posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:56 PM
I ran across a Wikipedia entry entitled "List of Common Misconceptions," and I thought I would pick out some of them and add some of what I know, as
well as information from a couple of other websites. This isn't off-site content, as I reworked all the information I gathered, and as such I have
not included the off-site or external content blocks. I also assume this is an appropriate forum to place this thread in, since misconceptions and
urban legends seem to have similarities. If not, I do not mind it being moved.
I would like to point out that all of the main ideas did come from the Wikipedia entry, therefore I included the proper citation at the bottom of the
page. If I have done something incorrectly, as I don't make threads often at all, could a mod please message me and let me know? I would really
appreciate it. These are simply common myths and misconceptions, and be forewarned that they are relatively random in nature, with every few having a
Despite popular depictions, there is no evidence that Vikings ever wore horns on their helmets.
The United States Constitution was not written on hemp paper. It turns out that, along with the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution was written on parchment. Parchment is treated animal skin, such as sheepskin, which was common during the 18th century.
Napoleon wasn't really that short. It turns out that he was 5.54 ft., although some other sites I researched quoted slight deviations.
Abe Lincoln didn't actually free the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, although many Americans think otherwise. The Emancipation
Proclamation only declared slavery illegal for the states that were not under Union control. The South did not recognize or abide by this
proclamation, for obvious reasons, and it also did not apply
to 5 Union border states, which Wikipedia quotes as having roughly 800,000 slaves. Not until the 13th amendment was slavery actually abolished.
Albert Einstein never failed math when he was in school, as is popularly reported in some places on the web.
It is a common misconception that police officers must identify themselves as such, if asked, while doing undercover or sting work. It is commonly
reported that this is entrapment, although entrapment is something completely different, which involves inticing one to commit a crime they would not
Sushi does not mean "raw fish," although many portray it in this manner, and not all sushi is actually composed of raw fish. Sushi actually means
"sour rice," a reference to the vinegared rice that can be found in the food.
Microwave ovens, because of the frequencies used, do not actually cook food from the inside out. The rays penetrate the food and cause it to heat
relatively close to the surface, and this depth is known as the "skin depth."
Lemmings do not commit suicide by walking off cliffs. This was mentioned in a thread here on ATS, which I recently read. Something I found funny is
that Wikipedia said the following: "Lemmings do not engage in mass suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating. They will, however, occasionally
unintentionally fall off cliffs when venturing into unknown territory..." Does anyone else find that amusing?
Although most believe that bats are blind, this is not true. Their primary sense is echolocation, but they do in fact have eyes, and can see with
Some say that the Daddy-Longlegs spider is the most venemous in the world, but their small mouths prevent them from biting. They can indeed pierce
human skin with their small mouths, but the quantity of their venom is small enough to cause only a mild sensation for a short duration.
It is common knowledge that by returning a baby bird to its nest, the mother will reject it. This is in fact a myth, and the babies can safely be
returned to their nests. I have always thought this to be true, and perhaps it is for certain species, but this is reported as a common myth, so I am
not really too sure.
Chameleons do not change color to camoflauge themselves. They actually do this to control their body temperatures, and sometimes to communicate with
others of their species. It was noted that some species do use this mechanism for defense, although apparently not all that many.
There are many myths regarding evolution, one of which is that man evolved from monkeys. Man did not evolve from any modern-day primate, although man
shares a common ancestor with some modern-day primates, which lived roughly 7 million years ago. This common ancestor diverged somewhere along the
line, with humans and apes taking different evolutionary paths.
Evolution does not mean from higher to lower organisms, or from inferior to superior. I was reading an ecology book the other day, and apparently
Darwin made a note of this to himself, basically saying "do not say higher or lower." Evolution does not infer a higher complexity in organisms, and
it is possible for some to actually become simpler.
I did not know this, but apparently some people believe that evolution disobeys the second law of thermodynamics. The argument apparently involves
entropy, and since it increases over time, evolution could not produce increased complexity. It turns out however that this law only applies to
closed-systems, and according to what I have just read, the Earth is not a closed-system since it both absorbs and radiates the Sun's energy.
Evolution doesn't present a trait in an organism because it would better adapt that organism to its environment. I believe that is a more Lamarckian
view, according to my own book-research. These Lamarckian ideas, surprisingly to me, apparently made a comeback in the 80's, but was subsequently
squashed by the overwhelming evidence against it. The example Wikipedia uses is that of giraffes. Giraffes didn't develop long necks because it would
help them to reach higher into the trees. It is just that the mutation that gave the first giraffes longer necks meant that they were more likely to
survive and reproduce, introducing that trait into their offspring. The tall trees don't cause the mutation, and evolution doesn't see a need and
then respond accordingly, although as I said, these ideas were floating around the scientific community at various times since its inception.
Waking someone who is sleepwalking, apart from confusing them for a short period of time, will not harm them. They stand a better chance to be injured
while actually sleepwalking, due to accidents such as falling or tripping over objects they do not perceive since they...well...are asleep.
I wish I had known this when I was younger, because apparently eating less than 1 hour before swimming does not cause an increase in muscle cramps or
drowning. Wikipedia's source for this claim comes from an article from the NYT from 2005 entitled "The Claim: Never Swim After Eating" by Anahad
O'Connor. In my opinion however, scientific studies, which is what this myth-bust is based on, frequently get overturned and returned. So who
I have always been told that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker, but it turns out that shaving doesn't cause hair to grow back thicker or
darker. It apparently has to do with the fact that hair which has never been cut has a tapered end. After shaving there is no taper, which creates the
illusion of thicker hair.