Science Myths

Myths about the earth

December 4, 2008

Ooh ooh ooh, Bad Astronomy posted (a while ago) a fabulous list of Ten Things You Didn’t Know about the Earth. If you dig my science myths, check this one out. Such gems as “The earth is smoother than a billiard ball,” “Destroying the earth is hard,” and “Mt. Everest isn’t the biggest mountain.” See […]

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Myth 9: It’s a matter of taste…

June 26, 2008

Hey all, I just posted a new episode to my Science Teaching Tips podcast… a bunch of fun activities having to do with taste, and debunking some common myths about taste. Check it out — Episode 41. It’s a matter of taste. This activity is from the Exploratorium’s Human Body Explorations: The Nose Knows […]

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Myth 7: Blood is blue

June 7, 2008

I saw this on a teachers’ listserv, and realized that I had been told the same myth as a child, and it was one of those many things that worms its way into your knowledge base and then you never question it again. It’s funny how this happens, because with any thought, you often realize […]

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Myth 6: Your tongue has a "taste map"

May 15, 2008

This myth appears in a bunch of textbooks, so it’s not surprising that it’s persisted. The myth is that we mostly taste sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, and sourness at different areas of the tongue. While it’s true that we do have different taste sensations on different areas of the tongue, the exact distribution of sensitivity depends […]

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Myth 4: No two snowflakes are the same shape

April 12, 2008

Gosh, I’d like to believe this one, it’s just such a “cool” idea. One argument against this idea is that if you take thousands of pictures of snowflakes, it’s still not a very good statistical sample. Kenneth Fuller writes about this, and other modern myths taught as science. He hypothesized that this myth arose from […]

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Myth 3: Does water swirl counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere?

April 6, 2008

The answer: yes and no. When applied to toilets and sinks, this is one of those “too good to be true” science factoids, I’m afraid. But it does apply in some situations. The myth goes that if you flush a toilet in Australia the water swirls down the drain the opposite way than in the […]

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Myth 2: Polar bear fur is fiber optic (NOT!)

September 16, 2007

There’s this myth floating around that polar bear fur is fiber optic. It’s not. It’s not it’s not it’s not. The myth goes like this… polar bears are white, but they have to keep warm in the winter. But white reflects light and heat, so how do they do it? By having fiber optic fur. […]

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Myth 1: Is glass liquid?

September 7, 2007

Have you been told that glass is a liquid? I remember back in 10th grade and my teacher told me that old windows were thicker at the bottom than at the top, showing that glass flows, veeerrrry slowwwwly. While I was at the Exploratorium, this myth was debunked for me by my mentor Paul Doherty. […]

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