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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How does a driving simulator replicate dangerous situations?

One of the most useful methods of lab research for automobiles uses driving simulators, which create virtual realities that imitate real-life driving situations.

Top 5 Programs Finding New Uses for Old Technologies

Who says you can't teach an old technology new tricks? Just because it was invented long ago, that doesn't mean it's useless today. Which programs are reinventing the wheel?

Do we need biodegradable plastics?

Plastics that aren't recycled tend to hang around our planet like houseguests who have worn out their welcome. Can biodegradable plastics, which may break down in fewer than 90 days, change that scenario?

Can crash test dummies really simulate human injuries?

A simple doll can't tell a researcher whether a car crash resulted in a broken bone, a cracked rib cage or skin abrasions. Crash test dummies, on the other hand, are sophisticated enough to simulate such injuries.

How have high beams become safer to use?

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.

Can you make an incubator out of a car?

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.

Can you make a WiFi network out of a bus?

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.

Could holiday foods help save the planet?

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.

Does hybrid car production waste offset hybrid benefits?

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?

What are some practical uses for solar energy?

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.

Can solar energy power everyday objects efficiently?

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?

How fast can solar cars go?

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.

How can your car's air conditioner reduce germs?

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?

Can you make a power station out of a tarp?

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?

Can aerogels help clean up toxic spills?

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?

How would time travel affect life as we know it?

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?

What is going on during a near-death experience?

You know the drill: You plunge into darkness and then see a bright light. An angelic figure speaks to you. Why are people's near-death experiences so similar?

What is string theory?

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.

What is the anthropic principle?

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?

Does the Higgs boson exist?

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?

What is quantum weirdness?

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 Pictures

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

Can God and science co-exist?

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.

Does rational science have room for irrational belief?

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 Pictures

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.