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.

Whether in "King Kong," "Journey to the Center of the Earth" or "The Lost World," humankind has long held out hope of discovering a secret land filled with prehistoric beasts. But is that even possible? Could dinosaurs really be out there somewhere?

When reeling off dubious facts (like lemmings plunging off cliffs en masse), there's no better retort to a skeptical audience than calmly explaining that it's not just true -- it's science. Except sometimes it's neither.

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.

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?

We all eat things we probably shouldn't, and that's OK from time to time. But there are some foods that are such nutrition bombs that even occasional indulgence isn't exactly wise.

Of course you wash your hands after you use the restroom or work the room at a networking event. But what about after you play beer pong? Or cuddle a duckling?

It may shock you, but there's never been a widespread study conducted on the sanitation or the necessity of the courtesy flush. Can this practice inflict grievous bodily harm on your hindquarters -- and the environment? HowStuffWorks weighs in.

If you're like us, you hit the grocery store with good intentions: reasonably healthy foods (that you'll still want to eat). But thanks to everything from marketing to plain old misconceptions, what we think is healthy often isn't.

We're running out of oil. And diamonds. And while we're at it, chicken wings, too! Relax, these are actually examples of shortages that really aren't. What else is a fake scarcity?

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?

We've all seen the ceaseless reposting of false information on social media and been to sites that offer claims that seem too good to be true. How can you separate the valid information from the hogwash?

You know you can't believe everything you see or hear. But between the misinformation on the Internet and our natural propensity to believe what we're told, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. Here are 10 ways to avoid being conned.

Hoaxes have been around for centuries, created by people as jokes, or for profit or attention. Crazy as some of them -- including these 10 -- seem in hindsight, why were people so willing to buy into them?

Some malarkey is so believable that it's turned many of us into inadvertent purveyors of hogwash. What are 10 bits of malarkey that tend to slip through the "hey, wait a minute" filter?

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?

The blood in your veins is blue. Glass is a slow-moving liquid. If you touch a baby bird, its mother will abandon it. Not so fast –- if you learned any of those "facts" in school, what you learned was wrong.

It's hard to imagine life (especially sci-fi life) without teleportation until something goes wrong. Horribly wrong. These five accidents will make any time you've spent in the telepod seem really tame.

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?

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

Wood, grass and food scraps undergo a process known as biodegradation when they're buried. They're transformed by bacteria in the soil into other useful compounds, but those same bacteria typically turn up their noses at plastic. Luckily, that's not the end of the story.

Imagine waking up one morning to find yourself unable to get to work due to a dead car battery. You won't have to do that if you have a solar car battery charger -- but how well do they really work?

One of the most useful methods of lab research for automobiles uses driving simulators, which create virtual realities that imitate real-life driving situations.

Who says you can't teach an old technology new tricks? Just because it was invented long ago, that doesn't mean it's useless today. Which programs are reinventing the wheel?

Plastics that aren't recycled tend to hang around our planet like houseguests who have worn out their welcome. Can biodegradable plastics, which may break down in fewer than 90 days, change that scenario?

A simple doll can't tell a researcher whether a car crash resulted in a broken bone, a cracked rib cage or skin abrasions. Crash test dummies, on the other hand, are sophisticated enough to simulate such injuries.