Science is a tricky thing. Sure, by its very nature, it’s supposed to be objective. Still, there’s so much misinformation and misunderstanding that it can be generations before people figure out that they’ve been wrong all along.
Case in point: many people refused to believe that the planets actually revolved around the sun until Galileo Galilei proved it—and even then, there were deniers! Even as far as science has come, misinformation still persists to this day.
Here are 20 examples of “facts” that have been scientifically proven to be completely false. How many of these did you believe?
1. Your hair doesn’t grow in thicker if you shave or cut it: It sometimes seems like hair will grow in thicker because a strand that’s been cut has a more blunt edge. Likewise, strands that have grown out taper at the ends, which naturally feels softer. In reality, they’re the same thickness!
2. Your hair and nails don’t actually grow after you die: When you die, your cells no longer function, so your hair and nails definitely don’t grow. The reason why it looks like dead people have longer fingernails is because their skin shrinks after they’ve passed.
3. You hair won’t turn gray sooner if you dye it: Your hair gets its color from melanin pigment, so when it deteriorates by factors like age, an unhealthy lifestyle, or stress, your hair turns gray. Contrary to popular belief, dye doesn’t affect it at all!
4. A mother bird won’t disown her offspring if a human touches them: Birds have tiny olfactory sensors, which gives them poor smelling abilities. The mother won’t even realize that you ever touched her chick, let alone smell your scent on them!
5. Daddy longlegs are not the most venomous spiders on Earth: Legend has it that these spiders are deadly, but their pincers simply aren’t long or sharp enough to pierce human skin. In truth, there are two types of spiders we call “daddy longlegs”: one isn’t venomous at all, and the other has never bitten a human before.
6. You won’t develop warts if you touch a frog: The fact that frogs themselves may have what looks like warts on their skin have nothing to do with human contact. The truth is that warts are caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus.
7. The vagina is on the inside of a woman’s body, not the outside: What you see is actually the vulva, which includes the clitoris, mons, labia, clitoral hood, and both the vaginal and urethral openings. The vagina itself is the inner canal that connects the uterus to the cervix.
8. Lightning actually does strike the same place twice: The Empire State Building alone is typically struck by lightning anywhere from 20 to 25 times per year. Once, it was hit eight times in just 24 minutes!
9. You won’t get a cold if you go to bed with wet hair: While you shouldn’t sleep with wet hair—that can cause mold in your pillow and it’s usually uncomfortable anyway—technically speaking, the only thing that can cause a cold is a virus.
10. The Great Wall of China is not visible from space: Even from the lowest orbit possible, the wall just doesn’t show up—both because of its color and the shape of its design. Those pictures that you may have seen where it’s even vaguely visible were taken with a zoom lens.
11. Redheads and blondes are not going extinct: It’s impossible for genes to go extinct. These hair colors are developed through recessive genes, which are carried across generations—even when those people aren’t redheads or blondes.
12. If a heart isn’t beating, there’s nothing a defibrillator can do to restart it: Defibrillators are only meant for irregular heartbeats; this assumes that the heart has the proper balance of electrolytes in the first place.
13. You can’t restart a heart that has stopped beating with CPR, either: CPR, despite its reputation for saving lives, is primarily meant to prevent brain damage by ensuring that a person’s lungs get enough oxygen pumped into them.
14. An undercover police officer is not obligated to tell you that they’re a cop just because you ask: And, since they’re exempt from certain criminal laws, they can even partake in committing crimes. They can’t, however, force you to do anything illegal.
15. You can adopt a child even if you aren’t rich: As long as you can prove that you’re financially stable enough to care for a child, you don’t necessarily have to be Daddy Warbucks!
16. When you swallow gum, it won’t actually sit in your stomach for seven years: Forget seven years—gum likely won’t stay in your body for more than seven days. Just like anything else, gum will eventually pass through your digestive system.
17. Scientifically speaking, sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children: If your kids become too energetic after eating sugary foods, it’s more likely that it was the very idea of eating a sweet treat got them feeling pumped!
18. Using soap may wash the germs away, but it doesn’t actually kill them: Bacteria still sticks to, and survives off of, the oils in your hands. Soap and water simply cleans the oils off of your hands, not bacteria.
19. Standing too close to a microwave, even when it’s running, won’t give you cancer: This is because microwave ovens use non-ionizing radiation, which doesn’t have the power to affect our bodies’ cells.
20. Despite what Pink Floyd may have told you, there technically is no “dark side of the moon”: The moon simply has a far side, which waxes and wanes light just like the near, bright side!
Can you believe how much misinformation is out there? Hopefully more people will stop spreading these myths now that they know the truth!
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