10 things you think you know that aren’t true

stunned surprised man

Nobody has time to go through everything, so people often have to take things for granted that we know are common knowledge. Unfortunately, not all of the information you gather along the way is factual. Read on to have 10 of your beliefs disproved.

chimpanzee in nature

Myth #1 – Chimpanzees have more hair than humans

If you put a photo of a chimpanzee next to a human, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the chimpanzee is much hairier. However, this is not the case. Humans have between two and five million hair follicles spread around their bodies, which is about the same number as other primates. Our hair is just much less coarse and less visible. While primates are furry, humans have two types of hair: terminal hair and hairy hair. Terminal hair makes up the hair on our head, armpits, and pubic region, and vellus hair is found everywhere else. Vellus hairs are much finer, shorter and lighter than terminal hairs and are not connected to any glands under the skin. No one knows for sure why we evolved this way, but it’s likely[1] that when our ancestors came out of the shady forests and into the hot savannah, they grew this type of hair to protect their brains while keeping their bodies cool – through sweating – while they hunted and fed in the sun.

Earth Sun Moon

Myth #2 – The Earth revolves around the Sun

Strictly speaking, the Earth revolves around the center of mass of the solar system, also known as the barycenter.[2]. It is the equilibrium point around which the combined mass of every object in the solar system is evenly distributed. Due to the constant movement of the planets, this point is always in motion. Because the Sun has more than 99% of the total mass of the Solar System, the barycenter of the Solar System is located near its surface, and sometimes inside the Sun itself. But when the barycenter is outside the Sun, our planet just orbits an empty spot in space.

rice for smartphone

Myth #3 – A wet phone should be put in rice

Believing that rice will dry out a wet phone is perfectly reasonable – after all, rice is known to absorb moisture. However, despite what you may have heard, experiences[3] showed that not only will rice not help, but it will probably work slower than cool air. In fact, rice may even do more harm than good; grains can get stuck in headphone jacks or charging ports, and the starch in rice can even speed up the corrosion process. Instead, just let the phone dry in an area with some air, or if you don’t want to wait a week or two, you can try using things[4] such as silica gel sachets or vacuum bags.

Heavy road traffic

Myth #4 – Widening freeways promotes traffic

When you’re stuck in traffic, it’s easy to imagine how much faster you could go if only someone had the foresight to add more lanes to the highway you’re on. But the search[5] shows that widening a highway often only makes traffic problems worse, thanks to a phenomenon known as “induced demand”, which describes how an increase in supply leads to lower prices and, hence, an increase in consumption. In the case of roads, the increased capacity decreases travel time, which reduces the “price” of driving and increases the number of kilometers traveled, as people who do not currently use a car decide to drive . Thus, the new lanes fill up very quickly and traffic chokes, once again.

A good example of this effect is the Katy Freeway in Houston. In 2011, this highway was widened to a massive 23 lanes, making it the widest in the world, but travel times actually increased during morning and evening trips by 30% and 55%, respectively.[6]

Mount Everest in Nepal

Myth #5 – Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world

At 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) from base to summit (plus or minus 6.5 feet/2 meters), Mount Everest is widely considered the tallest mountain in the world. But it depends on your definition of “highest”.[7]

If you define the tallest as “closest to the moon,” the honor must go to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. The thing is, the Earth isn’t a round sphere, it’s domed in the middle, kind of like one of those ergonomic ball chairs when someone’s sitting on it. From base to summit, the Chimborazo measures 20,548 feet (6,263 meters). But it also sits on a bump over more of the Earth’s bulge than Everest, meaning it actually sits 35,826 feet (10,920 meters) from the center of the Earth.

And if you define “tallest” as the tallest mountain from base to summit, then the award for “tallest mountain” must go to Hawaii’s Mauna Kea: it measures over 10,000 meters from its base in the Pacific Ocean to its summit. , which is almost a mile taller than Everest.

NASA Astronaut Drew Feustel ISS Crop

Myth #6 – There is no gravity in space

We all know the images of astronauts floating around the space station, so it’s easy to believe there’s no gravity up there. But gravity exists everywhere in the universe – without it, everything would crumble and cease to exist. The reason astronauts on the space station appear weightless is that the space station and the astronauts are in a continuous state of free fall to earth. Because objects of any mass fall at the same speed, the space station and the astronauts fall together, creating the illusion of weightlessness. Fortunately, although they keep falling, they never fall to Earth because the space station is moving at around 17,150 miles (27,600 km) per hour, keeping it and the astronauts in orbit.

Electricity spark conduction concept

Myth #7 – Water conducts electricity

While it’s true that dropping a toaster in your bath won’t end well for you, the fact is that pure distilled water is a poor conductor.[9] electricity because its molecules have no free electrons to transfer electric current. Pure water consists of one molecule of oxygen chemically bonded to two molecules of hydrogen. Oxygen has six electrons in its outer reactive shell and room for two more, and hydrogen atoms have one electron each, which means a perfect chemical bond is formed.

Water is however a superlative solvent; the free ions of impurities like salts and dissolved minerals in water allow it to conduct electricity. Interestingly, when water contains a large amount of these ions, it conducts electricity so well that electricity will ignore less efficient conductors – like human bodies – and stick to the best path; the multitude of ions in the water.

Double rainbow in nature

Myth #8 – There are seven colors in the rainbow

ROY G BIV is a lie that dates back to Sir Isaac Newton and his superstitious beliefs. Unlike his contemporaries, Newton believed that the bright, white light of the sun was made up of all the colors of the spectrum. He proved this in the 1660s in a series of experiments that refracted sunlight through a prism, splitting it into smaller wavelengths. Initially, Newton only saw five colors. But he believed in the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras’ vision of a harmonious universe in which the number 7 was a magic number that connected all manner of natural phenomena, from celestial bodies (seven of which were known at the time) to scale musical. . So when Newton published his original color wheel in 1704, he added orange and indigo to the colors he had already identified.

That said, what we call color is perceived by our mind. The light spectrum contains a continuous distribution – and therefore an infinite number – of colors, and the colors we see depend on the extent to which each of the cone-shaped photoreceptors in our eyes, which see red, green and blue , is stimulated. So the colors of the rainbow can be different for everyone.

Qwerty keyboard typewriter

Myth #9 – The QWERTY keyboard was designed to prevent keys from getting stuck

Contrary to what you may have heard, the QWERTY keyboard probably didn’t end up with its current layout because the inventor was trying to make sure his typewriter’s mechanical keys didn’t get stuck, pushing the farthest possible the most frequently used letters. Instead, according to Kyoto University historians Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka, it owes its current layout to 19th-century American Morse code.[11] Indeed, when designing the keyboard layout, the main users of typewriters were telegraph operators who needed to transcribe messages written in Morse code as quickly as possible, so that the letters they used most were placed where they could access. them most easily.

Play bagpipes

Myth #10 – Bagpipes are Scottish

No they are not. Although bagpipes are now synonymous with the Scottish Highlands, they probably originated much further east.[12] Ancient references to bagpipes have been found in Turkey and Egypt. A possible carving of a bagpipe, dated to 1000 BC, was found on a Hittite slab at Euyuk in Anatolia. A more substantial link pointing to the earliest Egyptian bagpipes made of dog skin and bone was documented by the fifth century BCE Greek playwright Aristophanes in his work “The Acharnians”, in which he wrote: “You players of bagpipes who are here from Thebes, with bones of pipes blow in the posterior of a dog.

However, the first notable enthusiast was the Roman Emperor Nero, who even had a coin minted showing himself playing the bagpipes. He used to play them to inspire his troops before battle. Several theories exist as to how the bagpipe reached Scotland from its original birthplace, but one of the most popular (and plausible) is that the Romans brought it with them when they conquered Great Britain.

Mind blowing!

References:

  1. discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-humans-lost-their-hair-and-beame-nude-and-sweaty
  2. businessinsider.nl/animation-reveals-invisible-center-of-solar-system-not-sun-2020-7/
  3. protectyurgadget.com/blog/myths-debunked-using-rice-to-dry-a-wet-phone/
  4. bestlifeonline.com/wet-phone/
  5. gizmodo.com/why-expanding-highways-makes-traffic-worse-1842220595
  6. cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/
  7. npr.org/2007/04/07/9428163/the-highest-spot-on-earth
  8. sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/free-falling-the-science-of-weightlessness/
  9. usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/conductivity-electrical-conductance-and-water
  10. en.99designs.nl/blog/tips/why-are-there-7-colors-rainbow/
  11. hackaday.com/2016/03/15/the-origin-of-qwerty/
  12. hendersongroupltd.com/resources/history-of-bagpipes/

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