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From childhood, we absorb many so-called facts without a second thought. Myths like lightning never striking the same place twice, or that we only use a tiny fraction of our brain power, are ingrained in our minds as truths. Yet, have we ever paused to examine the veracity of these claims that have become almost second nature to us? It’s time to explore the reality behind these commonly accepted beliefs.
Sitting Too Close to the TV Ruins Your Eyesight
This myth probably originated to keep children from spending too much time in front of the television. While sitting too close to the TV might cause eye strain or a temporary headache, it doesn’t cause permanent damage to your vision.
Cold Weather Causes Colds
The common cold is caused by viruses, not cold weather itself. While cold weather might contribute to conditions that facilitate the spread of viruses (like people congregating indoors), it’s not the temperature that causes the cold.
Swimming Right After Eating Causes Cramps
A common warning many of us heard growing up was to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before jumping into the pool to avoid cramps. While it’s true that digesting food requires blood flow to the stomach, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that a quick swim post-meal will lead to severe cramps or drowning.
Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice
Contrary to popular belief, lightning can and does strike the same place multiple times. Tall structures like skyscrapers or towers are often hit repeatedly.
Swallowed Gum Stays in Your System for 7 Years
In reality, while your body can’t digest gum, it doesn’t stay in your system for years. It passes through your digestive system and is expelled like other indigestible items.
Humans Only Use 10% of Their Brain
This myth has been popularized by movies and media, but it’s not accurate. We use virtually every part of our brain, and different areas have different functions.
Goldfish Have a Three-Second Memory
Goldfish actually have a memory span that can last months. They can be trained to recognize different shapes, sounds, and even to press levers for food.
Touching Baby Birds Will Make Their Mother Reject Them
Most birds have a limited sense of smell and won’t notice if you’ve touched their babies. However, it’s still best to avoid disturbing wildlife.
You Can See the Great Wall of China from Space
Without aid, the Great Wall is not visible to the naked eye from space. It’s a narrow structure, and the same color as the natural terrain.
Shaving Makes Hair Grow Back Thicker
The act of shaving doesn’t affect the thickness of hair follicles. When hair regrows after shaving, it may feel coarser, but it’s not thicker.
Eating Carrots Improves Night Vision
While carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is good for eyesight, they don’t give you superhuman night vision. This myth started as World War II propaganda.
Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis
There’s no scientific evidence linking knuckle cracking to arthritis. However, it can weaken your grip and cause swelling in the hands.
People in the Middle Ages Thought the Earth Was Flat
Educated people in the Middle Ages knew the Earth was round. This myth became popular in the 19th century and has persisted since.
Napoleon Bonaparte Was Extremely Short
Napoleon was of average height for his time. The misconception might come from the difference in French and British inches.
Bats Are Blind
Bats are not blind. While many species use echolocation to navigate, they can also see.
Eating Chocolate Causes Acne
There’s no direct link between chocolate and acne. However, a diet high in sugar and fat can contribute to skin issues.
You Swallow an Average of 8 Spiders a Year While Sleeping
This is a modern urban legend. There’s no evidence to support this claim, and spiders aren’t interested in crawling into the mouths of larger predators.
Vikings Wore Horned Helmets
There’s no historical evidence that Vikings wore horned helmets. This image became popularized in the 19th-century art and theater.
Dropping a Penny from a Skyscraper Can Kill Someone
Due to its shape and weight, a penny would not gather enough velocity to kill someone if dropped from a great height. It might sting, but it wouldn’t be lethal.