Myths and Misconceptions »

Parrots, Peg-legs, Plunder – Debunking Pirate Myths

Parrots, Peg-legs, Plunder – Debunking Pirate Myths

Matt Blitz August 7, 2014 3

Pirates murdered, pillaged, raped, stole, and generally made the lives of others who stood in their way terrible. But despite these facts, books and, more recently, Hollywood have glamorized the “swashbuckler on the high

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Is It True That a T-Rex Couldn’t See You If You Didn’t Move?

Is It True That a T-Rex Couldn’t See You If You Didn’t Move?

Matt Blitz May 16, 2014 4

Derek asks: Is it true that a T-Rex couldn’t see you if you didn’t move? If so, how do scientists know this? In the immensely popular (despite the sins) movie Jurassic Park, there’s the

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Chastity Belts Were Never Actually Used in Medieval Times

Chastity Belts Were Never Actually Used in Medieval Times

Matt Blitz May 1, 2014 3

The lasting images of what most of us perceive to be the “medieval times” includes heroic knights, stampeding horses, court jesters, giant turkey legs, ruling kings, and pure maidens wearing chastity belts. But the

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Did the Austrian Army Really Accidentally End Up Fighting Itself in a Major Battle?

Did the Austrian Army Really Accidentally End Up Fighting Itself in a Major Battle?

Emily Upton April 21, 2014 1

Karla asks: Is it true that once the Austrian army accidentally ended up fighting itself in a battle? If you ever feel like you’ve “made a huge mistake,” just remember: it’s probably not bigger

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The “War of the Worlds” Mass Panic That Never Really Happened

The “War of the Worlds” Mass Panic That Never Really Happened

Matt Blitz April 17, 2014 4

On October 30, 1938, from the Mercury Theater in New York City, Orson Welles broadcasted a “modernized” radio play of H.G. Wells’ (no relation) 1898 novel “War of the Worlds.” For the last three

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The Surprising Truth About Cousins and Marriage

The Surprising Truth About Cousins and Marriage

Melissa February 14, 2014 15

Jamie M. asks: When did people stop thinking it was OK to marry your cousin? In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States. Through a combination

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There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

Melissa February 3, 2014 4

Myth: Electric “eels” exist. There are, however, electric fish: eight-foot long, 600 volt, mouth breathing, alligator-killing fish. Electrophorus electricus Although there are a number of fish that produce an electric charge, the species that

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The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle

The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle

Emily Upton January 23, 2014 15

The Bermuda Triangle is a large area of ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Over the last few centuries, it’s thought that dozens of ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in

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Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Karl Smallwood January 17, 2014 2

Seagulls, or gulls depending on how much you dislike syllables, are considered a pest to many, a minor, avoidable annoyance to many more and the harbingers of death OH GOD LOOK AT THEIR COLD

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The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

Karl Smallwood November 19, 2013 4

Myth: The Candirú fish can swim up your urine stream if you pee into the Amazon. If you’ve never heard of the Candirú, also known as the pencil fish, the toothpick fish, the vampire

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Native Americans Were Not Introduced to Alcohol by Europeans

Native Americans Were Not Introduced to Alcohol by Europeans

Melissa November 18, 2013 11

It is a sad truth that Native Americans suffer from alcoholism at rates far higher than those of other ethnic groups. While many causes likely contribute to this problem, some of those most commonly

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Doctors Aren’t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath

Doctors Aren’t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath

Melissa November 15, 2013 11

Myth: Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic Oath. A binding agreement, as much a social contract as Social Security or Medicare, the traditional Hippocratic Oath holds those who swear to it to a strict

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The Truth About Julius Caesar and “Caesarean” Sections

The Truth About Julius Caesar and “Caesarean” Sections

Emily Upton October 25, 2013 7

Myth: The Caesarean section procedure ultimately derives its name from Julius Caesar, who is often (falsely) claimed to have been the first baby born via Caesarean. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly this story

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Has Anyone Ever Actually Poisoned Or Put Razor Blades or Needles in Halloween Candy?

Has Anyone Ever Actually Poisoned Or Put Razor Blades or Needles in Halloween Candy?

Staci Lehman October 24, 2013 10

Lee asks: How many children have died from people poisoning Halloween candy? Remember your mom sorting through your Halloween candy as a kid, looking for signs of ‘tainted’ candy laced with poison, needles or

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Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You Should Put a Bite Block in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You Should Put a Bite Block in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure

Scott October 8, 2013 13

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You should put a bite block in the mouth of someone having a seizure. Seizures seem to be an ailment that befalls numerous actors in everything from movies to

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No Witches Were Burned During the Salem Witch Trials

No Witches Were Burned During the Salem Witch Trials

Emily Upton September 25, 2013 15

Myth: People convicted of witchcraft were burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials When you think about people disposing of witches a few hundred years ago, you probably imagine a woman tied

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Hollywood Medical Myths Part 1: Shocking Someone Who Has “Flat-Lined” Can Get Their Heart Going Again

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 1: Shocking Someone Who Has “Flat-Lined” Can Get Their Heart Going Again

Scott September 24, 2013 15

Myth: Shocking someone who has flat-lined can get their heart started again. It never fails. You’re watching television and someone is circling the drain, in the toilet that is their life. The noise from

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Magellan Was Not the First Person to Circumnavigate the Globe, The Man Who First Did It May Have Been Magellan’s Slave

Magellan Was Not the First Person to Circumnavigate the Globe, The Man Who First Did It May Have Been Magellan’s Slave

Emily Upton September 19, 2013 8

Myth: Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães) was the first person to circumnavigate the globe. There’s no doubt that Magellan intended to have a successful journey when his expedition set off from Spain on September

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