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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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.

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?

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?

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?

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

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.

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.

Quantum physics is a term that's interchangeable with "quantum mechanics." It deals with matter and energy at the smallest scale available: the atomic and subatomic realms. Take a look at these quantum physics pictures.

It opened the door for numerous technological advances, from nuclear power and nuclear medicine to the inner workings of the sun. It even appeared in the title of a Mariah Carey album. Really. Can you define those three key variables, too?

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.

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.

Most of us are accustomed to watching 2-D films with flat images. But when we put on 3-D glasses, we see a world that has depth. We can imagine existing in such a world because we live in one. What about another dimension altogether?

You're talking with a group of people when, with no apparent warning, everyone stops talking. Is it just an awkward silence or a pregnant pause? Or is this silence something more?