People Debunk Common Misconceptions

We’ve all been taken in, at one point or another, by a common myth. For example, many of us think that you have to wait 24 hours to file a missing person report, or that touching a baby bird will cause its mother to abandon it. As it turns out, neither of those things are true, despite many of us believing them to be. What other common misconceptions have you fallen victim to? Keep reading to find out.

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#1 You Have to Wait 24 Hours to File a Missing Person Report

You can file a missing person report as soon as the person goes missing. No need to wait 24 hours or whatever.

#2 The Boiling Frog Experiment Works on All Frogs

The boiling frog experiment that’s quoted everywhere didn’t work. For those not familiar, it is said that you can boil a frog to death by raising the temperature of the water it’s in extremely slowly so that it doesn’t notice. Well, it only works when parts of the frog’s brain are removed. A frog with an intact brain will jump out, no matter how slowly the water is heated.

#3 Disneyland’s Purple Teacup Goes Faster

I work as a ride operator at Disneyland and please just let me say this. THE PURPLE TEACUP DOESN’T SPIN ANY FASTER THAN THE REST OF THEM PLEASE STOP GETTING INTO FIGHTS OVER IT!

#4 The Needle Stays in Your Arm After IV Insertion 

When you have an IV cannula inserted, a needle is used to insert the cannula but then the NEEDLE IS REMOVED and you’re left with a tiny thin plastic tube in the vein. I think 50 percent of my patients don’t realize there’s not a needle in their arm for hours or days on end.

#5 You Have to Wait 20 Minutes After Eating

I was barred from participating in a school swimming race because I ate some chocolate beforehand and a teacher caught me. She said I would get a cramp and die and I had to wait 20 minutes. Even eight-year-old me knew it was complete twaddle.

#6 There’s A Cure for Cancer

“Curing cancer” isn’t going to be a single eureka moment and BAM! cancer is gone forever. There are tons of different types of cancers, with different genetics and epigenetics playing into how they develop. There seem to be people out there who think Big Pharma™️ is sitting on some magical cure that they’re holding out on because they want to sell treatments. To even suggest that there’s one catch-all cure is so reductive of what “cancer” is—it’s not really one disease, it’s tons of different ailments with different symptoms that happen to share some commonalities in the way the cells divide and spread.

#7 Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, what really does is eating more calories than you use.

#8 Flushable Wipes are Flushable

Flushable wipes aren’t flushable. Toilet paper breaks down easy in water, but you ever seen a baby wipe rip up? Those things just end up clogging pipes and ruining the sewers. London found a huge mass of those things (along with a bunch of other junk) the size of a bus in the sewers thanks to those wipes.

#9 Plymouth Rock Exists

There is no specific Plymouth Rock, but there is an enshrined rock that someone basically picked out and people pilgrimage to.

#10 Life Expectancy in the Middle Ages Was Low

That few people lived past their 30s in the middle ages or some other ancient era. This misconception arises because of an automatic and incorrect assumption people make when they hear the statistic ‘the average life expectancy was 35 in the middle ages’. In reality, there have always been lots of people who live to 70 plus years old in all societies. The difference was that in the middle ages there were many childhood diseases that caused a much higher childhood mortality rate which skews the numbers much lower. If you survived childhood there was a very good chance you would make it into your 60s.

#11 Witches Were Burned at the Stake

I haven’t met too many people who believe this (I do live in New England though) but nobody was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials. Nineteen people were hung, and one man was pressed to death, but nobody was burned.

#12 Teddy Bear Comes From Theodore Roosevelt

The Teddy Bear was named for a bear that Theodore Roosevelt spared on a hunting trip. However, he didn’t exactly spare it and it wasn’t exactly out of mercy. There was a professional trapper/tracker/hunter dude with him whose job was to find a bear for him to kill. However, the bear he found was so pathetic looking that Roosevelt just didn’t think it worth his effort. The trapper dude just cut it’s neck open instead.

#13 Fish Can Live Healthily in Bowls

Bettas and goldfish can’t healthily live in a bowl.

#14 Napoleon Was Short

The myth: Napoleon was really short. The truth: He was actually average height or even a little bit above average height. How did it come about? The archaic French measurement used stated he was around 5’3 when in actuality that translates to about 5’7 in today’s measurements, which was average for the time.

#15 Abraham Lincoln’s Log Cabin

Abraham Lincoln’s famous log cabin was not built during his lifetime. This was built 30 years after his death by entrepreneur Alfred Dennett.

#16 German as the Official Language of the U.S. Was Defeated by One Vote

A proposal to make German the official language of the United States of America was defeated in Congress by one vote. It’s easily debunked by common sense (seriously, why would they do this??) and congressional records. The myth likely comes from the fact that a proposal to adjourn and discuss at a later time a petition to have laws translated to German for German-speaking residents was defeated by one vote.

#17 Psychological Disorders Are What the Media Presents

Most psychological disorders don’t present like the media would lead you to believe. See also: what therapy looks like.

#18 Tax Brackets 

Tax brackets are progressive (technically called marginal, progressive tax means something a bit different) in the U.S. so if you jump up a tax bracket only the money you make above the previous bracket is taxed at the higher rate. A 70 percent tax bracket doesn’t mean your whole income is taxed at 70 percent just whatever you make over the threshold.

Also, estate tax. If you have a normal house and wouldn’t refer to your home and motley possessions as an estate then that tax probably isn’t about you.

#19 Cats Can Drink Milk

Giving a cat milk is a very bad idea. Most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them milk will cause stomach problems.

#20 Diabetics Can’t Eat Sugar

Type 1 diabetics can’t eat sugar. Yes, we can. We can eat whatever we want, as long as we take insulin for it. To clarify a couple of points being argued against this: We can eat whatever we want when our BG is appropriate. For example, I’m not going to eat 12 bags of skittles when I’m at 300. Insulin is something we use to manage it, not a complete workaround. No matter what we try, BG levels will never stay perfect. Try to have a little empathy for us, it’s a constant chore we have to think about all the time.

#21 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum

There is no such thing as “aircraft-grade aluminum.” It’s just a marketing scam, we use many different grades and tempers depending on the application.

| Humaverse

#22 Depressed People are Always Sad

Depressed people don’t feel sad. The most common feelings when depressed are: numbness, nothingness and extreme boredom (things that used to feel fun and exciting are now just boring). The public misconception that depression means feeling sad all the time pisses me off because people spend months or years wondering what’s wrong with them instead of seeking professional help.

#23 Being Left and Right-Brained

That one side of your brain controls logic and calculations etc., while the other controls music, art and language.

#24 You Can Skip All of the Floors in an Elevator

There is no “Skip all the floors” button combination on any elevator you’re going to be in, and even if there is one there’s no way you’ll find it.

I’m an elevator lover, and I have family in the elevator repair business, so I’ve spent a lot of time listening to elevator stories, and doing my own research. All those pictures and posts about how if you “Hold the buttan and the close door button you skip the calls” are all lies, especially the ones that say it’s for emergency services. Emergency services that would realistically need this kind of control over an elevator have keys to turn the elevator into fire mode, which does indeed skip all floor calls.

#25 People Who Have OCD Like Things Clean

You don’t have OCD because you like things organized or clean. OCD is horrible and debilitating and it’s a lot less fun than feeling “satisfied” when things are organized.

#26 Touching a Baby Bird Will Cause Its Mother to Abandon It

Touching a baby bird is not going to cause its mother to abandon it. An old wives tale designed to stopped kids messing with young chicks has now caused a generation of people to pass on this old belief without ever being corrected. Yes, if you see a baby bird on the ground chances are its mother kicked it out to teach it to fly or something, but if you need to cut the grass/mow the lawn you can lift it and put it back in its nest, it’s mother isn’t going to abandon it just because you touched it. That’s like thinking a human mother would abandon a baby because a cat rubbed its butt on it.

#27 Type 1 Diabetes is Cause by Diet

Type 1 Diabetes is never ever caused by diet or lifestyle things. Like never. Not ever.

#28 Low Testosterone Means You’re Emotional

That low testosterone levels make a man effeminate or emotional or gay. Not how it works! Low testosterone makes a man apathetic and unmotivated. Obviously apathy/unmotivation could be symptoms of other things, too (such as depression). I’m not trying to diagnose anyone with low testosterone. Please go see a doctor, my guys.

#29 Vaccines Cause Autism

Autism is a genetic disorder. Genetic Disorders are created within us before we are born, while our DNA is still being made up. Vaccines don’t change our genetics. Therefore… Vaccines. Don’t. Cause. Autism.

#30 The Definition of Circa

“Circa” means “approximately” not just “back in the year of.” Only use it when it’s not known exactly when something happened.

#31 Airplane Black Boxes are Black

The “black box” (flight recorder) on an aircraft is orange, not black.

#32 Tedd Bundy Was Good Looking

Ted Bundy’s looks isn’t how he was able lure women. It was a numbers game with him and he asked many girls to help him out, and many refused. But of the many, all he needed was one to help. The ones that walked away later reported him, saying he gave off a creepy vibe.

#33 Red Liquid from Steak is Blood

The red liquid from a properly cooked steak is not blood. Don’t worry.

#34 The Dark Ages Were Archaic

“The Dark Ages”, a term originally coined in the 1800s to describe around 700-1200AD, was supposedly a period of retarded technological development and leaving limited archaeology or historical material behind. Even now the very term conjures up images of a period in history where our knowledge is very limited. But you don’t have to research that hard today to see its total nonsense, and it was actually an era very rich in science, art, development, trade, etc.

#35 The Inventor of Peanut Butter

George Washington Carver didn’t invent peanut butter. Sorry, Black History Month. It was a white Canadian bloke 50 years prior. Still, Carver did a lot of cool stuff with peanut cultivation.

#36 You Need to Go a Size Up in Shoes

I work at a store that sells work boots with safety toes. Please don’t propagate the myth that you need to go a size up to “make space for the toe.” You want that thing as snug as possible, without your toes touching the safety toe. Loose means you move, and your toes will bump against the safety toe. Y’all are the reason all my customers have messed up toes. Mind your business.

#37 People with OCD Can’t Be Messy

My room and car being a mess don’t prove I don’t have OCD. In fact, if I didn’t have it it’d be easier to get things like cleaning done.

#38 The Rise and Fall of Easter Island

A lot of people seem to think that Easter Island is a great environmental fable: a small island, almost the most remote place on Earth, cut down all of their trees to build giant head statues, resulting in the collapse of their society and extinction.

Except that native Easter Islanders didn’t go extinct. They’re still there. The collapse of their society was precipitated by slavers, who took most of the population—anybody who could read, basically, in the written language they had invented—to work on the west coast of South America. Also, a lot of those heads are full bodies that have sunk into the sandy soil.


#39 Color Blind People See in Black and White

I’m color blind but it’s not all black and white. I see colors… just not like you do.

#40 Daddy Long Legs are Dangerous

That daddy long legs spiders are dangerous to humans.

#41 Newborn Babies Go Into Foster Care

Babies placed for adoption at birth in the U.S. DO NOT go into foster care. There’s a waiting list at least 36 people long for each newborn placed for adoption. That’s why it’s expensive. That’s why people go overseas to adopt.

#42 Airlines Transport Dead People Often

There isn’t a dead body being transported on all or most commercial airlines. Seriously, what airline or airport has all these corpses going back and forth? I work the ramp at O’Hare, I might see a corpse being transported once a month and maybe handle once a year. Now if you ever see the fire department and police lined up at a plane coming into a gate, not following the plane as if it was an emergency, chances are there is a fallen servicemember or someone notable that is being transported to their final resting place.

#43 Shaving Makes Your Hair Grow

Shaving doesn’t make you grow facial hair.

#44 Puff the Magic Dragon Isn’t About Drugs

Puff the Magic Dragon is not about pot. Peter Yarrow, the writer of the song, has gone on record multiple times that it is not a song about marijuana calling it sloppy research and that it’s only ever been about the loss of innocence in children.

#45 Dads Aren’t Cool

That dads aren’t cool. I used to listen to Tupac on my walkman damn it.