Here’s a six-minute video from Mental Floss debunking 50 common misconceptions. I’ve encountered most of these misconceptions at some point in my life, mostly in elementary school. Sadly, I was taught several of these by my teachers. I don’t usually share stuff like this, but I got a kick out of it.
Here are 25 more misconceptions that I wish people would stop spreading:
- Consuming local honey helps with allergies.
- George Washington wore wooden teeth.
- Calories consumed right before bed are worse for you than calories consumed earlier.
- Twinkies never go bad.
- Women have one less rib than men.
- More babies are born during a full moon.
- Hot water freezes faster than cold water (such as in ice cube trays).
- Swimmers should stay out of the water for 30 minutes after eating.
- Stretching will help to prevent sports injuries.
- Coca-Cola is some kind of super-acid that dissolves everything.
- Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day.
- A little oil in the pasta water keeps the noodles from sticking.
- Searing meat seals in the juices.
- Pork isn’t safe to eat until it’s well-done.
- Water drains counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
- Portable electronic devices can interfere with the cockpit controls.
- Vegetables lose all of their nutrients when boiled.
- A really hot shower will take the sting out of a sunburn.
- Consuming beer/wine/liquor in a particular sequence will stave off a hangover.
- Eating greasy food after a night of drinking will lessen the hangover.
- Cell phones can cause cancer/tumors/radiation poisoning.
- Adding sugar to iced tea will make it sweeter.
- The word history is sexist because its etymology is “his story.”
- Not wearing a coat, or walking around outside with wet hair, invites a cold.
- Organic produce is more nutritious than non-organic produce.
I’m willing to bet that a majority of Americans are under several of these delusions, but believing in them doesn’t make them true. If you’re skeptical about some of these supposed truisms, then do some research for yourself.
It’s impolite to correct people when they spread these harmless myths. If I ever have the urge to challenge a popular misconception, I usually just recite my favorite quote from Thomas Jefferson:
“You can put your faith in God, or you can put your faith in man, but you should never put your faith in anything you read on the internet.”
President Thomas Jefferson
Enough with the things people know about that aren’t true. Let’s focus on a couple of truths that most people don’t know about:
- Potatoes, tomatoes, and corn are all American plants. The rest of the world didn’t know they existed until explorers and conquistadors brought them back to Europe in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. So there’s no ancient tradition of the Irish eating potatoes, the Italians eating red sauce, or the Spanish eating anything made of corn.
- Oranges were introduced from Asia around the same time. As a matter of fact, the very concept of the color orange didn’t exist in Europe until the fruit showed up. Because of linguistic tradition, we still use terms like “redhead” and “goldfish” to describe orange things today.
Sorry for the long rant. Urban legends are a pet peeve of mine.