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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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.

By William Harris

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?

By Marie Willsey

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

By Jane McGrath

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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?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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?

By William Harris

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.

By Jane McGrath

You have to be careful when you drive at night. It’s hard to see when all you have to guide you are a pair of headlights. To make matters worse, using your high beams improperly can cause a crash. Fortunately, new technology has made them safer.

By Marie Willsey

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Incubators can save the lives of premature babies, but the devices are expensive and people in developing countries may not be able to afford them. One organization has found a way to help by repurposing old cars.

By Jonathan Strickland

People in remote areas can't just connect to the Internet anytime they want. To solve that problem, United Villages has outfitted a number of buses with WiFi equipment. But there's a catch -- it's not a direct connection.

By Jonathan Strickland

After awhile, all that holiday eating starts to feel gluttonous and wasteful. But it doesn't have to be. Maybe you can't change the world all by yourself, but there are a few ways you can make your holiday food consumption a bit gentler on the planet.

By Debra Ronca

The hybrid car may be the savior of the automobile industry, but its production processes have come under fire of late. The car may be green, but what about the way the car actually gets made?

By Dave Roos

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High material costs and relatively low efficiency have held solar energy back as an alternative to fossil fuels. But that hasn't stopped people from finding some practical everyday applications for solar panels.

By Jonathan Strickland

Even though they've come down in price, solar panels are still expensive and somewhat inefficient. And then there are cloudy days. Can solar panels ever replace fossil fuels for our everyday needs?

By Jonathan Strickland

When you hear about solar-powered transportation, you may think of slow-moving single-person vehicles running in experiments. But solar cars have evolved, and can reach much faster speeds than in those old trials.

By Jonathan Strickland

As most of us know, our cars can become filthy, germy places unless we clean them regularly -- and they could be making us sick. But what about the air coming in through the vents? How can we make sure it's clean?

By Carol White

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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?

By Jonathan Atteberry

When big spills hit our environment, scientists think the best sponge is the one made out of aerogel, a substance that's a cross between a slice of Jell-O and a brick of smoke. Why are aerogels so good at cleaning up some of our worst messes?

By Robert Lamb

Let's assume that it's possible to create a complete loop in time travel -- that time travelers could travel into the past and then return to the future (or vice versa). What could we do with our time machine, and how would time travel affect our lives?

By Chelsea Hedquist

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.

By Robert Lamb

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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?

By Robert Lamb

It could be that the hunt for the Higgs is a little like Christopher Columbus' famous 1492 voyage, full of surprising discoveries that take particle physicists to places they never anticipated. How's that voyage going anyhow?

By Robert Lamb

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?

By Robert Lamb

Time measurement has changed dramatically over the centuries. From the sun dial to the digital watch, which pieces stand the test of time?

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Does God exist? The existence of science would lead some to say "no" -- and vice versa. However, some of the world's leading scientists are trying to reconcile these two wildly disparate belief systems.

By Josh Clark

The Bible teaches that faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" -- a concept that must drive scientists insane. Yet, you'll often find rational thinkers using science to prove some incredibly irrational beliefs.

By Josh Clark