EVERYDAY MYTHS

There are certain aspects of everyday science that we think of as fact, but in reality may be pure urban legend. In this section, you can learn about some of the everyday science myths you may encounter.
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What is relativity?

Relativity is like a triple-scoop ice cream cone; most of us just can't gobble it down in one bite, not without experiencing some serious brain freeze. So let's take it one delicious relative scoop at a time.

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  • Why do we have leap years?

    Why do we have leap years?

    It's the ultimate gyp as a kid -- having a birthday fall on a day that occurs once every four years. On behalf of cheated leapers everywhere, why are such years necessary? See more »

  • Why does the shower curtain billow in on me?

    Why does the shower curtain billow in on me?

    Has this ever happened to you? You're blissfully showering away when suddenly something slimy grabs your leg. It's the curtain, and it's not letting go. See more »

  • Why doesn't tear-free shampoo sting your eyes?

    Why doesn't tear-free shampoo sting your eyes?

    Some say the real reason "no tear" shampoo works is that it has Novocain in it, desensitizing babies to its sting. Fact or urban legend? See more »

  • Why shouldn't I swim right after I eat?

    Why shouldn't I swim right after I eat?

    You've heard the saying for ages, but exactly why is it so dangerous to go swimming right after you eat? See more »

  • Will we ever unite quantum mechanics with general relativity?

    Will we ever unite quantum mechanics with general relativity?

    Einstein showed us a mind-blowing way the universe works, while Max Planck and his gang showed us how particles on the atomic and subatomic levels work. But one doesn't explain the other. So there must be a larger theory encompassing them ... or not? See more »

  • You're Doing It Wrong

    You're Doing It Wrong

    As a species, humans seem to love pointing out mistakes – especially on the Internet. We’re no exception. So here’s our collection of false facts, wrong ways, flimsy ideas and assorted inaccuracies that have set up shop in otherwise smart brains all over the world. See more »

  • Has 'light as a feather, stiff as a board' ever worked?

    Has 'light as a feather, stiff as a board' ever worked?

    If you've ever been to a slumber party, you know the drill. Place your fingers under someone's body, chant "Light as a feather ... stiff as a board ..."and they'll magically rise up into the air. Is this old trick a true ghostly phenomenon? See more »

  • Can sandpaper light a match?

    Can sandpaper light a match?

    Matches work by combining flammable chemicals with heat from friction. Learn whether you can light a match with sandpaper in this article. See more »

  • How could the year 2000 be a leap year when 1900 was not?

    How could the year 2000 be a leap year when 1900 was not?

    February is an unusual month, especially when it comes to leap years. In this article, you can read about why we use leap years and how the year 2000 was a leap year and 1900 was not. See more »

  • How do time and dates work?

    How do time and dates work?

    The time and date is something that we typically take for granted each day. Find out how they both work here. See more »

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