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.

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The core of our planet is about as hot as the sun. Could it ever cool down? That's one thing you don't want to happen.

By Chris Opfer

A helium shortage threatens more than just the balloon industry. Way more. Here's what at stake should we run out of this gas — which is a real possibility.

By Chris Opfer

What could happen if we poked one of these sleeping giants? There are two scenarios. One is good. One is very, very bad.

By Chris Opfer

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Welcome to Yellowstone, a natural wonderland that's home to stunning vistas, vibrant plant and animal life ... and a massive and potentially devastating supervolcano.

By Chris Opfer

Your vacation would be ruined, and that's not all.

By Chris Opfer

Sans gravity, would we all just bounce up and down like astronauts on the moon? No. It would look a little more like a Michael Bay movie.

By Chris Opfer

Our planet's path around the sun defines life on Earth. What would happen if it changed?

By Chris Opfer

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Climate change and industrial activity are wiping out large sections of the world's largest rainforest.

By Chris Opfer

If you've found yourself screeching while a bug scuttled through your kitchen, you're not alone. But we need bugs more than they need us.

By Chris Opfer

Even with today's weather-forecasting technologies, some old sailing adages stick around. Does "Red sky in morning, sailor take warning" hold water?

By Kate Kershner

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?

By Colleen Cancio

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

By Colleen Cancio

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?

By Colleen Cancio

A world without cows would be a world without burgers, right? Yes, and to beef eaters that's bad news, but it would also be a world with less methane. So would losing all cows be worth it?

By Jeff Harder

Your dog just swallowed a plate full of chicken bones. Is he really in serious danger? The short answer: yes. Find out why you need to get him to a vet immediately.

By Jeff Harder

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Figuring out how to deal with rising sea levels isn't some kind of purely academic exercise. It's happening. So how do we deal with it, especially if the sea rises a foot in our lifetime?

By Jeff Harder

Earth's magnetic field has flipped many times before, and scientists say it will flip again (though probably not in our lifetime). While it might not be catastrophic, a major change in the magnetic field would present a special set of problems.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Jeff Harder

You would probably be pretty freaked out if you ate uranium, right? Well, if you've ever eaten a potato or turnip, you may already have done so. How does your body deal with this radioactive substance?

By Jeff Harder

Feel like drinking a nice, big glass of embalming fluid? We didn't think so. But what would happen if a living person poured into his or her body something meant for the insides of the dead? Nothing good.

By Jeff Harder

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A small amount of household bleach, while it sounds gross, probably won't harm you. But what happens if you drink more than that?

By Nathan Chandler & Jeff Harder

Yes, you can eat marijuana, but turns out it can provide a much different -- and possibly more potent -- high than when you smoke it. Read on to find out ingested marijuana's effects on the body.

By Jeff Harder

Let's say you like chicken nuggets. You really like chicken nuggets. You like chicken nuggets so much that it's the only food you'll eat. What does that do to your health? Nothing good, it turns out.

By Jeff Harder

Ready to paint your room, but want to do something a little different? How about painting the walls with your favorite nail polish? Read on to find out why this may not be the most practical (or healthy) idea.

By Jeff Harder

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The undead are frightening, brain-hungry monsters, lumbering toward their victims with great purpose. But wait. Can they even digest brains?

By Nathan Chandler

Sure, Saturn's luminous rings are a cosmic marvel, but did you know that Earth once had rings? If we still had them today, what would they look like?

By Laurie L. Dove