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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Does eating bread crust give you curly hair?

For decades, moms have been threatening that if you don't eat your crust, your hair will fall out, fall limp or somehow fall incorrectly. What's the deal with bread crusts and hairstyles?

Does the full moon affect your sleep?

The full moon gives us the ocean tides. And werewolves. Does it also give us sleep issues? Some say yes. Here's the science.

Is suicide more common around holidays?

For some, the holidays are time of good cheer. For others, they're a season of anxiety and loneliness. Does that translate to a higher suicide rate?

Can something smell like sunshine?

Picture the smells of a warm, sunny day in July. To your left, a neighbor is barbecuing. To your right, someone has put a warm apple pie on the windowsill to cool down. Smells great, right? So how does sunshine factor into all of this?

Can you tell the temperature by timing cricket chirps?

The animal kingdom is chock-full of crazy amazing superpowers. Tardigrades can survive in outer space. Crows can solves complex puzzles. But can a cricket really tell you the temperature?

Can your ethnicity affect your weather tolerance?

From tropical islands to arctic tundra, we humans appear capable of living just about anywhere. But do different groups of people fare better in certain types of climates, or are we just really good at adapting to the environment around us?

Could dinosaurs still be alive somewhere?

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?

Foodstuff: The Secret of Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is the most popular condiment in the U.S. Learn more about hot sauce in this video from HowStuffWorks.

10 False Science Facts Everyone Knows

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.

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.

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?

10 Absolutely Worst Foods to Eat

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.

10 'Harmless' Things You Should Really Wash Your Hands After Touching

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?

Are Courtesy Flushes Useful — or Healthy?

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.

10 Fake Scarcities

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?

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?

10 Signs What You're Reading Online Is Bogus

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?

10 Tips for Telling Fact From Fiction

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.

10 Crazy Hoaxes That Duped the World

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?

10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey

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?

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?

10 Completely False 'Facts' Everyone Knows

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.

5 Sickest Teleporter Accidents Ever

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.

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?

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.