Science Versus Myth

Are vampires real? What is an out-of-body experience? Are crop circles proof that aliens exist? HowStuffWorks explores what is real and what is urban legend with this collection of Science Versus Myth articles.

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

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?

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

Do you relish the thought of finding yourself face-to-face with a ghost? Do your favorite historical sites all have human suffering in common? If ghosts are your pleasure, then you may want to visit the cities on our list.