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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Can you make a power station out of a tarp?

To anyone familiar with the solar panels of the past, the possibility that a tarp could turn solar energy into electricity is pretty amazing. Could your next high-tech tent provide shelter and energy?

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  • What is a dimension, and how many are there?

    What is a dimension, and how many are there?

    Forward and back, left and right, up and down -- most of us are familiar with these spatial dimensions. We might even pinpoint our location in time. Is that all there is to dimensions? No way, say the scientists who have a theory for everything. See more »

  • What is quantum weirdness?

    What is quantum weirdness?

    Superman has his Bizarro planet, Alice tiptoes through the looking glass. For scientists, that world where normal rules and laws fail to explain what's happening is quantum physics. What's so weird about it? See more »

  • What is relativity?

    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. See more »

  • What is string theory?

    What is string theory?

    How great would it be to reconcile general relativity with quantum theory and truly have a theory of everything? That's what a band of theoretical physicists and their trusty hypothetical strings have been working on for decades. See more »

  • What is the anthropic principle?

    What is the anthropic principle?

    Once upon a time, our universe was born. Was it all just luck that it evolved in a manner compatible with life? Or are such "coincidences" all in a day's work for a universe? See more »

  • Why do people believe things that science has proved untrue?

    Why do people believe things that science has proved untrue?

    The idea that dinosaurs roamed the Earth with man is one of the many that persist despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. What is belief perseverance, and why does the human mind go to such great lengths to keep the peace? See more »

  • 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 »

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