosaurs and Humans – Best Friends Forever

Thankfully, this myth seems to be in decline, but there are still some who believe that The Flintstones idea of dinosaurs and early humans coexisting is true, when dinosaurs pre-dated early forms of humans by around 65 million years!

Seven Year Old Gum

This is probably one that you heard in the playground as a child or as a warning from your mother. The myth is that if you swallow a piece of chewing gum, it will stay in your system for seven years, as it takes this long to digest. Don’t worry though, if you gulped down some gum back in 2008, it is long gone from your system! Your body will absorb certain elements of the gum such as the sugar, but the chewy base should pass through your system and make its way out easily. Don’t make it a habit though! There have been a couple of rare cases where a particularly large amount of gum has been swallowed and caused a blockage in the body!

So there you have it – just a few of the most common myths, now busted! Here at Edulab, we are passionate about science, and that’s why we are leading providers of laboratory supplies. If you would like more information about any of our products, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01366 385777 to speak to a member of our team.