Did you know that the surface of Neptune was once entirely water?
I didn’t either, because it’s not true. I just made it up. But if I slapped that on a meme it might just spread around enough that a handful of people carried it around with them as though it were fact.
That’s why it’s important to check up on things before you spread ’em. Otherwise you end up with these:
Debunkers of Reddit, do your thing.
1. You have to wait 24 hours to file a missing persons report
There’s no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It’s nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in man…
2. We only use 10% of our brains
You actually use 100% of your brain.
Each section is responsible for controlling different functions of your body. For example, the Prefrontal Cortex controls, thoughts, memory and behavior.
The Parietal Lobe controls language and touch.
The Occipital Lobe controls, visual processing and the brain stem controls basic functions such as breathing and maintaining your heart rate.
3. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker
When I was learning how to shave, I remember this one being debunked in a teen magazine.
What they said made sense. A new hair grows with a kind of pointed tip. When you shave, you cut off that part. So what is now growing is middle of the hair which is thicker.
I would also add, I started shaving before my hair was fully grown in (moving from per-adolescence to adulthood) and hair continues to come in thicker over time. So it has more to do with when females often start shaving compared to having reached full maturity.
4. Your hair and fingernails grow after you die
It’s mainly an optical illusion.
Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they’ve grown.
5. The War of the Worlds radio broadcast caused mass panic
We all know the story: Orson Welles broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in part way through, and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams banked up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn’t really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcasting of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
6. Lightning never strikes in the same place twice
Yeah, that would basically invalidate lightning rods.
And I think that park ranger who’s been struck by lightning 6+ times would tend to disagree with that notion.
7. NASA spent millions on space pens when they could have just used pencils
Before the Space Pen was developed, NASA used pencils in space (expensive custom-made mechanical pencils starting with the Gemini missions) and the Soviet space program used a mix of regular pencils and grease pencils […].
Both programs were aware of the potential problems with graphite dust, and both were dissatisfied with the writing quality (pencil smears a lot more easily than ballpoint ink, and grease pencil smears if you look at it funny), but they took their chances with the least-bad available options.
And once the space pen was developed by a private company, both space programs bought a bunch of them.
8. You swallow 8 spiders a year in your sleep
It was made up to prove how misinformation can spread so quickly over the internet.
9. Vaccines are linked to autism
Debunked decades ago. The sole proponent lost his medical license over it.
Yet every anti-vaxx mom apparently knows someone whose friend’s cousin has a child who turned autistic after the measles vaccine and somehow not a single one has met this alleged autistic child but the story is of course 100 percent true and vaccines are terrible.
10. Everyone in the Middle Ages was literate
The study that influenced the idea determined literacy by the prevalence of books written in Latin, which only the upper class knew.
Most peasants could actually read and write in their own language.
11. We only recently learned the Earth was round
By around 500 B.C., most ancient Greeks believed that Earth was round, not flat. But they had no idea how big the planet is until about 240 B.C. when Eratosthenes devised a clever method of estimating its circumference.
He realized that if he knew the distance from Alexandria to Syene, he could easily calculate the circumference of Earth. But in those days it was extremely difficult to determine distance with any accuracy. Some distances between cities were measured by the time it took a camel caravan to travel from one city to the other. But camels have a tendency to wander and to walk at varying speeds. So Eratosthenes hired bematists, professional surveyors trained to walk with equal length steps. They found that Syene lies about 5000 stadia from Alexandria.
Eratosthenes then used this to calculate the circumference of the Earth to be about 250,000 stadia. Modern scholars disagree about the length of the stadium used by Eratosthenes. Values between 500 and about 600 feet have been suggested, putting Eratosthenes’ calculated circumference between about 24,000 miles and about 29,000 miles. The Earth is now known to measure about 24,900 miles around the equator, slightly less around the poles.
12. 95% of the ocean is unexplored
It depends how you define ‘explored’.
People throw this figure around like 95% of the Earth’s ocean surface is just a huge blank spot on the map, or like there’s plenty of space for a surviving population of plesiosaurs to live where we just haven’t checked.
Neither of those things is remotely accurate.
13. Fad diets are the most effective weight loss method
No, calorie deficit is the one responsible for weight loss no matter the diet.
The more you know!
What else would you add to this list?
Tell us in the comments.