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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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

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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

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

The reasons behind our lengthening lives may surprise you. (Hint: Babies are key.) But how would society have to adjust if we all lived for a century?

By Gallagher Flinn

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China's government imposed mandatory IUDs and mass sterilizations, among other measures. That's some serious micromanagement. Was it necessary to avert a population disaster?

By Gallagher Flinn

We wouldn't stop requiring power. So how would a turn to alternative energy sources work out for transportation, international trade and our daily diets?

By Gallagher Flinn

Remove that pesky drowning risk, and the world formerly under the sea opens with possibility — despite our inefficient limbs and tendency toward hypothermia.

By Gallagher Flinn

If minerals make up so much of the Earth, why would we ever face shortages? The availability of the resources we use to create products often depends more on our priorities than the planet's supply.

By Gallagher Flinn

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Assuming we got to keep the sun, how bad would be for travelers to not have these little guiding lights? And what else might have changed in history without stars?

By Gallagher Flinn

People would look underground for water and maybe just stay there to escape the fiery hell on Earth's surface. But could humanity really last without the seas?

By Gallagher Flinn

She's a Disney princess, a Starbucks Coffee logo and a metaphor for transformation. Occasionally, she's even "photographed." Why are humans so fascinated with these creatures?

By Julia Layton

Our early ancestors, enjoying the effects of rotten fruit, had stumbled onto something big. How did alcohol serve as a nutrition source and, some believe, help motivate hunters to take up farming?

By Gallagher Flinn

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There'd be some sacrifices. But bird-people society would have its advantages: interchangeable parents, sophisticated gardening skills and a close relationship with trees.

By Gallagher Flinn

Income inequality contributes to societal ills. Would mandating equal paychecks for all improve the situation or lead to work-shirking and massive government?

By Gallagher Flinn

When it comes to eating certain questionable foods — like unrefrigerated potato salad — most of us know to stay far away. But what about moldy bread? If you cut the offending areas off, is it a risk worth taking or a ticking time bomb?

By Karen Kirkpatrick

Picture this: You're floating through space, minding your own business, when some super-scary alien attacks you. Clearly you need to defend yourself, but all you have is a handgun. Will it do you any good, or are you mincemeat?

By Karen Kirkpatrick

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Say a guy mistakes "the Pill" for a breath mint. Is he going to have any lasting side effects if he takes one? What about if he took it regularly?

By Alia Hoyt & Karen Kirkpatrick

Tons of planets have more than one moon. Heck, Jupiter and Saturn have more than 50 each, and they seem to be doing just fine. So why is it that the idea of a second moon for Earth has scientists throwing up red flags?

By Karen Kirkpatrick

Double the suns means double the suntan, double the solar energy and double the awesome sunsets, right? Well, not exactly. Having two suns might sound fun, but it would probably make for a pretty different environment here on Earth.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

Coral reefs are pretty cool. More than just snorkeling destinations, they shelter tons of marine life — creatures many of us depend on for food and medicine. So what would happen if the coral reefs disappeared? Here's a hint: It isn't good.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

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We all know what Viagra does and why men use it — not to mention how much money this particular prescription drug has made over the years. But does it improve sexual health for women, too?

By Karen Kirkpatrick & Jennifer Walker-Journey

Cockroaches are among the most reviled creatures on the planet. They bring bacteria and allergens wherever they go — along with severe cases of the creepy crawlies. But would we really want to live in a world devoid of these little pests?

By Karen Kirkpatrick