It would seem like how do all these sets of fictional popular scientific myths survive in a world where the Internet exists? It seems that their authors and lobbyists are simply playing on human psychology.
Most of the myths you have most likely heard in one form or another - deadly coins thrown from skyscrapers, people bursting in space, nerve cells not regenerating ... Of course, in fact, they have nothing to do with science. We have prepared for you the debunking of 10 scientific myths.
Myth 1. Evolution is a step forward
Evolution is often perceived as the "improvement" of living organisms. Only now biology knows many examples when everything happened exactly the opposite - in a relaxing environment, animals degrade very quickly, losing their adaptations for survival.
For dodo birds, this was the reason for the extinction. They have lost the ability to hide from dangers, because these birds have long existed in isolation on the island of Mauritius. In this area, the dodos had no natural enemies. Therefore, with the arrival of man on this land, the birds were easily exterminated.
Evolution is change and adaptation to the environment, but not necessarily a “step forward”.
Myth 2. A man in outer space will immediately freeze, and his blood will boil
The behavior of the human body in space is a separate list of myths. No, the human body will not explode and turn into ice in a matter of seconds, and the blood will not boil. These examples of scientific myths are easy to dispel. A person will not be able to freeze immediately because the temperature in space is not absolutely zero. The cosmos is neither cold nor hot. Without air, convective heat exchange cannot take place, which means that heat will not be lost. It turns out that the body will not turn into a piece of ice either.
What about boiling blood? Under any circumstances, the elastic pressure of the vessel walls will keep the blood pressure high enough. Therefore, a person's body temperature will be below boiling point until the heart refuses to work. In fact, in space, a person will lose consciousness in about twenty seconds due to lack of oxygen, and death in one and a half to two minutes. But if the poor fellow was saved before that, he has a good chance of surviving.
Myth 3. Polaris is the brightest
The North Star is the brightest in the sky. Another example of a scientific myth. This is by no means the case. It is not even in the top 10 in terms of brightness, only in the top 50, being in 46th place. We are just used to focusing on the North Star in the historical aspect. And the brightest star visible from Earth is Sirius from the constellation Canis Major. In addition, the North Star can only be seen from the northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere, it is visible only close to the equator.
Myth 4. Rule of "five seconds"
The five-second rule (or "picking up quickly doesn't count as falling") is more of a children's urban legend than a scientific myth. However, this "rule" is not only wrong, but also extremely insecure. Harmful microorganisms hit the food that has fallen to the ground instantly, without waiting even a second, let alone five.
This was proven in a 2016 study by Donald Schaffner. According to him, the rate of entry of microorganisms depends on the level of humidity and the type of floor covering. Moreover, the longer the food has spent time on the floor, the more microorganisms are on them. The maximum number of bacteria during the study was found on watermelon, and the minimum on sticky candies.
Myth 5. The moon has a dark side
The dark side of the moon, which is firmly entrenched in popular culture, does not really ... exist. Of course, there is a certain region of the Moon that is not visible from the Earth, but it is illuminated by the Sun no worse than the side we are accustomed to (and therefore the correct term is "the other side"). Mankind was able to see the opposite side of the moon and dispel this popular scientific myth only in 1959. This happened with the help of photo-television cameras of the interplanetary vehicle "Luna-3".
Myth 6. Nerve cells do not regenerate
Brain cells are the subject of yet another series of "scientific" delusions. For example, it is believed that nerve cells do not regenerate. This is not so, because there is neurogenesis - the process of the formation of new nerve cells from cells. In the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and subventricular region, new nerve cells are formed every day, which are sent to the parts of the brain that need them.
Myth 7. A coin falling from a height is dangerous
A coin, even falling from a height of several hundred meters, is not capable of causing serious harm to a person standing below, no matter what a common scientific myth tells us. Even if it is not blown away by the wind, it will leave a small bruise on the “victim's” skin. After all, no matter from what height the coin is dropped, its final speed when hitting the ground will be the same. The fact is that after a couple of seconds of flight, the coin will stop picking up speed, since air resistance will balance the acceleration of gravity.
Myth 8. Meteorites fall to the ground hot
The frictional heat of meteorites or spaceships entering the atmosphere is a popular misconception. Scientific knowledge can dispel this myth too. In fact, heating occurs due to the compression of the air surrounding such a rapidly moving object (that is, the aerodynamic resistance of the medium).
Moreover, if meteorites fall to Earth, they are usually not hotter than ordinary stones. The mass of compressed air can heat a meteorite to several thousand degrees, because of this, the substance melts and evaporates, and the body itself is rapidly decreasing. Heating occurs only on the outer shell of the meteorite, while in the depths it retains the temperature that was before its entry into the atmosphere.
Myth 9. Lightning does not strike twice in the same place.
Lightning that never strikes twice in the same place is an invention that can destroy someone. Lightning is quite capable of striking twice at the same point, especially if it is a tall tree or a spire of a building. It is known that lightning strikes buildings above 500 meters from 4 to 6 times during a thunderstorm.
It turns out that it strikes about 40 to 90 times a year. Agree, often. This popular statement is also a myth because physicists have discovered that after its first strike, lightning will strike 10-100 meters from this place with a 67% probability.
Myth 10. There is no gravity in space.
The "absence of gravity" that allows astronauts to soar in zero gravity is sheer nonsense. Another myth breaks down on scientific facts. All objects in the Earth's orbit, including the ISS, do not "float", but continuously fall around it precisely due to the force of gravity, which remains the same. But even if we move away from any large cosmic bodies at a decent distance, gravity will still not disappear anywhere, although it will considerably weaken.
After all, the force of gravitational attraction between two bodies is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the distance between them. And the altitude of the ISS orbit is about 10% more than the radius of the earth, in this regard, the force of gravity there is only a fraction less.