10 Most Ridiculous Science Myths
Some science myths are so ridiculous that they should be busted for all to know, thus the popularity of the television show Mythbusters. Here I present to you ten of the most ridiculous science myths that you might have been believing in.
1. Evolution Improves the Species
While it was commonly believed that evolution causes something to improve, that is not always the case as there are a lot of organism that although imperfect had survive over a long period of time. Some of these organisms include sharks, crayfish, fungi, and mosses, they all have remained the same. These organisms are all perfectly adapted to their environment that they survived without the need for improvement.
Some taxa even have degraded due to the change in their environments, as some creatures had their attributes are no longer suited for their environment. The attributes of an organism depend on their habitats, and not because they simply need to get better.
2. Human Explodes in the Vacuum of Space
Sci-fi movies planted the idea of humans popping like popcorn when subjected to the vacuum of space, when in fact they are only added to create excitement or drama. We can actually survive for about 15-30 seconds in outer space as long as they exhale before the exposure, which prevents the lungs from bursting and subsequently sending air to the bloodstream. After that time, unconsciousness follows which would then lead to death dues to the lack of oxygen.
3. Polaris is the Brightest Star in the North
Polaris’s magnitude of 1.97 is actually higher than Sirius which has 1.47, which means that Sirius is actually brighter as the lower the magnitude of a star is, the brighter it gets. Polaris’s importance is due to the fact that its position in the sky marks the North, thus it was named the “North Star”. Polaris is included in the constellation Ursa Minor, and it is its brightest star. Interestingly, it is only the North Star for the time being as the pole stars change over time due to their slow drift with respect to the axis of the Earth.
4. Food Dropped to the Floor is Safe for Five Seconds (Five Second Rule)
This should be obvious for most of us. Whenever a food drops to the floor filled with germs, the germs instantaneously attach themselves to the food. Even though that might not sound appealing, eating germs and dirt actually help our bodies develop a strong immune system. A much better rule would be a “Tastiness Level Rule”, in which the tastier the food dropped, the longer it can sit there and you would still eat it.
5. The Moon has a Dark Side
All of the surface of the moon is illuminated, albeit not all at the same time, by the sun. The misconception came from the fact that there is a side of the moon that we can never see from the Earth. We could blame Tidal Blocking for this. Tidal blocking is the phenomenon in which the Earth’s gravitational pull on the moon is so strong that it can only show one side to us. A tidally locked body would take just as long to rotate by its own as it does to revolve around the body that pulls it through gravity. This synchronized rotation causes only one hemisphere of the moon to appear on Earth.
6. Brain Cells Can’t Regenerate
The fact that this myth was believed and taught by science for so long was the main reason why it was widely believed. Scientists from the Sweden and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California proved this to be just a misconception during a study in 1998. What was previously believed was that the complexity of the brain makes it hard for the growth of new cells, but this was proven false as it was found that the learning and memory part of the brain can create new cells. This gave hope for an eventual cure for a lot of illnesses including Alzheimer’s.
7. Pennies Dropped from Very High Buildings can Kill People Below
This myth became so common that it became a cliche scene in movies. The myth says that if you dropped a penny from atop a tall building, say the Empire State Building, it would pick up enough speed along the way sufficient enough to kill a person if it lands on them. Contrary to this belief, the aerodynamics of pennies are not sufficient to cause death or even severely injure someone. What would just happen is that the person hit would just feel a slight sting, and not die like how the myth stipulates.
8. Meteors are Heated by Friction Upon Entering our Atmosphere
Upon a meteoroids entrance to Earth’s atmosphere, thus becoming a meteor, it is actually the compression of air caused by its speed that causes the meteor to heat up. The pressure of the air is responsible for the heat that is intense enough that it makes the rock glow brilliantly. The myth that meteors are hot upon hitting the earth is also proven false. Meteorites are most likely cold upon hitting the earth, some are even covered in frost. This is due to the fact that they are usually too cold that the heat caused by the phenomenon discussed earlier wasn’t enough to burn all through the icy layer.
9. Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice
People usually believe this myth that they might even consider running to the spot where lightning had just stricken to avoid being hit. This is not true. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Lightning sometimes hit the same place such as high trees and buildings. In a large field such as a city, lightning would most likely hit the highest or tallest object multiple times until it moves sufficiently far away to a new target. Due to this phenomenon, the Empire State Building gets hit by lightning about 25 times annually.
10. No Gravity in Space
Contrary to what many people might think, there is gravity in space. In fact, there is a lot of it. The reason for this myth would be because astronauts appear to be floating in space, but this is due to them orbiting the Earth. The are just basically falling without ever landing. Gravity exist in almost every area of space. The gravity would be about 90% of that in land for a shuttle orbiting the Earth about 250 miles above.