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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How does saturation diving work?

In the news coverage of the Russian submarine accident, I read that the Norwegian salvage divers used a technique called saturation diving, whereby they could stay underwater for days to weeks at a time. How does saturation diving work?

How do you calculate G-forces?

A CART race at Texas Motor Speedway was cancelled because the G-forces on the drivers were too high. How can you calculate the G-forces, and how do the cars generate forces that high?

Can you make time stand still?

If you were to fly west around the world, fast enough so that you crossed one time zone every hour, would you stand still in time?

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?

How Teleportation Will Work

Looking forward to instantaneous travel? The Star Trek teleporter is one step closer to reality. Scientists have now teleported a laser beam. Could humans be next?

How Time Travel Works

You may have noticed that we're all constantly traveling into the future. But what if you were interested in dancing through the fourth dimension more deftly than the next guy? How might you do that?

What makes you dizzy when you spin?

I've wondered about this since I was a child and used to spin around and around. I know it has something to do with our ears, but what exactly makes people dizzy when they spin?

How many regular-sized helium-filled balloons would it take to lift someone?

How many regular-sized helium-filled balloons would it take to lift someone? What is the equation to figure it out?

Would a balloon filled with vacuum instead of helium float?

A helium balloon rises because the helium is lighter than air. So how would a balloon -- made from a very sturdy but very lightweight material -- that had been removed of all air respond?

If you could spin a carousel fast enough to get its rim moving at nearly the speed of light, would time stand still for people on the carousel?

If you could spin a carousel fast enough to get its rim moving at nearly the speed of light, would time stand still for people on the carousel?

Why can boats made of steel float on water when a bar of steel sinks?

The standard definition of floating was first recorded by Archimedes and goes something like this: An object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. So how does the water get displaced to keep a boat afloat?

How could the year 2000 be a leap year when 1900 was not?

February is an unusual month, especially when it comes to leap years. In this article, you can read about why we use leap years and how the year 2000 was a leap year and 1900 was not.

How do time and dates work?

The time and date is something that we typically take for granted each day. Find out how they both work here.

How Special Relativity Works

Special relativity deals in phenomena that don’t agree with our historical or commonsense views of how the universe works. In fact, many of the theory’s assertions almost appear ludicrous.

How Time Works

Ever wonder why we start our year on the first of January? Or why we have January and the other 11 months in the first place? Find out all about time.


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